According to Control developer Remedy Entertainment’s communications director Thomas Puha, making a cross-generational video game is a tricky challenge, especially when developers have fewer resources to work with on older hardware.
“Whenever you’re in this cross-generational point, to be blunt, it sucks,” Puha said on IGN’sNext-Gen Console Watch. “You have to support the previous gen, make sure that sings, and then whatever you bring to next-gen is still limited by the choices you made years ago for the previous generation. It’s not a very realistic thing, that this old game, we’re just going to remake everything and then bring it to next-gen. It’s just not like that. It’s not a reality for us, because you’re literally taking away resources that are building the future games and improving the engine for the future.”
Puha also explained that getting a game with a new engine to run smoothly on new console hardware is a process that takes several months to get right. As an example, he mentioned how Control’s game engine from August 2019 was updated so that it could offer more next-gen visuals, but this effectively broke everything that Remedy had created up to that point.
“When you get to the point where you have to get [a game] running on next-gen systems, on a new engine it takes several months just to get everything working,” Puha said. “Nothing works at first. The content looks wrong, the textures look wrong, the lighting is busted, because we’ve made all these improvements but then they’re incompatible with what we had in 2019. It took months–the game is running, we had it running back in summer of last year, but it didn’t have any of the nice things. It just took quite a while to get to the level where we had everything working that we had in the previous-gen version. Now we can actually start doing all that cool next-gen stuff.”
Puha is still optimistic for what future video games will look like on the PS5 and Xbox Series X, as developers have begun “scratching the surface” of what that hardware is capable of. Remedy recently recorded its best year ever in terms of the money it made despite releasing no games, making €41.1 million in revenue thanks in part to royalty income from Control and money it received from Epic to develop two new games exclusively for the Epic Games Store.
The Finnish studio has also increased its staff numbers by 11% to 275 employees and will release CrossFireX on Xbox later this year.
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