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Can Killzone 2 really change developers’ attitude to the PS3?

Submitted by on Friday, 13 February 20093 Comments

ps3_kill2dev1With the gaming world talking about Killzone 2 and the pre-orders already at a high level, one has to ask how much Killzone 2 can change the way developers see the PS3.

With the game getting so much attention, in some part because of its awesome graphics, you could imagine developers must be feeling the pressure to compete – what you might call ‘the Killzone 2 effect’…

With the economy how it is, developers are likely to want to try even harder to persuade gamers to buy their game by differentiating it over a rival’s.

If the PS3 really is more powerful than the Xbox 360 as we are led to believe, the only real way to compete may be if developers side with producing a PS3-only game.

Although you can make multi-platform games that perform differently depending on the hardware, if your goal is to get the most from the platform then developers should focus on that one device only.

But in a recession every penny counts; it’s more important than ever to release a game on multiple platforms to reach a higher install base. After all, the PS3 does have the smallest user base of all three consoles.

A potential work around could be to focus all development on the PS3 and then port it to the PC and Xbox. Early last year Sony announced a development platform called the ‘PhyreEngine’ which is designed to make it easy for developers to make games using the PS3 as the base platform and then port it over.

This could be an attractive proposition for developers with games like flOw, GripShift and DiRT being the first to have used the engine.

However, it also takes time to make the most out of the PS3 and many developers and publishers are likely to want to release their games as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Killzone 2 is an example of a game that has taken excess of four years to develop, being long overdue and (reportedly) over budget.  It must be noted however that development started before the PS3 had been finalised and released. Nevertheless, this could scare developers away from the PS3.

And you know what they say, ‘graphics aren’t everything – what about the gameplay?’. It is true graphics aren’t the ‘be all and end all’, but when innovative games like LittleBigPlanet are slow growers in the market, it is true that high-end graphics are an easy way to create attention.

In all, any so called ‘Killzone 2 effect’ – the feeling that you must compete at the highest level – may not be established immediately, and instead we may have to wait for more PS3 developers to start to emulate Guerrilla’s achievement. You never know, other teams may even use the Killzone 2 engine which is said to be presented at this years Game Developers Conference.

Once this happens the PS3 should become more attractive as a platform causing more developers to focus on the console, especially when the world climbs out of the recession.