The leap from the Playstation 2 and Xbox to the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 caught many game development studios by surprise with the increased costs of high-def gaming. Will we see a similar leap as we head toward the announcements of the Playstation 4 and next Xbox (aka Xbox 720)? BioWare's director of art and animation Neil Thompson said he doesn't think it will be as obvious in an interview released Wednesday.
Thompson is currently working on "Dragon Age III: Inquisition" which is running on DICE's Frostbite 2 engine. It is currently scheduled for a February 2013 release and is expected to be a next-gen title or a "bridge" title that will appear on both current and next-gen machines.
"The last technology iteration caught folks by surprise - especially the number of people you needed and the skillset jump to do the work that people expected," Thompson told OXM. "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 quite a big leap, but it won't be as obvious," Thompson revealed. "People will do things in a cleverer fashion - and I have to be careful here as there are non-disclosure agreements involved! 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."
Baird analyst Colin Sebastian recently predicted that the PS4 will launch this October followed by the Xbox 720 in November. Both are expected to arrive with starting prices in the $350 to $400 range according to Sebastian. It's possible that we will see announcements for both prior to E3 in June.