The halls of game publishing/developing have echoed yet again, and, to no surprise, it’s Ubisoft. Executive director of production service in Montreal, Yves Jacquier, says the problem with PS3 and 360 is “we’re extremely limited in what we can do.” Big words from a big player. Ok we’re listening.
In a recent interview with Gamingindustry.biz, Yves was not shy in sharing his true opinion on current generation hardware capabilities, or lack thereof. “AI has always been the real battleground. The challenge is that, if you see an AI coming, you’ve failed. And that’s a problem we have to overcome as we create the impression of flawless, seamless worlds,” says the gaming executive. “In general the industry expects that graphics will not be a strong feature any more… Obviously, graphics are better for marketing purposes because you can show things. AI you can’t show,” he added.
So who’s to blame for such limitations? According to Jacquier, Sony and Microsoft’s present HD consoles:
“Our challenge with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox  is that we’re extremely limited in what we can do. It’s a challenge for the engineers to provide nice graphics and nice AI and nice sound with a very small amount of memory and computation time.”
Ubisoft’s exec is not pulling any punches today, but he does have a point. However, Splinter Cell has taken flak for its, at times, shotty AI and that has been the case since the first title (long before PS3 and 360); Assassin’s Creed’s AI is also flawed, not to mention Prince of Persia (all great games regardless). I get it, it’s this generation’s iteration of hardware that has hampered Ubisoft’s ambitious development. How unfortunate.
“We think that the next generation of consoles won’t have these limits any more. Games might have more realistic graphics and more on-screen, but what’s the value of making something more realistic and better animated if you have poor AI?”
The PS3 and 360 are said to have been developed with a 10 year life span, which means we’re about half-way through their cycles. If this is indeed the plan for MS and Sony’s consoles then I’m afraid Yves and company will have quite a bit more time to rant and rave before overcoming their AI programming hurdles. WiiU is claimed to be but a hair better than these machines so cleary the answer isn’t there. If I may offer my advice: PC! Anymore brain busters Ubisoft?