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EA Comments on Revolution Development

by Steven Rodriguez - April 25, 2006, 11:02 pm EDT
Total comments: 45 Source: Gamasutra

"One of the challenges for the Revolution is that it's not HD."

Gamasutra got a chance to talk to a lot of industry big-wigs at Game Developer's Confrence last month. Among them was the vice president and general manger of EA's Los Angeles Studio, Neil Young.

He confirmed the obvious--there are Revolution titles in development at Electronic Arts. Specifics weren't mentioned, but he did have a few things to comment on about the Revolution hardware itself.

"One of the challenges for the Revolution is that it's not HD," Young said. EALA is currently finishing up Battle for Middle Earth II on the Xbox 360, a real-time strategy game. Young referenced the fact that HD graphics allow for smaller objects to stand out more when sitting further away from the screen, as opposed to sitting up close like a computer monitor.

After discussing the advantages that the 360 has with its HD graphics, Young continued, "The [Revolution's] hardware performance is sort of current gen plus, versus the 10x or 20x multiple that you get on next-gen. I mean, EA is building stuff for it, but I kind of prefer the DS. It makes the most sense to me."

Electronic Arts will likely reveal its Revolution lineup at E3, two weeks from now.

Talkback

KnoxxvilleApril 25, 2006

EA's gonna be eatin' crow once the Revolution is televised.

Infernal MonkeyApril 25, 2006

So this explains why the majority of EA games have been horse piss all these years, they haven't been in HD!

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusApril 25, 2006

I hope he enjoys explaining himself when all the 360 owners without HDTVs can't see anything.

Ubisoft had trouble when they took HD for granted in King Kong and now EA's making the same mistake. There's no guarantee that users are going to have the option. I think that Nintendo not going to HD may actually help 360 and PS3 owners if it means developers are forced to consider standard resolutions when designing their games.

It's hard work not having to add a feature

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusApril 25, 2006

Another thought - could this be a "challenge" because this team usually develops PC games and hasn't had to work with lower resolutions in the past?

ruby_onixApril 25, 2006

I've heard a number of people saying that the reason the DS isn't being stormed by RTS games is because (despite the touchscreen, which should make them awesome), the screen's 256x192 resolution just can't accomodate something like an RTS very well.

While I do think Nintendo's "no HD" position is somewhat shortsighted and might bite them in the ass (and I'd like to know how much money they actually saved on the Rev hardware because of it), 640x480 should be adequate for something like a RTS.

Quote

Young referenced the fact that HD graphics allow for smaller objects to stand out more when sitting further away from the screen, as opposed to sitting up close like a computer monitor.

This doesn't seem to make much sense to me. Isn't it just "screen size" that lets you see details at a distance? And with bigscreen TV's you could see too much detail, so it looked blocky, so they decided to improve the resolution (in a rather disorganized manner)?

GoldenPhoenixApril 25, 2006

"One of the challenges for the Revolution is that it's not HD,"

Translation: Since we cannot mask poor gameplay with pretty HD graphics, it actually means we have to think about the gameplay for Revolution games and have to utilize the controller to make them unique. At least EA now has an excuse for poor Revolution games. Really though, I find it laughable that one of the few companies to blast Revolution for HD, is the one known for lazy ports or rehashed games.

GoldenPhoenixApril 25, 2006

Quote



While I do think Nintendo's "no HD" position is somewhat shortsighted and might bite them in the ass (and I'd like to know how much money they actually saved on the Rev hardware because of it), 640x480 should be adequate for something like a RTS.


From what I gathered you need alot more horsepower for HD, so Nintendo probaly did save quite a bit by not going HD.

wanderingApril 25, 2006

This isn't surprising. EA wants to suppport Revolution, sure...but they also want games on the 360 and PS3 to sell. And to have that happen, I imagine they need people to buy into the whole idea that HD is the next big, necessary step in gaming.

MarioApril 25, 2006

It's a pretty sad scenario what EA's gonna have to do now... Revolution will force them to shake up their precious sports franchises, which they've strategically been slowly upgrading to get the most cash out of consumers for as long as they can.

Revolution will mean a big leap for those franchises if EA wants to be taken as a serious publisher on Revolution. They can either make a full fledged Madden / Fifa game that uses the Revmote to the max (gamers win), or give the Rev a bunch of sloppy GameCube ports (gamers lose).

What I think they'll do is go the obvious conservative EA route, just chuck in a few new controller features at first just to say "hey look we're using the new controller!" then slowly add one new bit of revmote gameplay every year. They also risk making the cashcow PS3 and Xbox 360 versions look outdated if they utilise the brand new controller fully.

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While I do think Nintendo's "no HD" position is somewhat shortsighted and might bite them in the ass (and I'd like to know how much money they actually saved on the Rev hardware because of it)

I don't think that really had much to do with the decision, it's mainly about focusing on the normal TV market so we aren't left behind, plus they don't want any "Battlefield 360" scenarios happening (the game is ONLY playable in HD).

NephilimApril 26, 2006

Clearly down porting games isnt fun, COD2 for xbox and ps2
FEAR 2 for console, wont be the same game as PC version
Half-life 2 was raped too hell
I could go on all day, of Graphic card/cpu heavy games that have been a problem

"plus they don't want any "Battlefield 360" scenarios happening (the game is ONLY playable in HD)."
Sorry to say, that statement is false
Iv seen it been played on a small normal tv, both demo and full version

ruby_onixApril 26, 2006

Quote

Originally posted by: VGrevolution
From what I gathered you need alot more horsepower for HD, so Nintendo probaly did save quite a bit by not going HD.

If some developer were to say "I don't care if the graphics suck, I NEEEED tiny little fine details (at least for those gamers who can take advantage of them)." That would cost Nintendo nothing. All they'd need is maybe an HDMI port or something.

Iwata tells developers "I'll save you money. You don't really want HD. So now you can't have it." Some developers are obviously going to say "No Iwata, I'll save you some money. I'll bring my wares to Sony/MS."

I don't think Nintendo is looking after the gamers with Standard Definition TV sets. I don't think they're particularly trying to save developers some money (although maybe they are). I think they're just being their usual Nintendo-cheapo selves. Cutting any costs they think they can get away with, even if sometimes the benefits outweigh the cost on things.

couchmonkeyApril 26, 2006

Oh noes, it's the great HDTV debate again! If it's as easy to add as Ruby Onix suggests, then maybe Nintendo will add it when it becomes a big feature. If it's not that easy to add, then Nintendo is probably saving lots of money. I think it's a shame the system doesn't support HDTV, but I don't really care anymore since the company showed the system's other features.

It is probably a bit of a pain to port games down from the XBox 360 / PS3 standard, but as far as I'm concerned EA can suck it up and get to work! The Revolution doesn't really have to undo EA's hard work on making the games slightly better each year, in fact the company can be extra sneaky and sell games on the merit of the new controller while taking some unrelated features out. Blame it on the system's lack of power, and give yourself several more years worth of incremental imrpovements that you already know how to implement.

CericApril 26, 2006

I'm going to say this again to everyone. Nintendo already stated that they have spent a lot of money on the Revolutions controller R&D and I'm almost convinced that it was originally slated to be a Cube accessory but Nintendo noticed they needed to do something more 2-3 years ago, especial since MS came to play the game. That beingt said if HD was as simple as adding a port Nintendo would be all for that. It's not. There are changes that they would probably have to make to there whole underlying API to compensate. These changes don't necessarily have anything to do with the HD graphic rendering but maybe device drivers and interaction to random arrays sizes. All this equals more R&D money.

KnoxxvilleApril 26, 2006

Does anyone in this forum even care or buy Madden? I know I don't.....

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusApril 26, 2006

To do HD, a port would have been required, a much larger frame buffer and a GPU with more fillrate. Collectively, these things would have significantly increased R&D and final part costs.

BigJimApril 26, 2006

In other words, compete with competitors that've chipped away at them for 15 years. Oh noes! face-icon-small-wink.gif

SgtShiversBenApril 26, 2006

...I bought NFL2K5 for five dollars at Hollywood Video...

Am I a bad person?

Ian SaneApril 26, 2006

"...I bought NFL2K5 for five dollars at Hollywood Video...

Am I a bad person?"

That's a Sega game so it's okay. face-icon-small-wink.gif

EA can't rely on people having HDTVs for their games so this comment is either stupid or they're just making excuses. I wanted Nintendo to provide HD as an option for consumers that can use it but their shouldn't be games being made that REQUIRE it. If the issue was that the hardware difference didn't allow a game to work right on the Rev then it would be a perfectly valid point but "no HD" isn't.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorApril 26, 2006

Looking at my 'Cube collection, I have one EA game... The Sims.

And it's unopened.

I bought it for my wife (on clearance at Toys R Us) who hasn't really gotten around to playing it.

Poor EA...

trip1eXApril 26, 2006

There are thousands of EA employees out there and so I'm sure a couple of them don't like the idea of the Revolution especially those who have rts games that use the standard controller on the 360 in HiDef to promote.

Also let's not forget that most folks using the 360 have regular TVs and somehow EA won't turn those guys away when it comes to their Battle for Middle Earth rts game.

EasyCureApril 26, 2006

i think you're all missing something from that article....the guys name is Neil Young!!!

Ian SaneApril 26, 2006

"i think you're all missing something from that article....the guys name is Neil Young!!!"

He keeps searching for a heart of gold... because the Rev doesn't have HD and thus he can't find it on the screen.

KDR_11kApril 26, 2006

I think the DS could very well run an RTS, you'd just have to make sprites that can be told apart at VERY low resolution. Of course you'd still have harvesters driving into the enemy base...

darknight06April 26, 2006

correction:

"but I kind of prefer the DS. It makes the most BUSINESS sense to me."

Go figure, cheap bad ports of console games take no effort to do. As long as their IP's are on the system and it's known that better versions of them exist they're not gonna care. What's $5,000 to them compared to 6 million+? And I doubt the DS devs working on those titles are even getting that!

Oh and one more thing EA, next gen games don't look so next gen anymore when they:
a. go from 60fps on field to 15 when you show a crowd (FIFA 06)
b. go from 60fps on current gen to 30 and below* (Fight Night R3, *Madden 06)
c. when for some stupid reason, the rag doll STILL screws up like current gen (Fight Night R3)

hudsonhawkApril 26, 2006

While the comments themselves make a marginal amount of sense, I could see the lower-powered approach affecting development negatively. It may mean that they have to repurpose all the resources specifically for the Revolution because it can't handle high resolution textures, and high-poly count models.

Rereading what he said, I think that may be what he meant - that when they resources are scaled to work with the Revolution's hardware, they're no longer legible / discernable.

In other words, even if you're playing the Xbox 360 on a SD television, it's still using the higher poly counts and higher resolution textures. However, playing that same game on the Revolution at SD would not yield the same results.

KDR_11kApril 26, 2006

But then again they don't mind redoing all their assets for the portables.

Perhaps then developers would end up creating games for the lowest-common-denominator?

~Carmine M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

FaithinchaosApril 26, 2006

Is this the first time I've ever been disappointed to hear that a developer is supporting a Nintendo console? We really should only be so lucky to "lose out" on EA's support. Okay, so Revolution won't have the all important "dumb jock" and "frat boy" demographics? I'm crying right now. Seriously.
And besides, listening to this guy is akin to listening to my mother talk about technology -
"You sit further away from the TV, so it's higher pixels, amirite? SEE! You have to squint to read from the computer! Told you so!"

hudsonhawkApril 26, 2006

Quote

Originally posted by: Faithinchaos
Is this the first time I've ever been disappointed to hear that a developer is supporting a Nintendo console? We really should only be so lucky to "lose out" on EA's support. Okay, so Revolution won't have the all important "dumb jock" and "frat boy" demographics?


Wow, elitist much?

You can't win with the hardcore gamers alone (see the Xbox) and you definitely can't compete without EA (the lack of Madden absolutely killed the Dreamcast). Like them or not, EA sells lots of games and their support is necessary for success.

RennyApril 26, 2006

Stupidity drives the economy. It's a fact.

Ian SaneApril 26, 2006

"You can't win with the hardcore gamers alone (see the Xbox)"

I'd say Dreamcast is a better example. Despite what Microsoft claims the Xbox is about as "hardcore" as the Monkees.

If the issue is actually the hassle of porting a game to weaker hardware then EA's concern is justifiable. That has been pretty much issue numero uno regarding the whole hardware debate.

"listening to this guy is akin to listening to my mother talk about technology"

You should hear my father talk about widescreen.

GiolonApril 26, 2006

I am one of the Xbox 360 owners who DOES have an HDTV. In fact, all my of my friends that have 360's DO have HDTV. My decision to get one was largely based on the fact that all the games do play in HD. Just because EA can't make good use of the graphics to go with good gameplay, but other developers can. Oblivion isn't an absolute blast to play simply because it has super pretty hi-res graphics, but they sure don't hurt. Perfect Dark Zero looks pretty amazing to me in HD too. It's got the great classic Perfect Dark gameplay with new shiny graphics, thus I'm super pleased with it (so are my eyes. If I go back today to play PD, the low framerate destroys my retinas. Polycounts/textures don't bother me, but framerate does. It's really bad, but the gameplay is ooooh sooo good. face-icon-small-smile.gif ). Heck, for a PD sequel I would've been happy for a Gamecube sequel, as long as the framerate was greater than 10.

However, I will still be getting a Revolution. Why? Because I am confident that Nintendo can and will provide games that live up to their new controller's potential. I can't live without Zelda, Mario, Metroid, etc. Nintendo still makes great games. But those denying the fact that HD can make games much more appealing, or even provide better experiences as in the RTS example, are simply kidding themselves. It's not going to make your game, but it certainly can make your game better.

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusApril 26, 2006

Has anyone tried running 360 games in both HD and standard? Notice any framerate differences?

hudsonhawkApril 26, 2006

Quote

Originally posted by: Rize
Has anyone tried running 360 games in both HD and standard? Notice any framerate differences?


For most of the games, no, not much difference. But a couple of the games have major framerate issues in HD - the worst of which is Quake 4. It plays pretty well and is a fair bit of fun in SD, but in 720p it's an unplayable mess.

I think this is why the scores are so all over the board on the 360 version of Quake 4 - I bet the people who liked it were playing it in SD.

GoldenPhoenixApril 26, 2006

I too have a HD TV, and DID have an Xbox 360, but I ended up selling it for Geforce 7900GTX since most good Xbox 360 games are on PC anyway. With that said I am happy with the basic progressive scan feature the revolution will have, and really the difference in graphical clarity really did little for me since I'm so used to PC games anyway. After playing an Xbox 360 game in HD for awhile I really didn't care, same with SD.

JensenApril 26, 2006

Quote

Originally posted by: Ian Sane
EA can't rely on people having HDTVs for their games so this comment is either stupid or they're just making excuses.


Exactly.... they are complaining that instead of having to support both HD and SD on the same system, they only have to support SD. How is that harder?

cubistApril 26, 2006

I bought Madden recently Knox...but it was my first one in six generations...that's how long it took Madden to take a significant enough leap for me to fork out the money for it...

wanderingApril 26, 2006

Quote

But then again they don't mind redoing all their assets for the portables.

But then again EA's portable games suck.

Shin GallonApril 26, 2006

Darn, no more crappy movie liscense games or sports game expansion packs-err, totally new Madden games. What a shame.

BigJimApril 27, 2006

OMG, all this standard definition support we've been doing for the last 20 years is SO HARD!!!! face-icon-small-frown.gif

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorApril 27, 2006

Hey Guys, check this one out...

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6148455.html

GS interview with guy from EA
"I don't think Revolution consumers want straight ports."

CalibanApril 27, 2006

Like duuuuuuuuuuuh!

Edit: I'm reading the article and look what I found: "unique controller, which has a pointing device as well as the accelerometers inside of it."

Is that something that we knew already or just comfirmed accidently, heck I don't even know what accelerometers would do but I would sure be thankful if someone explained.

Hm, I might just get a Madden for my first time just because of the controls.

KDR_11kApril 27, 2006

Accelerometers sense movement. It's the proper name, a gyroscope could only measure rotation.

CalibanApril 27, 2006

Ah, cool, thanks for clarifying it for me.

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