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Dying Light developer Techland has killed the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the survival horror game. They felt that the older consoles couldn't handle the game.
"We have come to the conclusion that we have no choice but to leave past-gen systems behind and release Dying Light exclusively on the next-gen consoles and PC," the studio said on Facebook. "Put simply, older consoles just couldn’t run the game and stay true to the core vision of Dying Light at the same time."
Techland has been building Dying Light over the past three years. The game is the first to use Chrome Engine 6, the latest version of their proprietary technology. CE6 was built specifically with next-gen games in mind.
"Much of this 'next-gen feel' is tightly connected to the technological side of Dying Light. For instance, up to 200,000 objects can be displayed in the game at once. Add to this our use of realistic, physics-based lighting technology and you really start to push the next-gen systems to the limits. Features like these along with our core gameplay pillars – such as the player-empowering Natural Movement, threefold character development system, and vast open world – are all an inherent part of how Dying Light plays. However, combining all of these into one fluid experience is only possible on technologically advanced platforms."
It's not surprising that a developer would have trouble developing a game for consoles released in 2005 and 2006 and current-gen platforms while keeping quality consistent. That certainly sounds like a challenge if they want to make sure that, for example, every version can support co-op.
What is surprising, though, is that Techland and Warner Bros. were willing to cancel the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. It's not a trivial business move. Both consoles have over 80 million owners, while their newer successors have only a fraction of that number. WB and Techland are giving up a lot of potential money by dropping these versions, especially this far into development.
I think a lot of companies in this situation would shrug their shoulders, release the subpar PS3 and Xbox 360 versions and hope they turn a tidy profit in spite of poor reviews. That's, sadly, not as big of a gamble as you'd think. Most critics, whether they're traditional press or YouTubers, will only get advance copies of the new-gen version(s) of games so that's what forms their initial impression that they broadcast to the world. The relative shittiness of the last-gen port ends up being less reported and becomes a sort of footnote to the reviews of the shiny, new versions.
Anyway, point is: I'm glad to see game companies cut bait rather than releasing products they're not satisfied with. Let's hope that the surviving versions of Dying Light turn out to be worth playing in the end. The game will be out in late January on PS4, Xbox One and PC.