Risen 2 Pub Slams “Technology Gap” Ports

By Jim Rossignol on October 25th, 2011 at 7:51 am.

Metaphor.
Speaking with Strategy Informer, Deep Silver (publisher of Risen 2) Daniel Oberlerchner said: “I can tell you that we are going to have the optimum experience across all platforms, and they are going to be different experiences. There IS a technology gap. Some studios say they are going to have the same quality across all platforms, which is to say you take the weakest platform – the Xbox 360 – and you have the same crappy textures for the Playstation 3 and the PC.” He went on: “It was just a couple of weeks ago there was a PC game that was… *laugh* well, I don’t really want to go into details, but our decision is that we want to have a really hi-res experience on the PC. There is no reason why we should create hi-res textures, then just make them blurry for a console version, then put everything back on the PC again – it doesn’t make any sense.”

Risen 2: Dark Waters is some time in 2012.

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84 Comments »

  1. Stormbane says:

    I take it he’s alluding to the pathetic launch of Rage.

    • atticus says:

      Though very subtle, right?

      Surprised he didn’t go “So there was this pathetic launch of a game a few weeks ago, *COUGH* *RAGE* *COUGH*, excuse me, I think I’m catching a cold”.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      gotta be subtler “there was a lot of Rage about a release a couple of weeks ago”

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      BathroomCitizen says:

      @Hoaxfish
      Thank you, sir. You just made worth living through this day.

  2. MultiVaC says:

    I’m glad they’re seeming to be reasonable about the pretty big difference between PC and consoles at this point. With Bethesda basically saying “It’s good enough on consoles, why bother adding anything for PC?” regarding Skyrim and Id practically boasting about how little effort they put into the PC version of RAGE it’s getting a little discouraging.

    I’ll believe it when I see it, though. We seem to hear promises like this pretty often.

    • Lacero says:

      There’s always a high res reskin and mods for bethesda games. It’s what makes them so good.

    • Dowson says:

      @Lacero
      True, if Bethesda don’t bother, modders usually do, and modders often seem to do a better job at adding features than Bethesda as well.

    • bitbot says:

      Bethesda have said Skyrim has a higher resolution texture option on PC as well as other quality settings, just like Oblivion did.

    • brulleks says:

      @ Burky

      An excellent summation of The Witcher 2.

      Edit: On the comment thread below. Sigh.

      /controversy.

    • caddyB says:

      The reason Bethesda games aren’t dead is the modding scene. Just when you think you’ve seen it all..

    • Casimir Effect says:

      …someone releases a mod featuring triple-breasted argonians wearing gimp masks and wielding dildos.

    • suibhne says:

      Oblivion may have had those options, bitbot, but the PC version looked pathetically bad beyond medium distance unless you used modded textures.

    • Urthman says:

      After Gothic 3, I don’t think it’s Bethesda we should be slagging on in this thread about releasing a game that’s only worth playing after the modders fix it.

    • OJ287 says:

      @ Urthman
      Gothic 3 wasn’t made by Risen’s devs. The publisher kept the Gothic name while the original team went on to make Risen.

      I bought Gothic 3 in a Steam sale because I’d heard it was a lot better with a mega mod. It must have been really bad unmodded because it was absolute rubbish.

  3. Tony M says:

    This guy needs to learn marketing speak. Hes never going to monetise talking like that. Every version will be equal and equally the best possible. Its visceral baby.

    • Flame_US3r says:

      Yeah, who cares about textures? I just want to know if the combat is going to be visceral enough for me.

    • Kollega says:

      Isn’t “visceral” as marketingspeak kind of passe by now? I mean, come on, it’s so 2010.

    • Burky says:

      4/10 gameplays
      5/10 sounds
      10/10 viscerals
      9.5/10 emotions

      9.925/10 GOTY

    • Wunce says:

      The game delivers a visceral, dynamic experience which immerses the player in its unique atmosphere.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Verisimilitude is the new visceral… ity.

    • jackelope says:

      “10/10 viscerals”

      I don’t know why that was so amazingly funny, but I almost spit my coffee.

  4. skittles says:

    Hmmm I thought it was usually the PS3 that came out worst on the texture front. Due to its tiny video memory. No idea what the case was for RAGE though.

    • Lemming says:

      Actually, the PS3 IS the more powerful, but the Xbox ends up being lead-platform for one reason, and one reason alone: money. Consequently, you have something made with the Xbox architecture in mind crammed into the PS3 (square peg in a round hole) which is why the PS3 comes off the worst in most ports.

      Look at God of War 3 or the Uncharted games and tell me if anything looks as good as that on the Xbox.

      Quite often the reason can be as sickening has MS saying a developer isn’t allowed to release a game on the Xbox unless they use it as lead system, so I’ve been lead to believe from a few years worth of eurogamer articles and unearthed dev blogs.

      Call conspiracy theorist if you want, but it makes absolute sense to me. If you have doubts that MS could be that underhanded, just look at the disappearing Steam releases that suddenly pop up as Games for Windows Live….

    • Tin_man_Tex says:

      The texturing tech behind Rage actually circumvents the vram limitation of traditional texturing to a degree, however a cache currently eats up most of those gains.

      It however puts a bigger burden on media space instead, and with the lowest common denominator being the x360 with it’s requirement to run the game off dvd it just doesn’t cut it.
      The rest of the versions suffered for it.

      It should be good tech going forward, a bit more ram and of course more media space and it scales up well, you can throw more media space at it to get more texture resolution – essentialy for free, no impact on performance or vram required.

    • Squiddity says:

      @Lemming: Actually, the 360 has a rather more powerful GPU than the PS3.

      The PS3′s only real advantages are that the cell’s capable of offloading some of the graphics capabilities onto itself (originally, it was planned that the Cell would do all the graphics, but that didn’t work and would have been a mess) and having discs with 25-50GB of space on them, allowing for higher quality textures in games.

      I’ve heard that the PS3′s dedicated video memory (the 360 uses this hybrid memory system thingy), might help it too, but the 360′s GPU is still more powerful, which is generally why its games can do a lot more with things like draw distances and better lighting. Look at Forza 4 versus GT5, for instance–Forza has infinitely more realistic lighting.

      God of War 3 and Uncharted 2 really aren’t that impressive–yes, UC2 has really detailed character models, but it actually has incredibly short draw distances (looks damn awful at range), fairly low-quality textures on buildings, and a lot of “cheats.” Like… there’s this one segment on a bridge at the monastery where you can look back and see just how awful the textures on the outside of the structure is. It’s just a bunch of blurry blobs.

      Graphically, Uncharted 2 isn’t actually as good as people claim. What makes it look great is actually the attention to detail that Naughty Dog put into making its textures unique–a detail that id took a huge step further with Rage.

      Gears of War 3, Alan Wake, and Halo: Reach are 360 games I’d hold up as considerably more impressive graphically. All of these have much larger draw distances and are basically doing more with graphics, lighting, etc (iirc, I read that the PS3 wouldn’t be able to handle Alan Wake’s complex lighting system) than the PS3 does.

      The PS3′s just winning, generally, on having higher quality textures, or, in the case of God of War 3, everyone just being crazy. Graphically, the most impressive games on the PS3 are the Killzone titles.

  5. Brumisator says:

    I just called to say I love you.
    I love you.
    Hanging up now!

    • The Colonel says:

      No YOU hang up first.
      I love you so much.
      Kissy kiss

    • IDtenT says:

      No, you hang up, baby.
      I love the way you do tha… *click*
      BITCH!

  6. Kollega says:

    I have to agree: if your development textures are hi-res and then you blur them for all platforms according to the one with smallest memory, it dosen’t make any bloody sense. Not sure if many stuidos use hi-res textures in development, though. Care to enlighten me, someone?

    • MultiVaC says:

      I’m pretty sure they almost always make high-res source art, and then scale it down as needed for textures. I could be wrong, but it’s hard to imagine someone just sitting at their computer designing really blurry, pixelly images. Unless they’re doing intentionally lo-fi indie games like Minecraft or something.

    • Temple says:

      You should see the original Minecraft textures though. Beautiful they were.

    • ShadowBlade says:

      Yes, i’m 99% sure that’s how it’s done. It’s how we do it.

      In our “Rooks Keep” game at least, 90% of environments and all character textures are 2048×2048. There is definitely a noticeable crispness, if you will :)

  7. Burky says:

    Of course, there’s more to the technology gap than how high-res the textures are though. You’re not going to see ARMA 2 levels of world simulation on current-gen console tech.

    Which is why it will be interesting to see how GSC will go with STALKER 2. A considerable amount of processing power in STALKER goes into the non-graphical component (AI and physics etc), and it’s all quite RAM intensive. Not sure they could optimise that without scaling it back.

  8. Maldomel says:

    The picture made me laugh hard, specially when I read the whole stuff.
    Well done sir, well done. And yet another for me to look out for Risen.

  9. apocraphyn says:

    “It was just a couple of weeks ago there was a PC game that was… *laugh* well, I don’t really want to go into details…”

    Oh no he di’nt!!

  10. TheSquarePear says:

    Yeah let’s rave about Deep Silver’s PC support because Dead Island PC was perfect on release…
    Oh, wait
    Seriously RPS it just makes you look desperate

    • Nallen says:

      What the heck, it makes RPS look desperate?

      My understanding. It has failed.

    • Batolemaeus says:

      Wait, what?

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      Lars Westergren says:

      Your post makes you look desperate.

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      Durkonkell says:

      Desperate. Your turn.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      I think it is perfectly fine for RPS to highlight what a developer has said they’re doing. It also means they can point to this post if it turns out there is a significant amount of port based problems in the final product.

      @Durkonkell

      TheSquarePear has underestimated the flexibility of RPS’s old men.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Your mother looked desperate — a need I filled personally. SNAP.

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      Durkonkell says:

      @ReV_VAdAUL

      Old men… Are the FUTURE!

      (It’s all in the numbers…)

  11. Roshin says:

    He must be referring to the launch, state, and post-release support of Dead Island, right?

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    jezcentral says:

    I know he probably meant Rage, but it’s hardly unique in that. I’d have loved a high-res version of DX:HR.

  13. godgoo says:

    Forgetting pixels on screens for a moment, as a playing experience RAGE actually looks pretty amazing, I’d take decent art design over shader-count any day.

  14. Kaira- says:

    Oh god, not again with the graphics wars.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Don’t worry, there won’t be hardware escalation this time because we’re already a measure of 10 ahead of the development baseline.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      I’ve decided I actually like the graphics wars. It keeps the big publishers churning out mediocre garbage every year (which happens to be the sequel to the previous year’s garbage, 90% Metacritic rating each time). That way they completely miss the Indie scene altogether and don’t try to destroy (buy) all the Indies like in the late 90s / early 00s, ruining everything again.

  15. yhalothar says:

    RAGE’s beauty is only skin-deep, though. Peek into a darker corner or an area a bit off the main track and you get textures compressed to an equivalent of JPG quality 10 (of 100).

  16. ynamite says:

    Mmmkay. But how can DS even make such claims when the devs making the game are infamous Piranha Bytes, the same devs who fucked up majorly not only on their previous console ports, but also on the PC versions of their games. Gothic was cool, Gothic 2 wasn’t bad either. Gothic 3 was an abonimation and Risen was just about bearable, except the console port which was another complete disaster.

    Big mouth that one, I’d be very careful with PB backing my shit.

    • UnravThreads says:

      Just to point out that Gothic was under JoWooD, not Deep Silver. What PB did under JWD is irrelevant, as that was nothing to do with DS.

      Actually, this article has very little to do with Risen 2, and as such little to do with PB.

    • ynamite says:

      Uhm, no, it is very relevant in my opinion. Are you implying that the devs themselves have less control over the game than the publishers? Sure, DS might not be as quick to satisfy as JW was, but PB should make sure the quality of their product is as sound as possible without the publisher having to interfere.

      I’m not defending Jowood by the way, but PB have yet to show that they can really make a quality product. One good product may just have been a fluke.

      And you’re wrong about this not having to do with Risen 2. The interview where the quote was taken from was an interview concerning Risen 2. Yes, the guy who said it isn’t from PB, but considering Gothic/Risens history and this being an interview about the forthcoming sequel, I’d choose my words more carefully.

  17. Syra says:

    Game that looks rubbish on all 3 platforms talking about game that was gimped by consoles?

  18. Derpentine says:

    PS3 is the weakest by quite a bit, in quite a few areas which are more heavily utilized by cross platform releases (given average pollish).

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      Diziet Sma says:

      Indeed, I was about to post about the sheer number of titles where the texturing in the PS3 is significantly lower resolution than the 360. I have no idea if there is a technical reason for it or it is developers not utilizing the ps3′s /interesting/ (e.g. different) architecture properly.

    • Navagon says:

      So… PS3 is weaker when devs design for the 360 and give the PS3 a crappy port?
      By that benchmark the PC is the shittiest platform of all time.

  19. Yosharian says:

    Didn’t he contradict himself?

    “There is no reason why we should create hi-res textures, then just make them blurry for a console version, then put everything back on the PC again – it doesn’t make any sense.”

    Isn’t that what he is saying he WANTS to do?

    Um.. anyway, good to see a publisher with some actual sense. Shame the Risen games aren’t all that good.

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      Durkonkell says:

      I think he’s saying that “there’s no reason [they] should” originate high-res textures on PCs, reduce them in quality for consoles and then put the reduced quality textures back on the PC version. It’s not worded in the best way I think, but that’s a natural part of spontaneous interviews where the interviewee doesn’t have time to write everything down, read it and correct it for maximum effect.

    • doberlec says:

      All development takes place on PC – there is strictly speaking no console development because you don’t want to create all assets (read “textures, animations, sounds, etc”.) on a console. So when you create your assets you have the choice to create them in highres and then scaling them down for the consoles in order for them to be able to use them. If you have a console centric development with “the same level of quality for all platforms” you will also use those lowres assets for your PC version so you’ll end up with blurry textures, low polygon objects and so on. You could however also just use the highres assets you created in the first place but that will ultimately mean that the PC version will look better because the hardware has advanced from the current gen of consoles shipped. My pledge is to make sure that you get the best experience no matter what patform you own and if you just spend 1000 bucks for a new gaming rig, there is nothing wrong that you get the best visuals possible.

    • Yosharian says:

      Ok, that’s what I thought you meant. Just your comment was a little strangely worded. Anyway, I’m glad you think this way, and it’s a shame most other developers don’t think the way you do.

  20. doberlec says:

    To elaborate on my comment about the technology gap: The aim should always be to deliver the best possible experience for each player on his/her platform leveraging the processing power available. No matter how you phrase it, you will never be able to explain to somebody who just shelled out 40-60 bucks for a game, that his experience is not optimized for his platform. We are living in a transparent world and if you don’t deliver, people will make sure you as the publisher will get the message ;)

    A few years ago, when pc and console tech was quite close, keeping that promise was easy. Now, it’s becoming more difficult because the tech is growing apart and updating the consoles with new processing power would defeat the whole concept of buying a console. There are of course other concepts e.g. iPad vs. iPad 2 where you force people to upgrade if they want to play certain games but that strategy is not (yet) used by either Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo mainly because the need more time to break even with their r&d costs and they need to give devs time to create products for their platforms. If you need 1-3 years on a game (depending of scale and if it is a new IP or a sequel) there is no point in releasing a console every 2nd year because devs won’t be able to keep up delivering the good to your platform.

    Since everybody in the industry agrees on the gap (you will find several statements from Mark Rein, Gabe Newell or John Carmack about the challenges they have to deal with) the big question is how to react to it and where you point your focus. The biggest (read “profitable”) markets are right now dominated by Xbox 360 as well as PS3 (weighting is different in each country) so most devs are aiming for these platforms and the PC platform has more or less become a case of “oh yeah, we’ll also ship a PC version once the console versions are done”. There are some exceptions (notably Battlefield 3 at the moment) but the notion in the industry is foremost focused on where you can break even first. And you can’t blame them because we’re speaking about extreme investments (15-20+ mio) in a volatile market. However this also means that in order to keep the budgets from spiraling out of control, almost all assets which are created for a game nowadays are made to look good on consoles and are then just ported to pc without using the extra horsepower.

    The discussion is not about what is the better platform because comparing platforms is like tasting wine – there is no bad wine, there is only wine which might not cater to your taste (unless its corked :D). It’s more about the mindset of the industry as a whole and that it doesn’t make any sense to pretend that these challenges don’t matter or exist.

    -Daniel

    • Yosharian says:

      A bad launch, with all the poor publicity that it brings, is more damaging than developers think. I’m sure ID saved a buck or two by making such a cheap port, but they’ve lost more than that in bad publicity, lost sales, lost consumer confidence, etc.

      Aside from that, Rage is a very poor game. Not even as good as Doom 3, and Doom 3 wasn’t all that good. Obviously you can’t comment on that, but there it is.

      Playing the hell out of Dark Souls right now.

    • Paul says:

      Great post and fantastic interview !

      But now please excuse me…
      Why does Dead Island have such a bad LoD, obviously catered to consoles, where objects/foliage/zombies in the world just change shapes based on how far I am, and it is extremely immersion breaking for me? Such an incredible game, and held back so badly by this one stupid console limitation…
      I like what you say about the gap and it is nice Risen 2 will use PC power, but it would be great if Dead Island did too.

  21. Inglourious Badger says:

    Am I the only one who read ‘Risen 2 Pub’ and thought it was an oddly named Public House complete with rambling, bearded, ale swigging men moaning about the state of console ports?

  22. Snack says:

    As long as games are designed to meet consoles requirements in terms of gameplay, UI/menus, AI, complexity and controls, talking about “huge gap” graphics wise only is just dust in the eyes. Makes me feel confident there might be a future for PC games but not in these terms.
    I’ll be glad to hear them talk about SDKs and server clients to begin with, HiRez texture packs are a nice addition, but not what PC gamers are waiting for in my opinion.
    Meanwhile I’ll just stay aside and pay attention.

    • doberlec says:

      Ah yes, my answer was focused on the graphics because the question was “Will the game look the same on all platforms”. Gameplay is another big topic when we’re speaking about pc vs. console games and although it might feel a bit strange for console players we opted for the deeper gameplay and higher difficulty level for Risen 2: Dark Waters.

      We wanted to make sure to stay away from feature creep, so we didn’t include features in the game which are just there to make the advertising text on the backside of the box a bit longer but don’t have any relevance in the game, but we will certainly have more gameplay to enjoy than you average console game. Darksouls does it very well right now, and it also shows that there is a market for hardcore rpgs on consoles.

  23. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    So: they released Kinect as a way to extend the life of the Xbox and give it new functionality. How about releasing a new GPU + RAM add on for a similar price that demonstrably increases the sexy of Xbox games. Yes it splits the market, but so does Kinect.
    Is it a good idea? Or a possible one?

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      I think the fundamental problem is that Kinect games are different. You can say disparaging things about a lot of them but thats not to say they’re all bad, they’re not different in quality per se so much as their focus. Dance Central 2 is a good game but it has an audience distinct from people who like say Halo. Halo fans aren’t really forced to buy a kinect to still play the games they like so for developers it is fine.

      However if you have the platform divided into two tiers for similar types of games developers aren’t going to be happy. They’re also unlikely to really utilise that extra power because the majority of people wont have it so we’ll be left with a few niche titles making use of it. In the end people who buy the upgrade pack will be a mini-version of PC gamers, their machine is capable of more they aren’t a large enough market for anyone to bother to make use of it.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Addons like Kinect add a very identifiable and distinct *new* function, so buyers can see exactly what they’re getting for the money they spend, and can see why they “need” to spend it. Adding a more powerful CPU or additional RAM doesn’t do this – it’s just more of the same. I think you’d risk confusing a lot of your less tech-savvy consumers*.

      You can see why you’d need to buy a motion sensing peripheral to play a game that involves dancing around in front of your TV. But why do you need to add this other thing to be able to play Halo 4 when you don’t need it to play Halo 3 when it looks more or less the same.

      Plus it quite probably wouldn’t be technically possible without opening up the console and repacing components, which would a)be way beyond the capabilities of most people and b) void your warranty.

      * not meant as an insult, but simple fact is most console owners (and most PC owners) aren’t techno-geeks.

  24. AdrianWerner says:

    WIth Risen 2 the 360 port is handled by other studiu. Piranha has one programmer working on it, who just helps the other team make the smooth porting. THey were showing it at gamescom in pretty cool way, they’ve set up their demo in such way that they could change freely between PC and 360 builds and PC one is huge improvement over console one.

    • BatmanBaggins says:

      It’s not the same studio that did the 360 port of the first game, is it? I seem to remember that it ended up being something of a technical abomination.

      PC version was great, though. Risen 2 is one of my most anticipated games for 2012

    • AdrianWerner says:

      @BatmanBaggins
      Not sure, but the reason why Risen sucked so much on 360 was because the console team got 8 months to port it. In such short time it was just impossible to do it properly, as the game required heavy rewrittes to suit consoles. Best example: ground texture. PC version has just one, the whole land is one ridiculously big texture. Consoles lack memory to make something like that work, but with such a little time they couldn’t rewritte the engine so to make it fit they had to downrage the texture heavily.

  25. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    So it’s about time that Sony and Microsoft introduce their new consoles.

    Everyone these days seems to be yelling that the PC version looks a lot more awesome.

  26. sneetch says:

    I downloaded DeadIslandHelper in order to tweak the settings to make Dead Island look good on my system. It’s great that I could do that but why did I have to download some third party tool in order to do that? Why couldn’t I turn off in-game voice?

    The quality gap is not just about textures; disappearing options and stupid features are also a problem. I think this guy should look to his own games before laughing at others.

  27. Megadyptes says:

    Mr. President, we must not allow a console technology gap!

  28. MichaelPalin says:

    Is the producer of Risen for the Xbox 360 really laughing at Rage? REALLY?

  29. alundra says:

    Ah poor id software, it’s become the laughing stock of the industry.

    • Navagon says:

      Poor id Software? When they so arrogantly brought it on themselves? They all but bragged about how little they cared for the PC version of the game. Bollocks to them.

  30. MythArcana says:

    The lowest common denominator always yields the lowest quality results. Let’s start making PC games again, shall we?

  31. Zarunil says:

    I was genuinely surprised at how bad Rage looked. Firstly, I thought something was wrong with my installation. Unfortunatly not. The game is hideous. Utterly hideous.

  32. biz says:

    i bet id’s half-hearted attempts will still end up better than whatever these guys cook up

    yeah we all know they didn’t give the pc enough attention, but it still ended up looking as good as any other game but with way better performance

  33. Acorino says:

    Gothic 3 was made by Risen’s devs.
    What wasn’t made by them was the addon and Gothic 4: Arcania.

    With Gothic 3 Piranha Bytes bit off more than they could chew. Didn’t help that Jowood forced an early release and then refused to pay for the badly needed patches.

  34. Navagon says:

    I would call the desire to make the most of each platform commendable – at least comparatively. But Risen got a POS afterthought outsourced port that makes me think this is more to do with them being PC-centric than a genuine desire to make the most of all the platforms they’re releasing on.