Red Faction dev claims to have pushed Xbox 360 to its limit

January 3, 2009

Red Faction dev claims to have pushed Xbox 360 to its limitWe’re now three years into this generation of consoles, and both the sales battle and quality and quantity of games are increasing. But each of the three home consoles has its limitations, and the developer of the new Red Faction game thinks it has reached the Xbox 360’s.

Every console ever released had a natural lifespan. While some, such as the Dreamcast and original Xbox were killed off prematurely, others, such as the PS2 and Gameboy carried on well past pension age. Many different factors conspire to determine a console’s age at time of death, from sales (obviously), through a manufacturer’s commitment, to the capabilities of the hardware.

All three current gen console’s can tick the first two boxes, having sold enough to justify their existence and having a company behind it wholly committed to the games industry. But could the Xbox 360 be about to fail in the third objective? That of having room for developers to increase the size, scope, look, and feel of the system’s games?

Gameplayer recently spoke to Rick White, the producer of the forthcoming Red Faction: Guerrilla at Volition. The game is the third in the popular series, and is set to be released on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC on Jan. 30, 2009. White mainly talks about how the game has changed from the last generation to this, but there is one particularly interesting section of the interview.

Gameplayer: So you’re saying that RFG is pushing the hardware as far as it can go? Squeezing every drop of juice out of the Xbox 360?

Rick White: 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?

Could this really be the first sign that the Xbox 360 has reached its pinnacle? If so, it’s a worrying trend for Microsoft and Xbox 360 players because neither the Wii or PS3 seem to have reached their tipping points in terms of technology at this point.

The PS3 is an obvious one, with most developers having taken this long to even get to grips with the hardware and development tools. And none of them are suggesting they’re anywhere close to pushing the system to its limits.Although Killzone 2 may change all that. And the Wii? Well, most games don’t use the technology at all well and games such as Madworld and The Conduit show the Nintendo machine is actually capable of much more.

Obviously, Volition are going to talk its game up to the hilt, and suggesting that Red Faction: Guerrilla pushes the hardware is a great way of doing that. But there was no mention of the PS3 in the same answer so there’s obviously some truth to it.

So the question is: how long until we see talk of an Xbox 720, which White mentions by name? Could Microsoft be forced to be first out of the next-gen gate simply because the current hardware stops being able to compete with the Playstation 3?

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