Normal mapping is an age-old technology. Many DirectX guidance books play up it. However it’s difficult to implement on current game console and popular GPU. Next generation products have no problem to implement it.
The funny thing is that requested concepts to normal mapping are going through changes. I feel so. In olden days, normal mapping was introduced as laborsaving technology for GPU. But, it became possible to handle very complex polygon models on next generation environments. I feel that normal mapping is played up as laborsaving technology for not GPU but human.
I think that most developers don’t want to use much time for models of the background. For expression of brick walls, developers might use normal mapping. And, models of walls will keep on primitive as well as old.
Normal mapping isn’t works of human any more. So excellent tools are must. Many software makers throw their solutions for normal mapping into the market. ZBrush is one of front runners at this race. In addition, ZBrush may think that it’s more excellent than other tools in texture category also. It has interesting features for 3D painting and manneristic features for modeling.
Modeling by ZBrush is not universal but interesting enough. But many designers in Japan don’t hope to use this nonuniversal tool for modeling. ZBrush understands that thing well. So they might recommend combining ZBrush with other tools.