Development Costs Mean Next-Gen Leap 'Won't Be As Obvious' as the Last, Says BioWare's Art Director

If you're accustomed to a new console generation delivering a big leap forward in technology, particularly visual fidelity, BioWare's art director suggests you temper your expectations.

The PS4 and whatever Microsoft is cooking up will be "a big leap, but it won't be as obvious," Neil Thompson told Official Xbox Magazine. Noting that the transition from PS2/Xbox to PS3/360 was anticipated to be a "ten times improvement," studios and publishers threw huge amounts of money at next-gen development. That simply can't be the case now, considering how much already is being spent on the current generation. Spending 10 times more this go around would mean "you'd have to sell 20-30 million copies before you broke even," he noted.

That's not to say there will be no improvements, Thompson added, but developers will have to be more clever in how they allocate their resources and what they ask the new hardware to do. "The main thing is that the industry doesn't get itself into a corner where it becomes economically unviable to make a game," he said.

Thompson and OXM discussed a range of other subjects as well; the remainder of the interview is at the link.

A new era: BioWare's art director talks Dragon Age 3, Mass Effect and next gen visuals [Official Xbox Magazine via Eurogamer]