Irrational Games co-founder and also lead designer of both the original Bioshock and Bioshock: Infinite, Ken Levine, recently spoke with Gamespot where he gave his opinion on the Playstation 4 and how the new system architecture will benefit both the developers and, as a result, the gamers also.
Levine told Gamespot:
“I have to sit back and think about the next-generation. Obviously, more memory, more power is always a good thing. I love the fact that Sony’s architecture is now much more aligned with the architecture of the PCs and[…]I can’t say about the Xbox, but I presume they’re continuing in that direction, That will make life a lot better for gamers because you won’t have that sort of diversification of resources in the same way that you had to do to support the differences in the [current-generation platforms],I don’t mean Move vs. Kinect, I mean specifically the architecture underneath. So that’s a positive.”
He then mentioned that for now he hasn’t put too much time in thinking about how particular features could be implemented into future projects, but he did then bring up a rather worrying topic that has been looming over the generation for a rather long time now. He mentioned that with a new generation comes new challenges, one of which will be the struggle to fill all the extra power of the systems out with content.
“I really haven’t sat back and thought the particular features or what I would do with the additional power besides the obvious things: I like detail and more power gives you more detail. That’s obvious, I think you then start running into, at some point, an issue of can you produce the content to fill that detail? Because BioShock Infinite really strained our[…]we produced a lot of content if you look at that level of detail,” he said. “So then you go beyond the systems; can we build an infrastructure internally to build enough content to fill out that space? And that’s going to be another challenge.”
As Levine mentioned, this generation has really stretched the resources of many studios and given that Levine is an extremely ambitious man, he will likely be looking to make sure that all of the extra power of the new systems will be filled with only the highest quality content. Given that his latest project has pulled no punches throughout the development, it’s hard to even imagine the scale of the challenge facing the developers when trying to aim for that same level of focus on a system with considerably more power.
Of course many companies are doing the best they can to alleviate as much of these new challenges as possible by providing extremely robust toolkits and optimizing game engines to allow for a more developer friendly environment. However it’s a given that some companies will fall at some point such as many did this generation, but hopefully the combined work of many of the biggest names in the industry will come together to minimize the damage as much as possible while also preventing development costs from escalating uncontrollably.
Don’t forget Levine’s latest game, Bioshock: Infinite will be releasing on Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC on March 26th.