We've seen many developers struggle with multi-platform development this generation. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are different technical beasts. Complications with the wildly popular Unreal Engine 3 middleware have made things even more difficult.
Terminal Reality, the studio behind the upcoming "Ghostbusters," spent a lot of time evaluating each console before moving forward with their first next-generation game, Terminal Reality president Mark Randell told MTV Multiplayer at a Sierra media event last month.
In the end, contrary to most teams this generation, they decided to make PlayStation 3 their lead development platform for "Ghostbusters." Here's why.
Randell explains the technical reason behind their decision. "The multiprocessing model of the PS3 is not a general-purpose model," said Randell. "It simultaneously uses one main processor and six specialized co-processors: the Synergetic Processing Units, or "SPU's."
That's not the case with Xbox 360 and traditional modern PCs. "[Those platforms] share a general-purpose multiprocessor coding model," he continued. "The 360 uses three general-purpose PowerPC processors, and most current PCs use between one and four Intel or AMD processors."
The end result: Terminal Reality believes that moving a "Ghostbusters" game developed on hardware with specialized processors (PS3) to general processors (Xbox 360, PC) is much easier than doing it the other way around. Many studios, however, have chosen the other way around, with the PS3 version lagging in performance up until the last few months of development. Or, as the case with a number of mulit-platform games released in 2007, never catching up.
Randell's team might spend a more time on technology early on, but the ease in porting means they avoid having one platform perform better than the other, he argues.
"We've found that writing for the PS3 first and then porting to the 360 and PC is a much simpler and more efficient procedure," he concluded.
Even though PS3 development is notoriously difficult, most projects still lead on Xbox 360. We talked to one developer doing exactly that earlier this week. Unlike Randell, he believed you just need the right team. You'll hear his thoughts on Monday.