Naughty Dog will keep its engine tech for PS4 development

Uncharted and The Last of Us developer says creating an all-new engine between PS2 and PS3 "caused a lot of turmoil."

Naughty Dog has said it will keep the proprietary engine used on PlayStation 3 titles like Uncharted 3 and The Last of Us for PlayStation 4 development.

The Last of Us game director Bruce Straley said that Naughty Dog intends to avoid the "turmoil" it suffered when creating an entirely new game engine for the PlayStation 3.

"We learned a big lesson coming from PS2 to PS3," said Straley in an interview with Digital Spy. "There was a lot of hype over what [PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360] was going to be. It was all going to be like movies, like a prerendered cutscene-style fidelity."

"That turned out not to be true," he added. "What we're able to do now is pretty damn close, but it took Naughty Dog four games to get there--one of the top developers in the industry with some of the most amazing scientists working in our programming department."

"We scrapped everything at the beginning of Uncharted 1, and we had a perfectly good engine with the Jak & Daxter franchise.

Straley says that Naughty Dog had a "perfectly good" engine powering the Jak & Daxter titles on the PlayStation 2. "We could have started with something there and then built off of it and only changed the pieces and parts as we needed, when we needed," said Straley, adding that the choice to develop a new engine for the original Uncharted "really caused a lot of turmoil."

The team at Naughty Dog "learned our lesson" and so intends to take its current engine to the PlayStation 4. "As we move into development into next-gen, we want to take our current engine, port it immediately over as is, and say, 'OK, we have a great AI system, we have a good rendering system.'"

Naughty Dog intends to improve the engine to make use of the PlayStation 4's next-gen technology, but adds that "only when we hit a wall will we say, 'When do we need to change something? When do we need to scale it?"

"It's one of those things that you learn in development," concluded Straley. "We've gained something from this experience, and now we want to apply it moving into next gen."

Naughty Dog's PlayStation 3-exclusive The Last of Us will be released on June 14.

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Discussion

201 comments
SpinDie25
SpinDie25

Throwing out an old engine and starting from scratch seems like a ton of work and extremely costly. In my eyes, if you have an engine that looks and runs good, than recycle it and upgrade it when needed. I would rather a game company not have to waste resources working on the engine itself when they could just focus on gameplay gameplay and CONTENT. 

Even if a game company says they are using an "all new" engine i don't see any issue with them borrowing things from their old engine and improving them if needed. 

Although dice claims battlefield4 is using a "whole new engine" i know straight away that that is not 100% the truth because there is no way they would just right click billions of dollars worth of battlefield 3 engine technology and delete it. Bf4 footage almost looks as if it was taken right from bf3. So i think we need to take "new engine" with a grain of salt. 

Considering how big the video game entertainment industry has become i don't know why there is not some sort of legal branch that sets guidelines of what qualifies for a "new" game or just an expansion pack. It's hard to know what to believe when you are hearing all these claims of "all new engine" coming from the very company who wants to sell you the product to begin with. I wish there was some third official party to chime in on what actually qualifies as a "new" engine. Of course the guy actually selling you the hotdogs is going to say his are the best.

I also think there should be a legal branch that justifies if a game meets the guidelines to be classified officially as a NEW game, or just an expansion pack. Because i think what activision is doing with their recycled $60 expansion packs each year is just highway robbery. I think a game should only qualify for a hefty $60 pricetag if its a NEW game with a NEW engine. Other than that, in my eyes, any game that uses the same engine as its previous release is an expansion pack.

zowbaid
zowbaid

This article is making me question DICE's supposed frostbite 2 & 3 engines. If ti's really that frustrating to make a new engine, then maybe those guys are just upgrading current tech.

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

It really depends on the flexibility of the current engine if they can patch in all the new tech bells and whistles than it will be fine, if you can't, they'll have to scrap it. No need to reinvent the wheel until the wheel is obsolete.

Viral-venom13
Viral-venom13

I dunno i mean sure building a new engine was turmoil but the results were spectacular in the games that were created by it. They may choose to not want to create new engines but to me new engines means new progress and well with progress naturally comes stress so you may take an ass-kicking at 1st but the end results can leave you in amazement if your willing to take the chance and go the distance! They are the developers though, they know what their dealing with so i'll just wait to see what new awesome games they come out with!

Trickymaster
Trickymaster

There' no need for a new engine. In fact there is a need for  new hardware that can handle this beauty. It's a miracle that PS3 is not exploding while running this. The effects are high-end.


On PS4 they will be able to add even more objects with that level of detail, shorter loading times and so on.

FARQZLL
FARQZLL

i'd say they would have a engine that can transfer well to next-gen unlike most. After making a game or 2 & pushing the engine to its very limit, only then they will have a good understanding of the architecture & witch way to approach the build of a new Engine. As well as being able to take there time.. GOOD WORK... Naughty Dog.

videogamer008
videogamer008

i understand some of it but the Uncharted series for PS3 were the best and i hope that they don't stop making Uncharted series for PS3... how can i say it in a different matter without getting into trouble or screamed at on here..

painpas
painpas

After playing there games over the years in all honesty there is no developer right now that I would blindly buy any game that they make except Naughty Dog. They are the most consistent developer and talented in my opinion by make great games in more than one genre. From platformer, kart racer, racing game to action adventure puzzle shooter they are just at a level where Rockstar is. Believe it or not they are the only 2 that I can guarantee you may not like the subject matter but the games will be great for those who can stomach the subject. ND can do what they want. Plus if UC3 came out at 1080p 60 fps on PS4 with some addeed effects I bet you could not tell it was last gen when all is said and done. They are that good. LOL!

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

Funny thing about them walls you usually dont see them before you run straight face first into them.  Naughty Dog you might be on top right now but you should pay attention to the history of other successful companies around you much better studios felt their stuff was unbeatable and fell pretty hard when a new console jump happened.  Look at square enix that company kicked serious ass now its just a mere shadow of the awesome it was but hey I could be wrong though..

EL_Bomberdor
EL_Bomberdor

Obv they feel the engine they have is more than good enough for the first 3-4 years of the PS4 life cycle and with that they can focus their money on the games. As they said, when they hit a brick wall and feel they need to upgrade, they will, so all good.

vivalatour
vivalatour

I heard if it ain't broke don't fix it till it is , I heard that somewhere ? the movement in Uncharted was some of the best I ever seen if not the best !

knife_expert96
knife_expert96

Sounds good to me but they really should make a new engine about 3-4 years into next gen.

DrKill09
DrKill09

You know WHY companies switch engines between generations?  Because a PS1 engine would look like garbage on ps2.

Not to mention, new engines allow you to better use the hardware, and add more depth and scope to your games.

Just compare GTA3 to GTA4.  4 feels so much more massive.

Anyway, thanks for letting us know your PS4 games will be fugly as hell, and not as large scale as other developers. 

rad8045
rad8045

Love watching all these experts commenting on game engines as if they have any idea on what there talking about lol.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

Intelligent strategy. Can't wait to see what happens.

RealHarry
RealHarry

Good decision. I'd rather they make good games rather than push the boundaries of the PS4, right off the gate. That'll come in time. Since publishers bitch about how expensive game production is, and that lead to DRM on XBox One to prevent used game sales, Naughty Dog doing what they can to optimise their resources is a good thing. 

They put all their eggs in one basket with Uncharted, and luckily for us, they made it since they could've easily been lost to the shuffle.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

"Naughty Dog will keep its engine tech for PS4 development"

Way to limit your fanbase and revenue.  That's what we call a "bad marketing decision"

hystavito
hystavito

"That turned out not to be true,"....    Nice way of saying that it was all lies. :)

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

ND. Playstations ace in the hole. Their Lebron James of developers.

FARQZLL
FARQZLL

in my eyes NG made the ps3 what it is to this day & beyond with the last of us ... give them more money Sony so they can build a new team for a new engine now, while they take the current engine to the limits of next-gen ....DONT EVER LOOSE Naughty Dog SONY or there ppl....

edant79
edant79

I trust you Naughty Dog. Preform your craft, and I'll buy your shit every time.


....its only money.

haze_blaze
haze_blaze

Have to admit... I find it a bit disappointing that they won't be totally revamping the engine to take advantage of the PS4 tech. I felt like the new engine on the PS3 was one of the things that gave them a major advantage in terms of visuals and presentation. 

However, we won't know how well the new engine capitalizes on the new PS4 tech until we see Naughty Dog's first PS4 game... and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt if they feel they don't need an entirely new engine. 

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

I really want to know what they are working on for PS4. I hope they show something at E3.

jamesh-42
jamesh-42

@zowbaid: I would be very surprised if DICE has been throwing out all its previous work for each iteration of its Frostbite engine.

They would be doing the same as Naughty Dog (and most studios, for that matter), and improving upon what they already have.  If you do need to throw everything out, that usually indicates that the existing version is crap, rather than that the next version will be great.

burns112233
burns112233

@BlackBaldwin The people at Naughty Dog basically said they want to use the PS3 engine and move it to the PS4, so they could improve on it and make it better and so they wouldn't struggle like they did when the PS3 came out.  

So what the hell are you babbling about?  

ForceofNature9
ForceofNature9

@BlackBaldwin 

SquareSoft struggling more had to do with their restructuring after merging with Enix than any difficulties with next gen tech. The Spirits Within bombing and failing hard pretty much destroyed the Square we knew and love and forced them to merge to stay afloat.

Desmondo123
Desmondo123

@BlackBaldwin Thats usually  a result of key figure heads leaving the company more than anything else. If anything the opposite is happening with Naughty Dog with more and more talented programmers artists joining the studio, a large amount of people left Irrational to join them.

Desmondo123
Desmondo123

@vivalatour After playing The Last of Us demo I can safely say its been moved up to the level, the way Joel picks up supplies and scavenges looks so natural its unreal.

streamline
streamline

I do not know how easy it is to experiment with the Ps4 architecture using their current engine, but I think they need a new one if they want to try tapping into the full power of the PS4.

ForceofNature9
ForceofNature9

@DrKill09 

I will guarantee that Uncharted 3 & The Last of Us will still look as good as some of the launch titles for next gen.

banana23man
banana23man

@DrKill09 Obviously you have not played Uncharted. There's no need for a new engine, just better hardware to support better models and texture at higher resolution. 

FARQZLL
FARQZLL

@Gravity_Slave why would you change the engine strait off the bat for next-gen. i'd say they would have a engine that can transfer well to next-gen unlike most. After making a game or 2 & pushing the engine to the limit they will have a good understanding how to approach & build a new one.

Lost-to-Apathy
Lost-to-Apathy

@Gravity_Slave 

Worked out pretty well for the COD franchise, so I doubt it. It's extremely costly to develop an all new engine, so it would actually be a terrible marketing decision. The engine is already pretty impressive, and it can also be improved. You know nothing. 

N3odude
N3odude

@Gravity_Slave  Or, you know, a good one,a s they know exactly what they are working with, and don't have to try to juggle making a working engine and game development. Look at the Last of Us.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

@FARQZLL Naughty Dog really did show what was technically possible on the PS3. Definitely Sony's most important 1st-party dev team. Would be a major loss if they ever left them.

Trickymaster
Trickymaster

@haze_blaze Can you give me a reason why they have to totally revamp the engine? You can give it major upgrades without throwing away the good things. Working on a new engine takes 3 years so even if they started now, you wouldn't see a thing until 2017.


Engines only need to be written from scratch if you have game mechanics that need completely different requirements. I'm sure they already changed the part of the engine to make it run on x86. In fact all games are developed on x86 so this will actually allow them to take far more advantage of the PS4.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

@SavoyPrime 

Did you have to apply for "Ranger" or is that something they give to the brown nosers?  Just curious if there are prerequisites....

vivalatour
vivalatour

@Desmondo123 are the common folk going to get a chance with the demo or did you had to preorder GOW ? seems now there won't be one for me because I did not preorder ... other than that the demo was great in your opinion because the boards were ragging the game ?

haze_blaze
haze_blaze

@Trickymaster @haze_blaze It doesn't take exactly 3 years... it depends on the engineers, the engine, and the hardware it's meant to take advantage of. 

Obviously if they're using the same engine, they've re-tooled it for x86. However, that doesn't mean that it is fit to maximize the PS4 hardware. With the current engine being built around Cell technology, there will definitely be some inefficiencies. That doesn't mean their first few games won't look and run great... but they might not be as good as those from devs that do build from the ground up for the PS4. 

On the other hand... we might not see many games built from the ground up for the PS4 until 2-3 yrs into the life cycle if other devs are thinking the same way.

Desmondo123
Desmondo123

@vivalatour @Desmondo123 I have GOW Acension so was able to acess it, unsure if there will be a public demo mind :/ As for the demo it was short but the game looked stunning (the lighting is probably some of the best this gen) and it felt a lot less constricted than Uncharted. As for the combat against the infected at first it was surprisingly difficult and far deeper than Uncharted with more emphasis resource management and improvisation. So yeah I cant wait till June 14th.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

@SavoyPrime @lithus 

Ouch, now that sounds more like being "butthurt"... ;)

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

@lithus It's people like you that show why people think that gamers are just basement dwellers living with their parents. I have a family, job, plenty of friends, and really only post in one forum. And how the hell can anyone get fake GS XP? o_O

lithus
lithus

@Gravity_Slave 

lmao!  I can just see him in his ranger jammies and cape now! wooosh!  ;p

FYI the only reason he's a "Ranger" is because he's spent the better part of his life posting here getting fake GS xp.  I've been around just as long and haven't spent a fraction of that time. Some of us actually go outside to enjoy life....

Polygon_Pariah
Polygon_Pariah

@SavoyPrime

lol you call him dumb and petty and yet here you are arguing with him.  You come off more so. And I'm not saying he's right but the cape comment made me laugh.  So he is a little clever.  You...um, not so much.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

@Gravity_Slave Look how you're acting over a title that only you care about. Instead of actually replying about the subject of the article. You think you're being clever when you've done nothing but make yourself look dumb and petty.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

@SavoyPrime 

How is making fun of you sounding "butthurt"?  That's like saying making fun of a homeless guy who's screaming at a traffic light, is making me jealous.  

Glad you're amused though.  I think the real sad part is that you honestly think anyone is jealous or butthurt because of you.  If anyone is taking it seriously, its you.  I've been laughing at you the whole time.  I think you're just tickled pink that someone paid any attention to you today.... ;)

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

@Gravity_Slave Dude, you're taking the whole Ranger thing seriously and acting all butthurt over it. You are truly amusing.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

@SavoyPrime

Ahh, so being a tool is a prerequisite. keep up the good work rectal ranger.  Make sure you do the "Woosh!" sound when you're running around in your ranger cape.