PCGH interview with Radical Entertainment about PROTOTYPE
We had the chance to make an interview with the developers of Prototype, an upcoming action adventure. Our questions are answered by Tim Bennison, Executive Producer, Racical Entertainment.
PCGH: Do you program your own engine for Prototype or do you utilize a middleware like the Unreal Engine 3.
• If you develop your own technology, why do you decide against a middleware solution What makes an inhouse technology so suited for the title?
• If you utilize middleware, what makes it so suited for your title? What are the general advantages of a licensed technology?
Yes, we have developed our own in-house engine for PROTOTYPE. This provides a multitude of technical and logistical benefits when tackling a next-gen open-world game with a scope as big as this one. We also make use of some external middleware tools where it makes sense to do so, though the key is to ensure a full symmetry of interaction between our Titanium engine and the third party software. A key reason for the development of the engine in-house at Radical is that we are very keen to share our technology across multiple teams simultaneously, plus build on our engine from generation to generation. Additionally, when development enters the tougher phases you ultimately want the ability to walk down the corridor and request features or fixes in real-time. That's a key reason for the development of in-house technology...control over our own destiny. The general advantage of licensed technology is that you are essentially buying into a proven piece of technology that should ideally have very strong documentation and a strong customer service support structure. Also, the ability to rely on a vendor to make tweaks or recommendations on how to integrate the two disparate technologies together is critical to a game's production schedule.
PCGH: You announced that Prototype is developed for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. Will the engine then be a pure cross-platform product or will there be an optimized version for the PC? If there is a special built for the PC what technical features can't be realized with the console version or in other words are there any features the PC is the ideal platform to develop for?
Yes, we are truly aiming for a cross-platform title with PROTOTYPE - at Radical we love all of our ‘children' equally. The PC version obviously has some native advantages when it comes to screen resolution and texture memory, plus we'll also be compliant with Games for Windows and will support multi-core CPU technology.
PCGH: At the moment Cross Platform Development is very popular. Do you as a developer have a possible explanation for this? Regardless of financial interests do you think that the gap between PC and consoles as far as base and engine technology is concerned is closing nowadays?
Well the PC has generally enjoyed a larger technology advantage to the consoles, although for obvious business and market-related reasons that doesn't necessarily mean things will continue in that vein. I feel that the stronger marketing for Microsoft and Sony's machines will ultimately lead to a point in time where it becomes less and less profitable for PC graphics card companies to keep pushing new tech onto a smaller and smaller consumer base for PC ‘traditional' gaming. Non-traditional games or ‘casual' games though could be the way forward for the PC. The most successful PC titles right now are the least demanding in terms of graphics, physics and simulation fidelity. Unless that radically changes, I see a future where console technology will get closer and closer to PC technology.