Killzone dev: Effort needed to make next-gen game has "quadrupled"

Guerrilla Games lead designer says PlayStation 4's architecture makes development technically easier, but "a lot more demanding" from a professional perspective.

According to Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla Games lead designer Eric Boltjes, while developing for the PlayStation 4 is technically easier thanks to its architecture, it is also much more demanding overall from a professional perspective.

"The architecture is really cool because it's easier to develop for, you get more memory, you get more hard drive space, you get more processing power so the architecture is easier," he told VG247. "It's also a lot more demanding, because the production effort needed just to make a next-gen title now is not doubled; It's quadrupled."

This is because everything in the game world "needs to look that much better," which requires more staff and efficient communication, Boltjes said.

"It takes a lot more people and that takes a lot more communication," Boltjes said. "So it does it make things a lot more easier from a technical standpoint, but from a professional standpoint it makes things a lot harder."

Killzone: Shadow Fall is a PS4 launch title, arriving in North America alongside the next-generation console on November 15. For more on the title, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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172 comments
Jedilink109
Jedilink109

So then make less demanding games.  You don't have to make a multimillion dollar game to have your game be any good.  Look at the indie scene and some of the terrific games being sold now on GOG.com from upstart indie devs.  There are games there with incredible depth and replayability that also look fantastic, that didn't cost 50-100 million dollars to make.

Also look at what Double Fine has been doing the past few years by making smaller games.  They make less demanding games that are quicker to produce, but they've also probably quadrupled their output in the meantime.  And by limiting yourself to one kind of game, you WILL end up thinking this way.  If you're always making massive titles like Killzone then you might feel it's the only legit way to go when that simply isn't the case.  Branch out and try new things alongside Killzone and you'll see you don't need to make a powerhouse title every time to make it any good in the first place.

Look at the new Rise Of The Triad.  That's a KILLER game, that looks amazing, was made by a relatively small team, and didn't cost 50-100 million to make.

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

After 3 to 5 years, I don't think it will cost that much. Because they will have better tools to do things like global illumination, and massive amount of polygons. 

We already have ZBrush for the polygons, now we just need enough power to  add them to games in real-time.

ewjiml
ewjiml

Graphics in video gaming graphics has hit a plateau.  There is no jump from Playstation graphics to N64 Super Mario graphics.  Instead of upping-resolutions and textures and calling it "next-gen," what developers need to be doing is investing in unique stories or gameplay features.  Crysis 3 had the best graphics, worst gameplay.  Why is this so hard to understand?  Use the extra GPU and processing power from PS4 and Xbone to create things you couldn't do before.  Instead, people are handed COD:Ghosts and call it "next-gen" just because you bought a new console. 

dkdk999
dkdk999

I don't really get why people care so much about graphics, it just seems like only small improvements are happening these days, and I would rather keep prices down and stick with more 2008 ? Graphics.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

Well maybe if you're only focusing on AAA games and trying to make them look as good as the system will allow.

If you just focused on PS3-level graphics and instead spent all that time and money on good stories and tight gameplay, you'd get higher-rated, better selling games.

Yes you can't really do that with franchises, because you have to make each one look better than the last, so then start your own new IP with no expectations and make a really good game.  It's not that difficult a concept.

sims_13
sims_13

Actually, this is why I think I don't want next gen gaming. The cost is ridiculously spike with the coming of every new gen console. If it still continue like this, I am sure this industry will collapse one day. Well, I hope that won't happened though.....

wonzan
wonzan

once there is a decent set of tools for devs (like ragdoll physics or physX for the last gen) then issues like those described by the KZ dev willbe minimised. The PS4 itself, as mark cerny explained, ismuch easier to develop for than the ps3.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

As long as I get my foliage physics and fish AI, I don't care!

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

Then shouldn't games logically sell at 4x the previous price, unadjusted for inflation? The other alternative is a market that can sustain fewer and fewer games, and even that has limits. I am beginning to think console makers need to work more closely with devs on limiting hardware performance since developing to max power seems to be a largely unstoppable reactionary market force.

I don't like to say so about someone's professional insight, and I am not trivializing the effort of game devs, but I actually hope for everyone's sake that Boltjes is full of it.

Buck_Swaggler
Buck_Swaggler

"is technically easier thanks to its architecture, it is also much more demanding overall from a professional perspective"

I'm guessing this is specifically referring to advertising costs.

blueboxdoctor
blueboxdoctor

I wouldn't be surprised if this applies more to major first party devs since Sony and Microsoft will want to show off what their systems can do.  Hopefully Square Enix doesn't go crazy with production costs and complain again when really good sales don't match their crazy expectations.

stickybun
stickybun

Pretty scary for middle of the road studios trying to compete.

oscurokey
oscurokey

Yeah its true. The industry cant continue at this pace so something else needs to happen eventually. GTA 5 took more then a thousand people 5 years so its only getting worse.

jack00
jack00

KZ3 mp was the best I have played on ps3 with cod4. Hope this one delivers aswell.

bkohary
bkohary

Then clearly the Death Star builders aren't up to scratch because they only doubled their efforts.

tommynj
tommynj

So many lies in this article. They just trying to justify their outlandish salaries they make. 

frijolesmp
frijolesmp

all in the name of justifying higher prices.  Pc's have more processing power and all that stuff but some of the same titles that are released on consoles are cheaper in their pc form.....

FlyingAce1016
FlyingAce1016

They say its "ohhh so hard" "ohh poor them" so much devs / and microsoft and sony


they just say that hoping people will accept even more outrageous prices

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

I guess since game worlds get larger and more detailed. This requires more people to work on creating videogames. To render an open world game set in New York City or Los  Angeles Then more people will be required to create massive game worlds. Or to invent a fictional one for a Final Fantasy or Halo type game.

Good at least people working in the industry will have lots of work for them. Killzone Shadow Fall is one of my Launch games. I have chosen. I hope it does not bomb as launch games usually do. They have lots of help this time around. So they don't have to rush it. 

Meta-Gnostic
Meta-Gnostic

Months ago they said it wasn't that much of a stepup in manpower compared to previous generation, now they say it's quadrupled. Liars.

Sarg1010
Sarg1010

Yea it takes a huge amount of work to charge $60 for part of a game, then $15 for each piece of the rest of the game in the on-disk DLC later on.

predatorGS
predatorGS

It will be the first time for them to be making a game for a "PC" (PS4 architecture is very PC-like).

AngelsongCA
AngelsongCA

"You mean I'm actually going to have to try now?"

"If I have to do actual work on this job, then I quit."

StHapns247
StHapns247

"We need more people because we have to do more things and when you have more people doing more things you need to communicate more with the people about the things they are doing. So technically, its easier, professionally I need a wahmbulance."

~Some Guy Who Apparently Runs a Video Game Company

wexorian
wexorian

Why devs are whining about how much work they need to done, they cry because they need to make better graphics  if they don't wan't just make games for outdated gen again and again.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Budget become sky-high because Big Corporate want "easy win", their dependence toward money will eventually destroy them... 

Halo is very expensive to develop, then Killzone must be more expensive... COD was expensive... BF4 should be triple expensive.... that's the faulty line of AAA development...

Slade968
Slade968

Well at least the graphical artist industry will be booming. 

OOLuigiOo
OOLuigiOo

@dkdk999 Graphics adds to realism and player experience. The more realistic, the better. The difference in graphic in consoles don't matter.


next gen looks more realistic.

mr_nee
mr_nee

@dkdk999 " you get more memory, you get more hard drive space, you get more processing power so the architecture is easier" this alone says it all.

First few years devs are going to be lazy. Not optimizing and compressing stuff, making hardware do all the hard work. Only in 2016/2017 will we see what next-gen consoles are really capable of. for now it's just a PS3 with higher rez, better shadows and better VFX

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

@dkdk999 no, visuals are important to me just as gameplay, music, voice acting. They have an equal say about the game. The whole gameplay > everything is just bs.

armpitpuncher
armpitpuncher

@Buck_Swaggler 
No, he's referring to resource creation.  People expect modern AAA games to have progressively more and more detailed, realistic looking worlds. The hardware is capable of rendering these details in real time, but the creation of these details requires a lot more manpower.  The tools for automating the process are improving, but not fast enough.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@stickybun Dust: An Elysian Tail is a game that looks better than Killzone and was coded by ONE GUY over a few years.

Bloated overstaffed teams overscoping projects is the name of the game in AAA development, when it doesn't have to be.  You end up with an art design by committee.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@bkohary They needed to quadruple them though, they left a giant hole in the side that let ships fly in.

larkin-54
larkin-54

@tommynj Yeah as a software dev working in games would actually give me a massive pay decrease 

sims_13
sims_13

@tommynj Well, I don't know the situation there, but I am sure in my country, game dev is paid less.... Sometimes, even much less than other sector.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@tommynj Game developmers are very poorly paid compared to other software developers.

Games QA are criminally underpaid as well.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator moderator

@tommynj You're kidding right? Mid career the average software dev makes $90k+. They are actually a little low in the gaming sector. Feel free to look it up.

jaynice5886
jaynice5886

@frijolesmp exactly! now console developers with be making games that look like they did on PC for a couple years already now and PC dev's already have been already tinkering and put games out in the standards of these "next generation" visuals, tech, etc. This should actually be easier to make games since the consoles are very much inline with PC's also as the months go by tools and tech will come out to help streamline the process (just like the tools they have now). I don't by it honestly. If a small indie team of PC dev's can make a game with the current tech (which is leaps and bounds beyond the next gen consoles) than why can't the console dev's. I think this is just a developer concerned with the pressure of publishers more than anything...

larkin-54
larkin-54

@FlyingAce1016 not true at all from a programming perspective its just harder and takes more and more dev hours to do. prices wont rise though games will just have to sell more which is bad for smaller studios and niche titles 

larkin-54
larkin-54

@Megavideogamer working conditions in the industry can still be pretty awful your job is rarely guaranteed past the ship date of a project and work can be hard 

larkin-54
larkin-54

@Sarg1010 you realize software devs dont set the price right? this is more work intensive for the devs period the pricing structure is done by the publisher.

jack00
jack00

@holtrocks @tommynj The average salary for a game developper is 86000$, and that was a couple of years ago. They probably make a lil' bit more now.