When Square-Enixlast year, fans were being taken aback by the game’s graphics. At a glance the Toy Story world featured in the game’s trailer looked almost as good as the graphics in the original Pixar film. Maybe even better.
At E3, the : showing off a scene from the Tangled world of the game that, at a glance also looks just like the movie.
It’s a phenomenal showing of how far real-time rendering has come in the last few years. Even a visual artist who worked on the Tangled film is impressed.
And indeed, it is impressive. This is absolutely the closest any Disney-themed video game has ever come to looking like its source material — but it’s a far cry from actually competing with the cinematic animation technology we saw on the big screen. We could prove that by analyzing the lighting effects of the original film, or the depth of the performance behind the animation — but all we really need to do is look at Rapunzel’s hair.
The Rapunzel we see in the Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer is stunning, but from a technological standpoint, she’s a much less complex 3D model. Her hair has been simplified in a way that looks fantastic on a game console, but it simply can’t compete with Disney’s cinematic efforts. In the original film, Rapunzel wore 100,000 strands of hair on her head — and it was 70 feet long.
That was a technical achievement when the film hit theaters in 2010, and it’s still impressive today. It’s also a bit more than you can ask of your humble game console.
This isn’t to understate how far video games have come in the last decade, however. In the original Tangled game released in 2010, Rapunzel’s hair looked like this:
We’ve come a long way, friends. Just not that far.
E3 2018: The biggest stories so far, and what’s still to come: All the news from Saturday and Sunday, plus the rumors from what’s yet to come
E3 2018 coverage at CNET: All of our E3 2018 coverage in one place
E3 2018 coverage at GameSpot: Wall-to-wall coverage of the show from our sister site, GameSpot
E3 2018 coverage at Giant Bomb: Still more commentary and news from E3, from our colleagues at Giant Bomb