|Mr Puggsly said:
PC versions of games during the 6th and 7th gen software often had effects that simply couldn't be duplicated on consoles. Hence, developers were raising the bar on high end gaming PCs even while supporting vastly inferior consoles. People often blame consoles for slowing down gaming visuals, but developers have the option to push visuals on PC even while supporting consoles.
Fundamentally though it is the same game with some design limitations.
Crysis being a prime example...
Crysis 1 was built with PC hardware in mind first and foremost... Which meant various design philosophies were made possible for the first time, almost an open world, industry-leading graphics effects, physics, destruction, lots of freedom.
And then Crysis 2 dropped with it's console-optimized game engine, levels were smaller and more claustrophobic, less player choices, smaller draw distances and didn't push the PC or technology front as hard. - It used more modern effects like deferred lighting, tessellation and so on... But Crysis 1 had a multitude of technical edges in the rendering department despite being on the older CryEngine 2.
This is an example where having to build a game with inferior platforms (from a technical perspective) can hold back a games design choices in an extreme case to the detriment of gameplay.
Crysis 3 did turn things around as Crytek placed the PC as the priority platform, but rendering wise it was still being hamstrung by 7th gen hardwares rendering paradigms... Imagine what that game could have potentially been if Crytek weren't spending time, resources and money on making sure the game ran efficiently on 7th gen hardware?
But the point I am trying to convey is that certain game design choices need to be made in order to continue support for older devices.
But yes, we can agree, goes without saying as the precedent is there.
Yeah, this is a point that needs to be emphasized. The way a lot of developers seem to handle different SKUs of hardware is to design things to the lowest common denominator and then scale up by bolting on more expensive rendering techniques as options and sometimes bundling in higher resolution assets. But the animation rigs are typically what they are, the scripting and AI routines are what they are, the use of physics are what they are, etc. Cutting ties with lower end SKUs allows the implementation of more complex AI routines, running more scripts at once (i.e. more characters on screen doing a greater variety of things), deeper usage of physics (better and more accurate destruction or the allowance for better rigging and animation), etc. Whether a developer has the resources or makes the decision to do these things (and do them well) is another discussion, but at least the potential for a higher ceiling of what is implemented is there. That much should be seen as undeniable. Having said that, even just having the better hardware still requires know how and proper design to make use of it the right way - and that ties in directly with my confusion for Halo 5's campaign, and I'm not talking about the story.
For me Halo 5 was a letdown simply because the AI in the campaign was poor which made the gameplay less fun, despite a lot of work being put into the player movement. Watching many documentaries on the making of it's hard for me to discern whether this was by poor design choices, lack of time/effort put into it, a combination of the two, or just completely botching on executing their vision. All I know is that the result was that the scale of battles was larger with more enemies on the screen and more action, but each enemy being a lot simpler in its behaviours and none being all that much fun to fight. I know they wanted the Spartan teams as a feature in the game so that meant scaling up battles to fit the AI help you'd be getting. And then at that point I guess they scripted as heavily as they could given the CPU resources they had left. But if the CPU was better they could have made the routines more varied and potentially used better path finding algorithms for coop companions, etc. That's just a case study and that's my concern for Halo Infinite. I want the enemies to be fun and varied to fight and I hope that their design choices don't hamstring it in the same way Halo 5 was, especially since it has to still support OG X1, S, and X1X.
Also, I've read this entire thread and I think there's an interesting discussion to be had on the topic but I think it could have been framed differently. A lot of arguments I'm seeing are simply that MS has already announced it for X1/X1X and so making it exclusive to next gen would be horrible and I agree it would be a terrible move. I also agree that it makes business sense to take advantage of the established userbase on X1/X1X to sell more software and bolster service subscriptions.
But now thinking as a user, not as the company, what if they hadn't announced it for specific platforms and said it was coming 2020. Would you want it for X1/X1X as well as Scarlett or just Scarlett? Would you prefer to be able to play it on hardware you already have or prefer to have them go all out on the design and implementation of the game without the ties to 8th gen hardware?