At this point prior to the PlayStation 3’s release, we were starting to hear whispers about the console’s complex architecture. Third-party studios were really struggling to get to grips with the system, and that was evidenced by the slew of shoddy ports that plagued the platform for years after its arrival. Fortunately, the PlayStation 4 is proving to be a much more straightforward environment for external developers.
As part of an extensive article on Eurogamer.net – which, honestly, is far too in-depth for our feeble brains – Ubisoft Reflections has revealed that a team of just two to three people ported Ivory Tower’s next generation racer The Crew to the PS4 in six months. The Newcastle-based studio was tasked with converting the original PC game code to Sony’s system, and short of a few bumps along the road, got the engine up and running fairly effortlessly. No PS3-esque problems here.
In fact, the team is now looking at ways in which it can exploit some of the unique advantages of the PS4’s hardware. “The PS4's GPU is very programmable,” said programmer Simon O’Connor. “There's a lot of power in there that we're just not using yet. So, what we want to do are some PS4-specific things for our rendering, but within reason – it’s a cross-platform game, so we can't do too much that's PS4-specific.”
That the British developer’s even thinking about using some of the console’s more unique features is a testament to the simplicity of the PS4’s architecture. Seven years ago, studios were panicking over the awkward CELL structure. However, now it seems that the only concern is getting the most out of the hardware available. And that’s good for the programmers poring over code – and even better for us as gamers.