It seems that it is not easy to make video games. Who would’ve believed that ? And it’s even more difficult to get a title to work on two different console generations at the same time, according to Thomas Puha, communications director at Remedy, the studio behind Control.
During the Next-Gen Console Watch, Thomas Puha highlighted the issues for developers who have to release a game like Control on one generation and the next, especially if the studio is rather small with few resources (like Remedy).
“Anytime you find yourself at this generational crossroads, to put it bluntly, it’s boring,” says Puha. “You have to be compatible with the previous generation, be sure it works, and so anything you bring to the nex-gen is still limited by the choices you made years ago for the previous generation. It’s not very realistic to imagine that we are redoing all this old game and bringing it to the next-gen. It doesn’t work like that. This is not plausible for us because you are taking resources useful to build future games and improve the future engine. “
Puha goes on to point out that this is why the PS5 and Xbox Series games don’t look as good as they would like them to be – a bit better than the previous generation, but with no real noticeable improvement.
“The games that are going to be released, the stuff we are working on, the visual level, you will be blown away. You just have to look at the previous generations. Watch Modern Warfare. I can’t understand how this game looks so good on Xbox One and PS4. And it will be the same for the current generations. We will see many improvements. “
Thomas Puha then points out that many problems related to the development of games for the new generations are related to tools and resources. He notes how Control first came out with a version of its game engine in August 2019, and then the engine was totally updated to include next-gen compatibility – undoing anything Remedy had put in place.
“When you get to the time to turn [un jeu] on next-gen systems, on a new engine, it takes months just for everything to work, ”he explains. “Nothing works right away. The content looks like nothing, the textures look like nothing, the lighting is on the floor, because we made all these improvements in 2019, which are no longer compatible. It took months – the game is running, we ran it in the summer of last year, but without all the neat additions … it took longer to get it back to where everything worked like on the old gen. And now we can really start having fun with everything next-gen. “
Developers need to select precisely what they want to work on, he says. But if he wants to use all the benefits of the next-gen for a game taken from the previous generation, it will take time normally used for the design of new titles.
“We could keep developing features for this game for months, even years, but that would screw up the next project that these developers are supposed to be working on. This is the reality of an organization developing several projects. “
Control: Ultimate Edition is now available on PS5 and Xbox Series S and X, despite the issue of save transfers. You can find the results of the improvements on IGN France.
Erwan Lafleuriel is Editor-in-Chief of IGN France. A video game slave for 40 years, he only escapes occasionally to mourn his defeats on Twitter.