Those who have had a chance to play around with Sony's latest console, the PS4, have been sharing their experiences and what they think about Sony's latest big black box with those of us who have not. But what about the developers? Those who are involved in making the software for us to enjoy — What do they think?
It's a little over 2 months before Sony's next generation star player hits shelves – or rather, 2 months before the "Sold Out" signs line the store shelves where the PlayStation 4 should be – so Weekly Famitsu asked some noted developers with games currently scheduled for release on the PS4 for their impressions on Sony's new console.
Shinji Mikami (The Evil Within)
Is there anything in particular that you have been able to achieve with the PS4 version of The Evil Within?
I believe [the PS4] has allowed me to focus on the details. By piling up individual bits of 'it can do this,' 'it can do that,' the overall visual grade has increased. Details and reality are important for the horror genre. Even in a fictitious world, if you show visuals with reality in them, you begin to think that 'such a world is possible.' I feel that the next-gen hardware has raised the bar on expression in this respect.
Is the PS4 easy to develop for?
To be honest, we're still finding our feet with it. It's no longer the era where you can understand a piece of hardware by making just one game for it, so I think we'll come to see its merits as we grow accustomed to developing for it.
Does any of the PS4's features or specs grab your attention?
Actually, I haven't fully grasped [the PS4's specs]. In this day and age, for me, the evolution of engines and dev tools is more important to the development side than the evolution of the hardware. Naturally, the hardware has advanced a lot and as a frame is superb. But the important part is the engine and tools. And in the end, the most important part is the human element and the quality born from the developers. These days, because of the advancement of hardware, the development environment and skills are put into question. In that manner, it's become much harder.
Naoki Yoshida (Final Fantasy XIV)
Is there anything in particular you have been able to achieve because you are developing a PS4 version of Final Fantasy XIV?
As an MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV is a world shared by thousands of players, and by seeing numerous high-quality characters on the screen at the same time, you can really come to understand how fun it is. The PS4 is a high-spec machine so we're making use of its abilities to their full extent in the number of displayable characters and the individual quality of the character models.
Which aspect of the PS4 are you the most excited about?
Definitely the high memory capacity. It's a never-ending battle with memory capacity for us, so having that is a big relief. Of course just because it's a relief doesn't mean things are easier. By increasing the memory, the freedom of design and expression increases. Characters and maps can be displayed in high quality. The SHARE button, the remote play capabilities, and the companion apps all allow for more freedom. It feels like the PS4 is saying to us, 'I've prepared an amusement park for you. Here is some equipment, too. How you put it all together and what you express is up to you.' So the next thing for us is to squeeze out an idea. In that way, the PS4 has made things easier but also challenges us.
Mark Cerny (Knack)
How is developing for the PS4 compared to previous hardware?
Making a test program and trying it out on the PS4 is easy. [Knack] requires physics calculations for 5,000 individual parts. With previous hardware, making a program for such calculations would have been extremely time consuming, but with the PS4, it's relatively easy and allowed us to simply 'make it and try it out.' You have an idea, you try it out, and if it's good, you keep it, if it's not, you think of something else. This cycle has been accelerated as a result. By shortening this cycle, I believe PS4 games can be richer.
The PlayStation 4 is headed to stores in November. Well, in the West at least. Japan's release date still remains unannounced (dammit). Hopefully, Sony will announce an official Japanese release date at their upcoming press conference next Monday.