NEWS - Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Direct Talk From Japanese Xbox 360 DevelopersJapanese gaming magazine Famitsu Xbox has interviewed some of Japans top game developers currently working on titles for the Xbox 360, in anticipation of the machines end-of-year launch. All in all, its looking positive for Microsoft, with the likes of Tecmos Tomonobu Itagaki stating, perhaps unsurprisingly given Team Ninjas well-documented support for the current-gen Xbox, translated from Japanese by Gamespot, "When you consider the essence of video games, you cant take away its graphics, sound, and interactivity. The Xbox 360 is the best solution at the current time." Koji Ito, director of Yukes Xbox 360 wrestling title, Wrestle Kingdom, also praises the sheer graphical might of Microsofts wonder box: "Self-shadowing effects contribute a lot to making a pro wrestling game [...] trying to render the wrestlers muscles is really the key point. But up until now, we couldnt even use a virtual self-shadowing effect due to hardware limitations." Its no secret that the next-generation of consoles are set to offer visuals unlike anything weve seen at home before, but according to some comments it may be some time before the full potential of the 360s multi-core architecture is realized. Capcoms Keiji Inafune believes that there will be a significant divide in games appearing after launch, split between "games that feel like something on current-generation consoles and games that feel like theyre Xbox 360 titles", while developers work to make the most of the Xbox 360s undeniable might. This news wont come as much of a surprise to anyone whos followed the life cycles of previous-generation consoles over the years. Of more concern though, perhaps, are the words of From Software producer Masanori Takeuchi, currently working on RPG Enchant Arms. It seems that, even at this early stage, Microsofts decision to stick with the standard DVD format (as opposed to HD-DVD, or Sonys Blu-ray system) is causing headaches for developers keen to offer data-heavy games. According to Takeuchi, "The volume of data in Enchant Arms wont fit into a single DVD. Its an RPG, so were thinking it would be inevitable that we release it on two discs - but to be honest, thats even looking grim." The issue isnt likely to affect less data-intensive games, but with the Japanese market still so heavily focused on quality RPG titles, a move to HD-DVD or other high-storage media may be inevitable if Microsoft is serious about capturing Japanese gamers hearts, minds and wallets.