Game Makers Helped Make The PlayStation 4
"It’s no longer designed in an Ivory tower somewhere in Tokyo."
By many people's accounts, a large portion of last week's PlayStation 4 unveil was viewed as an apology from Sony to game developers. When detailing the innards of the PS4, easy of development was constantly emphasized. Enough to get the impression that the PS3 is, in contrast, difficult to make for, which is indeed the case.
The fact that Sony also elicited the services of Mark Cerny and David Perry, two beloved icons of the industry with trusted voices, to essentially act as goodwill ambassadors, is also no mistake. Though a recent report from The Guardian shows how much game makers have been involved in the development of the PS4.
The report states that Sony has basically learned from the mistakes that was made when they chose to go with the Cell processor that drove the PS3, which a complex, proprietary setup that flew in the face of the primarily PC driven environments that most developers were used to (and which they could only afford).
Hence the idea to talk to game developers, to see what they wanted in a game machine. Which apparently was the same tactic used when developing the original PlayStation hardware in the early 90s.
Herman Hulst of Guerrilla Games was at least week's unveil, to demo his company's upcoming PS4 title, Killzone: Shadow Fall, explains:
"We've been very closely involved in the development of the machine… We've had [PS4 system architect] Mark Cerny over several times. We got the entire group of core developers together and gave deep feedback on everything system-related. It's no longer designed in an Ivory tower somewhere in Tokyo, it's shared with us, with Naughty Dog, with Sony San Diego – and together we've built the machine. As Mark said at one point during the launch event, it's a console for gamers by gamers."
The Guardian goes on to lay out the one of the things all developers were clamoring for was a more PC-like development environment. To that end, Hulst confirms that Sony has granted everyone's wishes:
"This platform is great to work on because of the PC-like architecture… It's very easy for the engineers to get their heads around. We had the game up and running very early. We've now had two and a half years of development time, which was about what I'd want for a title of this scope – and the team size is about 150 people, it's only a little bigger than Killzone 3. We've invested a lot in tools, and in various clever ways of having more and more detailed assets, but tools are the key – we're getting smarter."
Another important factor was more seamless social connectivity. Ubisoft co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot is cited as being a champion on that end. Game developers even helped contribute ideas towards the development of the Dual Shock 4. Everything from the touchpad to the new trigger design. Simply head over to The Guardian for the full report.