It’s only February but the hype around the Xbox Series X and PS5, the next generation of consoles, is palpable. Whether it’s waiting for prices or more details (especially from Sony who has yet to showcase their console), the cycle of hype is inextricably linked to how little we actually know. However, one topic that’s been discussed a bit more lately is backwards compatibility.
While Sony admitted that backwards compatibility was still in the works, Microsoft is committed to supporting a large number of Xbox One and Xbox 360 titles for its next-gen console. How much impact does the feature actually have though? We spoke to Typhoon Studios creative director and co-founder Alex Hutchinson, who recently released Journey to the Savage Planet, about the same.
Concerning the impact that backwards compatibility has on both developers and consumers, Hutchinson said, “Sony and Microsoft seem to be thinking about releasing more updated hardware more often, like phones, and so they need to make sure software can stick around or they’ll do terrible things to devs… but really, it just means we need to do more work supporting more platforms, which removes one of the best things about consoles: a reliable box with a long shelf life.”
While it sounds obvious, it’s still interesting to think about how a developer has to approach the issue. In the long run, instead of devoting resources to a new title or new content, a developer would have to focus on supporting more and more platforms for its existing titles. The benefits of working on consoles over PC begin to blur in that regard.
Hutchinson was also asked about the PS5’s haptic-enabled controller and whether it will be a significant addition or a novelty. He said, “Just a novelty to me, like the analog buttons of the past or a racing wheel.”
The PS5 and Xbox Series X are both slated to release this holiday season. As for Journey to the Savage Planet, it’s currently available for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. You can check out our review for the game here.