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“Meh”: American McGee uninspired by PS4 announcement

Monday, 25th March 2013 13:10 GMT By Dave Cook

Alice: Madness Returns developer American McGee has shared his thoughts on Sony’s PS4 announcement. Turns out he’s not a massive fan.

Speaking with Forbes, McGee was asked for his opinion on Sony’s reveal, to which he said, “I was hoping for innovation in control input. Didn’t see anything meaningful, so ‘meh.’”

He added, “It’s nice that they’re moving towards what looks like more developer-friendly hardware and indie friendly distribution. Remains to be seen if the appearance matches reality. Overall, I think this generation of consoles will struggle painfully against the momentum of mobile/online games we’re seeing globally.”

Asked what his view on next-gen consoles are in general he said, “At present it just looks like another distribution channel with not much to differentiate from other outlets – aside from sheer horsepower.”

What do you think? Will PS4 and Xbox 720 deliver nicer visuals and not much more, or is there scope to really change the home console landscape going into next-gen? Let us know below.

Thanks GI.biz.

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26 Comments

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  1. YoungZer0

    Innovate in games, not in controls, you fool!

    #1 1 year ago
  2. RandomTiger

    Its not too late for him to make a move game!

    #2 1 year ago
  3. monkeygourmet

    Im still on the fence a bit.

    Now the first showing has sunk in, i’m still a bit unsure of the specs and how well ’rounded’ the system is as a whole.

    It does seem easier to develop for but I feel they have over down it on the RAM where the extra cash maybe better spent on a more advanced GPU / CPU.

    A lot of people are saying that amount of RAM is a bit overkill when paired with the other spec.

    I really wanted 1080p & 60fps at least and def no screen tear. The only game that I really wanted from the showreel was ‘Deep Down’, and thats prob multiplatform.

    Killzone looked really boring and not a huge jump over Killzone 3 and the driving game looked pretty shitty IMO.

    Obviously they will save a lot for E3, but unless Uncharted goes mildly ‘open world’, i’m not sure if I can handle another corridor shooter.

    The pad itself was okay, but I had really hoped for a screen. Im not sure how the touch pad will help much atall with anything. The share feature was cool, but again, i’ve seen that with Onlive & Miiverse.

    Nothing innovative at all so far, I hope E3 brings some better stuff.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. SplatteredHouse

    I’m in full agreement with Zer0. If the controls/interface serves the game, then that’s one thing, but don’t be making the same games only with new control gimmicks. From the PS4 reveal, I was most interested in DriveClub. It showed how there were new ways that the tech enables, to move to seamlessly enhance existing genres. Team racing focus, which sometimes gets left out, appeals to me. It should make for an interesting dynamic.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. monkeygourmet

    @2,4

    He’s always made games with standard pad’s though hasn’t he?

    That sentence was not expanded upon. He could have meant quite a lot, not just that he wants more ‘waggle’.

    Mind you, his games aren’t exactly the best so his opinion isn’t going to rock the boat in a big way.

    The main thing I got from it is the PS4 is a bit ‘vanilla’ at the moment.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. mreko3230

    “Overall, I think this generation of consoles will struggle painfully against the momentum of mobile/online games we’re seeing globally.”

    I’m a little tired of hearing how mobile games are going to destroy console gaming. Mobile games are great when you are on the toilet, sitting in the backseat of a car on a long ride, waiting at the doctor’s office or sitting back and waiting for the plane to take off.

    Who the hell isn’t going to by “Bioshock Infinite” because they are to busy trying to get to the next level of “Doodle Jump”? Broadway hasn’t been destroyed by the movie industry and local radio station are still doing quite well despite Sirius/XM radio. Things can co-exist without one destroying the other. I just don’t see where the 2 are comparable.

    @1
    Exactly, they’ve tried to be “innovative” with control input. Guess what? No one really liked it all that much.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. tiago1920

    Honestly, I found his comments awful. In other words, he’s putting all responsibility for innovation on Sony or Microsoft. For me, Sony (and likely Microsoft) developed an impressive console that will deliver a number of possibilities for game developers, especialy because of its processing power and architecture simplicity, which have been pleased almost everyone in the gaming industry. Sony gives the tools, but it’s up to the developers to be innovative to create really original games which please the gamers.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. DrDamn

    @3
    “I feel they have over done it on the RAM”

    “A lot of people are saying that amount of RAM is a bit overkill when paired with the other spec.”

    It is if you think purely from a graphics perspective. It’s not when you think from a game design perspective. It’s not a coincidence that a lot of the individual devs praising the inclusion of the RAM are the game designers. That’s something missed and misunderstood by “a lot of people”.

    “unless Uncharted goes mildly ‘open world’”

    You know what would really help that? A big ass load of RAM!

    A big ass load of RAM helps game designers more than anyone else rethink what they can do and how they can do it.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Lord Gremlin

    Is this mobile games thing again? What an idiot. It’s like saying top restaurants will suffer because of shitty fast food.
    Different audience, different market.
    Also, Dualshock is perfect. In fact, new Dulahock is TOO MUCH unnecessary innovation. It was said already – innovate with games.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    I find American McGee uninspiring. So maybe we’re quits.

    But honestly; Sony (and soon Microsoft) are delivering a vast blank canvas, giving developers leeway to create whatever they please. If that’s not inspiring then perhaps he’s in the wrong business. He clearly lacks imagination.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. DrDamn

    Oh and American MehGee … someone had to. :)

    #11 1 year ago
  12. Beta

    Rather vague statement. What kind of innovation in control input does does he want.

    Innovation with controls immediately flashes up “GIMMICK” in massive neon letters for me. I’d rather see new kinds of genres explored as opposed to this “You are the controller!” crap.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. theevilaires

    who the hell is American McGee?

    #13 1 year ago
  14. Dave Cook

    @13 one of the original id Software designers. Worked on Doom.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. salarta

    He can always make his games for Wii U.

    I’m not even kidding. If innovation in control input is so important, why isn’t he putting games out on the Wii U? Why didn’t he put Alice: Madness Returns on the Wii instead of anything but the Wii?

    He’s also greatly exaggerating the worth of online and mobile in contrast to consoles. Most online and mobile games, aside from Steam which requires a computer with good specs, are for cheap short thrills, not longer and more involved experiences. The only mobile phone game I’ve heard of that reached any meaningful level of notice and maybe took the same approach as console games is Infinity Blade. Angry Birds is basically a cheap, short thrills game. Unless he is looking to make games like Angry Birds, consoles and PCs with good specs are where people will continue to go for games of substance regardless of control scheme.

    I don’t know his actual motives behind these comments, but I’m very sure his actual reason for disregarding the PS4 isn’t lack of “innovation in control input.”

    #15 1 year ago
  16. FerretPersona

    I’m not particularly surprised by any of this. After somewhat burning bridges with EA over Alice: Madness Returns [that I actually really, really enjoyed in a "flawed-diamond" kind of way] it’s very unlikely that he’ll be able to return to the game that put him on the map. At least for a while.

    Spicy Horse expanded a few years ago into mobile and online gaming, most recently with that red riding hood weirdness Akaneiro: Demon Hunters and that’s where his interests lie right now, so it make sense that he’d use his name to champion that side of things.

    I’m fairly sure he’d change his tune if Sony offered to purchase the rights to Alice from EA and give him a big-ass budget to develop an exclusive sequel. That’s just the way it goes these days it seems. Nothing to do with Sony or the PS4, just someone using their name to promote their own investments.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. monkeygourmet

    @11

    lol :)

    I get what your saying, that amount of RAM can help with openworld stuff and it is nice. The CPU and GPU sound pretty average however, isn’t the balance out a bit?

    Mind you, a lot have devs have been praising the PS4, but then again, it’s basically a mid range PC so thats not suprising.

    I just have a feeling the RAM will be mostly used for higher resolution textures as that will be the easiest thing you can bump up, for the least amount of work.

    Look at PC games now, amazing high resolutions and textures, but the only huge difference in the size of games is larger multiplayer matches in something like Battlefield.

    You could say this generation has been holding the PC back, but I bet for most medium sized devs, huge AAA next gen open world games won’t even be possible.

    Even Killzone 4 looked like a high res PS3 game from a gameplay perspective. And that would have had a big budget.

    Im not saying it won’t happen, but I bet the first few years of the PS4 / 720′s life will mainly be the same shit with better textures and resolution. Easiest bang for your buck.

    I mean, christ, Acti has recycled that old COD engine for a whole generation, at heart, a lot of devs seem lazy or the budget isn’t there or the project is deemed to ‘risky’.

    I would love to see an open world Uncharted, but I have a feeling it’ll be more of the same but with crazy looking graphics.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. DrDamn

    @16
    American McGee using his American McGee’s name to American McGee’s promote his own American McGee’s stuff? No American McGee’s Way!

    To be fair I think he was just asked a question and gave an answer. :D

    #18 1 year ago
  19. Dragon246

    @Salarta,
    Completely agree. Support Wii U then.
    I wonder why mobile/PC/Ftp devs like to bash consoles. Sour grapes?

    #19 1 year ago
  20. DrDamn

    @17
    The thing with the PC situation is that is all that is possible. PC games still need to meet a reasonably wide range of specs, so to do that the game design has to fit within the minimum spec they support. If you have more ram in your PC then they’ll support you with high resolution textures etc, because realistically that’s all they can do. The game *design* still has to fit in the minimum spec. If you know you have 7Gb+ RAM to play with in each and every machine which the game runs on then you can revisit that design and do things differently.

    “The CPU and GPU sound pretty average however, isn’t the balance out a bit?”

    No – I think the opposite, the balance is actually right for once.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. monkeygourmet

    @20

    I suppose the final product still has to fall in to the £399 max bracket, so I guess there’s not a huge amount of room for maneuver.

    I was really expecting higher spec consoles with a subscription based sales model.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. Cobra951

    @13: Exactly! Who the hell is he? Yeah, I know who he *was*. I don’t understand why anyone would take his opinions seriously now.

    #22 1 year ago
  23. salarta

    @19: My guess is those devs are trying to find a reason to “sleep with themselves at night” concerning how they’ve essentially forsaken the reasons they got into the industry in the first place in favor of what they think will make more money. They’ve unwittingly allowed the corporate-minded culture to infect their once creative minds, looking more at what will reach the widest audience and make the most money and not what will best fit the vision of the game.

    #23 1 year ago
  24. Just-Joe

    I understand his statement about mobile gaming to a degree. Casuals seem to be moving away from consoles and sticking with their smart phone games, so I can understand if next gen sale aren’t as high. However this could be a good thing as if developers and publishers could start to realize that they need to make more games geared to the core gamer again and not streamline them from the casuals.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. No_PUDding

    You can’t please anyone. And while I feel kind of like a dinosaur, I can’t say I’m upset about the lack of innovative new forms of input.

    #25 1 year ago
  26. Da Man

    Well, for once American McGee is right on the money.

    #26 1 year ago