1080P, 60 FPS Mandate
Ubisoft Reflections, the studio behind astral projection racer Driver: San Francisco, have already begun looking towards the next-generation of consoles and the technical standards they'd wish to impose. In a candid chat with Eurogamer, studio founder Martin Edmonson revealed his hopes that the next Xbox or Playstation would deliver a more "level playing field" and encourage easier development cycles with streamlined tools rather than spend years discovering "hidden advantages".
"I would like to see 1080p, 60 frames-per-second as a mandate," Edmonson told Eurogamer. If you can remember, both Sony and Microsoft promised certain technical standards for 360 and PS3 titles at launch - an imposed 720P resolution being one of them - which weren't delivered upon as developers discovered the unique technical juggling act required to deliver visually intensive but stable titles to the market. One of the main concerns with this, especially in cross-platform development, is matching up each version. Due to the 360 and PS3's unique architecture, cross-platform parity is very rare. "A level playing field where we don't have these dilemmas any more - do we go for detail, do we go for frame-rate? Do we go for effects, do we go for frame-rate? Do we go for resolution or do we go for memory?"
"But to have this level playing field where you accept the game is going to be smooth as silk, you accept the resolution is going to be crisp and high, then it's all down to content. That would be something I would consider a load of dilemmas and nonsense out the way." Edmonson went on to explain that the PS3, in particular, presents a unique challenge for developers due to its unorthodox chip-set and not-so-accessible development tools.
"I'm pretty convinced that say Driver: San Francisco, for example, has the machine practically smoking," Edmonson revealed. "But to get to that point it was a long, hard slog. It has advantages and disadvantages. When you have complex systems like PlayStation 3, it means that it has hidden power and it has hidden advantages and you can exploit those things and come up with some amazing things."
Edmonson's main point of concern - and his greatest hope for the next-generation - is better tools more developers. "What I would hope from a new machine is ease of access," he stated candidly. Edmonson admitted that, without knowing what's next, it's likely they'll have to throw away their Driver: San Francisco engine and start from scratch all over again when the Next Xbox or Playstation arrives. [Eurogamer]