With Grand Theft Auto IV just a few short, unbearable days away, the Rockstar team are doing the rounds with the press. Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser has been speaking to 1Up and has been surprisingly open about the problems the game faced with the Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles.
Houser’s main gripe with the Xbox 360 is the amount of storage available to developers. “One of the problems with the 360 – and it affects games like Grand Theft Auto if you think about how much content we put in the actual machine – is the fact that they don’t have a significantly larger storage medium than the previous systems,” he admits, adding: “It’s a slightly bigger DVD disc”.
This complaint isn’t at all unusual and has been voided by other developers before, but none who were talking about a game as high profile as GTA IV. Annoyingly the solution is right there staring us in the face – there’s a 20GB drive attached to the top of my machine and all of about a third of which has been filled with whatever crap has been download off Xbox Live.
However, Microsoft’s decision to only make hard drives optional so that it could sell hard drive-less Arcade consoles is basically undermining the chances of games using all the available space to its best.
Are things going to change? It’s unclear. It will probably depend on whether the PS3 ever actually manages to get a cross platform game running significantly better due to its mandatory hard drive.
GTA IV won’t be that game though – Houser is very keen to clarify that both GTA IV versions “pretty much look identical side by side”. The only difference is one looks softer (without being blurry) and one looks more ‘clinical’. Not that this will have any chance of stopping anxious fans poring over side-by-side copies endlessly searching for a pixel or two of difference.
But with GTA IV now leading a growing number of games that could have been better if the hard drive was fully accessible, Microsoft must be under increasing pressure to make changes.
Oh and the problem with the PS3 console? It’s a bitch to develop for. Sure these things do get easier over time, but it looks like Xbox 360 will always be the easiest place to start.
GTA IV (via 1Up)