By Joseph Leray
So much of the conversation about any new hardware launch is about graphical upgrades: polygon count, volumetric lighting, depth of field, shaders, and so on and so forth. David Cage’s presentation at Sony’s recent press conference focused on Quantic Dream’s new graphics engine, for example, complete with real-time Crypt Keeper modeling.
But there is more to game development than character modelling and 3D rendering: the level designers at Arkane Studios, the minds that brought you “Dishonored,” are really just excited about having a little bit of extra RAM in Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4.
“We need memory, you know?” Christophe Carrier, a level designer at Arkane, told Eurogamer during this week’s British Acadamey of Film and Television Arts Game Awards, where “Dishonored” won Best Game.
“As a level designer we are struggling against memory every day. We cut things, we remove things, we strip things, we split the levels, we remove NPCs from levels because there’s not enough memory,” Carrier elaborates. “So knowing that memory is something that is going to be improved in the next generation of consoles: to us, it’s a joy.”
The PlayStation 4 will come with 8 GB of unified random-access memory when it is released this fall. The current PlayStation 3, in contrast, sports a comparatively puny 256 MB of dynamic RAM and another 256 MB of video RAM.
“We were PC gamers at the beginning. We love PC games, and we had to make games on consoles. But the main problem was memory,” Carrier explains. “The processors are good, but the memory, for our games, is the most important. So it’s great.”
Presumably, Arkane won’t have to cut as many NPCs and design features from their next game, though the studio is being tight-lipped on what it might be, though “Dishonored” publisher Bethesda has expressed interest in continuing the series.
A new batch of “Dishonored” DLC was recently discovered, as well: “The Other Side of the Coin” sees Corvo investigating the mysterious Ms. Cooperspoon.