- Nov 30, 2012
Ratchet needs to load the high quality assets fast. Reduce the quality and you don't need such fast loading. Also the transitions could be masked with, dunno, a warp effect for a couple of seconds. The rest of the game would be the exact same on PS4, same gameplay, same look, same level design. The only difference is the transition effects. And again, instant transitions isn't something new. I could say the same thing Nintendo said about Super Mario 64 or Acclaim about the original Turok. Both games would be impossible on the PS1 because they would have to stop to load assets. And we are talking about same generation consoles here. But the reality is, both games would be possible with some added loading screens or "transition corridors" and the occasional graphical downgrade.Ratchet would be impossible on the slow PS4, as all the next gen games that explore the SSD will. Also, CPU heavy games, with advanced physics and destruction will be impossible as well.
Speed of loading has changed several times in the past, there was a huge, even bigger jump in that department when the transition from home computers to consoles happened. The case where i felt this had a huge impact on game design was with games like Super Metroid. That game would be impossible on Amiga disks because of it's free roaming nature, it would be impossible to predict where the character will go next so you would change disks every few seconds (it would have to be a 3 or 4 disks game assuming it was ported). Otherwise they would have to reduce the graphical assets and animations to a huge degree and cut down the map a bit in order to be able to fit in 1 disk. Or make it available only on hard disk but that was an expensive luxury. I don't think games will have such big differences that will absolutely require faster loading times or else the whole game design falls apart. But we will see i guess.
In all cases, the speed of loading was never advertised (as much as it is now) as a big feature to define a new generation. Nobody even cared about N64's faster loading, they were all too busy claiming it was even a step back. Magazines didn't care because the Playstation was all the rage so gamers didn't care. But everyone suddenly does care now because there's nothing else to advertise.
As for advanced physics and destruction, these games are usually possible in last gen by reducing number of particles or making the mesh surfaces affected bigger. At least that's how it works on PC games when you try to play newer games with heavy physics on older CPUs. The difference is usually small enough that you have to actively look for it to notice. Personally, i haven't felt a game being affected too much by it's advanced physics for a long time. I can only remember Waverace on the N64, where the waves actually affected things like speed, momentum, angle, etc and the Red Faction games. Most newer games with advanced physics only use them for graphical effects, like explosions, particles, cloth physics and hair. That means nothing that affects game design or gameplay. Though, i'm pretty sure there are plenty of indy games that go for physics based games. Do gamers care that much though?