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

Illustration for article titled Development Costs Mean Next-Gen Leap Wont Be As Obvious as the Last, Says BioWares 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.

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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.

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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]

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DISCUSSION

I believe that this new generation of consoles will be very similar to the current movie standard "race".

That is DVD vs Blu-ray.

I posted this in another topic, but I think this is where we're headed.

The masses just won't see the difference, and at first they just don't see why they should upgrade.

I think we're in for at least 2-3years of all games coming to all platforms, current and next gen. It might even go on for longer.

Looking at the console age of PS2, it's still doing pretty well, and I believe there are still games being made for it, and seeing how long this curent generation has survived? it's library of games is immense, it'll be hard to slay this generation.

So having this new tech is pretty great, but if companies will have to make Current gen and Next gen versions of their games for a few years to come? that does mean extra work for art department, and probably for designers aswell, since you'll be able to have more effects, more objects etc in the next gen versions.

Also means a lot more QA, since both versions will need seperate QAs.

I'd predict that the next gen versions will most likely have higher res textures and post processing effects, and probably more generic characters and such, in order to set a mood, but for the time being, unless it's a next gen exclusive, I think both versions won't be too far off..

I'd like to add, that by "not too far off", I mean that the general masses won't think it's enough to upgrade.