What Some Big-Time Developers Think Of The PlayStation 4

What Some Big-Time Developers Think Of The PlayStation 4

Those who have had a chance to play around with Sony’s latest console, the PS4, have been sharing their experiences and what they think about Sony’s latest big black box with those of us who have not. But what about the developers? Those who are involved in making the software for us to enjoy — What do they think?

It’s a little over two months before Sony’s next generation star player hits shelves — or rather, two months before the “Sold Out” signs line the store shelves where the PlayStation 4 should be — so Weekly Famitsu asked some noted developers with games currently scheduled for release on the PS4 for their impressions on Sony’s new console.

Shinji Mikami (The Evil Within)

Is there anything in particular that you have been able to achieve with the PS4 version of The Evil Within?

I believe [the PS4] has allowed me to focus on the details. By piling up individual bits of ‘it can do this,’ ‘it can do that,’ the overall visual grade has increased. Details and reality are important for the horror genre. Even in a fictitious world, if you show visuals with reality in them, you begin to think that ‘such a world is possible.’ I feel that the next-gen hardware has raised the bar on expression in this respect.

Is the PS4 easy to develop for?

To be honest, we’re still finding our feet with it. It’s no longer the era where you can understand a piece of hardware by making just one game for it, so I think we’ll come to see its merits as we grow accustomed to developing for it.

Does any of the PS4’s features or specs grab your attention?

Actually, I haven’t fully grasped [the PS4’s specs]. In this day and age, for me, the evolution of engines and dev tools is more important to the development side than the evolution of the hardware. Naturally, the hardware has advanced a lot and as a frame is superb. But the important part is the engine and tools. And in the end, the most important part is the human element and the quality born from the developers. These days, because of the advancement of hardware, the development environment and skills are put into question. In that manner, it’s become much harder.

Naoki Yoshida (Final Fantasy XIV)

Is there anything in particular you have been able to achieve because you are developing a PS4 version of Final Fantasy XIV?

As an MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV is a world shared by thousands of players, and by seeing numerous high-quality characters on the screen at the same time, you can really come to understand how fun it is. The PS4 is a high-spec machine so we’re making use of its abilities to their full extent in the number of displayable characters and the individual quality of the character models.

Which aspect of the PS4 are you the most excited about?

Definitely the high memory capacity. It’s a never-ending battle with memory capacity for us, so having that is a big relief. Of course just because it’s a relief doesn’t mean things are easier. By increasing the memory, the freedom of design and expression increases. Characters and maps can be displayed in high quality. The SHARE button, the remote play capabilities, and the companion apps all allow for more freedom. It feels like the PS4 is saying to us, ‘I’ve prepared an amusement park for you. Here is some equipment, too. How you put it all together and what you express is up to you.’ So the next thing for us is to squeeze out an idea. In that way, the PS4 has made things easier but also challenges us.

Mark Cerny (Knack)

How is developing for the PS4 compared to previous hardware?

Making a test program and trying it out on the PS4 is easy. [Knack] requires physics calculations for 5,000 individual parts. With previous hardware, making a program for such calculations would have been extremely time consuming, but with the PS4, it’s relatively easy and allowed us to simply ‘make it and try it out.’ You have an idea, you try it out, and if it’s good, you keep it, if it’s not, you think of something else. This cycle has been accelerated as a result. By shortening this cycle, I believe PS4 games can be richer.

The PlayStation 4 is headed to stores in November. Well, in the West at least. Japan’s release date still remains unannounced (dammit). Hopefully, Sony will announce an official Japanese release date at its upcoming press conference next Monday.

ファミ通.com [ファミ通.com]


  • Seems odd to me to ask Mark Cerny what he thinks of developing on the console he designed the architecture for. I would hope it pretty much perfectly meets his needs.

  • “Is the PS4 easy to develop for?”

    This is the number one question for me… this was the problem with the PS3.. so I really hope developers can come to grips with whatever the new engine etc is.. From the answers given, it’s still not certain whether this generation of PS will be easy enough to develop for that we will get natively developed titles…

    • By all reports it’s a much simpler architecture than the PS3. And very similar to that of the XB1 and PC (in fact maybe even slightly simpler than the XB1 since that has additional ESRAM and move units to try and bridge the speed gap between DDR3 and GDDR5 RAM) so you’d assume that at least it won’t be any more difficult to work with than those platforms.

      • On the other hand, PS4 architecture would need to overcome the latency gap between DDR3 and GDDR5 RAM. The latter has nearly seven times higher latency, one of the main reasons it’s limited to graphics card RAM in PCs to date.

        In both cases those are things the OS should handle transparently. Developers shouldn’t really need to care about it.

        • Perhaps the more pertinent question should be “Is it easier to develop for than PC & XboxOne?”.

          PC and Xbox One both use Direct X and have similar memory for the CPU (DDR). Almost identical development environments for 2/3 platforms – and then there’s the PS4 version to worry about.

          It may be a question we’ve had inadvertently answered by the multiple responses (to the question of “is it easy to develop for?”) stating “it’s easier to develop for than PS3.”

          I believe the devs when they say PS4 development is easier than PS3. It’s whether PS4 is easier to develop for than PC/XboxOne that will really matter for multiplatform title quality that’s more important for potential future PS4 owners to mull over.

        • considering most of the horsepower for gaming is on the GPU in modern games and the CPU is not utilised to full potential I’d say the opposite.
          Remember it is an APU, RAM speed has way more impact then people realise on an APU. Ram speed does not matter as much on a dedicated CPU as the gpu has its own ram – gddr5.

          I think Sony made the right call, especially long term.

          • I do understand the differences, and I think you’re wrong. I think Sony made an error in judgement that can be compensated for, but requires more care from the developers. I think you underestimate how much CPU is used on non-console ports, and (from personal experience) for realtime calculations like physics, pathfinding and AI, a sevenfold increase in RAM latency makes a pretty significant difference in how you write game logic.

            Speed is a vague term that doesn’t help in this comparison. GDDR5 has higher bandwidth which allows more throughput, but at much higher latency. DDR3 has much lower latency, for lower throughput.

            The best comparison would be between a hypothetical 50Mbit satellite internet connection that gives you 700ms pings, or a 25Mbit ADSL2 connection with 100ms ping. Sure, the satellite may give you more throughput, but expect to have significant trouble playing realtime games with it.

    • “Will the similar architecture of the XB1, PS4 and PC mean more faithful PC ports of console games?” is the number one question for me. I don’t really care about the consoles, but for fucks sake, can we get a good PC port of Red Dead Redemption, please?

  • The only difficulity I can see at the start for devs is that the PS4 utilises GDDR5 for graphics and system memory…but given that the rest of the console is based on a PC…it should make game development eaiser

  • Asking Cerny pretty much invalidates the whole thing really.

    It’s like asking the CEO of Ford if he thinks their cars are any good.

    • How does that invalidate the opinions of Shinji Mikami and Naoki Yoshida, neither of whom work for Sony?

  • There wasn’t a lot of insight in those interviews, to be honest, with the exception , for me personally, of this quote by Shinji Mikami:

    “…the evolution of engines and dev tools is more important to the development side than the evolution of the hardware. Naturally, the hardware has advanced a lot and as a frame is superb. But the important part is the engine and tools. And in the end, the most important part is the human element and the quality born from the developers”.

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