So Bashiok argues, in a blue post that sounds the eternal message defending Blizzard’s artistic style of graphics.
We also tend to spend time on a visual style that we believe will be timeless. While the cutting edge FPS’ of a few years ago quickly fall to the glitz of newer technologies, our intent is to create a beautiful game that doesn’t age because it’s not attempting to be a representation of reality. Good thing too, because we expect people to be playing it for a long time to come.
I happen to agree with this, and wrote a whole art vs. realism article a year+ ago, during the last big outbreak of the “D3’s graphics suck” argument. In that post I pointed out that paintings are inherently much less “realistic” than photos, but what do people want to hang on their walls and look at for decades or centuries?
That’s a bit longer time frame than a video game can aspire to, but it’s not entirely unlike what Blizzard does. As Bashiok alludes in this post, Blizzard has more in mind than looking shiny for six months after release. They want their games to be playable on a wide variety of systems, and they know their games are going to be played for a long time. WoW is still the most popular MMORPG on earth seven years after release. Starcraft and Diablo 2 have been popular even longer than that. Obviously there’s something about the visual style of the games that makes them age well, in a way that a game with today’s “bleeding edge” graphics will not. (Since another game that’s even more bleeding edge is always right around the corner.)
Or do you not buy it, and you think that longevity and accessibility is just an excuse for accepting mediocrity in graphics, in the same way that Blizzard uses “iteration” as an excuse to never do anything right the first time in game design?