Skyrim Dev Bethesda Driven By 'Value For Money' Philosophy

NowGamer: Bethesda's Pete Hines has revealed that the developer learned a thing or two from the Elder Scrolls 'horse armour' episode.

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shammgod2161d ago

Doing a shit job at that! Ps3 users are getting broken games for their money

humbleopinion2161d ago

Although I guess most of the million users who play Skyrim on the PS3 don't complain, this probably has to be said: broken architecture can inevitably result in broken games, especially if they games are ambitious multiplats which don't try to cater to the lowest common denominator.

I know I might be slaughtered by fanboys who will never blame the hardware manufacturer and always blame the software developers, so perhaps for once I will actually back this claim with some historical data. Just as a reminder, it's not Bethesda who are blaming the PS3 (they actually said that it's no excuse), but many other devs. Here's a quick recall:

"The PS3 still does have in theory more power that could be extracted but it's not smart. We don't feel it's smart to head down that rat hole."
(Legendary 3D guru John Carmack, who also admits the PS3 was the lowest common denominator for the development of Rage due to RAM issues. But hey, he's probably a PC elitist):

"Investing in the Cell, investing in the SPE gives you no long-term benefits. There's nothing there that you're going to apply to anything else. You're not going to gain anything except a hatred of the architecture they've created"
(Gabe Newell, head of Valve and a person with a little experience in both games, hardware, OS and content deliver platforms. But hey, he's probably a biased multiplatform developer who will never try to push the hardware):

"We hit a few stumbling blocks on it that meant we spent more time trying get the game running properly and less time to design the game properly," Hilton says. "[Haze] wasn't the game it should have been."
(Karl Hilton of the former Free Radical carefully admitting that the PS3 architecture limited them. But hey, he's probably jut finding excuses for the lackluster - and exclusive - Haze)

"I remember saying three years ago that we wanted to create something revolutionary, but in reality we couldn't really do that because of the CPU. We're using the Cell engine to its limit., actually. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing the PS3 machine, it's just that we weren't really aware of what the full-spec PS3 offered - we were creating something we couldn't entirely see."
(Hideo Kojima, humbly sayingthat the were initially mislead by Sony on exactly how powerful the PS3 would be. But hey, he's just a ... well... I'm running out of excuses here. Help please?)

But hey, can you blame the developers? Back then we were all promised by Sony a dream machine far superior to any competition, and the funny thing is that some people even still fall for this propaganda to this day - 6 years after the console is out the indoctrination still runs deep!
I guess some people will never question anything. But the warning was on the wall all along though, going back to 2006:

RivetCityGhoul2161d ago

listen i understand what your saying but its still Bethesda's fault for releasing a game that was broken on the PS3. stop making excuses for them. why do you think "NO" reviewer got any review copies of the game before it was released? because they knew it was broken and they still released it anyways because they are greedy assholes. they should have released it on 360 & PC only, sure the PS3 would have lost a game but what Bethesda is did to their customers is inexcusable.

beerkeg2161d ago (Edited 2161d ago )

Personally I think they should stop developing games for the ps3. That would save everyone having to listen to all the moaning that goes on.

Fragger2k82161d ago

Well, if it wouldn't have been on PS3, the Sony side would have been crying about it not being available, complained/threw a fit on the Bethesda forums, created a bunch of petitions to get it on the system, etc, etc.. even if it was known to have had issues. They would have claimed "Oh, it's alright if it isn't perfect, give it to us anyway!"

Ducky2161d ago

They've delayed the DLC until they can get it working properly, and that has only gotten people angrier.

L-a-i-n2161d ago

whatever helps you sleep better at night sweety. If you don't know how to program for it plain and simple don't make it. Other developers are not having the kind of problems that Bethesda seems to be having. Fact of the matter is Bethesda flat out release a game that was broken and didn't have the skill to fix it.

kostchtchie_2161d ago (Edited 2161d ago )

yet there are loads of good solid ps3 games out there, developers that got on with it and made good games... nice try


exactly mate, remember the issue with chicken that were reporting thieves, they could not even work that out for ages

Lvl_up_gamer2161d ago

To all these "gamers" that are saying Bethesda just shouldn't have released their "buggy messes" on the PS3 this gen because then PS3 owners wouldn't have something to complain about...IF Bethesda didn't release it on the PS3 you PS3 only owners would have complained that Bethesda were biased and MS fanboys bought out by MS.

Bottom line, Bethesda is working with the tools they have and the tools that were provided to them by the console manufacturers.

If PS3 only owners stopped buying Bethesda products, then Bethesda would stop developing for the PS3 since there wouldn't be a market there.

Oblivion had issues yet you went out and bought Fallout.
Fallout had issues so you went and bought Fallout New Vegas.
Fallout New Vegas had issues so you went out and bought Skyrim.
Skyrim has issues......I can't wait to read about your problems with their next game not learning from your precious mistakes.


I have had no problems with my 360 version and I know the PC version is going strong in the PC community.

Christopher2161d ago

***this probably has to be said: broken architecture can inevitably result in broken games,***

From a programmer, you are wrong.

First, the architecture isn't broken. More than a thousand games and many of them being GotY winners debunks that idea.

Second, regardless of "the lowest common denominator" concept, you don't put out software onto a platform that doesn't work. That's akin to putting out Skyrim on iOS and then blaming the iPad because it won't run the game. When you program a game for any platform, you program for that platform and not just thinking it's that same as any other.

Let's look at the facts we know:

A) The PS3's architecture is extremely well known after its many years of release.

B) Bethesda has released multiple games onto the PS3 without these type of issues but using earlier versions of the same engine: Oblivion, Fallout 3, Fallout 3: New Vegas.

C) Bethesda has the resources to hire the best coders for all platforms. They also have the resources to hire plenty of testers to make sure their games are as bug free as possible at release.

Conclusion: There's no reason that they could not have developed a working version of the game on the PS3 from the get go. They utilized poor management in not thinking ahead for DLC on each platform and what it would take for each platform. They also utilized poor management when it came to making sure that each version worked properly.

The blame here 100% falls on Bethesda. Not on the PS3, which is defined set of hardware that you design a game to run upon, not an ever changing form that you can't plan around from game to game.

Ippiki Okami2161d ago (Edited 2161d ago )

@humbleopinion your full of crap. The Kotaku Kojima "quote" was misquoted and edited by Brian Ashcraft to bash the ps3. John Carmack also said that rage was gona need 6 discs on xbox which turned out to be false. Gabe Newell had no intrest in ps3 until he came out at E3 2010, portal 2 ran great on ps3. Free Radical is now gone because they had bad management and incompetence on the dev team. The PS3 exclusive games speak for the quality of the hardware.

PirateThom2161d ago

1. RAGE turned out to be a generic game with issues on all platforms.

2. Valve delivered Portal 2 on PS3, a version that not only offered a perfect console version, also included a free Steam copy. The fact Portal 2 exists sort of invalidates the prior comments of gaben.

3. That doesn't explain the poor design choices and sounds like excuses. If Haze had been a success, would they have blamed the hardware for that as well?

4. Apart from the quote being edited, even with the "gimped hardware", Kojima made a game that still has the best character models of this gen and delivered a fantastic experience over all.


humbleopinion2160d ago (Edited 2160d ago )

As a programmer you should have noticed I specifically wrote "CAN inevitably result in broken games". This does not imply all the games are broken. It's like saying that clouds CAN inevitably lead to rain. The fact that many good games exist does not make this a false statement, just like the fact that in some cloudy days it doesn't rain does not make the above a false statement.

As for your facts:
a) This knowledge is indeed true, but Sony didn't change the architecture. This is just like the fact that the RAM limitations on 32bit operating systems was known for many years, and yet its still a limitation. You can't magically fix architecture limitations.

b) Earlier games used the gamebryo engine which Bethesda licensed, whereas Skyrim new Creation engine is internally developed. Moreover, Skyrim itself is much more advanced than previous games in terms of AI, graphics, animation etc and therefore requires more resources. This argument is not really valid IMO.

c) As a programmer yourself you know that in writing code you can perform optimizations but you can't perform magic. That’s why Skyrim is not possible on the Wii. And from a QA perspective, in a game as branched out and as deep as Skyrim even 10,000 testers will not be able to cover every nook and cranny in the game. It’s not like QAing Pac-man.

The only thing Bethesda can be blamed for, is being overly ambitious about their game and then trying to cater to the PS3 owner fans and still try to make the game work (If I had to guess I'd say that when initial development on Skyrim started a couple of years ago they probably didn't even think that the X360 and PS3 would last that long and were gearing towards PC and next gen platforms). Their only options were:
1) Cancel the PS3 version
2) Delay the PS3 version
3) Postpone all other working versions of the game just because the architecture of the PS3 is limiting them and take an extra year to polish just this version of the game
4) Scale down the entire game, scratch many design ideas and make it inferior on all other platforms just so it can show parity between the PS3 version and other versions

All of these options would have resulted not only in lost sales, but also in disappointed fans – either on the PS3 or on other platforms.
Would anyone rather have it any other way? The end result pretty much proves that Bethesda took the right course of action: The PS3 version is still one of the most critically acclaimed games of 2011 (sitting with a metacritic score above any PS3 exclusive including Uncharted 3 and LittleBigPlanet 2), is one of the best selling games on the platform, and all this without compromising the other versions which scored even higher.

@Ippiki Okami
Why all the badmouthing? If instead of bashing people you would have read the Kotaku piece, you'd notice that it's not even by Brian Ashcraft. I myself never rely on Kotaku as a source, but this link includes the actual scan of the Kojima interview in Edge magazine - which is a much more reliable source and didn't misquote anything.

Also, John Carmack was actually right: the original plan was to have an uncompressed texture pack enormously large at about 75GB, but they had to scale down. I guess that unlike Skyrim, Rage is an example of what happens when you DO settle for the lowest common denominator.

As for Gabe Newell, he suddenly showed interest in the PS3 because of steam integration. Sony pretty much bended down for Gabe, letting him run a 3rd party service. He's a businessman so he took it, but he never did say that the flawed PS3 architecture was fine all of a sudden.
(And Portal 2 is not an example of anything: even the first portal was the least taxing Source game in the Orange Box)

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omi25p2161d ago

If Sony the creators of the hardware are brought on to try and fix the game how does that make that a software fault.

The simple fact is the PS3 cant run it.

PirateThom2161d ago

Exotic architecture doesn't mean it can't run it, it just takes more work to make it run. Sony have a team who, specifically go to third party developers to assist with this.

It's not a "simple fact", there's more to it than just the PS3 not being capable.

Irishguy952161d ago

Quantity over Quality =/= Value for money

Fishy Fingers2161d ago (Edited 2161d ago )

God knows how many hours I've put into Skyrim (my first ES game) but I've certainly got good value for money. Haven't even bothered with the DLC yet, the standard content mixed with mods has kept me busy.

Probably hold out for a cheap DLC pack and get a little more value for money :)

Pick and choose correctly, value for money is easily achievable for any gamer.

shutUpAndTakeMyMoney2161d ago (Edited 2161d ago )

lol That is only true on pc because of creation kit.

They really screwed ps3 owners. They should have delayed it.

Bethesda is worse that the cod ps3 devs now.

AngelicIceDiamond2161d ago

The thing is Bethesda hired Sony programmers to help optimize the DLC for the console.

And Bethesda still hasn't set a release date nor hint at a release date for the DLC on PS3.

Sony programmers can't program there own system now?

So my best guess it could possibly be the PS3's limitations. I dunno if it's Bethesda's fault seeing how they have 26 years in programming expertise.

Disagrees are fine but I want somebody to answer this question that I already stated above.

With all the talent its taking to optimize DLC on Sony's platform, plus with Sony's in house devs why is it taking so long? Who's to blame?

Dno2161d ago

i love how one dev is known for bad games bugs and everything but its ps3s fault lol.

that game came out on 3 paltforms and all 3 sucked. please get over yourself.

beerkeg2161d ago

'that game came out on 3 paltforms and all 3 sucked.'

No it didn't. I've put hundreds of hours into it on pc and have had very little trouble. You will get people that will say I'm lying, to convince themselves that it's not their system at fault but it's true.

BLow2161d ago

I respect your comment but do you realize how hard it is to look at someone's code and try to fix it especially if they don't leave notes on how certain things are done. Some of you on here act look making games are just so easy and if an outsider comes in that they can just sprinkle some magic dust on it and everything will be fine.
We don't know how the code was written or if it is optimized with the PS3 in mind. There are many questions they need to be answered and since some of you are expert programmers you should call Bethesda and offer your help. I'm sure you would get paid handsomely for your troubles. By the way I didn't give you a disagree.

Christopher2161d ago

***The thing is Bethesda hired Sony programmers to help optimize the DLC for the console. ***

Kind of too late, though. In order to fix it, you have to change their core engine, but Sony programmers aren't going to be able to do that because that's "too much."

***Sony programmers can't program there own system now? ***

If you gave them a year or two to fix Bethesda's engine, yeah. But, the problem is the engine, not a few lines of code.

nihonlight2161d ago

Sony is trying to help Bethesda sure, but they probably are running into trouble because Bethesda never optimizd theIr gamebryo engine to run on spit ram. Fixing this problem would require a major engine overhaul. To put it simply. They waste too much memory tracking unimportant items like cheesecwheels and silverware. They coded this mess with Xbox in mind. Even pc's had initial trouble.
It's a lazy port plain and simple.

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kostchtchie_2161d ago

i glad i never got it for my ps3, saying that my PC version is not much better unless you mod it, thank god for PC community

Bethesda are and always will be shitty bunch developers, there are a lot of open world games that don't have this sort of issue, if you cannot do decent job for a format, then do not make the game, saves people wasting there hard earned cash on the trash you put out

feel bad for all my fellow gamers that have to endure this kind of bullshit no matter what format you play on or game

Blastoise2161d ago

Glad someone admits its not great on PC either.

Its a shame the PC community should have to fix Bethesda's own game for them...

aquamala2161d ago

what problem do you have on the PC? the only mod I installed is the HD texture pack. I never had crashes after hundreds of hours in the game.

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