PlayStation 4

Top Developers React To PlayStation 4

by Matt Helgeson on Feb 22, 2013 at 06:46 AM

Every new console causes excitement among gamers with promises of better graphics, more complex gaming experiences, and new functionality. However, it's often the opinions of the developers who make the games we play that really matter. Any system must court the world's best development talent, hopefully by making a console that offers them the power, online functionality, and flexibility they need to create the best experiences possible. Read on to hear what three top content and technology creators in the game industry think of Sony's new machine.

In this article, Epic Games' Tim Sweeney, Insomniac Games' Ted Price, and Watch Dogs producer Dominic Guay give Game Informer their initial impressions on the potential of PlayStation 4.

Ted Price, President and CEO, Insomniac Games

What's your initial reaction to what Sony announced about its new console? What is most exciting to you as a game developer?

As a longtime partner of Sony's we've enjoyed some pretty awesome console tech over the last couple of decades and it looks like the PS4 will continue that trend. I think most of us in the console development world are always looking for more horsepower, more memory, more storage, faster load times... Sony showed clear evidence that we're getting those boosts with this console. However since we at Insomniac love creating new IP, what seems particularly cool is the Gaikai streaming which should allow you to experience console IP on different types of devices.

In general, what kinds of things will the new console allow you to do as a game designer that you couldn't do on the last generation of systems?

One of the points Mark Cerny made was that the PS4 is embracing "social". An example he gave was how it will be easy to actually see what your friends are playing real time. That's pretty darn cool. While a lot of us love to hole up in our dens and become immersed in the latest opus, at Insomniac we also believe that connecting and playing with friends is becoming more and more important to all types of gamers. If you can actually see what your friends are doing and then communicate with them while they're doing it, that rocks.  

How excited are you about the new interface technology? Do you see some interesting possibilities for it?

We've traditionally been more focused on getting the most out of the Dual Shock in terms of intuitive and responsive character control (versus relying on peripherals). Sure, we've supported the Move for our recent games. But when it comes to the kinds of games we make, we mostly rely on great controller design. We're anticipating Sony will deliver again here.

What do you think about some of the new online and cloud services Sony announced?

As I mentioned above, the integration of Gaikai tech should be great for gamers. Yet from a developer's perspective we're particularly excited that our PS3 library of games (Resistance, Ratchet, Fuse) could potentially live on and be easily accessible for PS4 players.

Is there anything Sony didn't announce or include in the new console that you would like to see added?

Not yet!

Tim Sweeney, Founder and CEO, Epic Games

What's your initial reaction to what Sony announced about its new console? What is most exciting to you as a game and engine technology developer?

As the developers of the Unreal Engine, we're passionate about building great games as efficiently as possible.  PlayStation 4 takes PC technology to the next level, providing a very robust and easy-to-use development environment. 

As we're creating games that are an order of magnitude more detailed than the current generation, Unreal Engine 4 tools combined with PlayStation 4 hardware are enabling developers to achieve that in a reasonable amount of time and on-budget.

The features and visual effects in our new "Elemental" demo on PlayStation 4, such as dynamic lighting and shadowing, subsurface scattering and GPU-powered particle effects at full 1080p resolution, are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Unreal Engine 4 can achieve.

Watch Dogs Senior Producer, Ubisoft's Dominic Guay

What's your initial reaction to what Sony announced about its new console? What is most exciting to you as a game developer?

Sony made it quite clear that the main focus of the PS4 was to "play." For us, as game content creators, this is a very good thing. A platform designed with a clear commitment on enabling great game experiences. It does not exclude other services - but the focus is at the right place. The platform specs are in line with this ambition.

There is nice coherency between what will be enabled by the choices they made on their platform and the elements we want to push on Watch Dogs: immersion, dynamism and connectivity.

In general, what kinds of things will the new console allow you to do as a game designer that you couldn't do on the last generation of systems?

For one thing, we will be able to push the immersion of games. That goes beyond graphics: it refers to how believable is the reaction of the world to the actions of the player. In a game like Watch Dogs where we try to push the level of interactivity, that's critical.

We are building an open world game where things are built through systems: civilians, traffic, weather, electricity, information, police, etc. It requires great technology to ensure that those systems will respond in a believable way to the player's plans and actions, that the emerging gameplay moments are rich and believable.

Our designers are also pushing hard on new types of interactions between players. So it was good that Sony stated their will to remove hurdles and allow increased connectivity with their platform.

How excited are you about the new interface technology? Do you see some interesting possibilities for it?

The touchpad is a great addition. As an example, in Watch Dogs it allows us to directly refer to the way our main character, Aiden Pearce, interfaces with his smartphone, his primary tool to hack into the city systems. So the player has a natural and direct way of using his avatar's device. The touchpad will provide benefits to the control scheme.

What do you think about some of the new online and cloud services Sony announced?

It was a very interesting announcement. Sony made it clear they had a lot more plans for their cloud for the future and I believe it might be a rich area of innovation to improve player's experiences.

Is there anything Sony didn't announce or include in the new console that you would like to see added?

Sony delivered a powerful platform with all the key components we need to make great games. Now the ball is in the developer's court. We need to build new worlds, new types of experiences, that will surprise and satisfy players. That's been our goal on Watch Dogs since the beginning of the project.