BioWare: next-gen graphics are "a big leap," but the difference "won't be as obvious"
We've heard from Crytek on the stacked odds next-gen consoles face against PCs in the ongoing struggle for graphics glory, but BioWare has some thoughts on how money factors into whatever dances across your screen. In an interview with OXM, Art Director Neil Thompson believes the next graphics tier will represent "a big leap" for studios, but any such progression "won't be as obvious" due to already ballooned budgets.
"People will do things in a cleverer fashion—and I have to be careful here as there are non-disclosure agreements involved; 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. You'd have to sell 20-30 million copies before you broke even," Thompson explains.
Though Thompson's comments deal more with the generational differences between consoles instead of PCs, his stance on developers staying economically aware as they push their games' visuals further seems pretty universal. It's a far cry from the consumer side of the issue, as gamers can achieve comparable visual quality with a setup costing as little as $600.
"I think the main thing is that the industry doesn't get itself into a corner where it becomes economically nonviable to make a game," Thompson continues. "The last technology iteration caught folks by surprise, especially with 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."
Check out the rest of OXM's interview for more of Thompson's words on BioWare's art direction and life at the studio.