The move to 3D visuals in video games also came with the introduction of better storage. With more space available to game developers, many companies used the opportunity to include awesome FMV game cutscenes.
Decades afterwards, those classic game cutscenes are still fondly remembered. Unfortunately, while the pre-rendered FMVs of yesteryear were mind-blowing back in the day, they don't look as good nowadays. But what if they did?
Upscale remasters classic game cutscenes
Thanks to YouTuber Upscale, via The Verge, we can now experience old video game cutscenes as we remember them. Over the past two years, the YouTuber has diligently churned out AI-powered remasters of video game cutscenes, movie trailers and classic cartoons.
Described as a channel “dedicated to bringing the best possible quality" to “video game, anime [and] movie scenes", the YouTuber's work is truly transformative. Upscale works with content new and old; some days there'll be a high-quality upscale of a recent movie trailer, others will see a revised PSX cutscene.
One video showcases a side-by-side of Resident Evil 2’s iconic Licker scene. On the left, a crisp 4K revival bursting with detail. On the right, the blurry mess that was undoubtedly mind-bending back in the 90s.
Another notable example is Upscale's fantastic reconstruction of The Jetson's. The old Hanna-Barbera cartoons simple lines and flat colour pallet makes for a flawless remaster. It's a remarkably clean presentation for a show going on 60-years-old.
It’s not perfect
Despite the flawless results from other videos, not all of Upscale's AI projects are perfect. With older PSX and PS2 cutscenes, the upscaling process can't save everything. With the low resolution of older video files – combined with shoddy interlaced formats – the video doesn’t out clean.
Scenes with text or high-poly hair cards suffer the most. A look at the upscaled version of the original PlayStation's Ridge Racer shows frayed text, shimmering hair and an overall mushed appearance. It's almost like a real-time painting of the original video.
While not the intended visual style, it's still a much higher-resolution version compared to the original. Swings and roundabouts, really.