Gears of War
They said: "We pushed the 360 to its limits." [source]
Justified?: Hang on. Isn't Gears of War 3 also pushing Xbox 360 limits to ensure that it is even better than Gears of War 2, which itself pushed limits to ensure that it was better than the original Gears of War?
I'm a bit confused. Do the limits that are being pushed change with each subsequent game? Are the limits themselves moving targets that are constantly patched and improved and updated and expanded? Perhaps it would be a good idea to get some kind of officially appointed authority that monitored and defined console limitations to ensure there is complete clarity on this matter.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
They said: "I remember saying three years ago that we wanted to create something revolutionary, but in reality we couldn't really do that because of the CPU. We're using the Cell engine to its limit, actually. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing the PS3 machine, it's just that we weren't really aware of what the full-spec PS3 offered - we were creating something we couldn't entirely see." [source]
Justified?: Good old Kojima. Only he could be so bold as to claim that not only did he take the PS3 to the limit with nonchalant effortlessness, but imply that the limits of the machine actually shackled the ambition of his true brilliance. And he probably said this while casually munching on a bag of salted snakes and looking sexy sharp in some daringly tight trousers. It's hard not to love the man. So I believe anything he says.
Red Faction: Guerrilla
They said: "Yeah, we’ve got it to the point where we can’t even put an extra vehicle into a world, because it’ll blow the memory. Every little change we make we have to be hyper-critical about it because it could just bring the whole system down. We evaluate every little change in the game, and then we run our tools on it to make sure it isn’t going to break the game and then we move forward, so it really is about pushing the engine as far as we can, and pushing the hardware as far as we can, and then looking at what is the next set of hardware that’s going to come out. Where can we take it then? You know we’re already thinking about if we had XYZ X number of years from now, what would we do with our engine?" [source]
Justified?: Memories blowing. Whole systems tumbling down. It's an intense picture that makes game development sound riskier than performing open-heart surgery in shark-infested waters whilst floating on a dinghy made of meat.
I'm sure if they worked a bit smarter, or spent a bit more time optimising, they probably could have squeezed a couple more vehicles in. Like a Segway. Or a pogo stick. But I think the quote is justified on the grounds that it is macho with big hairy bollocks and is arrogantly saying in more words than necessary: "Our game can F*CKING WELL DESTROY WORLDS!!!" And you have to respect that.
Splinter Cell: Conviction
They said: "We're utilising the full power of the machine. We're pushing it to the limit." [source]
Justified?: No. I enjoyed it and everything, but I just can't see how Sam Fisher's latest is getting every last drop of precious POWER juice out of the Xbox 360. But I'm no developer, so this assessment is entirely based on guessing. And the guessing is entirely based on me having played the game.
And, in all fairness, the quote was extracted from a mild-mannered looking white dude being interviewed on the HipHopGamer Show. He appears a bit awkward and uncomfortable with all the street speak being liberally thrown about, so probably wasn't thinking straight.
Are you impressed when you hear that a game is using 100% POWER or that is bravely pushing more limits than a strong-man towing a monster truck with his scrotum? Or do you think it's a lot of cheap sock talk that should be paid no heed because overworked processors and sweating game engines are no guarantee of game greatness? I believe in the latter.
June 2, 2010