Itagaki bemoans 360 disk format

Team Ninja boss' DVD 'anxiety'.

Team Ninja chief Tomonobu Itagaki has spoken of his 'anxiety' over Microsoft's decision to stick with the DVD disc format on its forthcoming Xbox 360 console, expressing concerns that developers will have difficulties squeezing high-definition pre-rendered sequences onto the 9GB disc.

Speaking to Famitsu magazine, Itagaki said that the DVD format "brings a bit of anxiety" since Japanese developers - unlike Americans and Europeans - tend to prefer prerendered cutscenes over real-time.

"The screen resolution for Xbox 360 games will be in high definition, so the prerendered movies are going to be pretty large," commented Itagaki.

"If we encoded the Dead or Alive 4 trailer from E3 in high definition in a quality acceptable to us, it will easily be about 2GB." (Xbox 360 DVDs will hold 9GB of data.)

"With DOA4, we'll be using the disc's capacity to its full extent. We started development on DOA4 pretty early, and we didn't know what disc format the Xbox 360 was going to adopt. So when we learned about it, we were really knocked out."

However, he seemed happy enough with the 360's processing power, despite the fact that the triple-core IBM PowerPC design - which he described as "a buffed-up Sega Saturn" - could make it things a little tricky.

"The Xbox 360 is said to be a machine that's easy to develop for, but that's because it has a good line-up of middleware and infrastructure... If you try to take advantage of the Xbox 360's full hardware specs, you'll find out about the difficulty in programming for a multicore machine," he reckoned.

However, "Even if just a single core is used for a game, it will still be several times more powerful than machines up until now. But we aren't satisfied at that kind of level," admitted Itagaki.

"Our programmers are having fun playing around with the machine. They're swinging around all the cores and making a game that shows the powers of the Xbox 360."

Itagaki went on to confirm reports that Microsoft will make a major announcement in Japan later this month. He said Team Ninja had yet to decide whether it will make a new trailer to coincide with the announcement, or "if we should go straight ahead to work on the completion of the game."

So what of the rumours that Team Ninja will dump the Xbox 360 in favour of the PS3 once Sony's console launches? "Team Ninja will not disappoint their fans," offered Itagaki, cryptically. Besides, he said, "We're too busy on the development of DOA4 to think about anything else."

Itagaki reckoned Sony should be commended for attempting to "create a computer that comes from Japan" - providing it lives up to the suggested hardware specs. "A machine that doesn't run according to its promised CPU frequency is out of the question," he added.

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