I am aware I am likely to get flamed for this as due to an NDA (non disclosure order) I am unable to name the developer or the game he was working on, but I still think it is worth discussing.
Recently I travelled to see the preview demo of a hugely anticipated game coming out later this year. Once we had viewed the demo (which was interestingly given on Xbox, usually developers choose PC) we were allowed some one on one time with the technical guy to talk about the development of the game.
I am not claiming to be a tech head in any way but I was interested in what I had been reading about developers not using the PS3 to it's full capacity. As these guys had just developed an all new engine it seemed a fair question to ask him. My question was put like this:
"A lot of people say that game developers are not using the total capacity of the PS3. What have you guys done, if anything, to try to use the full potential of the machine in this new engine design and in this game"
His answer, transcribed from my dictaphone was this:
"I do not think we will use the full potential of the PS3, no other developer has done so far. It is new technology and a different structure than we are used to working with. But I think we have used the PS3 very well. We have used SPU's, the small processors, effectively."
My follow up question was:
"So hand on heart, you would not rather play the game on Xbox 360 than PS3?"
Answer, "No, they are basically the same."
Now we all know there could be a world of difference in that basically, but I did get the feeling he was being sincere. On a show round of the studio we had we got a chance to see the game being played side by side by game testers looking for bugs and they did, graphically at least, look very similar.
On the one hand you could see this as points in the PS3's favor. On far less than its full capacity the PS3 is able to compete rather well with the Xbox 360. A grand claim to be able to make and Sony executives always sound a little smug when they discuss this.
But my question is, if developers are never going to use the PS3's full capacity as we all know has been indicated by Sony's President of Worldwide Studios Phil Harrison, then what does the the theoretical full capacity count for?
Surely, it is a bit like an athlete who always runs fourth claiming that his body has the best potential to win gold if only there were more hours in the day for him to train?
Then again, perhaps we are asking ourselves the wrong question. Maybe it does not matter if the PS3 ever uses its full potential so long as it does get to the point where gameplay takes a substantial leap forward.
There are claims for example that once utilized properly the PS3 will allow a huge sand box style world to actually age, have permanent damage, and dead bodies will never disappear.
Can the tech heads put us straight, is a substantial leap forward in gameplay imminent from this much lauded system? Are we ever going to see the PS3 leave the mark people say it is capable of or is all this famed potential to be wasted? More PlayStation 3 News...