Did any of you anti-ps3 types ever think that maybe, just MAYBE, Sony thinks that Blu-Ray WILL be needed for proper gaming storage this gen, and that they're not just trying to screw everyone over?
Sure they wanted to push their next-gen video format, and the ps3 gave them the perfect means to do so, but it DOES still help with gaming, and they knew that, which is why they figured they'd get away with sticking a BR drive in the ps3.
So, who can we look to for an answer for the great question, "Is Blu-Ray needed this generation?"
....the devs, and the devs have spoken. Blu-Ray IS needed. To quote various developers that have developed for many platforms:
Mark Rein, VP of Epic Games, the developers of Gears of War, Unreal Tournament, and many other games, had this to say about Blu-Ray in an interview with computerandvideogames.com:
Unreal Tournament was 6GB compressed. Next Generation games are going to be 20GB plus, and how we're going to fit them on DVD9's I don't know, they'll probably be a few of them. On the PS3, we're going to be using the majority of the space on those Blu-ray disks. Mark Rein
Julian Eggebrecht, of Factor 5, who are the developers of the great Star Wars Rogue Squardon games, andw who are currently developing their first title on a PLayStation platform, Lair, has this to say when questioned by IGN about the advantages of Blu-Ray:
The single level at TGS alone takes up 4 Gigabytes of data. We are using every ounce of that due to streaming of our textures. Sure you could chop them all down to tiny sizes and we would fit, but then again, it would not be the same game. In addition to all the textures and geometry, we also do have video on the disc, and all of that is in native 1080p resolution. Thanks to Blu-Ray we don't need to worry about that and can still fit the whole game on a single disk. Julian Eggebrecht
Brian Hastings, chief creative officer of Insomniac Games, the developers of the Ratchet & Clank series and Resistance: Fall of Man, had this to say about Blu-Ray in his blog "10 Reasons Why PS3 Will Win This Console Generation". This also explains why Gears of War's singleplayer was so short and the game had so few multiplayer maps. Maps take up space people! Read it here:
If you ever hear someone say "Blu-Ray isn't needed for this generation," rest assured they don't make games for a living. At Insomniac, we were filling up DVDs on the PS2, as were most of the developers in the industry. We compressed the level data, we compressed the mpeg movies, we compressed the audio, and it was still a struggle to get it to fit in 6 gigs. Now we've got 16 times as much system RAM, so the level data is 16 times bigger. And the average disc space of games only gets bigger over a console's lifespan. As games get bigger, more advanced and more complex, they necessarily take up more space. If developers were filling up DVDs last generation, there are clearly going to be some sacrifices made to fit current generation games in the same amount of space.
Granted, some really great Xbox 360 games have squeezed onto a DVD9. Gears of War is a beautiful game and shows off the highest resolution textures of anything yet released, partly because of the Unreal Engine's ability to stream textures. This means that you can have much higher resolution textures than you could normally fit in your 512 MB of RAM. It also means that you're going to chew up more disc space for each level. With streamed textures, streamed geometry and streamed audio, even with compression, you can quickly approach 1 GB of data per level. That inherently limits you to a maximum of about 7 levels, and that's without multiplayer levels or mpeg cutscenes.
Sometimes people ask us, "If Resistance takes 14 gigabytes, why doesn't it look better than Gears?" Well, for one, Resistance didn't support texture streaming, so we had to make choices about where we spent our high-res textures. Resistance also had 30 single-player chapters, six multiplayer maps, uncompressed audio streaming, and high-definition mpegs. That all added up to a lot of space on the disc. Starting with Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction we are supporting texture streaming, which will make the worlds look even better, and will also consume even more space on disc.
There's no question that you can always cut more levels, compress the audio more, compress the textures more, down-res the mpeg movies, and eventually get any game to fit on a DVD. But you paid for a high-def experience, right? You want the highest resolution, best audio, most cinematic experience a developer can offer, right? That's why Blu-Ray is important for games, and why it will become more important each year of this hardware cycle. Brian Hastings
Also, Casey Hudson, the project director overseeing Mass Effect, has said that the game originally would've never been able to fit on a sinlgle DVD9, but that through heavy optimization, they managed to fit the game on one disc. How much of that time could've been spent working on the game itself, rather than working on how much space the game takes up? How much did they cut from the game to get it on one disc? How big will Mass Effect 2 be? Here's the quote:
During a Q&A update, project director Casey Hudson confirmed that Mass Effect "is a monstrous game. In fact, there was a time -- not too long ago -- when we pretty much scoffed at the idea of fitting onto one disc. But, there's an art to optimizing the data that goes on a disc"; Mass Effect will fit onto a single disc -- "but just barely."Joystiq interview with Casey Hudson
And here's a quote from Hideo Kojima, in reference to the fact that MGS4 is pushing the limits of a single-layered BD-rom, which holds 25gb of data, in comparison to a dual-layered BD-rom which can hold 50 gb of data. This is due to his heavy use of uncompressed audio and other fancy things. After all, this is the "HD Era":
Blu-Ray is to small for Metal Gear Solid 4.Hideo Kojima
And my final developer quote, is the controversial quote from David Jaffe, the director of the Twisted Metal and God of War series, that he made during "The Bonus Round" on Gametrailers.com. He said that he personally would've left Blu-Ray out of the ps3, in an effort to make it cheaper, get it to market sooner, and garner more sales. However, he also says that doing this most likely would screw him over inthe long run, as the storage space of Blu-Ray would most likely be needed:
This will bite me in the ass in four years, because it was probably a smart decision, but I probably would have taken the Blu-ray out and sold it for less money.David Jaffe
********************Edited to add more!********************
Also, it seems that Itagaki, the lead developer of Team Ninja, is also quite discontent with the use of DVD in the 360. In an interview with Famitsu, he said that just the Dead or Alive 4 TRAILER would take 2gb of space in high definition, so think about how much space even a tiny cutscene between every level in a game could take up. Here's some of what he said:
The screen resolution for Xbox 360 games will be in high definition, so the pre-rendered movies are going to be pretty large. If we encoded the Dead or Alive 4 trailer from E3 in high definition in a quality acceptable to us, it will easily be about 2GB. [...] With DOA4, we'll be using the disc's capacity to its full extent. We started development on DOA4 pretty early, and we didn't know what disc format the Xbox 360 was going to adopt. So when we learned about it, we were really knocked out.
So, can anybody find a dev quote that says that Blu-Ray just isn't needed?