But, let's face it, games today can take years and years to finish, and their development cycle is only increasing in length.
Let's use Skyrim as an example: as I walk across the land of Skyrim, I take a close look at the landscape and realize that from afar, that game looks brilliant, but up close, it isn't exactly breath-taking, to be fair (but it is a VAST improvement over Oblivion). There are literally hundreds of quests and items. There is a massive amount of hand-drawn content in the game.
And then I realize: this game took five years to finish. It's amazing, to be sure, but it took years to finish. It makes me wonder, at what point will games be so "advanced," so "in-depth," as to literally be in development for too long to feasibly produce?
Granted, computer programming is a process in which knowledge is built upon knowledge, and elements are recycled to facilitate faster development. Why reinvent the wheel, right? But even despite this, the development cycle for this game was, again five years long. At some point, whether it be simply building the textures and models for ultra-high resolution games (which I imagine as part of the longest process of game-creation these days), or simply trying to come up with some "new twist" (because it's either that or simply give the gamer as much freedom as they please), or coding the particle effects or AI: all of these combine to, over time, increase game development cycle length.
Will games like Skyrim, massive blockbusters crammed to bursting with content and high-quality graphics, eventually just reach a limit in production?
(This is not a question of gameplay; obviously it is the gameplay that makes any game what it is. Rather, it's a question of how far the modern "polish" to games can go before it reaches, as stated, a "plateau" at which point it is too costly to overstep)