During a presentation at Games Developer Conference CryTek Senior Character Artist Abdenour Bachir showcased a few pieces of armor from Ryse: Son of Rome as they were modeled in extra high resolution for pre-production, a phase during which characters easily reached 130 million polygons each, and the final version that actually made it to the game on Xbox One, with Marius’ character optimized down to 85,000 polygons.
Below you can see both versions for two different suits of armor, including two animated GIFs to let you better appreciate the evolution of the models. As usual, you can click on each picture to enlarge it, and to start the animation for the GIFs.
High Resolution (untextured)
And here’s another suit of armor in its high resolution version, as a bonus.
The difference is visible, but you definitely have to squint, because when models are optimized a lot of the detail that is normally depicted by polygonal structures gets turned into normal maps. Of course no current console (or PC) would be able to run a game with characters counting 130 million polygons, making it a necessary process.
Yet, maybe one day we’ll be able to play games with that kind of polygon count after optimization. We might be quite a lot older by then, but good things come to those who wait.