Spider-Man PS4 hasn't even been released yet, but that hasn't stopped some gamers from complaining about its graphics. One person who claims to be "looking forward to Spider-Man PS4" took to Twitter to accuse the game's developer of "downgrading" the visuals. Their evidence is a duo of screenshots comparing recent footage to that of last year. One of their main points, of all things, is the size of a puddle.
The mini-controversy began when Twitter user @spiydaman posted comparison image of a scene where Spider-Man fights a group of goons in an under-construction skyscraper. The first image is from 2017 E3 footage, while the other is from recent promotional material. They tag the Spider-Man PS4 developer, Insomniac Games, to ask why the game has been "downgraded."
By "downgraded" they mean that the graphics seem to have gotten worse from what was promised. The details on Spidey's suit are called out, as is the texture on the walls. But perhaps the most offensive cutback, at least to this critic and others who agreed with them, is that the puddle is smaller.
Seriously. Some claim that the shrunken puddle indicated a compromise in quality on Insomniac's part. That the studio is chipping away at environmental details to make the game run better, but sacrificing a detailed game world to do it.
How did Insomniac respond to these accusations? "No. We have plenty of other places with tons of puddles."
On a more serious note, Insomniac goes on to explain the various factors that can change a game's visuals.
The suit texture is still there, you just can't see it due to video compression/quality and where it was pulled motion/blur wise.— Insomniac Games (@insomniacgames) August 20, 2018
Lighting has changed in the last 2 years for that scene.
A difference in lighting seems to be the major player, one that others were quick to verify. Reddit user Kmart99 laid it out in simple terms.
"3D Rendering artist here. Moving the sun around can make entire textures appear to vanish without any downgrading. Clearly the puddles in this scene were moved around/removed, but the rest of the changes can definitely be attributed to lighting."
It goes without saying that a random Reddit poster isn't an instantly reliable source. And of course Insomniac will defend its product. Still, the idea that the seeming differences in quality are a product of lighting is a plausible one. In the end, it will up to the people who actually play the game when it releases to decide whether the quality is as promised. And, perhaps most importantly, if the amount of puddles is to their liking.
Spider-Man PS4 will release on September 7th.