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Is There A Limit To PlayStation 4? Sony Destroys The Shackles Of Developer’s Imagination
Sony made a big deal today about how they asked developers what they wanted and they had a few of them on stage to show their support. Have Sony given back the reigns to the game makers and let them roam free?
During the PlayStation Meeting, Sony ran a reel of various developers talking about the freedom the PlayStation 4 gives them. For the last year or so, developers from around the world have complained of restrictions created by slow, outdated consoles with old graphics and tiny RAM. Sony responded with a question, asking developers directly: What would be your ideal tools? Out of these talks came a console with 8GB GDDR5 RAM and a “supercharged PC architecture” for easy development.
Immediately after these specifications were talked about, Sony ushered first party developers up to the stage to talk about their new games. What caught my eye was the excitement that Evolution Studios Head Matt Southern showed at the reveal of Drive Club. He stated that the game had been in the back of their minds for about “10 years” with the studio having the copyright to the name for 9 of those years. The way he proudly talked about the detail that they had put into each car, down to the rainbow effect that is created from waxing headlights, was amazing. He was giddy to be able to showcase the game as he said that Evolution has had to wait for technology to catch up with their ideas, and this points out that Sony has made developer’s dreams come true with their new console.
The question of whether developers are limited by the PS4 is answered by the amount of unreleased new IPs that were shown at the PlayStation Meeting. The Witness, Knack, the previously mentioned Drive Club, Watch Dogs, Destiny and Deep Down were all officially announced with others being shown as initial tech demos. These are all powered by a wave of optimism that a new console brings with it.
Apart from IPs, look at inFamous: Second Sons. Despite being an inFamous game, the story follows a different, more Orwellian view of the society than that of the previous two games. This change in setting has been made possible because Sony has given the developers tools to dream bigger and better than before, taking their games in any direction regardless of the restrictions they had on their previous games on PlayStation 3.
Talking about this topic brings to mind something that Michel Ancel said about one of my favorite games, Beyond Good & Evil. He talked about the transition to PS2, where the developers had thought that they could achieve anything with the new technology. He believed that they would be able to create a whole universe to explore and, as we know, the game turned out to have much less scope than planned due to the limitations of the time. But what if the PlayStation 4 is truly open? Developers could create magical worlds out of their minds for us to explore to the full extent that they had dreamed them.
Sony may, unintentionally or not, have brought in a new age of creativity for gaming by letting developers roam free.