PS4 & Xbox One generation is about, “freedom to think more openly,” says The Division dev

Thursday, 12th December 2013 11:49 GMT By Dave Cook

The Division’s David Polfeldt, managing director at Ubisoft Massive has stated that the new generation isn’t really about the PS4 and Xbox One consoles themselves, but the freedom they allow creators.

It follows Ubisoft Massive’s Snowdrop Engine blog, in which the studio explains why the tech will allow for “smarter,” “bigger,” development.

Speaking with VentureBeat, Polfeldt was asked how much further Massive could take narrative, given the hardware clout of new-gen machines. He replied, “It’s a difficult question to answer. I might not say it’s because of the machines, per se, so much as the maturity of the engines and the simplicity and ease of developing for next-gen. That allows you to think more about things like narrative.

“Before, no matter what we wanted to do, it was hard to do. You’d come to work with a great idea and we’d say, “That’s cool, but we have to be pragmatic. What are we really able to do?” We had to compromise to get things done. With this generation, you have a crazy idea in the morning and we could see it up and running the next day. That puts people in a different mindset. They start thinking, “How do we tell stories in games? Does it have to go gameplay-gameplay-cutscene, or can we do it a different way?”

“It’s not so much the technology as the liberty the technology gives you, the freedom to think more openly about how to solve different issues. The same goes for audio. It’s easy to do advanced things with audio. All you need now is a very creative audio director who takes advantage of the fact that it’s a very open landscape of opportunities.”

Do you feel that developers will work bigger and smarter in the new generation? Let us know below.

Via OXM.



  1. monkeygourmet

    I think Dark Souls / Demon Souls are perfect examples of taking gameplay to the next level on consoles. Bar the shoddy framerates, both games showed players how a persistant world can work well in whats essentially a single player game.

    The main reasons I felt those games worked so well, was because they played to the systems strengths at the same time as offering a new direction and experience for console players.

    More horsepower can always help, but if you lack creativity in the first place, your done for.

    Im not saying Ubi completly lack creativity, but it can take them alot of attempts to nail gameplay mechanics. By that time, you may be sick of the franchise.

    AC is a good example of this for me. They have added a great number of half baked features over the many iterations and it’s only with AC4 that some of these are actually working well, by now, im pretty bored of the franchise.

    It feels like you are beta testing a franchise for them, rather than them releasing it when it’s done.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Pytox

    SteamOS will be about thinking more openly, not the closed systems from Sony & MS

    #2 1 year ago
  3. monkeygourmet


    I think you have to take these statements within the confines of the console space.

    Otherwise, the gap is so wide it’s almost laughable.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. DrDamn

    @2 and @3
    PC games, and SteamBox ones for that matter, will still be confined by the *minimum* specs they support.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. monkeygourmet


    How dare you console peasant! ;)

    #5 1 year ago
  6. TheWulf


    I think he’s talking more about how the landscape is slowly changing.

    The PC is veering back towards being ever more and more open to modding, and embracing it. The Steam Workshop has almost been a renaissance in that regard, and it’s almost like the ’90s again in some ways, and in others, it’s even better.

    Then you have the idea of embracing the creativity of your community and turning their mods into official game content, which is an ethos that’s being followed by Everquest Next and Starbound.

    We’ve already seen how much mods can fix or improve upon a game already, with mods. This is especially true of New Vegas, which is interesting. The only complaint I’ve ever heard about with New Vegas is that it’s a brilliant RPG, with the best choice and consequence in years, and almost a spiritual successor to the best old RPGs in many ways. But it lacks areas to explore, which people like.

    Mods then add in hundreds of areas to explore, taking it well beyond on par with a Bethesda game, and literally making it the perfect game.

    Modded new Vegas is literally one of the best games anyone would ever play. It suits everyone. It even suits me in that I can run around with a stun gun and keep a kill count of zero — right up until the end of the game, where I talk the enemy general into fleeing.

    People are creative, and that creativity can keep games alive well beyond what they normally would have. Whilst other games fade into obscurity, games that can be modded will always be remembered. And if you’re willing to work with your community to bring new content into your games, then you’re going to have a constant and free stream of content.

    Valve does this too, of course. But that goes without saying, no?

    This is what thinking openly is, to me. And how far we can go with this whilst keeping a game both professional and fun. I think that the existing examples prove that what we have now is working, and will continue to work. But new ideas could steam from this, even with single player games. In the future, developers could quickly vet new content, which could then be streamed into games as you’re playing them, these changes could even be time-stamped. So you’ll walk down one road, then walk back up it again and find something new.

    A truly changing world in a single- or multi-player experience.

    Can’t go in that door? It’s just scenery? Come back later, someone might have created an interior for it!

    I think (and really hope) that’s where the future of videogame openness is.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. TheWulf


    And specifications matter, why, exactly?

    The notion behind the PC and the SteamBox is done a disservice by thinking of the change merely in specifications. It’s the difference between the platform’s ethos — closed or open — that counts.

    If a platform is closed, what you’re allowed to do will always be greatly limited compared to if you were using an open platform. And there’s only the platform designer and manufacturer to blame for that.

    Take my point about New Vegas as an example.

    And a Skyrim without Inigo just isn’t worth playing at all. (He’s almost on par with New Vegas’ Raul when it comes to fun, witty, and world-weary-yet-eccentric company.)

    #7 1 year ago

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