Game Developer: We Can Squeeze More Power from Xbox 360, But Next-Gen is Imminent

Gears of War Designer Expects Next-Gen Consoles to Have Avatar-Like Graphics

by Anton Shilov
09/20/2011 | 10:43 PM

Cliff Bleszinski, design director of Epic Games' Gears of War series of video games, said that it is still possible to improve quality of games on Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 game console and in particular to boost quality of graphics. Nonetheless, such improvement is unlikely to be revolutionary and "Avatar-like" quality of visuals is only projected on the next-gen consoles.


"I think if we bring out any more products on the Xbox 360 depending on life cycle, we will be able to squeeze more water from that stone. That said, I still think there is a huge amount of room for improvement in graphics," said Mr. Bleszinski in an interview with The Telegraph.

Apparently, the design director of Epic, a major game designer, happens to know about next-generation of game consoles, but cannot share the information. Moreover, he seems to know about the release timeframe, which means that companies like Microsoft Corp. and/or Sony Computer Entertainment have already set certain goals.

"We want to get to Avatar-quality and real time and beyond. I think we can absolutely get there, hopefully in the next generation if everybody ponies up and does good hardware. [...] I could tell you [how far out is the next-generation], but I would violate an NDA," added Cliff Bleszinski.

Earlier this year Microsoft's official Xbox magazine (OXM) published an article about hypothetical next-generation Xbox 360. Among other industrial experts, Neal Robison, the head of software developers relations at AMD, said that he would expect the future Xbox games to have Avatar-like graphics, that it would also continue using physical optical medium and will not be OnLive-like. In 2011, the Xbox brand turns tend years old and the Xbox 360 turns six. OXM believes - based on industrial rumours mostly - that the next-generation Xbox 360 is due sometimes in 2014.

"We are pretty darn close [to Avatar-like realism],” said Mr. Robison, but declined to comment  whether or not AMD is already working on the next Xbox console.

The new Xbox will inevitably considerably more powerful than the current one. In particular, Mr. Robison expects that the next-gen console will allow for ultra-realistic, rich visual experiences, with marked improvement for things like physics and artificial intelligence (AI).

Actual design, performance and specifications of the Xbox next may currently be known only conceptually. For example, some believe that Microsoft should more thoroughly work on integration of things like Kinect into the actual hardware. In addition, many believe that Microsoft should integrate Skype as well as social networks into the Xbox next. What definitely not happen is that Xbox will not rely onto processing of games in the cloud and will not transit to 100% digital distribution.