Big budget racing games have always been a convenient way for video game studios to show off ludicrously detailed graphics. Who doesn’t love seeing the ripples in a tire or the South American sun bounce off your spoiler? A clip from the motorcycle racing sim Ride 4 has gone viral, looking realistic enough to genuinely fool some people into initially thinking it’s real race cam footage.
The footage shows a first-person view of a motorcycle racer speeding through the rain-soaked streets of what looks like the UK.
Funny enough, game developer Milestone released Ride 4 back in October 2020. A PS5 and Xbox Series X update was released four months later in January 2021. The original video appears to be from a channel called JoyOfGaming, and was captured at 4K and 60fps. Ironically, it’s when you turn the video settings down to about 480p or 360p and 30fps that it starts to look like any random racing footage you might come across on the internet, adding to the eerie realism. Don’t get me wrong, it still looks incredible with the graphics cranked up, but there’s something to be said for how lower resolutions and digital artifacting from all the copied and reuploaded versions of the video influence our eyes to believe we’re watching real-life footage.
Lots of folks in the videogame community, including developers, have taken to Twitter to express their disbelief that a game can look so convincing.
Here’s Gears of War designer and former Boss Key director Cliff Bleszinkski.
Here’s Obsidian’s design director Josh Sawyer, who definitely had the same quasi-physical reaction I did when first seeing the gameplay footage.
In an interview with GamesRadar, Ride 4’s executive producer Michele Caletti noted this footage comes from the game’s replay mode, which adds some of the head bobble camera effects, which wouldn’t be ideal when actually playing.
“Add the lighting, with that beautifully rainy weather, add the realistic environment, and that’s it,” Caletti said, explaining how Ride 4 passes a “reality detection” threshold. “Remove one ingredient from the recipe and it wouldn’t work.”
Ride 4 is available on Steam now if you want to give your eyeballs a test run. Milestone is also the studio behind the MotoGP, Monster Energy Supercross, and MXGP series if you want to give those a shot. Funny enough, they actually also just released the positively received Hot Wheels Unleashed, if you want to go towards the complete opposite of photorealism.