One of the biggest selling points for the use of blu-ray discs is the obvious increase in the media’s storage capacity beyond a standard DVD or even an HD-DVD. As games have gotten bigger in size due to increases in physical modeling, graphical fidelity, and number of animations, disc swapping has become a major issue for owners of Xbox 360s.

As long as players are willing to put up with it, it’s not that big of a deal as far as the industry is concerned. However, that was back when we were talking about only one disc swap like in Dead Space 2. Some more recent games have been pushing the limit. LA Noire was originally planned to release on two full blu-rays! That’s six DVDs! Thankfully, Team Bondi limited it to one blu-ray which limited the size to three DVDs. Today, Bethesda Softworks is adding more fuel to the fire, after the publication of some comments from Tom Willits, creative director on RAGE, who is now saying that RAGE will ship on not two discs (as originally reported), but three discs for the Xbox 360 version. Additionally, the size of the data install for the PS3 version will be a whopping 8 GB of data.

He does point out that all three discs do not need to be installed to the hard drive simultaneously for the 360 version. He explains that it might be easier for users to install only what they need in order to continue the experience. He also states that it is possible to avoid installing the multiplayer disc if players are really strapped for space. Unfortunately, this would mean that each disc swap would be accompanied by an install period. Of course, this all assumes that players will bother to install the game, but considering the multiplayer aspect coupled with a need to have it run smoothly and quickly it seems like that’s a pretty safe assumption.

Willits, who was interviewed by Digital Foundry at the Eurogamer Expo, also took it as an opportunity to discuss some of the finer points regarding development on three different platforms. He praised Sony for allowing id Software the room to be flexible with the game’s filesize and the aid in helping to make that filesize more manageable.

“Sony was great. Kudos to Sony for letting us do that. They don’t allow every game to do that. So definitely, hats off. What we were able to do is install all the textures to the highest level. What is nice about the PS3 platform is that it’s just one platform. Everyone has one Blu-ray drive, one hard drive, it’s all the same. Some of the other systems you have… should I install it on my 360? Should I not install it? So yes, it’s very nice.”

Additionally, he commented on the similarities and differences between 360, PS3, and PC, and said that the three platforms have far more in common than people realize.

“There are more similarities between them than most people realize, so they developed a codebase that would take care of these multi-core systems. It makes a lot more sense than taking on old technology and shoving it into a modern day console and then having to multi-thread. So the basic gamecode is the same, the basic engine is the same and it’s only the graphical APIs, and a few sound things that are really different on all the three systems, which is really nice.”

Disc swapping and install times aside, at least players will be able to take comfort in the fact that the differences between versions of RAGE will be negligible at best. Also if the gameplay is as compelling as its being touted to be then it won’t be too much to ask gamers to overcome their laziness to put in a second or third disc, or have the patience to install a massive set of game files.

If you would like to learn more about the game you can read our E3 2011 preview and also check our article with the gameplay trailer. Further information can also be found in our interview with Tim Willits from Eurogamer Expo 2010.

RAGE will be released October 4th for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

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Source: Digital Foundry

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