Creative director Thomas Wilson discusses the challenge of bringing new-gen games to last-gen consoles
Beenox and Mercenary Technology are aiming to run Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 at 30 frames per second on PS3 and Xbox 360.
The hugely popular franchise has long been known for hitting 60fps in most of its titles. The last two releases, Advanced Warfare and Ghosts, both ran roughly at that frame-rate on last-gen consoles. The PS4 and Xbox One versions of Black Ops 3 are also expected to run at that level.
Speaking to Develop, Beenox creative director Thomas Wilson, whose team is working on the last-gen ports of the title with Mercenary Technology, said it tried to hit the 60fps target, but it has proven to be challenging.
“I’d say that we tried to hit that target [60fps]," he said. "It becomes harder when you’re working on current gen platforms.
“We’re basically looking more at something like 30fps. But still, the experience is very enjoyable, otherwise it’s not Call of Duty.”
Activision has previously announced it would be ditching the single-player campaign element of Black Ops 3 for last-gen consoles. The game will therefore only feature multiplayer and a zombie mode.
Wilson said the level of detail required to develop a campaign and new-gen version of a Call of Duty game means it is becoming increasingly difficult to do that on PS3 and Xbox 360. He said the studio tried to maintain as many features as possible of Treyarch’s title within the limitations of the older consoles, but it ultimately appears to have been forced to make some concessions.
Despite the challenges, Wilson said releasing Call of Duty on last-gen hardware is "totally still viable".
“What we do is we basically, step by step, reduce the polycounts on each asset, reduce the amount of memory that each effects will take, and then eventually we make sure that we maintain that core experience intact," he said.
“The challenge really is to make that fit in memory, make sure that the experience is good and that you have a great frame rate. So there’s always a big challenge in doing that because of course the main developer will try to make the most kick-ass new-gen game possible. We don’t want them to think about constraints, we want them to go out there and have fun.”