Xbox 720, PS4 Development Costs Have Doubled Says Dev

By William Usher 2012-04-03 12:58:31 discussion comments
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An anonymous developer working with Microsoft's dev kit for their next-gen console, codenamed "Durango", has said that budgets will double and triple for the next generation consoles due to high fidelity models and textures.

Now before anyone buys into this BS, please let me direct you to the Top Misconceptions About The Gaming Industry, check no. 6 first before reading any further, lest you fall victim to industry PR spiel. I'd also like to point out that the reason we cover frequent updates and news for low-cost tools such as Epic's UDK, Unity Technology, Mixamo, xaitment, GameSpy's API, Cubic Motion and IPI Software is to inform gamers and devs that costs don't need to rise to make high quality games and tools are getting cheaper by the quarter.

Anyways, the news comes courtesy of GameIndustry.biz, where a developer working with the "Durango" (Microsoft's nickname for the Xbox 720) mentioned that...
"I'm having to double my budget for models,"... "If we want to take advantage of Durango's capabilities it takes a lot more time for each model."

This guy obviously isn't using cost-effective tools if he had to double his budget for models. Furthermore, the article goes on to explain how publishers will be less likely to take risks during the next gen as costs allegedly skyrocket and dev cycles increase, not to mention the ever-increasing costs of marketing.

All the comments at the bottom of the article make the same informed retort: tools are cheaper now than they've ever been and if it costs more money to make high quality models and textures, you're doing it wrong.

Also, take note that games released nowadays have a much higher graphic fidelity than what gamers actually see. Graphics are actually down-scaled or optimized for the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii (check out this Unity tutorial to see how visual effects, models and physics are optimized for specific platforms). Zbrush and other design tools already output high quality models, and texture resolutions are usually mapped out at a high fidelity and down-sampled for the respective platform. Even if the original textures were low-res (i.e., such was the case with RAGE) how hard is it to upscale the resolution and increase the sharpness? If modders could do it to completely overhaul the textured graphics in Grand Theft Auto IV, Max Payne, Resident Evil 4, Quake and every other moddable game on PC, how on Earth can it cost professional developers a financial arm and leg to do the same?

Anyways, you can check out the entire article over at GameIndustry.biz But don't forget, just because an industry professional tells you that "costs are rising", always find out if what they're saying is actually true, also remember that development tools are dropping in price and that they're probably referring to marketing costs.
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