Epic president Mike Capps has said the generational step of development costs means the industry can’t just throw more and more resources at games in order to “win”.
“You saw what happened when we went from the Unreal Engine 2 to 3 generation in terms of the complexity of making games and the budgets that came along with that,” Capps said in a feature interview with Game Informer.
“If we don’t want to have 500-person teams on Gears of War 7 or whatever it is, we have to find a way to increase efficiency because you know next generation is going to have cooler graphics, more power, and more memory, and we’re all going to want to compete to be the very best looking.
“We’re just not going to win unless we find a way to be more efficient.”
“First and foremost you need to have a viable business model for the next generation in order to thrive,” Epic tech guru Tim Sweeney agreed.
“If every project costs more to produce than it can realistically earn, then the industry will decline because companies will stop making those investments.”
The Unreal team has tackled this by making “philosophical” changes with Unreal Engine 4, which allow “designers and creative people to take charge of as much of the game production process as possible”. The engine draws boundaries between programmer’s tasks and designer’s tasks, meaning creative types can iterate quickly on new ideas rathert than having to wait for technical colleagues to bring their ideas to life.
The full feature is well worth a read if you’re interested in development at all, especially the second page; access it through the link above. Unreal Engine 4 was unveiled earlier this year.