news\ Jul 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Current console gen has lasted too long, says Square Enix

Agni's Philosophy

Square Enix's top technology director, Julien Merceron, believes that the prolonged state of the current console generation has caused a drain of talent into mobile games.

"We have Sony and Microsoft talking about this generation lasting seven, eight, nine or even 10 years and it's the biggest mistake they've ever made," Merceron told GamesIndustry International.

According to Merceron, those waiting for the next generation have jumped to different platforms.

"So these developers went elsewhere to see if the grass was greener," he said. "They found web browsers, they found iOS, they found other things and a lot of them won't come back to the hardware platforms. So you could look at it that thanks to Microsoft and Sony and the length of this generation, it helped the emergence of other platforms and helped them get strong before the next hardware comes out."

Merceron pointed out that the more complex and costly a piece of hardware is, the fewer games that will be ready at launch — a huge disadvantage that only adds to a system's longevity "as developers find out all the optimizations they can use." Console generations should be shorter, he said.

The technology director also believes that focusing too much on graphics is a mistake.

"You start to have super great graphics, characters look really good and you end up in the uncanny valley, but you don't have animation at the same quality level," he said. "Same thing with behavior and AI; it animates well and looks good, but it is making stupid decisions. It simply won't be immersive."

Merceron said Square Enix's "Agni's Philosophy" tech demo highlighted visuals as well as AI and physics.

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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