Next-gen "quite a big leap, but it won't be as obvious," says BioWare artist
Posted: 16.01.2013 15:02 by Simon Priest Comments: 4
Dragon Age 3 serf Neil Thompson, BioWare's director of art and animation, has said the next-gen of hardware won't be as 'obviously superior' over the current Xbox and PlayStation.

Thompson says devs will do things in a "cleverer fashion" as "they'll be better prepared," but there's not going to be a "ten-fold team increase again" like last time as that "would just be ridiculous."

Ridiculous and bankrupting. The BioWare director said you'd have to sell titles in the tens of millions to just break even if teams ballooned any more than they already do.

"Clearly we still hammer up against the limitations of the hardware on a daily basis and if you push those parameters back, as I'm sure the next-gen will do, we'll hit them again," Neil Thompson told OXM. "I think the main thing is that the industry doesn't get itself into a corner where it becomes economically unviable to make a game."

"The last technology iteration caught folks by surprise - especially the number of people you needed and the skillset jump to do the work that people expected. In the last generation the perception was that it was going to be a ten times improvement over the previous generation."

"For the next generation there will be quite a big leap, but it won't be as obvious," Thompson continued. "People will do things in a cleverer fashion - and I have to be careful here as there are non-disclosure agreements involved! I think they'll be better prepared, shall we say - but we can't see a ten-fold team increase again as the budgets would just be ridiculous."

"You'd have to sell 20-30 million copies before you broke even."

EA are using DICE's Frostbite 2 engine a lot more these days with BioWare's Dragon Age 3 powered by it, as they aim for a late 2013 release window. It's speculated it will make it as a next-gen title. Baird Equity Research predicts the next PlayStation and Xbox will be out this October and November, in the $350 to $400 price range.
Source: OXM


By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jan 16, 2013
"...would just be ridiculous."
With a supposed architecture to rival what is considered presently a powerful Intel-based PC set-up, I'm surprised by this statement. I'll wager they're hedging their bets and making sure the game will be playable on PS3, let alone XB720 or even PS4.
Makes good business, but not creative, sense.
By darranged (SI Newbie) on Jan 16, 2013
He is referring to the amount of man(people)hours it would take to make graphics 10 times better then they are today. 10 to 15 years ago game teams were in the dozens, now they are in the hundreds. If there was going to be another "10 times better" jump, logically teams would be in the 1000's and a AAA game would an enormous cost that you would have to sell 20 to 30 million copies to break even.

This is already being seen in the PC market, I remember having to upgrade to play new games or dialing back settings a mere 6 months after getting new hardware. 2 years after my last upgrade and everything runs fine. We are hitting a ceiling where development costs are the new barrier.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jan 16, 2013
I thought it was more relevant to market values than development costs: product development Vs. Sales. With the ever increasing focus on multiplatform, I believe the distribution of staff has changed rather than the numbers specifically. If the game was a PC-only title, for example you'd have a development team little different in size than it was ten years ago.
Altogether, I would have to disagree with you overall. I don't believe we are anywhere near the ceiling of development costs, and if the focus was taken away from simply trying to capture as much of the console audience as possible then PC architecture would be far in advance, and cheaper, than what it is (they had an 80 core CPU up and running 4 years ago displaying graphics on a 3m x 4m monitor), and it would have been relatively cheap to produce).
The plethora of titles that come as a result of consoles is also a constant drain on staff and budget. On average, the console gamer is looking for something new every 3 months at the most.
By HenoKutus (SI Elite) on Jan 17, 2013
If you can play all of your PS3 games on a PS4,there will be a great market and range to choose from,its just updating your console but the graphics should be at least 1920x1080P instead of 1280x720p as most games are now!