Jedi Survivor’s game director has told us precisely why the upcoming title won’t be available on last-gen consoles.
Star Wars Jedi Survivor is a Souls-like action game in George Lucas’ classic setting that follows the trials and tribulations of Jedi-in-exile Cal Kestis. The sci-fi space-wizardry simulator is due to release April 28, so it won’t be long until we have our hands on the title.
However, Respawn Entertainment won’t bless every console with more Star Wars goodness. Ahead of Jedi Survivor’s release, game director Stig Asmussen explained why the title won’t be coming to PS4 and Xbox One.
In an interview with PLAY magazine, Asmussen made his case: “Bottom line, we learned quickly that we could take advantage of the faster processors, larger/faster memory, better loading times, etc., to create much larger maps, with more detail, greater density, broader enemy/NPC variety, and overall fidelity” (via MP1ST (opens in new tab)).
He continued: “We didn’t want to break what we did in the first game because it was well received, but we wanted to evolve/ enhance the experience.”
Though he doesn’t say it outright, there is an implication here that previous generation consoles would not have facilitated the evolution and enhancement that Asmussen and his team have sought with Jedi Survivor. Indeed, the developer assured us that “[we’ll] experience the benefit of the more powerful hardware throughout [the game].”
A more civilized age
Jedi Survivor’s move away from last-generation consoles is indicative of a trend we’ve seen across more than a few high-profile 2023 releases. The Dead Space remake, Forspoken, and bizarre monster-slaying adventure game Wild Hearts have all eschewed last-generation consoles.
This move has certainly been a long time coming. The Xbox One is coming up on its 10th anniversary, as is the PS4. To say that these venerable machines are long in the tooth is an understatement. In October 2022, Sony committed to not “forget the millions of active players on PS4” (via Axios (opens in new tab)). However, it would seem that older hardware is simply no longer able to keep up with the demands of modern titles.
One of the louder signs of this phenomenon came back in 2020 with the release of Cyberpunk 2077. While bugs riddled the highly-anticipated sci-fi RPG across all platforms, its last-gen console releases were especially janky. These faults forced PlayStation to pull Cyberpunk 2077 from the PlayStation store before finally returning it in 2021.
The fact that Cyberpunk 2077’s PS4 edition was in such poor condition that Sony had to remove it from their store speaks volumes of the behind-the-scenes demands that the expectation of last-gen compatibility places on developers. I hope that, by abandoning the PS4 and Xbox One, developers will be able to save themselves the difficulty of optimizing their titles for venerable hardware.
However, in the context of the cost of living crisis in the UK and global economic uncertainty, I fear that this trend will exclude gamers who simply can't afford the latest hardware. As Xbox’s Phil Spencer himself said: “we aren’t food or shelter.” Xbox and Sony must be careful how they phase out last-gen machines, lest they alienate players who can’t afford the latest gadgets thanks to rising inflation and stagnant real wages (via livingwagecommission).
Though it is always sad to see beloved consoles relegated to the annals of history, the PS4, and Xbox One have more than put in their time. After nearly 10 years of faithful service, these sturdy workhorses have more than earned a rest. The question remains, however, as to whether or not we’re ready to let them go.