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Naughty Dog says no new engine for next gen PS4? I’m concerned, are you?


(Singing) No new engine, No new engine, No new engine, No No New…still using the same engine from day one… Excuse me while I remix DJ Khaled’s  “No New Friends”.

Just poking fun, but on a serious note this  piece was set to be written awhile ago. I drew some real concern right around the time when I first read the news of Naughty Dog choosing not to upgrade their engine for the next generation console of games on the PlayStation 4. Here’s why.

Now don’t get me wrong if there was ever a engine not to upgrade for next gen ND’s probably would be it. It was the most technologically advanced of all this current gaming generation, so I could see the confidence they would have to just port it over.  The engine they used in this generation ranked among the best if not thee best but that’s for the current. I want a future engine built for future games.

I remember awhile ago when Uncharted 3 was in development and how somebody from the ND team (might’ve been  Co-President Evan Wells) was talking about how the game was just a modified version of the Uncharted 2 engine, so although slightly better we as gamers were not going to see the “jump” we saw from the first Uncharted to Uncharted 2.

Also touching on how they made a mistake building two new engines from the ground up in one generation…well,  ground up on the first Uncharted and a touch up on every single aspect of the already built engine for Uncharted 2, which essentially felt like building an engine from the ground up. Further reiterated by Bruce Straley, Game Director (The Last of Us) via Digital Spy  “We learned a big lesson coming from PS2 to PS3,” he was quoted.

ND hoped to never do that again, mentioning something to the effect of the goal being to build a brand new engine once a generation and then tweak it to optimization on future projects.  Well guess what? this qualifies as a new generation Naughty! Where’s the brand new engine you promised?

Funny enough I spent a whole article talking about “Top 5 video game engines that need to be overhauled”  ND  was not one of them. In strange irony though the biggest gripe I had in that piece was developers carrying over old engines into a new generation, thus not maximizing a new hardware’s potential. I think the Uncharted series shined because it was new hardware and a new engine being married together not to mention a new IP — the perfect combo; it had no prior engine to piggyback off of to potentially shortchange the power of the PS3.

What seemingly backs up this theory is a quote from Thomas Puha, director of developer relations at Umbra which offers world creation solutions for games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Destiny and other titles. Via Gamingbolt:

Really, the more memory we have, the better. It’s as simple as that. Right now, as most developers are porting their current systems and engines to next-generation platforms, the engine pipelines cannot even take advantage of the PS4’s 8 gigs of super-fast RAM as we simply cannot push data fast enough into memory right now.

“So really at this point, everybody’s just really taking advantage of the memory to make life easier on making the first next-gen games, and then a few years down the the line you will see really memory, CPU optimized games just as in this generation. Right now on PS3 and Xbox 360 Umbra 3 data for a level can be between a 1-3 megabytes and on current gen every byte of memory counts….

I’m no expert but it seems like he’s saying that just porting over a engine from current generation —  which most devs are doing is not good enough to maximize PS4′s memory or overall power. Which means until devs really feel the need to upgrade the jump in this generation is going to be slight, and we may have to wait a few years until we’re blown away when really, we  could’ve been blown away out the gate if everyone built their engines from the ground up from the very beginning.

Will ND’s current engine even hold up in 2-3-years? We don’t even know when Naughty’s next game will be, it might already be 2-3 years into the generation before we see a game from them, by then it may really show signs of a aging engine. At a time, mind you when we as gamers typically start  to see the true power of a console.

And all this modify talk ND is throwing out doesn’t console me. New on New is always better than Old on New. I liken it to 1080p being upscaled,  although good I would rather much play in “true” 1080p.

Think about it, would Uncharted 2, 3 or even the The Last of Us look how it looked and play how it played if they didn’t build the engine from scratch? Now who really knows the damaging effects one can have by not building a brand new engine specifically for brand new tech; Madden, WWE games, Resident Evil maybe?

Now again I’m no tech savant but it could be argued that if ND didn’t go through what they went through —  building a brand new engine that would eventually become Uncharted that the successors, Uncharted 2 and 3 or even the The Last of Us wouldn’t have turned out the way they did.

But I trust ND, at least I want to. With their track record they’ve earned that and I don’t think they’re willing to “dirty” their brand so I hope they get this right and keep the gold standard that we’re used to seeing.

Are you concerned that Naughty Dog is taken a current gen engine and bringing it into next gen? CCU wants to hear from you.

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25 Comments

  1. Wait wait wait let me get this straight…There is concern because Naughty dog who already has a damn good game engine that isn’t dated as hell and probably has quite a bit of life left and a lot they can do with it….While people are fine with COD and Activision recycling the same 10 year old assets and game engine, even though it looks dated as hell….

    • I will await some gameplay videos :) I don’t need to freak the hell out over blog-generated rage.

      • Yes because gameplay videos do not lie, LIKE SONY DOES EVERY TIME AND I BELIEVE THEM BECAUSE I AM A CONSOLETARD.

        All hail sony.

    • it is very dated if you play games on pc. ANY game, The textures are horrible the lighing hardly even exists in indoor envirometns and it runs at a horrible resolution.

      Mark my words, when you play call of duty ghosts on 1080p you will admit that it looks better than ps3/x360 games. Thats how pc gamers have been playing it for years and while its known the the console version visuals SUCK, the pc versions of cod have better than the last of us graphics, feel free to downrate me like dumb fanboys. But the truth is the same as it has always been, console gamers understand graphics by what is available on their console and jsut like ps2 couldnt keep up with pc, it cant keep right now, you are playing on ancient visuals and i know you are pissed off by reading this, but the point i am trying to get acorss is that you cant judge a engine optimized for ps3, with current x86 engines that offer far superior visuals to pc and will offer them on next gen consoles due to the same architecture.

      Just wait. On the other hand ND will have to take their engine apart to make itwork to next gen consoles because its hardcoded for ps3 since they didnt have to make games for other systems to write code for othr architectures.

      • people like you crack me up. Are pc graphics better? unquestionably. Do they make console games look like complete 16bit pieces of shit? hardly. I have a solid gaming rig for pc, and no doubt it makes current gen consoles look weak, but that doesn’t mean you need to bash what is widely considered one of the greatest games of this generation, just because you don’t get to play it on pc and are butt hurt. Seriously, get off your high horse and get over yourself.

        • Thanks fot the thumb down morons.

          I was mere pointing out that games run on low pc settings on consoles due to 8 GODAMN YEASR OF SAME HARDWARE.

          NO generation of consoles lasted that long. Sorry but yes games on consoles compared to pc look 5 years behind.

          The “next generation” has been on pc for years but thats not the case. I wasnt bashing the “greatest game of this generation” i was bashing its 2006 graphics.

          Sorry its true, i got to play the game and graphically and gameplay wise its average at best. So you consoletards saying that the entire game is sooo great for its story and not the actual damn gameplay? I hate morons like you, you turn games into interactive movies and kill gameplay.

          If it was on pc it would look miles better which brings to my point next gen consoles= pc architecture. ND engine is designed in the completly diffirent ps3 architecture, which means their engine needs heavy altering since it was NEVER coded to run on pcs and next gen consoles

          Greatest engine of this gen? BUHAHAHAHHAHHAHHAHH Frostbite 3, unreal engine 3, cryengine 3, those are the greatest engines not ND engine.

          But its my fault for even bothering with consoletards,its obvious you are competly clueless moronic fanboys when it comes to facts and reason due to your crappy consoles.

          Just go check what dice said, bf3 on consoles= low pc settings, check metro last light nvidia comparison between settings, even the lowest quality looks better than the pathetic console versions.

          So in short YES if the game is graphically impressive the pc version makes the console version looks like a ps2 game.

          DEAL with it

          • Imma just go ahead and repeat myself, because I read about three sentences of your novel before I realized you’re determined to continue spewing hate and have no interest in an intelligent conversation; get over yourself.

            Everyone knows pc graphics are better. Consoles aren’t going anywhere. Get over it.

            And the TLOU had shitty gameplay? Damn, someone better hurry up and tell the millions of PS3 users who are playing it right this very second.

        • This guy is my stalker. Go easy on him and don’t feed him anything. He will only regurgitate a bunch of PC stuff that is irrelevant to the console discussion.

          He is an A-Grade Assclown.

          • I am an assclown I get my kicks by trolling console articles. Please forgive me. I am a lonely person who lives in his mom’s basement. The only pleasure I get is masturbating over my PC. Gigabytes get me so hard.

            • Oh look at ame i am a cunt and a ps3 fanboy that TRULLY believes every pice of shit sony says is true and that ps4 will have “sony secret sauce” taht will allow it to do magic unicors and cure cancer and i get so hard on the ps3 controller.

              Please forgive me for being 12 year old and a faggot with no life other to comment on those ps4 articles because sony is my whole life.

          • First of all id swear you stalk me you moroni, second its very relevant that ND engine is made for ps3 only and pc hardware is what powers next gen consoles, but i dotn expect retards like you to get it.

            Typical consoletards

    • So you’re lumping the author of this post into everyone that plays COD and calling it out?

      Hello, giant leaps to conclusions.

  2. I’m not worried in the slightest. Naughty Dog are easily one of the best game developer studios in the world. No new engine does not mean “no better graphics”. Are you bitching about Frostbite 3? No. That Engine has been around since bad Company 2, simply upgraded, but it looks AMAZING. It’s what your developers can achieve with the tools at their disposal that really makes the difference and I’m really hoping that in 3 weeks ND will show a sneak peak of the next generation of Uncharted or whatever they follow it up with and blow our socks off.

  3. Consoles do not use the full power of engines so I wouldn’t be worried at all.

    If you do some research about EA a year ago EA said that Frostbite 2 was built for next gen consoles yet Frostbite 3 is coming out and as usual more of the engine will be used on PC and it’ll be scaled down for the Xbox One and PS4.

    I’m also very confident that Naughty Dog knows how much of there engine is being used and when they need to upgrade it. After The Last of Us it shows especially that there games are getting better and better graphically.

    • The last of us looks ancient. Every multiplatform looks better on my pc. Let me go get a console….hmmm yup this confirms it, console graphics are trash.

  4. If it looks good and plays good who cares? I would rather have quality titles that makes use of resources that do not need to be completely redone in a new engine especially if it means the games takes 1 year as opposed to 2 years.

  5. Don’t worry about the engine too much. They are just the framework that holds everything else together. All of the physics enhancements or other “next-gen” elements can be plugged in and swapped out of the existing engine that they have. That is all most of them do. Cry Engine 2 to Cry Engine 3 wasn’t a huge leap. They made various enhancements to it but it wasn’t brand new in the slightest which is what I expect Naughty Dog to do. If you really wanted to you could make a next gen game from the Id Tech 4 engine from 2004 and it would look fantastic. It’s more about the plugins, shaders, lighting solution, and other middleware tech that can make the difference.

  6. Judging there latest game releases….i think they’re right about their current game engine…no need to change or modify it. More memory is all they need need.

  7. A few months ago, naughty dog said they had made the error of not using the Jack and dexter engine, which was already really good, allowed them to do many stuff, and could easily have been adapted and upgraded, if and whenever needed. But no, they finally decided they would build a new frame engine from scratch, which they did, for the first uncharted. They also said this time , they wouldn’t make the same error, and would be using the The last of us engine, on the ps4. They said that engine allows them to do amazing stuff, and can easily be upgraded whenever needed, on the ps4. Why spending 12-18 months building a new engine from scratch, when they can achieve the same results, by upgrading the ‘last’ one? The the last of us engine is amazing, and I’m sure next naughty dog game will be awesome.

    Let’s imagine we take the tlou engine and open it on the ps4. Now, we load the tlou or uncharged 3 project. Now, we use bigger textures, we decrease the compression level, we apply a better anti aliasing algorithm, we increase the fire/sand/water/wind/snow particles count, we increase the characters polygon count, we set the framerate to 60 fps and we raise the resolution to 1080p. Will the game look phenomenal on the ps4? Sure it will. Did we need losing 18 precious months for building a new game engine for that? Absolutely not.

    Now, if naughty dog needs new effects, new particles, new texture decompression/streaming routines, and a few lines of code to be able to use the pool of memory and dispatch the rendering tasks to the GPU/8 cores cpu? They will simply code them, and merge them with the existing engine.

    Like someone above just said, we’re not talking about a 10 yo quake based call of duty engine. We’re talking about an ultra-optimized game engine that was used in 2013, and was using every single Hz of the CPU and every single kilobyte of ram.

    That’s why instead of being concerned, I’m quite happy naughty dog decided to of build a new engine. That means much more time for making a new game, and optimizing it so it uses all the ps4 power. And that, people, we can count on naughty dog: if there’s a studio that will max out the ps4, well, naughty dog is one of them.

    To the author, really, don’t be concerned at all. Those guys really know what to do, to give us perfect AAA titles. And believe me, the day they announce a new game for the ps4, the world will almost collapse, and people on forums like n4g will go crazy.

    • I thumb your reply up. Well said well said brother. I couldn’t have said it better.

  8. Don’t care! If ND say they don’t need a new engine, then I trust them. These guys have made the game of the Generation. Simple as!

  9. I’mk not worried at all, too, for some reasons:

    1. You cant just take an PS3 engine (or game) and put it to a complete other system. The PS3 was an exotic architecture, so you have to tweak your engine in many ways to get it on PS4.

    2. The last three games of Naughty Dog had brilliant graphics, so just minor tweaks WOULD advance them a lot. Even if a higher framerate, better textures, a wider view distance and some more effects would be enough, I think ND will find some other ways to improve our gaming experience.

    3. IMO they can better use minor time for their new engine and some more time on the other hand for their creativity and artistic vision. Especially, since they seem to break new ground with TLOF and I hope that this philanthrophic way will continue.

    Greetz from Germany,
    Gregor

    • Sorry for the huge link; i think I made a misake somewhere… It leads to some slick Uncharted 3 gameplay with 60 FPS. (Yummie!) ;-)

  10. “It was the most technologically advanced of all this current gaming generation,”

    NO frostbite 2, cryengine 3, mterol last light.

    I apologize that those are multiplatform games and not sony loyalists thus they cant make their games look impressive on a 8 year old unoptimized ps3 but those engines are next gen and have been for years on pc. Hell crysis 3 and metro last light on consoles run at worse graphics tha nthe lowest pc settings, dice confimred bf3 on consoles is on low pc settings.

    Now why does this matter? Because all those engines are x86 pc optimized engines, ND engine is NOT, its made for ps3 which is completly diffirent form pcs and next gen consoles.

    So stick to these and the new unreal engine.

  11. I’m not concerned at all. They have to make the old one run on the PS4 and that’s all. They have a lot of work done on this one. They can’t just put the old one on the PS4 and use it. They created a whole new engine on the PS3 and it was a lot of work. They’ll use the old one on the PS4 and make changes to improve it. Nothing wrong with that.

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