The next generation is coming. 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. In short, the future is around the corner.
Amid the promise of Avatar-quality graphics and streaming technology, Eurogamer spoke to a number of game developers to find out exactly what they hope the next round of consoles will enable them to do, the unique challenges they will present - and what they're afraid of.
Dungeon Siege III lead designer Nathaniel Chapman, Obsidian
One thing that is tricky with the next gen, and is beginning to be tricky with this gen, is that [the platform holders] seem to be splitting and going in their own directions with features. You have Move, you have Kinect, the Wii, and Wii U now.
What we want when we make a game is for it to be as good an experience as possible for people and we want as many people as possible to be able to play it, so there are those competing pressures.
If you make a Kinect game it has to be Xbox exclusive. If you're using Kinect to its fullest there's no way you can make it a PS3 game. Same with the Wii U. You can't take a Wii U game that has a second screen and make it on... well I don't know what all the features of the next PlayStation and Xbox controllers are going to be, but I'm going to assume they don't have a screen on them.
It's going to be very tricky to make really great experiences for that which can be cross platform. It'll be an interesting challenge how devs adopt those features and, indeed, whether or not they do.
The thing that most holds me back right now is memory. The number one difficulty in making a console game is that the consoles, to varying degrees, have very restrictive memory, especially when you compare it to making PC games. I'll be happy if they double the memory - that would make my life a lot easier. It would make developing games a lot easier and would fix a lot of the problems that people have making games right now.
Super Meat Boy developer Edmund McMillen, Team Meat
Buttons. Buttons and game pads. Just give me my f***ing game pad back.
In the past so many years we've had so many different ways to control games. The Wii came and went and it had the motion-sensing thing. The only game that was really good was the game that was made by Nintendo for the system, that came with the system - Wii Sports.
Any game after that, and please anybody chime in and tell me the games that I'm missing here, because I've played a lot of Wii games and there's not one Wii game other than Wii Sports that actually uses these controls and makes the game fun because of it. And I assume that the next Zelda is going to be good. Those are going to be the two games for the system that are really spectacular and really use the controller in a way that's fulfilling.
When it comes down to it, if Nintendo is the only one that is able to come up with awesome ideas for the peripheral, then I really doubt anyone else is going to.
And the same goes for Kinect. That thing is a piece of garbage. There is absolutely nothing good for it. It's a joke. It's a f***ing joke. It doesn't make any f***ing sense. It's painful because they justify it by saying 'a lot of people bought it', but that's just marketing. I'm telling you, there's not going to be anything for it that's so compelling that 10 years from now you'll tell your friends 'wow, I really want to break out the Kinect and play this'. It's just not going to happen.
Gameplay is what matters. Good game design. It's almost as if they thought developers said 's**t, we've hit a wall and we can't design fun games anymore, and can't innovate through game design itself, we need all these crazy-ass peripherals that are going to help break through barriers and find new uncharted territory.' No, just f***ing sit down and come up with a new genre. Chris Hecker came up with a new genre - Spy Party - so I guarantee other people can too. Minecraft - a creative MMO. And Katamari too. We don't need peripherals.
Peripherals should stay as peripherals that you buy for Rock Band or something. Don't require someone to design for your crazy-ass experimental peripheral.