MotorStorm developer Evolution is already thinking about the next PlayStation, with CEO Martin Kenwright predicting that the games development business model will be radically different once the PS4 appears.Speaking in an exclusive interview printed in the new issue of Develop (available to download for free in PDF form here), Kenwright offered hints on what's in store for the studio and how he expects the industry to change.
"Right now, I'm already thinking about the PlayStation 4 era and beyond. That's the way we need to think now in this business," said Kenwright, naming 2011 as the year by which the industry will have seen a 'big change'.
As for how development will change, Kenwright points to that the way Evolution collaborated closely with Havok - embracing middleware as a gameplay feature rather than just a tech solution - as one part of the key model going forward.
"We've gone beyond the old attitude of a technological difference being what makes things work or how you succeed – in the end things like the concept behind your game and the brand will overtake all that. If you ask me, there’s a huge wave coming that’s going to change things dramatically, and we will aim to be on the crest of it.
"The development business model is going to change beyond all belief over the next few years. So what we're looking at is balancing long-term aims while consolidating our position."
Kenwright remains tight-lipped on the specifics of Evolution's next project, but said that the independent games studio had relished the challenge of creating PS3 launch window game MotorStorm from scratch saying: "We want to be in the business of IP creation".
The studio has just finished work on MotorStorm and was the first third-party studio allowed official access to the PlayStation 3 specs and SDKs. The development team is now making sure the game plays into Sony's PlayStation Network strategy in the immediate future by creating downloadable cars and other content, while the senior execs think about the studio's next five years of business.
But isn't it a little crazy to be talking about what the PlayStation 4 may mean for developers so soon after the introduction of the PS3? The Evolution team, which prior to PS3 launch window game MotorStorm completed five World Rally Championship PS2 titles for SCEE in as many years, doesn't think so.
Said Kenwright: “When we were making PS2 games we were thinking of PS3-type specs as our bar for World Rally. Now we’re on PS3 we’re thinking about what aiming for the PS4 territory would allow us to achieve.”
Added MD Mick Hocking: “Yeah, it’s a risky thing to say, but if you don’t do that it’s more risky to just look at the current gen and try to fit in with what everyone else is doing. That strikes me as crazy. Think of it like taking a hairpin on a race track - everyone looks at the corner but you really need to be looking at the track and see what’s further ahead otherwise you end up really surprised.”
Find out how the Evolution team came to that conclusion by reading the Develop 68 cover feature, which includes a candid background on both the studio and the production of MotorStorm plus exclusive behind-the-scenes thoughts from producers Simon Benson and Matt Southern. The magazine can be downloaded here, and the print version will be with subscribers next week.