Amount Of Work For Next-Gen Is “Eight To Ten Times Greater” Says Capcom

By Ishaan . January 9, 2014 . 11:35pm

“The amount of work involved in making games for next-gen consoles is eight to ten times greater than what is required for the current generation of consoles,” says Masaru Ijuin, Senior Manager of Technology Management at Capcom, in an internal discussion.

 

It is for this reason that Capcom developed their “Panta Rhei” engine, says Ijuin—because their versatile MT Framework engine, which they have employed on every platform from Xbox 360 to Wii to 3DS, was starting to impose limitations on next-gen work.

 

“Upgrading MT Framework was definitely an option, and there were people in the company who were a little hesitant about developing a new engine,” admits Ijuin. “But taking the easy route often fails to bring about the best results. Improvements to MT Framework might have reduced the work time from one hour to 30 minutes. We sought to go beyond that and shorten those 30 minutes to ten.”

 

Unfortunately, such a drastic change comes with challenges of its own, Ijuin says. Capcom’s creators will have to “start back at square one” when learning how to develop games using Panta Rhei. This is because “Next-gen consoles have drastically redefined the way games are rendered,” according to Ijuin.

 

That having been said, Panta Rhei is meant to help cut down on development time, and Ijuin goes on to provide an example of how it will do so.

 

“One of the main features is ‘parallelization’. Normally when a game is made, the planner comes up with a plan, and the designer draws a map,” says Ijuin. “The characters are then placed on the map and the created game is played. If the game’s not fun, the map is redesigned from scratch. This is what you would call a serial process. On the other hand, Panta Rhei transforms this into a parallel process, thereby minimizing work loss through the coordination of efforts.”

 

Panta Rhei will also enable the company to make games appear more realistic. In particular, Capcom are interested in the concept of “global illumination,” where colours of objects will reflect off of their surroundings.

 

Ijuin says that, going forward, Capcom will continue to use MT Framework to develop games for current-gen consoles, handhelds and smartphone devices. Meanwhile, Panta Rhei will be employed for development of multiplatform next-gen titles. Deep Down, for instance, is being developed using Panta Rhei, even though the engine is being built alongside the creation of that game, and Panta Rhei’s designers are coordinating their development efforts with the Deep Down development team.

 

“This relationship will continue until we reach the development deadline for Deep Down,” says Ijuin. “I’m pretty sure Panta Rhei will be complete by the time Deep Down is ready for release.” Beyond that, he says, Capcom will continue to make improvements to the Panta Rhei engine as necessary.


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  • Learii

    xbox one? when they say deep down coming to xbox one or this not about deep down?

    • Frankie

      Deep Down is for PS4, the engine will be used for every platform. Making a scalable engine, reduces dev time, and allows the company to get extremely good in the engine, improving games.

    • icecoffemix

      Not gonna happen, it’s a joint development game with SCEJ.

      They’re talking about the engine like the guy replied to you said.

      • Learii

        oh ok lol I tho they talking about deep down

  • 無尽合体ブランタコブスキ

    Eight to ten times more DLC

    • Judgephoenix

      Eight to Ten times more disc locked content as well :D

  • Warboss Aohd

    maybe if you focused on Gameplay and Story over pretty visuals it wouldn’t be as hard?

    • Lucky Dan

      Then all the magazines will rate it 0/10 unplayable cause it doesn’t have pretty graphics. To put further salt in their wounds, Sony and Microsoft will pay them to give the game 0/10

    • Suicunesol

      Changing visual standards inevitable for next gen. If Capcom games don’t have next-gen visuals, other studios’ games will, and Capcom will fall behind. They have no choice. And high-quality gameplay and story are no more in demand next-gen than current gen, or in any gen.

      And if next-gen gameplay were valued more than next-gen visuals, the Wii U would be selling out everywhere.

    • taekk

      Hey now, as long as Capcom keeps making Ace Attorney games, they’re good in my book.

      • KnifeAndFork

        Please insert credit card to continue chapter

    • David García Abril

      Maybe if we gamers stopped demanding better Gameplay and Story, only to complain about not having pretty visuals the second we get the first screenshots…

  • Monterossa

    Why don’t keep making 2D Rockman? The series was better in 2D anyway. I don’t mind if Street Fighter will go back to 2D too.

    • KnifeAndFork

      Because Inafune left the company and Capcom execs have too much stubborn pride and misplaced honor so they’d rather the series die out of spite

      • Kaihedgie

        Why would they let it “die out of spite”? What is there to gain from such an attitude?

  • icecoffemix

    Interesting, other developers actually said the opposite. Phanta Rei looks to be so good though so it’s all well.

    • malek86

      The Killzone devs said something like 4 times greater. Then again, all these numbers don’t really mean much.

      I’m more worried about recouping the costs. Even if making a HD game costs as much as before, or even a little less, there’s still the problem that games are startin to lose value. Between PS+, Steam sales, etc. people will eventally start to become less keen on buying full-priced games at launch.

      Deep Down is F2P, but will this kind of model work on a console game?

      • icecoffemix

        I wouldn’t worry too much until there’s evidence to what you suggested, since most people who do get game from plus or steam sales usually aren’t gonna buy the game anyway and I’ve heard ps+ actually help gain awareness of some game for people who would otherwise would never play the game, helping the sequel.

      • Pyrofrost

        It’s more an issue of consumer expectation and bigger companies trying to make billion dollar budget masterpieces; with even great sales not being able to recoup the loss.

        When companies like IF/CH are doing good to push 150k units worldwide and do just fine; meanwhile, companies like SE and Capcom can push millions and finish in the red, there is a huge problem.

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          I will never understand why people compare tiny companies like Compile Heart to larger corporations like Square and Capcom. They’re nothing alike for a large number of reasons that have been discussed over and over. The same business model that works for a tiny developer like Compile Heart with a very specific niche of the market will not work for a larger publisher.

          • Pyrofrost

            I’m not comparing their business models. I understand that both (larger and smaller companies) take on entirely different slices of the market and can’t use the same model.
            I was talking more about how some companies are putting gargantuan budgets behind their games, in order to attempt making a masterpiece that meets consumer expectations. In turn, creating a hole that its sales can’t fill.

            At the same time, other large companies can create games with a massive budget, and it’s sales will put them in the black.

            Whether the problem is consumer expectation, irresponsible/over spending, or a little of both; I can’t say for sure.

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            Ah, all right. I just thought the mention of Compile Heart and Idea Factory was odd, since those developers’ games aren’t of the same budget or quality of Capcom’s.

            Compile Heart are lucky because they’ve managed to get away with developing mostly low-budget games with their fair share of issues in the past, and their fans are willing to deal with that. A larger company doesn’t necessary have that luxury, which is why I thought it was odd you compared the two.

            I don’t think increasing budgets is a question of a single company… the entire industry seems to be headed in that direction. We lost a lot of studios between 2006 and 2013, when practically every publisher dropped the ball on the Wii and underestimated the problems associated with HD games. But that’s just one problem, in my opinion.

            Looking back, things could have gone very differently had publishers thought of the bigger picture in the 360/Wii/PS3 days, and attempted to spread their resources between the three systems better. Capcom actually did manage to do that, back in the day.

            I suppose the problem, at the end of the day, is that most developers are “enthusiasts” themselves. They don’t know how to make games that can reach out to new audiences. Sadly, that will always be the #1 issue in AAA development. That people only know how to make a very limited variety of games.

          • Pyrofrost

            You made some good points, Ishaan. So I guess the better question is, where do some of these bigger companies go from here.

            The smaller ones, seem to have a loyal niche that they can safely operate within, and still end in the black. However, what would these larger ones need to do to pull themselves out of the red, because whatever some of them are doing just isn’t working. Many big companies finished FY2013 at a total operating loss: SquareEnix, Capcom, Sega, and Konami; meanwhile, Namco Bandai and Tecmo Koei closed the FY with an increase.

            I mean, SE did a great job restoring confidence at E3, finally giving a heads up on KH3 and FFv13 (now FFXV). They also managed to resurrect FFXIV and they are now doing great with that. Konami has new MGS coming, that will probably help them a great deal. SEGA has Ryu ga Gotoku: Ishin coming, and they have acquired Atlus which will go a very long ways for them. As for Capcom, I really don’t know how they plan to fix their situation. They have so many great IPs and it would really be a shame to see them crash and burn.

            I’m looking forward to seeing the upcoming set of FY numbers though. Maybe some questions will be answered with that. What are your thoughts?

          • Lucky Dan

            Keep in mind now with the cost of development time and length of producing a AAA game now means they cannot scrap it if the concept turns out shit.

            Take for example FFXV Previously FFXIII versus I bet you a penny that they were gonna scrap it after the failure of Final Fantasy XIII but the mistake they made was that they put sooooo much time and effort that they needed to continue on with it cause the amount effort they put into the game means they would of lost millions of dollars in development. Same with FFXIV it was a massive disaster but they needed to recoup that by making a “new” version of a game despite its bad reputation.

            That’s how come so many Triple AAA titles turn out average now cause they cannot scrap pure concepts if they are a quarter way cause the money they already put in would of been a masssive loss like Alien’s Colonel marines and Duke nukem for example.

            It’s proven that games do not have to be a big massive budget there are many developers like you say Compile heart and so forth that can get away with it and proves you don’t need massive dollars to develop a game.

            Just wish they make actual games not movies, keep the movies in the big screen and games on the console or take the movie’s way of things make lots of low budget games for new IPs and have big Triple AAA budget for proven IPs but trying to explain to a Company’s CEO who doesn’t give a shit about games but making a million bucks on one IP is extremely dire situation indeed.

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            Namco Bandai are a bit of an anomaly because they practically control the anime industry in Japan. Anime has seen better days to be sure, but as long as Namco hold the licenses to Dragon Ball and One Piece and Naruto and Gundam, they’re afforded a certain level of security that no other publisher really has.

            Namco’s typical development cycle in a single year is one or two big-budget anime games based on popular licenses (usually Naruto or One Piece… although, now it’s the entire Shounen Jump line-up), one Tales game, and about a dozen or so low-budget or mid-budget anime titles that sell between 200-400k individually. That formula seems to have worked for them.

            Of course, they also have things like Tekken and Soulcalibur and Ace Combat, which have all been a little hit-or-miss lately, but overall, it adds up. Namco’s stable of franchises don’t cost them a lot of money to develop.

            Square and Capcom, on the other hand, have it rough because they’re expected to compete on a global scale, which is something Namco doesn’t really do just yet. Especially now that they own Eidos, Square are expected to put out several hits in the span of a single year, as are Capcom, between how large the company has grown and all the different brands they control (RE, Monster Hunter, Street Fighter etc.).

            And that’s where the problem lies, I think. Figuring out what works when you want to strike that perfect balance of East vs. West. Square and Capcom are really the only two large Japanese companies that have to contend with this, and that’s why they’re being hit the hardest. Namco and Tecmo and Sega can always shrink back into Japan-focused development and ignore the west, but Square and Capcom can’t.

            Plus, western gamer tastes have changed, and they aren’t particularly easy to figure out these days, since even western developers themselves have had a hard time of it in so many cases.

            To Cacom’s credit, they’ve tried a lot of new stuff. DmC was a really solid attempt at breathing new life into Devil May Cry, and I think it did work to an extent. Meanwhile, RE6 would have worked in the west had the game been a little more polished. Contrary to a lot of people, I don’t think fans mind seeing Resident Evil become more of an action-focused series, just as long as it remains a good game. RE5 was very actiony, and it’s the best-selling RE game to date, for example.

            In Square’s case… well, I think in Square’s case, the problem arises entirely out of the Japanese division. If Square Japan had their act together, they wouldn’t need Eidos to keep picking up their slack. Tomb Raider would be considered a success instead of being deemed “lukewarm” because Japan expects the US/EU divisions to keep making up for their failures.

            I think Square Japan needs to figure out what to do with Final Fantasy, first and foremost. Who is FF for? Is it still aimed at teenagers? If it is, today’s teenagers aren’t the same as teenagers from the ’90s. Alternatively, do they want to let the series grow up a little, so that older gamers in their 20s and 30s can appreciate it, without being turned off by the angst and drama? If that’s the case, they need better writers.

          • Pyrofrost

            You’ve made more really good points there, Ishaan.

            I really hope Deep Down ends up paying off for Capcom, I really do. Not that I’m personally interested in the game; but I really want them to find success with this venture and use it to build momentum. They have so many great IPs, and in my opinion, it would be a severe blow to the industry if we were to lose them.

            I also hope SE can get back rolling again as well. Though the new CEO has talked a bit about the direction he wants to take SE, I’d say it will be another year to 18 months before we can tangibly see the direction the company takes under his leadership. I hope they are able to rebound as well. SE has some great IPs as well, and I also feel that it would be a severe blow to the industry if they were lost.

            I’m not predicting doomsday for them or anything. As a Japanese gaming enthusiast, I am simply hoping for the best.

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            Yeah, to be honest, I’m rather tired of people picking on Square and Capcom all the time. Yes, they’ve messed up a few times, but they’ve also gotten a lot of things right.

            And… Matsuda certainly is an interesting chap. Just a few months ago, he was talking about adopting a Kickstarter-meets-Steam Early Access approach to development, and just a while later, Square announced their IndieGoGo partnership program.

            People may not like Matsuda’s vision for Square, but at least the man makes things happen, and quickly at that.

          • KnifeAndFork

            I don’t like him or Wada. Word has it he’s canceled many unknown console projects at S-E I’m favor for. That mobile push

          • KnifeAndFork

            Yeah

          • malek86

            Even if the business models are different, that doesn’t mean some big companeis aren’t spending too much money. Tomb Raider is an example. 4 million copies and it couldn’t break even? Come on. Squenix messed up something there.

            That said, the use of middlewares should make that problem a little less relevant in this generation. The 360/PS3 era had pretty much only UE3, and other companies made their own engines. This time it sounds like we’ll have a lot more multi-platform and multi-genre engines.

          • KnifeAndFork

            True but it seems S-E had almost but all cut out the middleware game. Now its either AAA games with huge development times, of cheaper handheld and iOS games. And now Capcom may be following suite

          • Lucky Dan

            It’s a gamble though only a fair few iOS games have been successful and they think they could make a gmae like gungho who made puzzle and dragons.

      • Jason Ryer

        Work is subject to man power which is subject – $$$. Killzone devs are 2nd party devs for sony so they can whine to sony for $$ to hire more people. Capcom is borderline broke so more people are doing differnt jobs more then likely.

        • easter

          Killzone’s devs (Guerilla Games) are actually first-party Sony developers. They are fully under the SCE family.

    • Lucky Dan

      They saying the time, length and actual money costs involve not the difficult of producing a game, that’s another matter altogether.

      • icecoffemix

        They’re most certainly inter lap together at the very least.

        Probably saying that they need bigger texture and new way and model to harness the new tech now, which will improve in time and this time it’d be in rapid pace given the straightforward architecture (for ps4, xbox one is a bit more complicated with the tiny esram).

  • Pyrofrost

    I don’t understand how this is supposed to be 8 to 10 times harder for Capcom; yet other devs have been talking about the ease of development, due to the “similar to PC” architecture.

    • Nintendojitsu

      That was BS. I’m almost expecting this to be delayed further into 2014.

    • Lucky Dan

      Just look at COD: Ghosts and Killzone and even other games, everyone of them contain like 50 GBs of FMV and shit like that even MAX PAYNE 3 had 2 and half hours of cutscene and 10 mins of gameplay. Everyone expects FMV to tell you the story now why don’t they just let the good ol text stay around like in Dragon’s Dogma

      Not only that it’s cause of the massive amount of Video they have to go to make the game look up to standard similar to the West.

      Told all of you that this was gonna happen since Nintendo since Nintendo are having trouble producing games that are taking longer than expected even with a 25-50% increase in power from the last generation now Capcom and other developers are feeling it. To get the game out on time they need to hire 4 times the amount of people to the same work as if it was half the size.

      Nothing is directly exponential in development.

      • http://gentlerobot.com/ Gentle Robot

        Text is fine but I wish they’d stop typing every letter out individually as no one reads that way and I’m tired of pressing A

      • KnifeAndFork

        This is nonsense. No Man’s Sky looks amazing and is being worked on by a 4 man team . Capcom is just clueless and most of their talent left and Nintendo is behind the times as usual. About 7 years behind to be exact

    • David García Abril

      That was all marketing talk. Maybe they managed to make it easier than it could have been, but there’s no way that they were going to avoid it being more difficult than last generation.

      Games have always become harder and harder to make as technology advanced. Both in video games and animation (the lanterns scene from “Tangled” needed 1000 employees. Only ONE SCENE).

      It’s foolish to think that this generation was gonna be any different.

  • Romancer Ecclesia

    Being such a large company, I’d expect them to anticipate the inevitable move to new development tools. They should have planned ahead to make the transition more seamless. Something along the lines like Kojima Studios making their Fox Engine early on. I understand that smaller studios may not have the resources, but Capcom? Come on… I feel like they’re not responsive enough to consumer needs and industry fluctuations. Do correct me if I’m wrong though.

    • Haganeren

      Well, if they have that kind of rendering already, we can deduce they are on the work for this engine since 1-2 years and only had the final specs for PS4/XB1 (relatively) recently.

      That what I think anyway.

    • malek86

      Well, the thing is, as they said it themselves, the MT was working pretty well for a long time, and they didn’t see the need to change it.

      I don’t think Konami had an engine like that before, so when they chose to make their own, they could afford to take next-gen into consideration too.

  • Seven of The Scions

    Hey I was expecting 8 times more quality then previous console games.
    That’s all.

  • CycloneFox

    … so because the amount of work is eight times higher, you skip the level design and generate dungeons randomly. That’s sad, if you ask me.

    What Capcom says is a big problem. We already saw it with last gen, as teams got as big as 300-600 people for one tripple A game, which hurts the whole project alot. Graphics got nicer, okay, but most games nowerdays suck when it comes to things like diversion in gameplay, story and characters. The soul is missing.

  • anthony apduhan

    Are they gonna make a fighting game using this engine?

    • malek86

      Pretty much all of Capcom’s games from 2010 onwards (including UMVC3) were running on MT Framework, so yeah, I guess they’ll be using this new engine for a lot of games including new fighters.

      • anthony apduhan

        Good but awww guess we will wait for MVC4 in 2015 or 2019 oh well 2015 is good also…

        • Ni ~UNREAL BLACK THINGS~

          If we ended up getting MVC4 at all. Capcom’s contract with Disney/Marvel is over. MVC origins and UMVC3 and other marvel games are beign removed from PSN and Live.
          you know what? forget marvel and let them make Capcom Ultimate All Stars

          • Tonton Ramos

            Great MVC4 will be the next Kingdom Hearts 3 or Half Life 3… we will get a long wait then you will realize MVC4 will be on PS5 and the next Xbox whoopeedoo -_-

        • KnifeAndFork

          I’d rather a new Tatsunoko vs Capcom.

          I’d imagine Disney is now a pain in the ass to deal with

  • Göran Isacson

    Kinda curious now… Parrallelization sounds more like a way to organize the workload, rather than something that’s only made possible thanks to advanced technology. Am I just missing something, or does it look like he’s saying they can only coordinate their work loads by inventing a program that does it for them, not simply decide “okay you work on this thing while I work at this other thing… simultaneously.”
    *Que everyone flipping over their seats in surprise at this bold new direction*

    • Mimi

      i was wondering the same thing but i go no answer…

  • fairysun

    Hmm, at least once you get the main engine ready, your next games after Deep Down will be easier to develop.

  • Impressionnant

    MT Framework was such a great engine.

    • KnifeAndFork

      Ninja Theory didn’t want to use it

      • http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/RenaudB90 RenaudB90

        Funny that. Most people don’t want Ninja Theory’s games.

  • http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/recognition/21421.html?type=4 Kashell

    ACHOO!! Pardon me. I’m allergic to bull-****.

  • https://twitter.com/Ni_Go_Zero_Ichi Project 2501

    Urgh. Can’t wait for small-to-medium-sized developers to be even more alienated than they already are.

  • Shippoyasha

    I just hope the higher visual fidelity games will have won’t mean more Japanese games afraid to make the commitment and instead remain focused on handheld. Which is perfectly fine but it may be bad news for gamers who expect a sudden influx of new games.

  • WyattEpp

    I can only read this as “We have no idea what we’re doing and our tooling is abysmal.”

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