Twenty years ago, when photorealistic games were still a distant dream, companies like Square made our imaginations jump. before we played, with big budget intros and cutscenes. Long before Monitoring standardized the practice of releasing Pixar-quality animated shorts for every new character, Blizzard’s Diablo II and Capcom Onimusha 3 get us in the demon slayer vibe with amazing mini-movies that are six minutes each.
But if you dare to try watching these classics on a modern 4K TV or even a 1080p monitor, they’ll look like a pixelated mess. This is where a YouTube channel named Upscale and machine learning comes in, making them almost as good looking as they did on your old CRT. Or maybe even better. It just depends on how the art style of the game works with the AI algorithms that bring it to life.
the Kingdom Hearts intros, for example, are amazing. I have scanned, and am ready to call these the currently existing final versions:
You to have to check the hair in World of warcraftis the intro. This impressed me and the video also includes a before-after comparison:
Here is the legendary six minutes Onimusha 3 Aperture kinematics at 4K 60 fps. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best I have ever seen. More than enough to be shared with people who need to understand this part of video game history.
And here are the 1999 Kain’s Legacy: Soul Reaver in 8K. Can you believe this is a PS1 game?
The high end does not seem quite to nail Chrono Croix, I’m afraid, but this is the second or third blow to the trigger of a stopwatch it looks pretty amazing:
And I don’t particularly like Upscale’s attempt to Cerberus’ funeral song. Fortunately, a handful of other YouTube channels are also trying these machine learning techniques, and I think Game restoration I have arrived.
These improvements are all made possible by software called Topaz Video Enhance AI, aka Topaz Gigapixel, and we’ve talked about this a bit before – it’s the same adversarial generated network technique that some modders use to improve the graphics of playable games. . themselves, now applied to their cutscenes as well. For $ 299, the company will sell you an app that can spit out videos like these in a matter of hours, depending on your PC’s GPU, length, and resolution you need. I know this, because I tried it out myself with a handful of anime music videos and game trailers, and I was impressed how easy it could be.
The important thing to know, however, is that the images the computer spits out are not necessarily “truth” – it can make up details that aren’t there, or stain those that are, in the sometimes inappropriate pursuit of. clarity. I’ve found that 4K videos would look better than 8K at times, and you really need to pick the right algorithm for the content you’re trying to scale and compare for quick previews before committing.
Here are two different algorithms trying to improve the same scene in Wing of Gundam, so you can see what i mean.
To be clear, these are both enhanced images, but you could say that’s wrong: this is an ethereal, dreamlike sequence where the background is meant to be soft and blurry, not sharp and flat. Of course, the algorithm does not know.
If you want to see a few examples where I tried to improve some old content myself, click here and here, and be sure to change your YouTube quality setting. Extreme technology‘s Joel Hruska also has a great series on Remastering Attempts Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
To be honest, I hesitated to write on Upscale for The edge, because I thought the lawyers would shut it down anytime, or the creators of Upscale would get bored and stop publishing. But I’ve been waiting and watching for almost a year, and it hasn’t gone away yet. If you are a great leader in the video game industry, maybe you would consider not shoot copyright ze missiles?
At least until you’ve done a better job of remastering those cutscenes yourself, I mean.