Ken Levine is best known for having created Bioshock, one of the more cinematic and high-production-value franchises out there. So it seems a little strange at first to hear him saying that a new generation of more powerful consoles would be such a problem.
Speaking on an Irrational Games podcast, he said:
At this point I have no desire as a developer and zero desire as a gamer to see the next generation come out where I’m sitting right now.
It still costs us a fortune to make games on this platform. If they’re going to up the scale, up the art, up the content, I don’t know how to make that and sell it to anybody for under $100 a game. Who wants to do that? It’s bad for everybody.
That really puts into perspective, right? It’s an objection I raised regarding the PSP2/NGP. The amount of work and money being put into AAA games is pretty insane, and if your platform is built around that kind of game, there’s a tradeoff. And right now it seems we’re more or less at the limits of what the consoles and development tools can do on a decent budget.
Personally I’m heartened in this debate by the fact that indie and downloadable games are taking off like crazy. You don’t need a thirty million dollar budget to make a great game, and while there will always be a place for the big guns, the word these days seems to be “diversify.” Sony and Microsoft have both taken this to heart, but interestingly it’s Nintendo that seems to have fallen into the bigger rut. That said, it’s actually Nintendo who would benefit most from a new console. We live in interesting times for gaming, friends. Live it up.