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Fallout 4 is one of the biggest new games in the works by Bethesda and everyone has been worried about whether or not the game would come to the seventh generation home consoles. Well, it's been unofficially confirmed that the game won't be coming to the Xbox 360 and PS3 because they can't handle what Bethesda is doing with the game.
A brief post on Neogaf from Bethesda's community lead, Matt Grandstaff, explained that...
It is not coming to 360 and PS3, the stuff we’re doing will never work there.
This followed up on a post where it was stated that Fallout 4 would “not be on the Xbox 360 or PS3” and someone asked for more clarity on that statement. Grandstaff provided that moment of clarity.
It's not surprising at all given that the seventh gen twins are approaching a decade old. Just imagine that, though, games from the year 2000 trying to run on game systems from 1990... it's the same concept. Except absolutely ludicrous because the software gap and the hardware capabilities have advanced so far ahead of these systems that even now the Xbox One and PS4 are leagues behind today's high-end systems since seventh gen lasted so long. In fact, it lasted so long that today's high-end gaming rigs are standardized for 4K gaming, where-as mid-range systems are setup for 1080p or 2K gaming. It's kind of insane.
Basically, technology outside of the gaming sphere has evolved rather rapidly but the elongated seventh generation of gaming held things up so much in the console world that just hitting 1080p at 60fps is now considered the Holy Grail for eighth-gen gaming. For something like Fallout 4 it's even unlikely that a game that large and ambitious would even be able to hit 1080p and 60fps on the Xbox One and PS4. The likelihood is that the game might hit 1080p at 30fps on PS4 and maybe 900p at 30fps on the Xbox One if it's going to take everything that Fallout 3 did but ramp it up by a few notches.
Open-world games are especially taxing on consoles because they have to constantly adjust for a lot of unpredictable things that players may do to change the way the game world reacts. In corridor shooters or racing games the only reactive variables are the AI or maybe some set pieces being destroyed. Most times triggered events are placed along a set path a little like explosions rigged to go off at a certain point in a Hollywood movie. For open-world games there may be event triggers but they may or may not go off depending on where the player goes or what they do. Add in things like character customization, pets, multiple endings, a day and night cycle and weather and you have yourself a hot pot of resource management to contend with.
Slightly Mad Studios faced down a lot of performance problems with getting Project CARS to run properly on the Xbox One and PS4 because of the real-time weather and day/night cycles, so I can only imagine what sort of optimization tricks Bethesda would have to pull out for a game as large as Fallout 4. We'll definitely get to see and learn more about what the company has in store at this year's E3.