A string of Xbox 'next-gen' CVs heated up the next-gen console rumours this week - but what would they actually do?
According to Saber Interactive CEO, Matthew Karch, who's currently heading up the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary single-player campaign, "phenomenal things."
Physics, crowd technology, AI and even the way game characters' bodies are simulated will all be greatly benefited by the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720, argues Karch, and the innovation they bring could also herald a new age of smaller, licensed games.
Writing for CVG, Matthew Karch shares his thoughs on the next generation of consoles...
The next-generation of consoles will do great things. We're limited in what we can do right now in terms of games and that comes primarily from the power of the processors.
The best way to put it is it's kind of like being given a Lego set with 100 block and a set with 1000 - you can do a lot more with the second set. You have more wiggle room and more blocks to make something big and great.
New consoles will do phenomenal things with physics; I know the guys at Havoc are just chomping at the bit. There are limits, for visual limitations there's texture memory, but games haven't progressed that far over the last decade. Not that game's aren't really good, but the best way I can show that is playing Halo Anniversary.
If you're a ten-year-old kid and you're playing Halo for the first time - and technically you're not supposed to because it's a mature title - you're not going to know it's a ten year old game.
That says two things: firstly that the first Halo was way ahead of its time and secondly that the difference between the best things that came out ten years ago and the best things that come out today is not that substantial.
I think the next generation of consoles are going to enable different types of experiences. If you can generate real dynamic crowds doing real things, you can't do that on the current generation of consoles. If you can have liquid simulations and better cloth simulations, and instead of rigid body animations have soft body dynamics, flexible joints... think about the type of gameplay that could be created with technology as an enabler.
When I look to the future what I say is that I'd love to see downloadable games, even with a license used. They're a good way of getting it out to the public without having to spend against it. People know World War Z - if I can do that game but innovate and do something no one has done before on the gameplay side, I can use that license as a springboard to allow me to innovate.
New consoles are going to be awesome for that; they're going to be to enable you to do new things in terms of design, and if you can do them in smaller chunks great.
I'm not a publisher. There's a lot of publishers that want to keep the current consoles because the install base is huge and publishers always do well when there's 120 million consoles out there and people are buying games.
Xbox 360 came out first this time and at least in North America they seem to be ahead. So this time around - and I don't have any insight - I'd be shocked if they didn't come out around the same time.
Then there's the dark horses like the OnLive guys who may get into that next round of TVs or cable boxes. There are latency issues with multiplayer stuff but they'll overcome those eventually, and if not there's still room for those cloud games.