When it was discovered that Uncharted's Naughty Dog was seeking a Character Artist responsible for making "million poly models", it was widely assumed the studio was working on a new game for a next-gen console – presumably Uncharted 4 for the PS4.
As it turns out, that may not have been the case. 3D World's technical editor Rob Redman doesn't believe the million poly model is a "clear indication" of a PS4 project.
"Almost every game character these days starts of as a high resolution model with tens of millions of polygons,” Redman explained to OPM "These are then baked into a set of texture files, either displacement or normal maps, that give the lower res model the look of the fully detailed."
So it could very well be that Naughty Dog has been working on million poly models this whole time and just scaling it down for Uncharted. What does give fans hope for Uncharted 4 on PS4 could be the "next-gen games" part of the ad.
"Prior professional experience with normal map extraction of human models for next-gen games."
Of course, the term "next-gen" is widely used these days and varies from person to person. Some believe the Wii U to be next-gen. Some consider that's just a term developers use for this generation. Others only relate it to a possible PS4 or Xbox 720.
Whatever Naughty Dog means, one thing is clear. The PS3 can't, and probably will never be able to handle, million poly models – at least ones that aren't scaled down.
“The PS3 almost definitely couldn’t handle [million-poly models], especially not while running lights, normal mapping, anti-aliasing and the geometry for other characters and environments," Redman said. “It just doesn’t have the memory available. Or the graphics processing power."
We won't know for quite a while, if ever, what Naughty Dog is referring to with the ad. Maybe we are looking too much into it (and admittedly, we probably are). Whatever the case, OPM did post an awesome image of what a million polygon character, not scaled down, would look like.