Paradox Interactive are seen by some as one of the last bastions of PC development, but since the gap between the last and current generation of consoles isn’t quite as large as some would have liked, smaller publishers are now able to compete in the market, familiar with the technology since they’re already using it for their PC releases.
Talking to Joystiq, Paradox Interactive producer Gordon van Dyke said that whatever they bring to the PS4 won’t simply be a “a cheap PC port on console.”
“We first need to make sure we can get the game running on the hardware, but the hardware is much more easier to work with than it was previously when I was at DICE on Battlefield, where there were struggles with Sony’s hardware – especially the way they allocated memory. They’ve eliminated a lot of these hurdles [on PS4] and x86 makes it much more plausible that we can do it.”
This mirrors Larian Studios’ Swen Vincke who, in an interview with us, said:
“I think you’re going to see the games that you want, it’ll just take some time. Production methodologies are starting to cut costs, so we’re happy the hardware capabilities are similar, because otherwise the only way you can do it is by spending a lot of money on expensive procedures [to invest in new graphical technology].”
To put it quite simply, smaller publishers and developers are able to turn out breathtaking visuals on par with AAA releases because current technology allows them to use cheaper, more effective methods for things like procedural animation (including facial mapping), whilst using their time efficiently on engines they understand. This time, there isn’t a two to three year pre and post launch gap where everyone is wasting resources on learning new architecture. Everyone is familiar with the x86 architecture, and we’re already seeing graphically comparable visuals on smaller titles, so smaller developers and publishers are able to compete in the next console generation. This is certainly a good thing.