Driver dev thinking about next-gen now

1080p 60fps should be a "mandate".

Driver: San Francisco developer Reflections is already thinking about creating a next-gen game engine, and wants 1080p, 60 frames-per-second games as a mandate from the next Xbox and PlayStation 4.

Studio founder Martin Edmonson told Eurogamer this would eradicate a number of challenges developers face creating games on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

"I would like to see 1080p, 60 frames-per-second as a mandate," he said. "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. "

Driver: San Francisco, out today in the UK, runs at a cool 60fps in single player - but drops down to 30fps in multiplayer.

The 60fps effect is maintained despite the game rendering a huge, open world for players to drive around in.

While Edmonson feels Driver has the PS3 "practically smoking", Sony's console did present some challenges to the development team - challenges he hopes the next generation will eradicate.

"Hopefully [developers will get] easier, quicker access to the hardware features, functionality and power, so that we spend less time - well the Xbox 360 isn't so much of an issue, but certainly the PlayStation 3 was a very, very difficult thing to get the best out of it," he said.

"I'm pretty convinced that say Driver: San Francisco, for example, has the machine practically smoking - Gran Turismo 5 probably the same. 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.

"It helps good developers separate themselves from weaker developers in terms of tech. But what it does do is it means we spend months and months and years and years and millions of dollars just getting round the system, rather than producing innovative content.

"What I would hope from a new machine is ease of access."

Microsoft is reportedly readying an E3 2012 announcement for its next Xbox. There are whispers Sony may announce the PlayStation 4 next year, too. And Crysis developer Crytek is rumoured to be creating TimeSplitters 4 using DirectX 11 as a visual benchmark.

Edmonson revealed Reflections is already thinking about creating a new game engine for the next generation of consoles.

"We think about it now, and every other developer will be thinking about it right now," he said.

"And any game which is being produced with a release date with four years from now - with, say, a similar length to Driver: San Francisco or slightly less - will be thinking in terms of the next generation, not this generation. It's something that's being thought about now.

"And of course you do throw away the engine; we threw away the Destruction Derby engine, we threw away the Driver 1 engine, the Stuntman engine, the Driver 2 engine. But what you do keep is a vast amount of knowledge and the dos and the don'ts of approach. And that's invaluable knowledge, and that saves you a lot of time and effort when it comes to the next machines."

Eurogamer asked a number of game developers what they want from the next-gen for an article published last month.

Driver: San Francisco launch trailer

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