Ubi: Taking Full Advantage of Next-Gen Will Require a Re-Architecture of the Way We Make Open Worlds

Alessio Palumbo
PlayStation 5 event Next-Gen Microsoft loading screens PS5

In the last two days, we've recently published our reviews of the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X next-gen consoles. Seven years after the release of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, there's finally a new generation of hardware promising to push games forward.

Galvin Whitlock, Lead Programmer on Watch Dogs Legion, spoke to Wccftech about the potential and challenges presented by the next-gen consoles designed by Sony and Microsoft that will release next week.

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There are a lot of restrictions that we have to work with to make large open world games run on an HDD. Being able to load our models and textures with true random-access and with a more just-in-time approach will allow us to fill the memory with the things you’re seeing on screen now, rather than the ones you may be seeing soon. This will have a big impact on the visual variety and complexity of the world we can create. For Watch Dogs Legion, we have been working very closely with our first-parties partners to make sure loading times were fully optimized. In the future, a re-architecture of the way we make open-world games will allow us to go even further in how we take advantage of new consoles’ hardware innovations.

I’m impressed with the increased CPU capabilities of the next-gen consoles. We want to make more complex simulations and give more life to the worlds we create. All of this takes CPU power and we are looking forward to making our AI, animation and physics simulations more real and involving. I really want to see the players actions have more and more impact on the game world and the people in it.

We’ve only just started with ray-tracing hardware. We’re going to continue to use it to make the lighting more dynamic and real. It’s a period of innovation and I’m excited to see what novel approaches we can take with this hardware.

It may well take a considerable amount of time as developers rework their technology stacks around the capabilities of next-gen consoles, though that is after all something we've witnessed in previous generations as well to an extent. Still, it's an exciting time as we get a glimpse into the games of the future, which will hopefully feature much livelier and reactive virtual worlds than we've ever seen before.

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