With all of the buzz on Battlefield 3 surrounding developer DICE's brand new Frostbite 2 engine, and the stunning gameplay trailer that was recently released, some skeptical console owners may already be preparing themselves for somewhat of a disappointment. Visual fidelity and frame rates are truly mind-blowing, but almost always at their best on high-end gaming rigs, not home consoles. But Battlefield 3's Producer and Art Director are assuring fans that the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game will be equally impressive.
It's common for a modern property's gameplay to be shown running on a high-end PC to give the absolute best look at the engine, to the point where The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's developers made news just by revealing that their trailer was run on the Xbox 360.
Good news for consoles is becoming harder and harder to come by, as the potential of existing consoles seems to be tested to the breaking point with each passing month. Some might also view DICE developing Battlefield 3 specifically for their PC fan-base as a sign that console perfection isn't a top priority.
Luckily, the developers are claiming that's not the case. After showing off a brand new Battlefield 3 gameplay video at GDC, the game's Art Director Gustav Tilleby explained that console owners will be benefiting from the team's new engine as much as anyone. Tilleby explained that the Frostbite 2 engine isn't just changing the overall look of a game, but how a system's resources are used to their maximum potential.
Tilleby claims that DICE's innovations are already ahead of their competition, which allows them to push the limits of consoles farther than ever:
“The positive thing is that the new rendering technique allows us to do more complex calculations at no extra cost...That’s the magic. The game will look very good, even on 360.”
Don't ask us how these developers do it, but each year the amount of power that can be drawn out of Microsoft's console seems to grow, with id Software's RAGE being the latest to astound.
DICE made it clear that Battlefield 3 would bring next-gen gaming to current consoles, and publisher Electronic Arts is making some serious claims about the game's potential for taking on the console king of shooters, Call of Duty.
Still, skeptics have reason to expect that their experience won't be at the same level as the gameplay videos we've seen. Those doubts are understood by Battlefield 3's Producer, Patrick Bach, but according to him the difference in platform won't result in as large a discrepancy as some might think:
“We knew that people would think that this demo was running on PC, but the good thing is that it’s all based on streaming...I can promise you that the console versions will still look amazing because of the core technology. If you have a 360, we want to use that machine to the maximum.”
Hopefully the developers will be proven correct when the game is released, or they will have some seriously unhappy console owners to deal with.
Considering the fact that a majority of those players will likely have the latest Call of Duty title sitting on their shelf, or Modern Warfare 3 marked on their calendars, that would be a large risk for DICE to take.
Do you think that there are still depths of the Xbox 360 and PS3 left to plumb, or should console owners take any looks at gameplay with a grain of salt?
We'll see just how the developers define "amazing" when Battlefield 3 launches this fall for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.