Making a game for one console generation is a pretty difficult task. Making the same game work on two different generations of consoles at once is, not surprisingly, an even more difficult task. At least according to the people behind 2019’s mega-hit Control, who discussed the difficulties with bringing their game from one generation to the next.
In a recent episode of IGN’s “Next-Gen Console Watch”, Remedy’s communications director, Thomas Puha, discussed the struggles that developers go through in bringing games like Control from the previous generation to the next. Especially when that studio is a rather smaller one, like Remedy, with fewer resources at their disposal.
Speaking bluntly about the transition, Puha stated that, “Whenever you’re in this cross-generational point, it sucks. You have to support the previous gen, make sure that sings, and then whatever you bring to the next-gen is still limited by the choices you made years ago for the previous generation. It’s not a very realistic thing, that this old game, we’re just going to remake everything and then bring it to next-gen. It’s just not like that. It’s not a reality for us, because you’re literally taking away resources that are building the future games and improving the engine for the future”.
He went on to elaborate that this method of making games is why the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S games do not look quite as good as developers may want. While they look better than the previous generation, it is still not quite the dramatic upgrade that people may have wanted or expected. Bringing a game from one generation to the next has its limitations.
He continued to say that, “The games that will come out, the stuff we’re working on, the visual bar, you’re going to be blown away. And you only need to look at previous generations. You look at something like Modern Warfare. I can’t understand how that game looks so good on Xbox One and PS4. And you’re going to have the same on this current generation. We’re going to see so much improvement”.
So what is the reason behind this issue of bringing a game from PS4 to PS5? Puha believes it comes from issues relating to developer resources and tools. For example, Control was originally shipped on a version of its game engine from late 2019, but that engine was completely updated to incorporate next-gen support. This essentially broke everything that Remedy already had in place; “The content looks wrong, the textures look wrong, the lighting is busted, because we’ve made all these improvements but then they are incompatible with what we had in 2019.”
It is interesting to get a behind-the-scenes look at the work and aggravation that can come with introducing a new generation of consoles into the world. You can see all that hard work for yourself as Control: Ultimate Edition is out now for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.
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