Third and possibly the pettiest of my concerns with Far Cry 4 is Ubisoft’s decision to still develop it on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The business reasons are obvious but from a technological standpoint it’s somewhat troublesome given the history of the franchise.
Firstly there’s the disappointment that this game won’t be developed from the ground-up for modern hardware. To many that may be an ethereal-at-best concern, but it should be apparent that there are benefits, both visual and gameplay-related, from not designing a game to be able to run on eight-year-old consoles. Several games coming out over the next 12 months are likely to demonstrate this. The Witcher 3, Evolve, Batman: Arkham Knight, and Ubisoft’s own Assassin’s Creed Unity and The Division are all games the developers decided weren’t possible on PS3 and Xbox 360 despite their install bases. Maybe Ubisoft didn’t have the manpower at the time to make two new Far Cry games — one on the old consoles and one for the new, like they’re doing for AC.
It’s easy to imagine open-world games like Far Cry would be more likely than linear games to benefit from being developed on faster processors with more RAM. What if that allowed the game to have a larger world with more AI and other things going on in it? My most-anticipated game for the new consoles right now is the open-world Witcher 3, and one developer I’m especially interested in seeing work on new hardware is Bethesda with Fallout and mainline Elder Scrolls.
Then you’ve got the history between the FC games and consoles in general. So far, all three FC games have had console versions significantly inferior to their PC versions, more so than most games that get released on consoles and PC. The original version of the first Far Cry didn’t even get a console version until this February — the original Xbox and Wii versions were very different games designed around the constraints of the consoles that existed in 2004. Far Cry 2 was reportedly a pretty different game on PC with huge visual differences and unique gameplay features. In my opinion after trying out the Xbox 360 version of FC3, I think Ubisoft should have held the game back and released it as a launch game for PS4 and Xbox One. On Xbox 360 its image quality and textures are worse than most AAA 360 games I’ve seen, and its framerate is in the 20’s most of the time. And the PC version has been known to humble some powerful gaming rigs.
I’m not down on PS3 and Xbox 360. I think it makes perfect sense for developers to keep making games on consoles with such large install bases, especially as making games for newer hardware is expensive. I’m probably going to keep playing PS3 games at least into the beginning of 2015. But I also think FC’s gameplay has more to gain than most from moving up to better hardware.
I imagine there’s a good chance however that FC4 is being developed like Watch_Dogs — primarily for the new systems while somebody figures out how to make it work on the old systems.
- Ironically I’ll soon be trying out Wolfenstein: The New Order based on a PS3 rental copy.
- I’ll also say I question the decision to make PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of THIEF. I tried the PS3 version and while the game functions, it basically has almost no textures.
- Article on BitSummit. http://t.co/qaD3Bg3IbO
- So Wolfenstein might be another idTech 5 game having problems with AMD graphics cards. http://t.co/qTYg5g09wT