Originally Posted by Vinnx
I just want to add one little tidbit. Video games will never ever be truly photo-realistic in their recreation of real life scenery. And it's for one reason, real life is dreadfully boring... lol. No matter what anyone says, games are art, they are created by artist and the artist will always manipulate reality to make the scene more engaging and appealing to intensify or pull forward more emotions from the audience.
If they wanted to re-create Manhattan and make it look exactly like that camera shot, they definitely have he capability to, but they never will... unless they want to seriously add traumatizing fear in they're games.
I agree with the first part, to an extent. Some games will go for realism even if it ends up a bit dull.
The part about them being able to, is currently not correct. For example in the image in the OP, each window on the skyscraper has an accurate reflection of the environment around it, which is not really feasible without a ray-tracing renderer, which is too expensive to run reasonably in real-time on current hardware. Also, textures can only have so much detail, if you get close enough to them they will eventually look blurry. Geometry also will have only so much detail in a game, otherwise it would begin to take far too long to render and too much memory. It will be many years before I can run my player though a virtual city and not be able to tell it's not real.