Blizzard is the "mirror image" of Pixar
Animation studio's tech director believes that games can cross the Uncanny Valley - one day
Pixar's technical director, Andrew Payton, has told GamesIndustry.biz that he sees World of Warcraft developer Blizzard the "mirror image" of the Toy Story and Finding Nemo studio.
"We've met quite a few of the Blizzard people actually - some of the cinematics team," he said in an interview ahead of his session at next week's Develop Conference. "Blizzard and Pixar almost seem like mirror images of one another: The same sort of philosophy; the same sort of work ethic; the same attention to detail.
"They're basically the biggest company in the games industry, and we're the biggest company in the 3D film industry - it's interesting talking to them, because we always come across the same sort of problems and it just comes down to the philosophy of what you're trying to do.
"Their philosophy has always been trying to make the greatest game they can make, and for Pixar it's about trying to make the greatest film we can make. It's never an easy process - every film has its own slew of nightmares and production problems, and it is almost like giving birth with tonnes of complications in the process.
"Nothing is guaranteed, or goes as planned, but if you keep yourself grounded in what you're trying to do - which is make a piece of artwork that people would love to watch, it touches them. And that's the same thing that Blizzard and Bioware do - they're making games that, when you turn the computer off, you're still thinking about the game. There's an important place for that."
Dayton also believes that while the games and animation film industries are similar, there are certain things they can still learn from each other - while Pixar is particularly interested in how games utilise the GPU for real-time grapics.
But he does believes that in time videogames will be able to cross the Uncanny Valley - the term given to the gap between photo-realism and visuals approaching that point, in which images seem less palatable to the human eye than more simplistic versions.
"This technology is something that's available for us now, but it might be available for gaming further down the road," he said, referring to Pixar's rendering software that was used in the Avatar movie.
"It might not be something that you can render in real-time yet, but it's possible that there are ways of getting the processors there - it's all a matter of number-crunching at this point. We've proven we can do it, it's just who's going to be the one that comes up and has the Avatar-like game, that completely changes the rules."
The full interview with Andrew Dayton is available now.