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Why Epic wants all consoles created equal

Tue 16 Aug 2011 12:35pm GMT / 8:35am EDT / 5:35am PDT
HardwareGamescom 2011

Mike Capps tells GDC Europe that if hardware differs wildly "I can't ship on both"

Speaking at GDC Europe today, Dr Mike Capps, president of Epic Games, told attendees that tech demo The Samaritan was actually a "love letter" to Sony and Microsoft.

"It was our love letter to console manufacturers saying what we wanted to see in next generation," Capps said of the video that appeared at GDC in March.

"We did this because we though it was the right thing to do, not because it makes us money, not because anyone is trying to license our engine for the next Xbox or anything else. Why did we spend all that time on it? I think it'll be clear to you soon."

Capps made it clear that consumers shouldn't expect to see a Samaritan video game, and explained why Epic wanted limited variation in the specs of next generation consoles.

We did this because we though it was the right thing to do, not because it makes us money, not because anyone is trying to license our engine for the next Xbox or anything else

Mike Capps, Epic Games

"Last generation we saw just about everyone was roughly the same class of computation except for Wii of course, but for cutting edge PCs and the other platforms you could make a game and port it across."

"The last thing we want to see, though it would probably be great for Sony, is to have their platform a hundred times better than than Xbox. Because then I can't ship on both."

"It was just a way of showing what consoles could do and putting it in front of console manufacturers and saying - please, we love you, please make it do this."

It's an Epic tactic that's worked in the past. Talking about the development of the first Gears Of War, he showed concept images that represented what the game would look like on both a 256MB of memory and 512MB, with noticeable differences in detail and quality.

"We went to Microsoft and said - please please please, you need 512 to be competitive, you need 512 to be successful. And it cost them a billion dollars to do it but it's why they were competitive this generation."

Capps also surprised attendees with the news that Epic currently has five games at various stages of development.

4 Comments

Peter Stirling
Software Engineer

25 7 0.3
So it boils down to offering consumers the same hardware in a different shell, I'm not convinced that is benificial for consumers or developers. The Wii was vastly different to the other consoles and brought many new people into gaming and allowed for inovative new experiences, I would say that is a good thing and I'd prefer to see more of that in the future.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Tony Johns

520 12 0.0
With HD TVs being more affordable than what they were 5 years ago, I would say that with the Wii U being HD in graphic power that is perhaps that is the minimum expectation that we should see from the graphical power of the consoles for the next generation.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

S R
Studying Law

1 0 0.0
"And it cost them a billion dollars to do it but it's why they were competitive this generation".

Man, Epic has some crazy pull.

I agree with Peter Stirling. I'd also ask why consumers would bother buying more than one pretty-much-the-same console.

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Gregory Hommel
writer

91 53 0.6
Epic needs to move into "Uncharted" territory before they go trying to influence the next round of consoles. There is this entire culture in gaming that believes Unreal, Gears of War specifically, is the best example of technology on the market. But... umm... it isn't. I think the when Sony sent the love letter to developers about the way the Cell processor could be exploited to reach greatness, Epic ignored it. For all I know, Naughty Dog, Sony Santa Monica, Quantic Dream and the many others might have been able to make even better games on the 360. What I know for sure is that the games from the Developers above are the benchmark. When Unreal becomes known less for it's shiny everything and more for it's complex physics models, I will care what they ask Sony and Microsoft for.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

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