>The tech behind big AAA titles will have involved tons of man hours of work, a big reason AAA plays it so safe is because these projects are retardedly expensive to produce.
Maybe nowadays, when gayming, just like film, became bloated. Back in the day giant complex games were made by modest teams of actually skilled programmers and artists. Now everything is made by codemonkeys, talentless "gaym design" graduates and freelancers, through mega crunching.
>homogenization in the name of what sells
>For instance if Wind Waker was the biggest seller of its generation then you would see mountains of games copying that aesthetic and formula from the same time period
Not really, it wasn't like that back then, overbloated sales weren't as universally commanding as they are now. If you look at the best selling 6th gen games it's GTAs, Gran Turismos, Super Smash Bros., MGS2, FFX. None really saw mountains
of copies copying the aesthetics and formula. Even the GTA wannabes were distinctly different from the progenitor as well as one another.
Similarly, I wouldn't say that starting with the 7th gen games began chasing photorealism because some game like that sold a lot. Rather it was an instantaneous shift, from the get go, driven by the new technology which seemed "ready"; a justification for a new generation - now it can create realistic graphics! By that point games were starting to imitate film more and more as a "superior medium", so that ability to get visually closer to film was among the chief reasons why photorealism became so prevalent: "film is serious business, non-realistic games are for babies." You started seeing a lot of hack wannabe and failed film directors/writers get into the medium because it was the next best thing, now they can finally "manifest their genius vision". And they told you in all the interviews how realistic cutscenes imitating film is the important thing, and how graphics better be fucking photorealistic or nobody will recognize celebrity actors' likeness.
So basically that ability to be more movie-like is what started getting mainstream attention from the MSM and corporations, eventually turning gayming in the dead husk that it is today. And why I think photorealism is a good boundary for "retro"; apart from technical aspect it's also about before and after the hijack of the medium.