This fall is a rather unique time in gaming with most titles releasing on both current and next gen systems. There was some overlap last generation as well, but because of a lesser step up in hardware, we're seeing a much larger window of that this time around. In an exclusive interview with Bethesda Softworks Vice President of Marketing and PR, Pete Hines, we found out some of the challenges that his teams are facing.
"When a game is going to be current generation and next-generation, we have to look at it from a staffing point," he said, "We say, ‘now we’re shipping on five platforms instead of three platforms, so programming-wise, you can’t have one guy that’s now doing all of them. He’s going to have to focus on current-gen, and she is going to have to focus on next-gen.'"
That further split of manpower doesn't cost the team anything immediately but certainly does mean games are going to take just a little more organization and specialization along the way.
Hines continued, "It may be that you want to add a cool feature to a game, where it looks great on next-gen, but the current-gen doesn’t support it. How do we implement that same feature on current-gen systems? You ask yourself, ‘do we even have the overhead from a memory standpoint and if we do, what does it look like?’"
The sense of compromise means that gamers will inevitably feel shortchanged when it comes to next gen titles. Sure some games are being ported down to current gen consoles, but some are also being ported up to next gen consoles. It's just how the industry is going to roll this fall and we could be looking at an entirely different situation next year. And when that time comes, we'll finally be seeing all of the benefits the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are set to bring.
"When we look at the next-gen, we weren’t even close to hitting some of our limits."
We can't wait until they do.