Sonic creator talks next-gen

Others chime in too.

In what makes a refreshing change from the usual hair-pulling and bitch-slapping we've seen from the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo lately, Yuji Naka has gone on record to say they're all super.

In an interview partially translated by GameSpot, Naka - top SEGA bigwig and father of Sonic the Hedgehog - told Japanese magazine Famitsu that he's "very interested" in the PS3's graphics capabilities.

"It's equipped with a graphics chip that's twice as powerful as the high-end [graphics card] for the PC, which allows it to make realistic expressions that haven't been possible before," he told the magazine.

As far as the Xbox 360 goes, Naka reckons it's all about online: "[Microsoft has] used its knowledge from Xbox Live to evolve their network, making its services and controls even more convenient for the user, which I think is a very attractive point."

So what of the Revolution? "I look forward to the 'new kind of fun' that's unique to Nintendo, and I expect that there will be a lot of surprises, such as the unannounced controller," says Naka.

"It's also great that we'll be able to play Famicom and other games via download. I hope SEGA games will be playable as well."

Famitsu also has interviews with a load of Naka's fellow Japanese developers, including Dead or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki. He's currently hard at work on DOA4 for Xbox 360, and says he's having a lot of fun, thanks, since it's very easy to create games for the console.

But that doesn't mean he's not looking forward to seeing what the other next-gen machines can do. Itagaki says that at the moment, the PS3 can be compared to a "new-born baby, in a good sense." Apparently they've got to be careful to ensure it "grows up to become a good child", and that it will "grow up to be strong".

Itagaki is excited about the Revolution in the same way he couldn't wait to get his hands on a DS, he says. He's particularly keen on playing Pikmin on the Revolution, since he's a big fan of the current-gen games - although we should stress that Pikmin has yet to be announced by Nintendo.

Akihirio Hino, president of Level-5 - developer of Squenix's Dragon Quest VIII for PS2 - is also up for a Revolution, and believes the console will have a unique hardware spec.

And like Naka, Hino reckons Nintendo are keeping quiet on the controller aspect because they're preparing to unveil something big. He says the option to download old days games is a good idea, but says Nintendo should make sure the console's success isn't dependent on retro stuff.

Although Hino's impressed by the PS3's hardware capabilities, describing it as "a console of the future", he's worried that developers will find it tough to match up to the high standard of graphics on show at E3. Hmm.

Hino lays a bit of a smackdown on the Xbox 360, saying it didn't look very "fresh" at E3. However, he added, the games are looking all right, as is the line-up of Japanese developers already creating games for the console - notably, Final Fantasy legend Hironobu Sakaguchi, who he reckons will offer some tough competition.

Ex-Capcom bigwig Yoshiki Okamoto also believes that Sakaguchi and his ilk will help the 360 appeal to gamers, telling Famitsu: "When considering the titles by Q entertainment's Mizuguchi-san, Mistwalker's Sakaguchi-san, and other games that will be announced in the future, the Xbox 360 should have enough firepower to fight in the next-generation console war.

"The independent creators such as myself are like the front line that's meant to cut through [the enemies] and start off a good pace, with an army [of publishers] following right behind us." Fighting talk and no mistake.

One of Sakaguchi's chums refused to comment on the individual qualities of each next-gen machine, suggesting that they're all much of a muchness really.

"When the machines evolve this far, they lose characteristics. I don't think that their graphic capabilities are too far apart from each other," says Squenix's Akitoshi Kawatsu, producer of the Romancing SaGa series.

"As a developer, I'm most concerned about how much memory they're equipped with - the more, the better. The other specs aren't that important. Of course, their specs haven't been finalized yet, and we won't actually know how difficult it is to develop on them until we try it out," reckons Kawatsu.

That said, he went on to cuss the PS3 for its fancy holes, including the selection of USB ports. "Some PC users might take good advantage of those kinds of external connections, but it's not something that's commonly practiced by people who come from the [console] gaming culture.

"For example, playing Famicom is as simple as just sticking in the game software," Kawatsu observed.

So there you have it. Let the comments commence.

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