Editorial: The importance of video game visuals

True photo-realistic visuals within gaming are, to many, the Holy Grail of the medium. It’s why game developers strive to produce the most stunning ultra hi-res textures, multi-million polygonal models and sophisticated lighting models on a daily basis, satiating our appetite for such sparkling HD fare.

Traditionalists will likely try and persuade you that they are not swayed by graphical prowess; insisting factors such as game mechanics, art style and level design are more significant contributions. True, they are all vital to the final product and true, when done well can bridge the gap between a good game and a truly great one. However, a disproportional focus on visuals is no bad thing: just take a glimpse at the video below.

We’ve previously enthused about the terrific mod scene within GTA IV, yet this is a mod of the visual heavyweight Crysis - and it looks simply gorgeous. Forgoing the gleaming skyscrapers and packed streets of downtown Liberty City, the modder has instead captured the naturalistic essence of natural light, the movement of foliage in the wind and the crystal-clear delicacy of water. What we would do for Skyrim to look like this…