Xbox One and the Promise of the New Generation

Four developers working on Xbox One games discuss how they're harnessing the console's potential to do things that weren't previously possible.

'

There's no question that the next generation of consoles is going to deliver games that look better than the best-looking games on current hardware. But there's only so much excitement you can wring out of the idea of a shooter or platformer or role-playing game that looks better than current games, but plays just like a hundred games you've already played. At PAX Prime in Seattle, we tracked down developers working on four Xbox One games to ask them about how those games are leveraging aspects of the next-gen console--the processing power, the cloud, and yes, even the Kinect--to provide experiences that wouldn't be possible on the Xbox 360. Here's what they had to say.

Josh Bridge, Executive Producer, Dead Rising 3

"We have the opportunity to go to a fully open world, and streaming, which has allowed us to create more of a perpetual sandbox. So let's say you're driving around in a car, you smash it, you leave, go to the other end of the area, then come back--it's all still there. So it becomes more your world that you can manipulate. We've never seen this before, this amount of density. We basically took the volume knobs on Dead Rising and turned them all the way up, and that's the game we've always wanted to make. On the 360, we hit a wall. We had to stop, load, dump everything else, so now that's a big change for us."

"It changes the dynamics of the game, changes how we approach the whole experience, and it pushed us into a position where we were like, 'You know what? Zombies are the enemy.' So we put more investment there, went deeper on them, giving them more awareness, making them more aggressive, and then we went deeper on your ability to fight different types of zombies. The controls feel a lot better now. You can run and gun, you can swipe and melee a lot better, and then we went for crafting. We love customization. Play how you want. Big open world, all these zombies. And then it's like, OK, well, here you go! Here's a whole bunch of stuff, hundreds and hundreds of weapons, and then you figure out how you want to play, on your own."

Torin Rettig, Producer, Killer Instinct

"I'd say that one of the most exciting things we can do is matchmake anytime. On current-generation systems, basically the way matchmaking works is you have to kind of opt into it. So you go into a lobby, and you decide to either automatically search, or you start a lobby yourself, or you just kind of open yourself up to open matchmaking and eventually it happens. And then after that's done, you have to actively opt in again, and then wait until you get a match, and maybe you like that match, or you don't. Then you play a game, then you opt in again, and there's a lot of waiting involved. It's kind of a high-friction experience. It's like, 'I just want to keep playing. You know I want to keep playing, so why aren't you letting me do it?'"

"So with Xbox One, we can do that. We can basically matchmake with you anytime. We can matchmake with you while you're playing Killer Instinct. We can matchmake with you while you're playing some other game. So you can basically just set yourself up, say 'Hey, I want to be matchmade in a player match with these settings, at this skill level,' and it'll just actively search for matches. And when that match is ready, it's like, 'Hey, you want to jump into the match?' Boom, you can just go. It's looking for games, matchmaking with you, while you're in a multiplayer match. So the idea, what we want to happen, we want to get as close to, as soon as you're done with one multiplayer match, bam, you're right into the next one. Hopefully, we've given you options. Do you want to fight this guy? You want to fight this guy? You want to fight that guy? At the very least, we want you to be able to jump into a match right after one is over, and because we can search for matches while you're playing, that allows us to get really close to that really seamless, never-ending battle."

"Another one of the things is the amount of data we're collecting about how players play. So not just how many wins or losses that you have, but what character you like to play with, what kind of moves you like to use with this character. But we can also track on a global scale how the matchups are looking, so we can see if there's a lopsided matchup. It's like, 'Thunder is winning against Glacius eight out of 10 times. It seems a little skewed. What can we do about that?' And then we can look deeper, we can dig into those matches and see, OK, how are these wins happening? Or how are these losses happening? We can use that information, along with actually getting into games and seeing how players are playing to determine, 'What do we need to do about this? Should we do anything about this?' And that's a really important point. Because we also have the ability to just live-update gameplay mechanics, or basically the aspects of how a certain character works. So frame data, priorities, things like that, we don't have to push out a big patch. We have all of these parameters in a config, and we can just tweak characters kind of on the fly."

"The other next-gen thing that we can do is game-DVR. It will record your last five minutes of gameplay, which is cool in itself, but what also exists is upload, and upload is a way to take those clips and splice them together into your own personalized, edited video. You can add commentary and voice-over, you can add picture-in-picture from the Kinect, so you can show your hands. So you can make your own run, your own series of videos. So, 'I wanna do a KI Thunder strategy series.' You can do that, and it'll show up on your own personal upload channel. And that's so key for a fighting game, because there's so much technique out there, and we want players to be able to come in and have a resource they can go to and find out how to play the game better instead of going through the crucible of just getting rocked online match after match, which can be kind of frustrating."

Saxs Persson, Studio Manager, Project Spark

"Project Spark is all about making games. Make whatever kind of game you want to. It's for people to be creative. How we look at it is, 'Well, there are certain things you can only do with touch, that feel great with touch, that are fun with touch.' It's similar with Xbox One. Our Kinect capture option is a key feature there. You can put yourself in the game. That was a request from since we started on this. People would say, 'How can I make this mine? I'm using your animations. I'm using your characters. I want to put more of myself in it.' We were super excited when we first saw the specs for the new Kinect, because we realized that now you can actually do motion capture of full-body animation, but also of faces, opened and closed hands, articulation of the face--all of these things are now available for you to tell your story with, which is really what Spark is about. It's about allowing people to tell their story, their way, with as little compromise as possible."

"The second thing: different people want to create in different ways. If we just gave people the controller and said, 'Have at it,' a certain amount of people are comfortable doing that, but lots of people are not. They need something extra. We've found that a lot of people, with Kinect, say, 'I believe I can act out something funny.' And then all of a sudden machinima opens way up. Machinima is a great avenue for people to express themselves in games without all of the drudgery of coming up with mechanics and goals and all these other things. So when we look at the things people make, because we have an alpha running with about a thousand participants right now, what they make is all over the gamut."

"There's straight-up touch games, there's modern game design, there's odes to the past like '80s RPGs, lots of puzzle games, physics games--you take your pick. And with Xbox One, the way we connect to the cloud is super important to us. So anything you buy on any platform will just show up. When we first made Spark, we thought we were going to be just console. Then people said, 'Well, I can't sit for eight hours in front of my TV; other people want that TV. I want to take it on the bus, on my tablet. I want to use my laptop. All these other places where I'm creative, that's what I want to do. But I want to play it on my console. I want to play it on the big screen. I want to show it to my friends on the big screen. But I have more time I can spend on other screens.' So we spent a lot of time on seamlessly going between the different screens, using the cloud, and migrating all the stuff that you have."

Dan Greenawalt, Creative Director, Forza Motorsport 5

"I think the best way to think about it is, how are we improving the genre with the power of this generation? And there is some amount of graphics, obviously, but it's no longer about poly count and texture resolution. It's now about the play of light. Lens flare, anomalies on the lenses, but more than anything, the imperfections that you see in a coat of paint, or chips in the concrete. We call that the proof of humanity. There's wear in this world that we can relate to. So that does require graphical power, but it's a different take on graphics than just making everything shinier."

"The other thing is, if you think about racing games, you're looking for great graphics; you're also looking for great physics. And there are things we're doing with physics in Forza Motorsport 5 that simply weren't possible on last-generation hardware. We had a very cutting-edge tire engine in Forza 4, partnering with Pirelli. It was a new approach. Now we're partnering with Calspan, and actually the tests that Pirelli ran were called Calspan tests. Calspan invented this. They're a scientific testing organization; they're not a tire company. So we brought them some problems that Pirelli didn't know how to answer. Calspan is actually pioneering new scientific tests to help make the simulation better. The cool thing is, they don't care about games. They're in the business of science. And so it's a cool partnership because we can be on the cutting edge, pushing this hardware, pushing the power, and doing things in the simulation that weren't possible before, not only because of the lack of power, but also because of this new approach."

"And here's where we're really doing things that could have maybe been done last generation, but again, it was both the power and the approach. We're making an AI system that learns, and it resides in the cloud. It's more similar to big data, crunching on all the numbers being uploaded constantly from all the players. So it can actually learn new behavior that we don't teach it. Now, we've blocked it from learning griefer behavior, so it can't drive backwards on the track; it won't PIT-maneuver you. We wanted to replicate the best moments you had in multiplayer in single-player. They work so humanly. They weave in and out, they fake--very human behavior. And it's still evolving. It's still learning right now, which is really cool."

"And I think that's the promise of the new generation. It's not just about what's on the box. It's about the technology we can bring to bear from the cloud. But the coolest part to me as a gamer is, we're launch! So everything I was just mentioning is launch. Think about a year from now, when all of the creatives have started to share ideas. We've played each other's games, and we're starting to bring in these ideas of evolving games, shared worlds. That brings a level of social--some people aren't looking for a social that's competitive, but that doesn't mean they want to be isolated from the world. I'm an introvert. I know that better than most. I love people, in the right doses. So the goal is not to turn everybody into a multiplayer, but to give people a richer, more human experience that's not irritating or intimidating or difficult. That is the promise, I think, of the new generation."

'

Written By

Want the latest news about Forza Motorsport 5?

Forza Motorsport 5

Forza Motorsport 5

Follow

Discussion

783 comments
OneStrong2
OneStrong2

blah.....blah....blah.... Let the games do the talking :)


flyingdutchdog3
flyingdutchdog3

Yep, 700 sonybots on this site ... just because it was a Microsoft article ... boy they are an intelligent bunch of morons with nothing but moronic replies.

absolut_gamerz
absolut_gamerz

nice try MS but i'm totally not buyin' it.... LOL!!!

SpinDie25
SpinDie25

How much does anyone want to make a bet that the xbox one will be postponed? They are a hot-mess right now rofl, even overclocking cpu/gpu to make it run in the same performance range as ps4.. sad

xReikenx
xReikenx

So things that were possible forever ago but consoles outdated hardware couldn't dream of scratching?

Oh well. The only reason to get one of these things is the occasional exclusive title that's actually good like EDF 2025 but that's on current gen consoles so no need for me to buy a new console that'll just gather dust most of its life.

Skyt_Aura
Skyt_Aura

"So let's say you're driving around in a car, you smash it, you leave, go to the other end of the area, then come back--it's all still there. So it becomes more your world that you can manipulate. We've never seen this before, this amount of density."

...Fallout 3?


CPTCUDDLES
CPTCUDDLES

 I want a ps4. kill zone shadowfall looks sick. I bet uncharted on the ps4 is gunna be crazy amazing.Deep down, and the order look pretty sick. But what other exclusives are coming to xbox in the future?killer instinct and ryse look lame. im gunna get an xbox one. I just dont really know what to look forward to on it. What games should I look forward to besides halo 5?

edinko
edinko

1 word that says it all- monetization. That's the thing that will be the most next gen

supermarioooooo
supermarioooooo

why there are so many mshit statement?  why this company talking too much? cuz they need to get attention.. they fucked up thats all. last console of mshit. cuz i dont wanna a company in that sector which is see its consumers a sheep.

mesk14
mesk14

Have fun console kiddies cause this will be the last console launch ever

Pegasus177
Pegasus177

Can I just say firstly reading the comments in this article has been pleasant. Smart,intelligent and clean opinions being displayed. The majority of comments to articles I have read on anything releated to next gen are smeared with this fan boyish dribble like "PS4/XB1 FTW fuck XB1/PS4" this is the first article I have read where the comments are not dominated with this vomit (aside from the minor few PC elitist's 'specs flex'. So kudos to those sharing opinions and a enjoyable read.I just wanted to say that and throw in my two cents... Realistically I know that this next gen competition hasn't even truly begun and we are using word of mouth to make opinions.. The reality being that we won't truly know until we get hands on with both.Having said that I'm really interested in seeing just what each brings to the table.. Be it upon launch or in the years to come. Both have had great innovation from MS cloud processing to Sonys cloud streaming. I do also realise that a lot of what they are peddling is features we have already had but just improved on. Sony seems great on specs yet history will tell us that spec superiority isn't always the winning formula. MS seem to be great with online and software but Sony have learned from past experience and could bring a rich experience with their service, only time will tell.I guess what I'm getting at is that these both look like impressive pieces of kit and I can't wait to see what they can do.You may favour one for a number of reasons be it features, exclusives maybe even just loyalty.. Just remember you won't change someone's mind too easily so don't try and force your opinion too much. I can't wait for November this is a great time for gaming fans

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

Should bring the quality of multiplatform games up  to 2009 standards.

Darnytoads
Darnytoads

Meanwhile Nintendo reissues the N64 in a tablet form.  Details to come. 

residentgunnerx
residentgunnerx

why the fuck is dead rising 3 not multiplatform....!?please someone tell me that it is not an exclusive for shity and ridiculous xshit one....! i hope capcom will release it for PS4 too! will they...?

rene9ade520
rene9ade520

All reasons I'm going with the One before I purchase a PS4. I'm so stoked for the new generation!!! And I love everything the One is bringing to the table!!! Also, Gamespot, this is one of a few great articles I have read recently that hasn't only targeted the PS fanboys. For that, your winning me back over again. You were really close to loosing me as a reader, but the last couple weeks you've really stepped it up...just took a few decent articles that pertained to the other half of the gaming community. Keep it up Gamespot and you got my online attention. I'm sure there are many out there that feel the same way.

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

I'm not seeing much promise, I'll get a ps4 eventually(getting Wii U short term then ps4 when games come) but all the consoles have low end specs... Don't promise us good specs(Sony in particular on this one) and then release a glorified gaming laptop. I had my hopes up that we might see something closer to a GTX 680 so I guess I was just asking to be let down...

andfx8
andfx8

Can't wait! Although I'll have to because I'm not buying at launch... hopefully there are some readily available come Xmas time so I can buy myself a nice present.

snaketus
snaketus

All of it has been possible on PC like forever now, it's just up to developers to utilize the UNLIMITED POWER of PC hardware.

nparks
nparks

@Skyt_Aura Nope.  I remember dragging the alien corpse from the crashed UFO halfway across DC because it would make an for an awesome piece of home décor.  Then it vanished.

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

@CPTCUDDLES I vomitted a bit in the back of my mouth after listening to the soundtrack of the latest Deep Down trailer...and how it looks like it's going to deliver about nothing of what the original trailer teased. But the rest I agree. I want to see what Santa Monica and Naughty Dog will develop for the PS4.

JRD1912
JRD1912

@supermarioooooo Consumers as sheep huh, here are some of the things Sony said about the PS3. 

PS3 is “for consumers to think to themselves ‘I will work more hours to buy one’. We want people to feel that they want it, irrespective of anything else.”

“The PS3 will instill discipline in our children and adults alike. Everyone will know discipline.”


CPTCUDDLES
CPTCUDDLES

@mesk14 smug pc gamer... I get that pc's rock but you cant take a copy of a game over to a house and pick up 4 controllers and start gaming together with ease. 

deltaveg
deltaveg

@mesk14 Consoles are going nowhere because they are user frieldly.I'm 49 and have always prefered consoles over the pain in the ass PC.

itchyflop
itchyflop

@mesk14 haha!! whys that then, and i am generally interested, im not griping at you ????


amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

@Pegasus177 Hint for gaming forum chat etiquette: don't try to make peace.  Pick a spot and put your foot down and see what happens :).

kentray1985
kentray1985

@residentgunnerx whats so bad about the xboxone? And tell me whats the difference between xboxone and ps4 because your comment sounds quite biased

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@rene9ade520 I am still on the fence but the more I see of Titanfall the more I am moving over towards the XBone


amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

@ArabrockermanX Keep in mind that the draw of console development is the deterministic performance.  You know that you have certain hardware and the console creator can provide an API to take advantage of it.  Then you can push the system to its limits.  The "downside" of a PC is figuring out approximately what range of hardware you want to reach.  Not just how many customers, but the range of hardware.  And no matter what you do for a PC, the abstraction of the API to the OS to the drivers to the variable hardware is going to sap a chunk of the available computing power.  The console APIs have the performance edge there, I think.

Still, I like my PC games.  It will be cool to see what Star Citizen can do.

NbAlIvEr10000
NbAlIvEr10000

@snaketus The thing is, the console games will sell much more because more people own consoles over high-end PCs.  It is just more economical for devs to create specifically for consoles.  This is the same reason why Rockstar is only releasing GTAV on consoles to start.  Once the game starts making millions (which it totally will) they will then start porting development on PC.

pr56
pr56

@snaketus 
@ShoTTyMcNaDeS  is right. Its just a convenience thing. I do play on the PC from time to time (I have a good rig for video editing) and I realize it has huge potential, but I prefer popping a disc in and playing without worrying about upgrades and what not. Consoles are no different than PCs, just that they are geared for gamers and provide a consistency for 5-10 years that PCs can not provide.
Also this helps developers focus on developing games with their user base in mind and hardware options set.

colbster
colbster

@snaketus PCs are fine and everything, but I prefer having a girlfriend.

ShoTTyMcNaDeS
ShoTTyMcNaDeS

@snaketus Maybe, just maybe the vast majority of us choose to not game on PC! Why does it always go back to this same comment. I understand that PC gaming is like a hobby to a lot of you. No different than collecting comic books or restoring old cars and motorcycles. But the average person doesn't have the time or know how to work with PC parts. Im betting most gamers are like myself in that they work 8-12 hours a day or go to school. Maybe they have a wife or husband, kids and other outside activities. So when it comes to sitting down and playing a game and having fun, they don't want to have to worry about is my GPU good enough? Do I have enough RAM? Does my mouse have a high enough DPI?  On consoles, everyone is playing the same game and the outcome is not based on one guy being able to get 80 FPS and another getting 35 because of lesser hardware!  I just wish you would just stop playing the PC card! It is not the end all be all!!!

Skyt_Aura
Skyt_Aura

@CPTCUDDLES @mesk14 Other than Halo, Gears of War, and Call of Duty, Name 3 local co-op fun games me and my friends can play?

Everytime I bring my 360 over to my friends place, we both ask the same question: "What other games other than Halo that supports 4 player local co-op..."

Besides, there are games for PC that supports 2-4 players and having a good laptop and extra controllers will fix that problem.

RiotRing
RiotRing

@amdreallyfast@Pegasus177

I concur. The peacemaker route is starting to become more and more prominent. You can't tell any sort of fanbase to take their rivalry down a notch. Read the article and get out. Unless you want to join this chaos.

mesk14
mesk14

@colbster @snaketus lol yea because zit infested console kiddies have lives

ozalme
ozalme

@colbster @snaketus True that, PC has never had any social networking functionality what so ever.  Thanks consoles for finally adding social networking unlike those lame PCs.  How would a PC user ever talk to girls!

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

@ShoTTyMcNaDeS@snaketusMaybe, just maybe the vast majority of us choose to not game on Console! Why does it always go back to this same comment. I understand that Console gaming is like a hobby to a lot of you. No different than collecting comic books or restoring old cars and motorcycles. But the average person doesn't have the time even though you can get pre built PC's. Im betting most gamers are like myself in that they work 8-12 hours a day or go to school. Maybe they have a wife or husband, kids and other outside activities. So when it comes to sitting down and playing a game and having fun, they don't need to worry about the GPU being good enough, since most games use 2006 technology? Do I have enough RAM?, of course I do. Does my mouse have a high enough DPI, no mouse doesn't.  On PC, everyone is playing the same games and the outcome is not based on one guy being able to get 80 FPS and another getting 35 because of lesser hardware!  I just wish you would just stop playing the console card! It is not the end all be all!!!

JRD1912
JRD1912

@CPTCUDDLES @JRD1912 @supermarioooooo I thought it was pretty clear. Do you not read?! He was complaining about MS treating consumers like sheep.  MS hardly treats is consumers like sheep.  I provided some quotes from Sony all but calling and treating their consumers sheep. Those are quotes from ken kutaragi Sonys chairmen at the time.  Sony basically insults its buyers saying we want them to be mindless idiots.  We dont care that our product is over priced.  Work harder for it no matter what else is going on in your life.  

If MS pulled that shit people would lose their minds. Sony does it, well who cares lets ignore that and rag on MS some more they are so much worse!

MS: Our product is a good value!  Sony: Fuck you work harder and make more money!

PS3 is “for consumers to think to themselves ‘I will work more hours to buy one’. We want people to feel that they want it, irrespective of anything else.”

“The PS3 will instill discipline in our children and adults alike. Everyone will know discipline.”


Zensora
Zensora

@RiotRing @amdreallyfast @Pegasus177 I truly don't understand you. Of course a little rivalry is a great part of buying something as expensive as a gaming console when your younger. But please don't tell other people how to feel about it. And I honestly think we don't have enough of these "peacemakers" as you call it, to quiet things all a little down... Your all throwing yourself into the ring for companies who make billions of dollars, not you! THEY make the money and they will never ever in all of our lifetimes give away something for free... So why be hateful towards another company, just because you think for whatever reason their product is not the one you want to buy? It's good to reflect your own behavior sometimes and ask yourself: "Is this really neccessary, or am I acting insane for no apparent reason? And IF there is a reason, do you really have to take it personal?

Pegasus177
Pegasus177

Why just read the article and get out? The comments are going to give you an underline portrait of what people favour and what they dislike. The "peacemaker" route is common because this is the first time two consoles have launched so close together and like kindred chameleons they are doing all in their power to mimmick each other at ever turn. They are on a level playing field whether you like it or not and many including myself have both on preorder. I can't be excited for both machines? I can't feel that my money is going to be well spent on either?

I argue when I hear someone says something stupid or misquote a 'fact' or feature. I rebuttal something I feel is wrong but I by no means have to play loyalty to either side. After all.. this is just business.

rene9ade520
rene9ade520

@ArabrockermanX @ShoTTyMcNaDeS @snaketus I thought it was a great argument. I'm almost 30, have jobs, have a fiance, spend a lot of time with my family, AND.....I have a strong knowledge of PCs and have built gaming rigs before. At the end of the day though, I still much prefer to spend my gaming time on a console as I know most my gaming time will actually be spent gaming rather then tweaking graphics and waiting on hosts. 

Also, while I'm on this topic, though I am really tired of people pulling the PC card on console threads like this, what I'm really sick of is the fact that the ones doing so act like they are the most hardcore of gamers. Personally, I think, those type of gamers need a new label solely because the majority of their time is not actually spent gaming, but rather drooling over hardware and tweaking settings. The label GAMER is meant to suggest that games are what comes first for the enthusiast. That is why the term fanboy came to be is because fanboys care more about the brand of console they own than what games they are actually playing. Essentially, what I have read from about 80% of "PC Gamers" on the topic of the next gen consoles, they are the PC equivalent of a fanboy. Oddly, nobody really has a term for the PC fanboy as there are so many different brands associated to PCs know one knows what to call them. Maybe hacks, idk... Anyways, again, the term gamer means 'games first' and for most all of the PC gamers I know....and I know quit a few of them, the amount of time they spend actually playing games...meaning not tweaking with graphics, upgrading hardware, creating lobbies, waiting on hosts, etc,...is maybe more than a fraction of time I actually spend playing my games. I'd say for every ten games I play and beat, they have one title they slowly chip away at, and two titles they actually never play but instead just use to show off the graphic capabilities of their rig.

 So yeah, PCs are an entirely different thing from consoles. If they weren't, we'd all just plug our PCs into our TVs and that'd be that. But seeing as how console sales pretty much drive the entire gaming market, its obvious that their is a definite demand for them. Maybe its just convenience, the comfort of a living room, the abillity to easily play with friends and family on the fly, or maybe its just that consoles are MUCH cheaper and allow you to play almost the same games (especially since most games are developed for consoles before they are the PC)...but whatever the case, consoles appeal to a much larger demographic then the much smaller PC gamer community. 

So why all you PC "gamers" are bitching about the new consoles is beyond me. If you want to play the exclusives then buy one. If you don't, then stick to your PCs and let the rest of us enjoy the next gen consoles. Idk about other gamers, but I certainly don't go on PC forums/sites and trash talk computers because they don't offer me the same experience as a game console.