Oddworld Creative Director: Not Much of a Difference Between PS4 And Xbox One
Lorne Lanning extensively highlights the similarities between the current gen consoles.
Just Add Water has had a significant amount of experience with working on the PS4 and Xbox One what with Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty releasing for the former a year ago and then arriving on the latter this year. On speaking to the developer before, there was plenty of excitement for the PS4.
With the game arriving on PS4, a new generation in itself, and enough time passes before coming to the Xbox One, what kind of challenges did the developer face? GamingBolt spoke to director Lorne Lanning about the same and he also extensively noted the difference between both platforms.
“As the creative director, not so much. There’s obviously some spec differences that people have touted, written about, fully analyzed, and it’s all out there to look at. If you were the lead programmer, you might give a different story than what I’m giving you because I was the creative director. But through the Xbox, the architecture was not that different. And the power range was in the zone enough that it was not so challenging and effort– it wasn’t easy. The reason it wasn’t easy is because we targeted our first platform as PS4. We did that for various reasons. Our largest audience is on PlayStation. And PlayStation looked eager to give us some visibility, which we live and die by that and we can’t afford it.
“We don’t buy airtime, we can’t afford it. We make good games that someone is willing to promote for us. Because of that we were building games the old dumb way. Which is just trying to get to your first spec and utilizing whatever you had to do on a machine to get it to work. Then coming to other platforms, it’s not the way you should architect for multiple platforms. You should architect from the beginning: what is your full slate of platforms you’re going after? Then you should deduce: how should we make the first platform that goes to the other platforms the easiest? And we didn’t do that. Even though we’re using Unity– if you put in a ton of assets and you’re running a lot of data– Let me say it this way: Unity promotes itself as being a multi-SKU game engine. And if you made a simple mobile game that runs on a wide array of mobile devices, it would be very easy to bring that game to every platform. If you built a simple mobile game that would go to Xbox One, and PS4, and Wii U, and Vita as a breeze.
“You’re not using anymore– the little bit of computing power that it needs to run on your basic iPhone is surpassed by all the consoles. So you’re bringing a small package into more powerful consoles. That’s a really smart way to use an engine to get to all the multiplatforms. The really dumb way is what we did. Which is you try to get that top platform. PS4 is a high– when the tech company does the deduction, they come back and say, “it’s got this more power here and there in a couple different places.” Not vast differences. But if you did it to totally push and exploit all PS4s performance abilities, going to Xbox One you’re not accounting for how their architecture was, so it’s harder. But I’m saying that’s harder for us. It’s not necessarily that it’s harder in general. It ‘s hard because we really were milking the PS4 through Unity’s ability.
“That was not a multi-threaded ability. When you look at New ‘n Tasty it’s built, not really take advantage of the multiple chip sets and the way that that array is being used. They call it multi-threaded for environments. Unity wasn’t really taking advantage of multi-threaded environment and that meant– they have now. That’s what Unity 5 was about. Without the multi-threaded environment meant we were just trying to squeeze out the extra bells and whistles, and effects, and visual qualities, transparencies, out of what we could work with in more of a single-threaded architecture that wasn’t taking advantage of the powers of the machine. In the same way, the same thing can be said for Xbox One. Meaning, because of the core technology, it was not designed to fully exploit the powers of that machine. And we can say the same for Vita, and the same for Wii U.
“And the same for PC. It just wasn’t designed to fully exploit the latest in console power. But who’s complaining with the price, right? Meaning, in the past you’d spend millions of dollars on engines and it wasn’t as good as Unity. So I’m grateful there. But when it comes to going to the other platforms there were lots of difficulties. But a lot of that is chalked up to our own planning and execution failures. Failures is a strong work. But that’s how you should measure it in hindsight: Where did we fail, where did we succeed? Going forward we don’t want to have that same problem. We’re coming up for release on Wii U, and Wii U is more challenging for the reasons I just described. Nintendo is traditionally focused on a type of twitch gameplay. Since the Wii it’s had a special controller. It hasn’t tried to stay largely compatible with cross platform release strategies for publishers.”
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll continue to explore the differences between both platforms as time goes on.