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Capcom: Next-Gen Games Require "8-10 Times" More Work

For nearly a year now, we've been hearing developers all around the world praising the accessibility of the new game consoles, especially the PlayStation 4.

I only say "especially" because historically, PlayStation hardware has been notoriously difficult to work with. This has led most gamers to believe that game makers are having an easier time creating titles for the PS4 and Xbox One as opposed to the PS3 and Xbox 360.

However, all new consoles require at least some practice. And in the case of Capcom, a lot of practice, apparently. In speaking to OXM UK, Capcom senior manager Masaru Ijuin stated:

"It's clear that heightened game quality leads to a rise in the number of man hours. The amount of work involved in making games for next-gen consoles is eight to ten times greater than what is required for the current generation of consoles."

Bear in mind that Capcom is currently working on their brand new Panta Rhei engine for next-gen hardware; we'll see it on display in new projects like the anticipated Deep Down. Perhaps that's what's taking all the extra time. Then again, maybe they're seeing some amazing stuff from Western studios and - as usual - a Japanese publisher feels they're lagging behind from a technical standpoint.

I'd just be interested to hear if other accomplished developers and publishers would agree with that "eight to ten times" estimate.

Tags: capcom, next gen games, next gen development

1/11/2014 11:43:49 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (15 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, January 11, 2014 @ 12:08:58 PM
Reply

That's probably overstating things except that Capcom always makes things more difficult than they need to be.

I'm sure making physics and native graphics so much better (just 720p to 1080p is a bigger leap than many think) is a challenge but hopefully the easier architecture will compensate.

It would be really strange if we went from the deluge of awesome games every year in the last generation back down to the more sparse schedules of yesteryear. I'd probably be fine though because it was hard to keep up before and very costly.

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PC_Max
Saturday, January 11, 2014 @ 12:31:56 PM
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I wonder if we will see more companies disappearing this gen. Not so much go under, although that will probably occur, but being bought up by larger companies. Dare I say.... EA.

It may come down to a major gap, very much like society. A ever largening gap between rich and poor. In this case the larger dev/studio and the smaller indie company.

Good or bad, the comsumer pays for it. It would be interesting to see if the increase in cost and development will carry over to the consumer, namely the gamer. More likely, hopefully not, we will see average games at the $59.99 price tage and a dramatic increase in DLC, which may or may add up to an additional $30. Depending on how much they invest in the DLC as their profit where as the game being more a small loss to be compensated by DLC profit.

Hopefully, as has been mentioned, initially the studios will have a lot of overhead and such, but in a year or two will find themselves in a better situation to be more efficient in development. Hopefully they will not sacrifice too much in the way of new IP in favor of existing franchise.

Keep playing and be safe!

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Bonampak
Sunday, January 12, 2014 @ 1:43:06 AM

I have to say that this is a legitimate concern that you brought up.

During the last generation, we had several casualties of the (then) new HD era.

There was Factor 5, Midway, Propaganda Games, Ensemble Studios, Vigil, Silicon Knights, THQ... and what we now know as Crytek UK (Free Radical) also experienced some financial troubles in that era. They barely made it through.

Some studios that belonged to EA were given the axe to save money in those early days. Black Box & Pandemic were some of them. Sony did something similar with SCE Studio's Liverpool. As well as Capcom with Clover Studios. And Konami killed Hudson Soft recently.

Not sure if LucasArts counts since they were bought by Disney and their gaming branch has been in the crapper for years. EA is helping them out with their new IP's.

I just read about Capcom complaining about how much next-gen games are gonna cost them. And they were rumored to be having some financial issues not too long ago (only 150 million in the bank). If MonHun4 wasn't such a huge hit in Japan, I dunno if they could pull through this new gen.

Its gonna be a bumpy ride alright. Lets hope everyone survives it.

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Temjin001
Saturday, January 11, 2014 @ 12:39:22 PM
Reply

It really depends on the scale and level of quality of the project. A Grand Theft Auto designed to push the boundaries of the PS4 and XO would be multiple times more expensive to produce.
The greater detail of graphics and world interactions means more man hours to accomplish it.

This is really a big reason why AAA franchises have turned into annualized or bi-annual cash cows. The project's scale and retention of staff depends on year in and year out revenue. Launching a whole new ip from the ground up would be a lot more expensive as entire new assets design vision would need to be created every go.
Have no doubt, something like Watch Dogs, if it doesn't flop, will see a good 5-6 games on PS4.

EDIT: it's another reason why we see DLC, like Assassin's Creed has had. DLC projects can be looked at as staff busy work. Not all members of a game development studio are needed to the same degree at any set point of time. So having the latter end development teams churn away on DLC keeps them busy while the other more early stage development teams are pounding away on the next major title.



Last edited by Temjin001 on 1/11/2014 12:42:59 PM

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Temjin001
Saturday, January 11, 2014 @ 12:43:46 PM

and, of course, what's hilarious about all of this, is how naive wannabe know it all gamers have concocted their own explanations for why all DLC exists. All of these conspiracies to take advantage of consumers

Last edited by Temjin001 on 1/11/2014 12:44:50 PM

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Teddie9
Saturday, January 11, 2014 @ 4:34:36 PM
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I don't doubt that it's taking some time to get used to the new hardware but my feelings largely align with the end. Most japanese developers seem to be inferior on a technical level when compared to the west.

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, January 11, 2014 @ 4:50:22 PM
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That's not really surprising, considering the graphical and technical leaps that gamers expect. I do remember reading something a short while ago about how AI programs could help to automate development of games to a certain degree and if that comes about, it could really help developers out some, but then I think you could end up with a feeling that games are coming off an assembly line.

That kind of multiplication is going to put a lot of stress on developers, I think, so we're likely to see more people leaving the industry, especially if the demands of the current release schedules keep up.

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Kiryu
Saturday, January 11, 2014 @ 4:59:53 PM
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Capcom use Panta Rhei Engine to bring back Onimusha 5 for the PS4.

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Bonampak
Sunday, January 12, 2014 @ 2:00:59 AM

I'm sorry to tell you that Capcom has taken that series to the mobile games market.

Unfortunately for anyone who wants the series to return to consoles, Onimusha is actually doing rather well for itself on smartphones.

EDIT: And I didn't vote you down! LOL Someone else did.

Last edited by Bonampak on 1/12/2014 2:01:37 AM

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Beamboom
Saturday, January 11, 2014 @ 5:06:41 PM
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I assume they now have assets and computing capacity in mind, and not architecture complexity.

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xnonsuchx
Saturday, January 11, 2014 @ 8:23:08 PM
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Sounds like BS to me. Especially if they also did PC versions of the games, there shouldn't be a whole lot more to do than before. Maybe they meant 8-10%, not 8-10X.

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___________
Sunday, January 12, 2014 @ 2:02:17 AM
Reply

common sense really.
pushing up the detail, having a far more accurate physics system, lighting system, better more reactive AI, more open complex levels, all come at a cost.
one reason why i was really intrigued and excited about the unlimited detail engine, they say it cuts the development costs, manpower, and time required for development significantly.
suppose to be seeing a few games using it at E3 this year so it will be interesting to see not only the added fidelity voxels will bring, but also get developers feedback on how time saving it really is.
would be great if we could bring down the average blockbuster budget, and more importantly also bring down the waiting time.

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Beamboom
Monday, January 13, 2014 @ 4:44:11 AM

Underline is correct here. It's not that the machine itself is so much more complicated from a technical point of view, it's the capacity of the machine that bodes for extra work.
When you got a machine that can handle so more brainwork, youre pretty much forced to *use* that brainwork capacity to do justice to the platform and meet the competition.

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___________
Monday, January 13, 2014 @ 7:32:37 AM

not to mention the GDDR5 memory, no ones ever used that for system memory.
ask any developer what there having the most problems with they will point to that.
another thing not helping, 8 core CPUs.
very few PCs have 6 cores let alone 8 cores, and most games are not even hyperthreaded properly to utilize 4 core CPUs properly!
thats why allot of games you look at your CPU usage and it will be really low in game, than switch to battlefield 3 and it will be maxed out easily.
thats because BF3 was one of the first games to properly use hyperthreading to have CPUs singing on all cylinders.
and actually if you read the full interview, crapcom points to this, the 8 core CPUs, as one of the major causes of increased manpower requirements.

heres hoping unlimited detail engine comes out soon, we start seeing games running on it, and fingers crossed it actually does cut costs and manpower as drastically as they have promised.

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sobleck
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 @ 7:23:50 AM
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I recall that these some of these games are built on pc first then ported. I remember an IGN article stating that when porting from the pc to ps4 "it just works" with frames at around 24-30 fps, then optimisation begins.

So I'm inclined to agree with the notion that it may be the development of next gen specific engines that is causing Capcom the extra work. A few developers have built scalable engines, I believe, to aid with this.

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