Sony’s preached about the ease of development on its next generation console ever since its announcement earlier in the year, but a spate of delays this week have prompted some sceptics to question whether it’s merely been exaggerating in order to improve the public perception of the PlayStation 4. However, Oddworld Inhabitants co-founder Lorne Lanning, who’s working on Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee New ‘n’ Tasty for the impending system, has rubbished such insinuations, stating that it’s one of the most architecturally intelligent systems ever conceived.
“Simply put, it’s the smartest development environment that we’ve ever seen,” he explained as part of an indie-focused feature published on IGN. “I believe that a lot of that credit goes to chief hardware architect Mark Cerny, who has an incredible depth of knowledge and long-time experience in developing games. Mark has serious knowledge – and I mean down to the machine language. If you take his decades of development experience in delivering hits, and then build a custom tailored development environment that’s designed to facilitate developer need, then I think that’s the system that you’re looking at.”
But it’s not just the architecture that’s pulled Lanning back to the platform where he made his name, but also the risk-taking environment that the Japanese giant’s cultivated. “This is a system that’s going to allow innovation to happen faster and cheaper, which is a great, great thing,” he continued. “Innovative work needs to be delivered with less friction and a lower cost, simply because it will require more product cycles before something new dials the playability into a new genre. There needs to be more room to take chances and fail at them but still survive. This system gets closer to that goal.”
Furthermore, Lanning concluded that the platform holder’s desire to support smaller studios rather than hold them hostage is what’s helping to establish such goodwill throughout the indie space. “Sony’s outward projection is that they are less concerned about ‘locking you up’ and more focused on what helps you to build a better business for yourself, and what will enable you to build the best games possible with your limited resources,” he beamed. “That’s a big change for any console manufacturer. They are making the process feel that it is less about them, and more about you.”
It’s a strategy that’s very much put the firm on the front foot in the increasingly important indie space, and there are legitimately dozens of digital downloads heading to the PS4 as a result. With outward-facing executives, great development tools, and an accessible architecture, we suspect that the manufacturer’s only going to accrue more support in the weeks following next month’s big release.