Standing on the other side of the curtain, consumers rarely see what happens behind closed doors and all the work that goes into not only planning and producing a game, but also the work required when technology takes a leap forward. Considering the rate that technology increases, it is no surprise that game publishers have trepidation about the next leap forward with the upcoming next generation consoles, presumably the PS4 and the Xbox 720.
Naughty Dog studio co-president Evan Wells has called the move to the next gen consoles a “double-edged sword.”
“The geek inside you is always excited about a shiny new toy, but then the practicality of it starts to set in: this is going to be a lot of hard work. When you’re going to new technology, every day is a slog, progress is slow and it really takes a different kind of attitude and mentality to get through that kind of push and it’s not right for everybody.”
Various rumors over the launch of the consoles have cropped up in the news over the past few months, but it is still anyone’s best guess as to what the final plan is for both Sony and Microsoft. It has been confirmed that publishers are working on PS4 games currently, though no release date is set, but Sony did say that the PS4 would not launch after its competition.
The Xbox 720 has been rumored to launch as early as the 2012 holiday season, and even had its logo spotted in Hugh Jackman’s film Real Steel. An unnamed source on the Xbox team stated recently that 2013 is the magic year for the 720, though Bethesda has publicly stated that the next gen consoles will arrive no earlier than 2014.
Publishers though have a hard time with the leaps forward, and fellow Naughty Dog co-president Christophe Balestra explained that when the move from the PS2 to the PS3 was occurring, their company made several mistakes along the way that hindered game development, mistakes that they hope to have corrected for the PS4 launch. Wells commented that attrition was simply the name of the game during the transition.
“The period that Naughty Dog had its darkest days (was the PS3 transition) and we lost people on a weekly basis – people just couldn’t get through it. It’s tough and we’re definitely walking into it with open eyes.”
Balestra added that the Uncharted team is not currently working on an Uncharted 4 for the PS4 but is instead focusing its time, between employee vacations, on creating DLC. He added that the teams will regroup soon and figure out a strategy going forward that is in the best interest of the development teams.
While any leap forward in technology can add fear to development teams, I hope that all developers, not just Naughty Dog, took their learnings from the last round of new consoles and apply them in a positive manner for the PS4 and Xbox 720. Consumers will thank them with their wallets.
Ranters, what do you want to see in the next generation of consoles beyond the “basics?”
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