This YouTube channel uses AI to gloriously remaster classic game intros and cutscenes

Twenty years ago, when photorealistic games were a distant dream, companies like Square made our imaginations soar In front we played, with intros and cutscenes, on a budget. Long before Overwatch normalizes practice releasing Pixar-quality animated shorts for each new character, Blizzards Diablo ii and Capcoms Onimusha 3 put us in the demon-killing mood with unbelievable mini-films of six minutes each.

But if you dare to watch these classics on a modern 4K TV or even a 1080p monitor, they look like a pixelated mess. That’s where a YouTube channel called Upscale and machine learning comes along – they look almost as good as on your old CRT. Or maybe even better. It just depends on how well the game’s art style works with the AI ​​algorithms that bring it back to life.

That Kingdom hearts Intros, for example, look amazing. I’ve had a look around and I’m ready to call these the final versions that currently exist:

they to have to check the hair World of Warcraft‘s intro. It left me in awe and the video also includes a before and after comparison:

Here is the legendary six-minute Onimusha 3 Opening film with 4K 60 fps. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best I’ve ever seen. More than good enough to share with people who need to understand this piece of gaming history.

And here is 1999 Legacy of Cain: Soul Raider in 8K. Can you believe this is a PS1 game?

Upscale can’t quite seem to nail it Chrono cross, I’m afraid, but its second or third stitch on Chrono trigger looks really great:

And I don’t particularly like trying upscale Lamentation of Cerberus. Fortunately, a handful of other YouTube channels are also trying out these machine learning techniques, and I think The gaming restoration made.

These improvements are all made possible by software called Topaz Video Enhance AI, also known as Topaz Gigapixel Some modders use it to upscale the graphics of playable games themselves, now also applied to her cutscenes. For $ 299, The company sells you an app that can spit out videos like this in a matter of hours, depending on your PC’s GPU, how long and how high the resolution you need. I know because I’ve tried it myself on a handful of anime music videos and game trailers and was impressed with how easy it can be.

The important thing to know, however, is that the images the computer spits out are not necessarily “true” – it can invent details that are not there or blur those that are there in the sometimes inadequate pursuit of clarity. I’ve found that 4K videos sometimes look better than 8K, and you really need to choose the right algorithm for the content you want to upscale and compare quick previews before broadcasting.

Here are two different algorithms trying to get the same scene in. to improve Gundam wing, so you can see what i mean.

Topaz’s “high quality” setting removes the intentional blurring / bokeh and smooths the image.

A lower quality “alias and moiré” setting does a more accurate job at the expense of clarity.

To be clear, they are both improved images, but one might be wrong: this is an ethereal, dream-like sequence in which the background is supposed to be soft and blurry, not sharp and flat. Of course, the algorithm doesn’t know that.

If you want to see a few examples where I’ve tried to improve old content myself, click here and here, and make sure to change your YouTube quality setting. ExtremeTech‘s Joel Hruska also has a great series about trying to remaster Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

To be honest, I was hesitant to write about upscale for The edgebecause I thought lawyers would close it any minute or the makers of Upscale would get bored and stop posting. But I’ve waited and watched for almost a year, and it’s not gone yet. If you are a big manager in the video game industry, maybe you would consider this? Not Ze firing copyright rockets?

At least until you’ve gotten better at remastering those cutscenes yourself, I mean.

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