BioWare: Next-gen leap 'won't be as obvious'

Art director says new platforms will offer souped-up graphics, but won't stand out as clearly as past transition.

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Gamers expecting the upcoming console transition to usher in a new leap in graphical fidelity may want to pare back their excitement. BioWare art director Neil Thompson told OXM that new platforms will feature beefed-up graphics, but not on the same level as the past transition.

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"For the next generation there will be a big leap, but it won't be as obvious," Thompson said. "People will do things in a cleverer fashion--and I have to be careful here as there are non-disclosure agreements involved."

According to Thompson, it all comes down to economics. He said the last technology iteration "caught folks by surprise, especially the number of people you needed and the skillset jump that was required to do the work that people expected."

"In the last generation the perception was that it was going to be a ten times improvement over the previous generation."

This led to ballooned budgets, he said, noting that if this were to happen again, games could become economically unviable.

"I think they'll be better prepared, shall we say--but we can't see a ten-fold team increase again as the budgets would just be ridiculous," Thompson said. "You'd have to sell 20-30 million copies before you broke even."

Sony last week announced the PlayStation 4, and Microsoft is rumored to reveal its next-generation Xbox at a one-off event in either March or April.

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