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Friday Night Rant: Cross-Gen Titles Are A Drag

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[Disclaimer: The Friday Night Rant is just that, a rant. It contains extemporaneous remarks which are not to be confused with this site’s journalism or editorial opinions. It is meant to be an entertaining take on the industry and may be divisive in nature.]

People keep saying how great the launch lineup for the next console generation is. I have to tell you I’m not all that impressed, and since most of the big name titles are cross-gen games I think the new consoles will make a less than impressive splash.

While Killzone: Shadow Fall and RYSE: Son of Rome may have the chops to give us a peek at what the new gaming systems may be capable of I think most gamers are firmly focused on picking up games like Call of Duty: Ghosts, Watch Dogs, and Battlefield 4 as their first next-gen experiences.

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So, what’s that going to look like? Not so great as far as I’m concerned. Call of Duty hasn’t had enough engine upgrades to bring it even close to the visual fidelity of late gen games of the current generation. Sure it has kept a wonderfully smooth 60 frames per second but unless you’re watching an uncompressed clip of it running on a top shelf PC the game just keeps looking more and more dated. That game needs a new engine and pronto, you’d think all those billions of dollars would be enough to fund one but it would seem there’s no incentive to make it any better.

We recently got confirmation from Ubisoft that the much anticipated open world hacking title Watch Dogs will be locked in at 30 frames per second. Not only that but they can’t confirm the visual fidelity, which tells me that even on the most powerful console hardware available it will likely top out at 720p. So hey, remind me again why we pay for new consoles? Perhaps there’s some hanky panky going on here. Maybe they don’t want to make any version better than any other not to discourage sales on current gen hardware. Maybe the new hardware just isn’t as good as we had hoped. Maybe it’s too much to hope that open world or sandbox games will actually improve at all. Bottom line: I don’t think these developers are really trying to capitalize on the power of the consoles anywhere near as much as they keep saying in the media.

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Battlefield 4 is looking to amp things up to 60fps but again sitting at an ancient 720p resolution. Didn’t DICE always make it clear that their game was the best looking military shooter? Sure the Frostbite 2 engine looks a lot better than what’s happening in Call of Duty but we’re all looking for a substantial leap here. Does any of this inspire confidence in people? Maybe it doesn’t matter because, after all, we can probably expect games that aren’t cross-gen to do a lot better as they come in later but I think the fewer impressive differences we see at launch the longer it might be for the generation to get off to a good start. With pre-orders very high going into the launch season the last thing we need is people seeing very little difference between the generations as they soak up their internet media and watch early adopters play their games.

Lemme tell ya, if you want to make a splash on the new consoles you have to make sure the people who spend an extra $400-$500 are getting the better experience they deserve because these are the people who are going to, or not going to, buy the sequels to these games. Multiplats may never have the same quality that exclusives do but if you can’t even get your big budget big sellers running at 1080p and 60fps from the get go then what is it exactly that makes these games next gen?

For how long these consoles have been in the making I think one could reasonably expect both a better performing class of cross-gen games and a bigger selection of actual exclusives (not obvious timed ones that are really multiplats waiting to happen).

 

David D. Nelson
David D. Nelson is a polymath with a BA in English working as an independent writing and editing professional. He enjoys gaming, literature, and a good hat.

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4 Comments

  1. Watch Dogs will be in the bottom end of sales on next-gen consoles. This author is acting as if it is a top-tier game. By the way, he is also making a lot of assumptions. He is basically saying that hardware that is 30% more powerful would make a difference. This guy is thinking its a 100% scale. He’s wrong. We don’t even know the architectural design of the XBox One internals that can close the small percentage gap, but I am giving him the benefit of the doubt on paper stats. You guys realize that its not a 100% scale? Meaning most people upgrade their internals when it starts getting to be 600-1000% (just as an example).

    In other words, if you think the XBox One hardware is so weak that its holding back mulitplat experiences, then you are a delusional and ignorant moron. If anything Sony and MS were in each other’s pants, making sure neither went too far ahead and making sure both had a cushion to make profit—-unlike their predecessors.

    1. Where in the article does he “basically” state that “hardware that is 30% more powerful would make a difference/”? His point isn’t the the new hardware is holding back next-gen experiences, and doesn’t even mention the Xbox One specifically doing so, it’s that the developers are touting these “next-gen” games, but they haven’t really shown substantial differences between each version of the title.

      And there’s no need to call anyone a “delusional and ignorant moron”. This is an opinionated article and everyone is allowed an opinion, including you.

  2. I think you are being far too quick to judge. These are first set of launch PS4 / X1 games, and what has been reported have been early builds of games, and the game engines have not been fully optimised on next gen. Compare The Last of Us, Halo 4 or GTAV that came out recently on current gen consoles to the first set of games that came out 7 years ago, and they look much much better now.

    Most people who have been hands on the next gen consoles, even in these early builds, have been suitably impressed. 1080p/30fps is absolutely fine for single player, but where I agree is that 60fps should be the norm for multiplayer, but I’m sure once PS4 has been fully opitmised, most games will run at 1080p/60fps,

  3. Anybody that is claiming that they should be able to play BF4 on a $400-500 console at 1080/60 just needs to step it up to PC. Honestly, this is always a pitfall of consoles and if people are going to whine about it they need to upgrade to most visual platform: PC.

    Also, I’m not really sure why people are even surprised, the consoles have very weak processor and the PS4 with the stronger graphics card of the two is equivalent to something that is mid range from AMD’s last gen.

    Please don’t be surprised.

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