With every new console generation comes the anticipation of next-gen games and the experiences they can bring to players. The arrival of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S was met with similar excitement and curiosity as to what the new console generation would bring. At Magic Media, we are well-versed in delivering second-to-none gaming experiences on both previous-generation and current-generation consoles, as well as understanding what makes a game truly next-generation.
Every new console generation means new expectations from both clients and players, and it’s critical to be agile in responding to their needs and wants to deliver the best gaming experiences. Next-generation game development might seem daunting at first, but it represents an opportunity to do something truly creative with fewer limitations than before.
Visual Leap Forward
One of the main advantages of new consoles and next-generation games is the ability to deliver better visuals than ever before. More powerful hardware means more opportunities to make visually stunning games, whether they’re hyper-realistic or stylized. Games like Call of Duty get more realistic with each passing year, and titles like Ratchet and Clank and Hades push the boundaries of what’s possible with an imaginative visual direction.
Leveraging cutting-edge engines like Unreal Engine 5 and Unity, with their modern rendering abilities, can allow developers to get the most out of new hardware and realize their game’s visual vision. Doing so helps the visuals of your title fall in line with player expectations for next-gen games, and shows clients that the team is capable of delivering stellar work on brand-new hardware.
Improved Performance and Options
While PC gamers could select from a wide range of performance options for some time, it’s only now on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S that these options are starting to become commonplace for console gamers. Having performance options available for both PC and console gamers is a must in the modern industry.
Overall, new consoles represent a leap in performance. Where 60FPS was hard to achieve on PlayStation 4, it’s largely the standard on PlayStation 5, with some exceptions reaching higher and lower frame rates. As a baseline, games released on new consoles should achieve higher frame rates than older hardware because of their raw power. Similarly, higher resolutions have become standard across all consoles and range from 720 to 1080 and even 1440. Not only is this more visually appealing, but it leads to a smoother gameplay experience as well.
Improved resolution and frame rates quickly became a hallmark of next-gen games and are widely considered an essential part of the new wave of game releases. Leveraging console power to achieve this and provide players with performance options is almost necessary for new game releases. Empowering players to toggle between high frame rates while sacrificing some visual fidelity, and vice versa, is a must-have for next-generation games.
Immersion and Interactivity
With this new generation of games and consoles, there are more opportunities than ever before to make immersive games. Physics engines have vastly improved over the years, so realistic character and object interactions are more achievable than before. Enemy behavior has also come along leaps and bounds, so they react more intelligently to the player’s actions, and companion interaction is more self-sufficient compared to years past. Large sandboxes and immersion have emerged as perhaps the main hallmarks of next-gen games at this early stage of the generation, so imbuing your title with excellent physics, atmospheric audio design, and believable AI is necessary to create a truly next-gen experience. What’s more is that many modern games have practically non-existent load times, meaning that there is more uninterrupted time to explore game worlds and all they have to offer.
Further to this, new console tech allows players to experience more meaningful interactions. Puzzles using light and physics can be made more complex than ever thanks to modern lighting and physics engines and their support from creation suites like Unreal Engine 5. Game engines like Unreal Engine 5 have in-built technology to enliven even the most mundane interactions. Game worlds have never been more interesting thanks to the engine’s World Partition tool, a solution for large open worlds, and the MetaHuman Character Creator, which helps render the most realistic characters to date in the gaming industry.
Unique Features to Leverage
Each flagship next-gen console, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, offers developers unique ways to enhance their games and the overall experience for players. The PlayStation 5 controller, the DualSense, is a critical component of game design and immersion for games. With haptic feedback, players can feel more of the game world than ever before, and its adaptive trigger functionality has been acclaimed for its ability to communicate with the player. It can tell players when they’re low on munitions in action games or if something is interactable without them needing to even look at the screen.
The new Xbox consoles boast impressive features, including Smart Delivery which scales your game to run as optimized as possible on the Xbox you’re using, whether it is the previous generation’s Xbox One or the current Xbox Series X and S. Along with the potential raw output of PCs, there is something unique about every major next-generation platform that developers should aim to take advantage of to help secure their games as true next generational experiences.
For stellar AAA console development services from industry experts, get in touch with the Magic Media team today. Apart from next-gen development expertize, we have a full range of entertainment and gaming services, including cybersecurity, in-game animation, real-time VFX, and more. Reach out today, and let’s create magic!