PS4 to have strongest launch games in PlayStation history, says lead architect

PS4 launch games to be Sony's best
PS4 hardware said to be easier for game developers

The PS4 specs could write the wrongs of Sony's PlayStation 3 architecture, namely making the new console easier to development for this time around.

"The biggest thing is we didn't want the hardware to be a puzzle that programmers would be needing to solve in order to make quality titles," said PS4 lead architect Mark Cerny in a Gamasutra interview.

"There was huge performance [in the PS3], but in order to unlock that performance, you really needed to study it and learn unique ways of using the hardware."

Cerny stressed that having a familiar unified CPU and GPU in PS4 would make it easier for developers to make games, something that has been a constant complaint of PS3 developers.

Supercharged PS4 launch games

The result of this familiarity, according to Cerny, is that the first PS4 titles out of the gate will rival all of Sony's past video game launches.

"The launch lineup for PlayStation 4 - though I unfortunately can't give the title count - is going to be stronger than any prior PlayStation hardware," said Cerny.

So far, we know from the PlayStation Meeting event that PS4 will see games like Killzone: Shadow Fall, Driveclub, Infamous: Second Son, Watch Dogs, and Cerny's own game, Knack.

Whether or not these specific games end up being PS4 launch titles remains to be seen.

Future-proofing PS4

By taking a different approach to the PS4 hardware, the system's 8GB of RAM is backed up by unified architecture, unlike a PC.

"If [a PC] had eight gigabytes of memory on it, the CPU or GPU could only share about 1 percent of that memory on any given frame. That's simply a limit imposed by the speed of the PCIe," explained Cerny.

"There is substantial benefit to having a unified architecture on PS4, and it's a very straightforward benefit that you get even on your first day of coding with the system."

"The growth in the system in later years will come more from having the enhanced PC GPU. And I guess that conversation gets into everything we did to enhance it."

Cerny expressed how this will end up future-proofing the PS4, as developers address the power of the GPU for tasks other than rendering graphics.

Not left out of the multiplatform game

Sticking with the theme of "familiar architecture makes PS4 better," Cerny said to Gamasutra that it should take "weeks, not months" to port a game engine from the PC to PS4.

This is due in part to the PS4's x86 processor, which is thought to be similar to the specs of the soon-to-be-announced new Xbox.

"When I say that our goal is not to create puzzles that the developers have to solve, that is how we do well in a multi-platform world," asserted Cerny.

That's another step in the right direction for PS4, as its overly complex predecessor was cut out of certain "multiplatform games," which ended up coming to only the Xbox 360 and PC.

BioShock, for example, ended up being a timed-exclusive Xbox 360 and PC game for more than a year, while The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings remains an Xbox 360 and PC exclusive title.

Potential PS4 powerhouse

Sony's first-party studio investment has lead to triple-A franchises like Uncharted from Naughty Dog, inFamous from Sucker Punch, and God of War from SCE Santa Monica Studio.

Combined with the rebounding third-party support, this could help PS4 live up to Cerny's "stronger than any prior PlayStation launch" hype.

Sony, has been listening to developers, taking their ideas into consideration this console generation, and the company seems to be on a self-congratulating media tour right now telling everyone just that.

Gamers will know just how well PS4 stacks up against its competition on May 21, when the new Xbox is unveiled at a Microsoft reveal event in Redmond, Wash.

Matt Swider