NEWS - Thursday, January 25, 2007


Bigger Isn’t Better

Howard, who is head of production at Microsoft’s Carbonated Games, helped lead the creation of the XBLA version of UNO, which has seen big success on the console. UNO weighs in at a dainty 23MB—and much of that amount is attributed to the game’s music. Howard says that an XBLA game size limit increase has been discussed at Microsoft, but even though Carbonated is a Microsoft first-party, he’s not heard an official confirmation of an official size limit increase. A spokesperson for Microsoft told Next-Gen today that the company “has not announced any plans to increase the 50MB size of XBLA games.” But even if the limit is increased across the board, that 50MB target has helped established a small-game mentality that XBLA developers will continue to embrace, according to Howard. “From my standpoint, more isn’t better,” he says. “The 50MB cap, I think, has served its purpose. Its purpose was to demonstrate to developers that you can really do a tremendous amount in that size space.” Howard, a self-confessed Mutant Storm Reloaded fan, says that console developers that were used to creating much larger projects felt “paralyzed” by the size limit at first. “It’s like asking somebody that writes a novel to put it in a haiku. … It’s been exciting to see how [developers have] taken [those limitations] and expanded their ideas on their own,” he says. Microsoft recently made a notable exception to the 50MB limit for XBLA games with Konami’s forthcoming Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which is 96MB. Recently, consumer site 1UP cited unnamed sources who said that the cap was increased to 250MB, with 450MB possible with Microsoft approval. Microsoft has limited the size of XBLA games so they could fit onto Xbox 360’s standard 64MB memory cards, while at the same time promoting “bite-sized” gameplay. Sony’s size limit for downloadable PlayStation 3 titles is a significantly heftier 500MB. Howard speculates that if the XBLA limit were increased officially, larger games won’t necessarily permeate the service. “I think you’ll see games that tend to get a little bigger, but I don’t think it’s because anyone is convinced bigger is better anymore.”
Source: http://www.next-gen.biz/

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