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At Dragon Con Saints Row IV and Dishonored Developers Speak about Next-Gen Consoles

Yesterday during a Dragon-Con panel,  Dishonored developers Ricardo Bare and Seth Shain from Arkane Studios joined former Epic Games President Mike Capps, Saints Row IV Creative Director Steve Jaros, and Obsidian Entertainment’s Chris Avellone to discuss creating  what they called “awesome games.” The five also spent some time discussing what it was like developing games for the upcoming PS4 and Xbox One.  It was during this discussion that the Arkane developers stated that, at least in their opinion, graphics are not the most important part of game development.

Avellone joked that, “You will never rip me away from my PC,” but interestingly, both Jaros and Capps stated that they were disappointed with Microsoft’s decision to cancel the planned DRM and sharing features for the Xbox One. However, their reasons for their mutual disappointment were very different.  In Jaros’ case, he wanted to find out where the plans were headed because they were so different from what the other console makers were doing.  Capps however, expressed some concerns over the current console market and their economic standing.

“It’s scary to look at what is going on in the ecosystem,” Capps said as he made a case for the fact that it is difficult for games made for $5 million to make the same impact as their $60 counterparts that are made for $80 million.

“Some of the things that Microsoft was going to try, while very unpopular obviously on the internet, nobody hits up Steam for not letting you resell your codes that you buy on Steam,” he added before comparing the situation to the digital transition of the music industry.

Moving forward on the power improvements of the next-gen systems, Janos said that there was a memory upgrade from 512MB on both the PS3 and Xbox 360 to 8GB on the PS4 and Xbox One.  One of the best examples on the benefits of the upgrade  was the fact that Saints Row IV ran out of memory for audio streaming in the game.  On the PS4 and Xbox One, that glitch would not occur and the extra memory would allow Volition to expand/create more open worlds.

Arkane’s Shain simply stated that, “The new platforms are going to allow us to have richer experiences.”

“My hope is that in five years we don’t look back and say, ‘Wow we got even closer to Hollywood. Look how much more like movies we are,’” Bare added. “Instead, I hope we really double down on interactivity, because that’s why we game.”

Shain again stated that,  “graphics don’t need to get that much better. What we need instead is more interactivity.”

“Fidelity is no longer the holy grail. It’s more about choices,” he concluded.