Originally posted by Ninja Prime
A Geforce 3 system did FF:SW at 1/10th detail running at like 6 fps years ago.
That's pretty far off, it was actually running at a full 30 FPS on a 1.4 ghz computer with a Geforce 3 card in it, and detail was very high (hard to say if it was "1/10th" or not, the hair and lighting wasn't as good, but the character models looked almost exactly the same as they did in the movie). Check out Gamespot's article of it, they have a video of the demo running on a computer at 30 fps back in 2001.
And the ONLY thing I could see that would be very difficult for current hardware to replicate is the lighting, particularly the radiosity. There is simply no way that any hardware in the next couple years will be able to do real-time radiosity on every object, which will make things look a bit unrealistic. However, there are certainly ways to fake it, as Half-life 2 has done. Remember, the entire act of rendering a picture is done in a process nothing like real life (where we only see the light REFLECTING off of a surface, not the surface itself), but technology gets more and more advanced we can mimic that process better. We'll never reach a state of totally real 3d rendered graphics, but we aren't far from making it look so good that you can't tell the difference between a CG rendered image and real life.