BioWare dev: next-gen transition too expensive for major graphical leap

By Brenna Hillier
25 February 2013 00:38 GMT

PlayStation 4 and the next Xbox console won’t enable as dramatic a graphical leap as the previous console transition did, BioWare art and animation director Neil Thompson believes.

Speaking to OXM UK, Thompson said it comes down to economics – the industry can’t afford to ramp up development to meet the new hardware’s potential as it did last time we got new consoles.

“Clearly we still hammer up against the limitations of the hardware on a daily basis and if you push those parameters back, as I’m sure the next-gen will do, we’ll hit them again,” he said.

“I think the main thing is that the industry doesn’t get itself into a corner where it becomes economically unviable to make a game. The last technology iteration caught folks by surprise – especially the number of people you needed and the skillset jump that was required to do the work that people expected.

“In the last generation the perception was that it was going to be a ten times improvement over the previous generation. For the next generation there will be a big leap, but it won’t be as obvious

“People will do things in a cleverer fashion. I think they’ll be better prepared, shall we say – but we can’t see a ten-fold team increase again as the budgets would just be ridiculous. You’d have to sell 20-30 million copies before you broke even.”

Dragon Age 3: Inquisition is a rumoured next-gen release; Thompson said in the past that it is “stunningly beautiful” thanks to making the jump to DICE’s Frostbite engine.

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