Last week, Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Meta and not a lizard in a man suit) posted a selfie of his online avatar in Meta’s Horizon Worlds, a VR application built around… basically just exploring servers with friends (with some limited games scattered throughout). It was an incredibly ugly screenshot, showing the limited graphics of Horizon Worlds and was relentlessly trolled on Twitter.
Looks great! pic.twitter.com/aFFcvLv4ES
— james hennessy (@jrhennessy) August 16, 2022
In fairness, it was not a good-looking application. It looks completely devoid of any character, soul or purpose, like somebody combed through VRChat and found the most boring assets available.
One of the more common things that was said about the photo was that it looks like a screenshot from a game released for a console like the Nintendo 64 (released in 1996) or the PlayStation 1 (1994). Heck, it doesn’t even look as good as 2007’s Second Life.
But over the weekend, after relentless shitposting on the internet, Zuckerberg took to Instagram to show off some new graphics updates that Horizon Worlds is getting.
“I know the photo I posted this week was pretty basic — it was taken very quickly to celebrate a launch,” Zuckerberg wrote on Instagram.
“The graphics in Horizon are capable of much more — even on headsets — and Horizon is improving very quickly.”
Cool, so why did it suck so bad? That’s such a weird excuse — “taken very quickly to celebrate a launch” doesn’t make much sense when you knew you would be launching something in advance.
But it’s about more than just the graphics. Horizon Worlds is an application devoid of any reason or explanation. It doesn’t really have a purpose to exist: there’s not much to do in it, customisation and user-generated content are incredibly restrictive, and overall the art style is just bad. It’s a platform that’s largely dependent on users making the fun, but there’s nothing drawing said users there in the first place.
The art style is meant to be basic and neutral, which isn’t a terrible thing when you’re trying to pitch an application where you can build your own worlds, but in Horizon Worlds’ case, it means nothing looks too amazing or too horrible. Also, while it rides the coattails of VRChat, it completely lacks everything that made VRChat so good (and why VRChat is in turmoil).
We actually took a trip into Horizon Worlds earlier this year, as a part of its Superbowl afterparty, where The Foo Fighters were playing. Well, no, they weren’t really playing. What was actually playing was a video of them playing, while Horizon Worlds users were able to party (if you could get in that is, because we couldn’t).
But Horizon Worlds‘ new graphics, while better and more detailed, are still pretty soulless. Sure they give the Zuck some flushed cheekbones and healthier skin, while also showing off a detailed render of a new building, but they’re still devoid of anything interesting. Ultimately the art style is similar to Kena: Bridge of Spirits, but instead of being an adorable game with cute characters, you put a headset on and go to a meeting that could have been an email.
After all, the games that you can play in Horizon Worlds are limited and very minimalist, so this isn’t surprising.
There’s also this idea of working in the metaverse, which Horizon Worlds facilitates, making me want to gouge my eyes out with an ice cream scoop.
But hey, if you like ugly, then maybe you’ll enjoy Horizon Worlds.
As the post reads, more major updates will be shown at Meta’s Connect event. The application doesn’t have a release date in Australia just yet.