There was a time when consoles used custom hardware, which games would eventually be optimized for, and push visuals far beyond people might have expected. That time is long gone now, with the PS4, Xbox One, and even the Switch all using standard, off the shelf components.
In turn, this means that games pushing hardware to achieve the kinds of visuals we saw relative to the systems’ power are probably not going to be as common anymore- especially given that most development these days is multiplatform.
That said, with the Xbox One X coming up, and having far more powerful hardware than any other console ever, we are wondering if the system will ever have games that tap into its power as well as games used to for consoles in the past. So when we got the chance to talk to Mike Dai and Roger from the development team of Project Code: SHIFT, we put the question to them.
According to them? That will probably not be happening, though they did clarify that maybe some larger team will put the time and resources into the system necessary to tap into its power like Gears of War did on the Xbox 360.
“Remember how Gears of War 1 pushed the 360 to its limits early in its cycle?” they said. “I don’t think we’ll see that any time soon – full potential that is. However, I can only speak for smaller development teams, like ours. One of the reasons for that is exactly what you said, spending time and resources on supporting the older Xbox.”
I think they are not wrong- as I said before, the combination of having development being primarily multiplatform and middleware based, and hardware being off the shelf parts, means that game consoles are commoditized now. We are unlikely to see a game push boundaries like that on a console again- unless Microsoft invests in first party studios like they used to, and like Sony still does.