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XBox (Games)

360 Limiting GTA IV In Some Ways 268

Posted by Zonk
from the just-use-the-hdd dept.
Last week CVG had a story from the Official PlayStation Magazine, a print entity partnered with the website, about limitations Rockstar faces on the 360. For almost the first time, we're now hearing about a title where lack of space on the disc and the lack of a guaranteed hard drive may be detrimental to Microsoft's console. "[Rockstar's creative vice president Dan Houser] continued, 'To be honest with you we haven't solved all those riddles yet.' The difficulties aren't limited to working on Microsoft's box, as Houser explains that 'both have enormous challenges' and that 'both have their own particular pleasures and pains'. Rockstar hasn't said anything about a target SKU between the two consoles, but they're currently demoing the game to press running on an Xbox 360 - so we wouldn't worry too much if you've only got Microsoft's console. Look for more on GTA IV in the next few weeks."
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360 Limiting GTA IV In Some Ways

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  • system requirements (Score:4, Informative)

    by underwhelm (53409) <underwhelm@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Monday May 07, 2007 @11:41AM (#19021587) Homepage Journal
    One of the contributors at Kotaku suggested that Rockstar simply require the hard drive to play. I think that would be a great solution, but I'd be surprised if Microsoft let them do something like that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Lectoid (891115)
      Oblivion requires a hard drive. And that's been a pretty popular game.
    • by EvilIdler (21087)
      People are expecting the Core to cease to exist. I'll allow MS+Rockstar this particular excluding move,
      since the choice will be between Premium and Elite for new customers anyway.
    • The Xbox 360 ports of Football Manager 2006 & 2007 both require the hard disc AFAIK, so it isn't totally unknown, although GTA IV would be the biggest titles to require it really, and it would be a kick in the bollocks for any idiots who thought they were getting anything like a good deal with the Crap Pack.
  • by Hubbell (850646) <(moc.evil) (ta) (iillebbuhnairb)> on Monday May 07, 2007 @11:42AM (#19021627)
    I'm THANKFUL they are running into this problem, maybe they won't make GTA4 the ridiculously countryside game that San Andreas was. I loved Vice City and GTA3, but San Andreas was FAR too open, you had no idea where the fuck you were without looking at the map every 5 seconds.
    • by Applekid (993327) on Monday May 07, 2007 @11:52AM (#19021785)
      The problem was that the open areas of SA didn't really add to the game much. It's not like Oblivion where taking a detour could pay off in a neat cave or side story or something under the radar.

      The aforementioned problem is a game design problem where extra stuff was padded in but not fleshed out. It was most certainly technically possible to remove that padding but they chose not to.

      Technical limitations and getting around them aren't exactly going to help game design any.
      • by Durzel (137902)
        There also really isn't a vast amount of textures to deal with in Oblivion, many of the regions (especially the underground regions) look very similar. Oblivion masks this well by it's expansive and diverse storylines, it's a great game simply because there's just so many characters to interact with, things that change depending on your actions, etc. All of that is easy to squeeze onto a DVD.

        GTA4 on the other hand is apparently going to include an accurate model of New York (with Rockstars own brand of hu
      • by metamatic (202216)
        Yeah. I thought San Andreas was the weakest GTA game. In Vice City it was worth wandering around exploring, because from time to time you'd find cool stuff. In San Andreas, most of the world was just empty scenery and buildings you couldn't enter.

        I'd rather they spent more time on fleshing out the world and less on bleeding-edge graphics. Something the size of San Andreas but with the buildings more than textured boxes would be awesome.

        I suspect I'm in the minority, though.
    • by Xtravar (725372) on Monday May 07, 2007 @11:54AM (#19021821) Homepage Journal
      I agree. And let's hope we don't have to sugar up girlfriends, feed ourselves, exercise ourselves, and dress ourselves in this one too. San Andreas was like a badass Sims game.
      • by RESPAWN (153636)
        I agree wholehartedly. I finally came back to GTASA last month with the intenet of finishing it up. I forgot how annoying the whole eating/exercising thing was. Eating restores health? Fine. Lose health if you don't eat enough? WTF. Exercising makes you stronger? Great. I have to keep exercising to maintain those muscles? I don't even do that in real life!

        The dressing didn't bother me too much towards the end. Eventually I picked out some nice duds and just wore them for the rest of the game. Wh
    • by TrevorB (57780) on Monday May 07, 2007 @03:44PM (#19026015) Homepage
      I may be in the minority in this thread, but I loved San Andreas' countryside because while it may have been a hindrance to gameplay, there was something else it added that a compressed city map couldn't: Mood.

      The first thing I do when ever I've played any GTA game is to hop on a motorcycle and just drive for a few hours, listening to the radio stations. I'm guessing that not too many people here have ever driven on the California coast, but much like the maps of San Fran and Los Angeles, they absolutely nailed it. Driving through that countryside while tedious to some was beautiful to me. Just don't get out of your vehicle. :)

      I did wish they fleshed out these areas and made them more than just visually appealing. Maybe Oblivion will give them a good swift kick in the ass on this one.

    • by sam0ht (46606)
      One man's meat... I loved the countryside in San Andreas, weaving through traffic at ridiculous speeds, going vigilante in the copter, etc. The missions in the countryside were pretty fun, too. Possibly driving-game fans like me are the only ones who like the wide open rural areas, though.
  • by deathsquirrel (956752) on Monday May 07, 2007 @11:42AM (#19021629)
    The interviewer asks specificaly if the 360 has limitations and the interviewee says that yes, both platforms have their challenges and this becomes "DVD and lack of built-in HD is limiting GTA4!!!
    • by Aphrika (756248)
      ...and at that point, Mr Hauser probably thought "oh crap, we should be writing games for the PC"

      Seriously though, they've got hard drives, and you can stick a game on multiple DVDs if necessary. It also hasn't been unknown for a game to be released on one specific media either - Farcry only came on DVD. Add to that the fact that 99% of game developers out there could happily develop on an x86 box rather than cryptic head-bending Cell or less common PowerPC code, and I think he'd be onto a winner.

      Oh, th
      • by Zach978 (98911)
        GTA as a PC only game would fail...PC gaming snobs must realize that the demographics are much different for PC gamers vs Console gamers, and that console games almost always outsell the PC equiv.

        The two demographics:
        • PC gaming - playing counterstrike/WoW, with virtual friends online, alone, in the dark.
        • Console gaming - playing GTA/Madden, passing around the controller to friends (in real life), while at the same time passing the bong, listening to music, etc
        • by nschubach (922175)
          That's funny, cause my PC gaming is RTS or RPG, real life friends over the Internet with my light on. And my console gaming, I prefer long story driven content on the big screen alone in the dark...
      • by LWATCDR (28044)
        "or less common PowerPC code"
        Most of they code they write is in C. Yes using the Cell has it's challenges but the PPC cores in the 360 are would be pretty straight forward. BTW for what you do have to code in assembly the PPC is MUCH nicer to code for than the X86.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by The Warlock (701535)
        Bigger userbase? Really?

        Given the level of graphics in the trailer, how many PCs on the market do you think could handle GTA4? I'm going to guess a whole hell of a lot less than ten million. Remember, the current market leader in PC graphics chips is not AMD or nVidia, it's intel. Think about that for a minute. Intel doesn't have anything faster than the GMA 900. You think that's going to handle GTA4? It can't even handle GTA3.
        • by Runefox (905204) on Monday May 07, 2007 @06:36PM (#19028715) Homepage
          Ahem. Not only is the GMA 950 more powerful and more popular these days, but ever heard of the X3000/X3100 [wikipedia.org]? You know, the up-and-coming Intel chip with hardware TnL, pixel shaders, vertex shaders, actual rendering pipelines, and a 667MHz dedicated core? That'll probably do it if you turn the settings down.

          But let's face it here. People who buy PC's for games know what they're buying. People who buy PC's for $500 and expect it to play the latest games don't know what they're doing, buying, or even using, half the time. The problem is, in order for said PC's to be $500, they need to cut them down to be as bare as possible - A decently powerful system will probably cost someone upwards to $1000, which will be adequate to at least run newer games.

          If you're just going for the games, you're fine with a console, though I personally vastly prefer the keyboard/mouse style of control. You'll save yourself some money with a console, though (well, that's the idea), and you'll get a few years out of it. If you're looking to do games, rip DVD's, browse the internet properly, use IM, e-mail, newsgroups, and generally multitask, you're looking at a better value out of a PC. For something that does both, $1000 isn't too far off the mark for the cost of a low-end PC and a game console.
  • by morari (1080535) on Monday May 07, 2007 @11:43AM (#19021633) Journal
    Dump the consoles. There's this thing, it's called a computer. It's that little (probably beige) box with an attached television-like thingie that you use to make the game anyway. It's much better...
    • by Rude Turnip (49495) <.valuation. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday May 07, 2007 @11:53AM (#19021799)
      My Xbox 360 is a computer. A very specialized one that is much more powerful than my desktop or laptop. It sits under my TV and is small and quiet. And, it's partly subsidized by Microsoft, so it's far cheaper for me, too. The best part...it's one fixed standard, aside from this hard drive issue (hint, screw you if you don't have a hard drive), so developers can develop for one fixed set of hardware.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by shidoshi (567151)
      When I play games, with the exception of Warcraft, I want to kick back on my couch and relax, not be hunched over my computer. Plus, I rather enjoy buying games without having to worry if my video card is good enough or if I have enough RAM for the game or whatever else.
  • by yincrash (854885) on Monday May 07, 2007 @11:46AM (#19021675)
    What does this sentence mean exactly?

    Rockstar hasn't said anything about a target SKU between the two consoles
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Stock Keeping Unit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_Keeping_Unit [wikipedia.org]
    • by jbellis (142590)
      "Rockstar hasn't announced which version of the PS3 (20GB/60) or 360 (Elite/Premium/Core) it will recommend for best performance."
    • by eln (21727)
      I think the submitter is either trying to convince us he's really into inventory management or he works in a warehouse. He is more likely, in reality, a hobo who sleeps in a dumpster outside of a warehouse, because even knowing the definition of SKU I can't figure out what he meant by that sentence.
    • by Cutriss (262920) on Monday May 07, 2007 @12:07PM (#19022089) Homepage
      Unlike the other reply, I'll try to actually help you out here.

      What this statement means is that the reporter wants to know if Rockstar might stipulate that GTA IV for the 360 requires the hard disk, meaning that instead of potentially inhibiting the game by designing around a lack of hard disk, they would require the hard disk and simply require Core owners to buy one if they don't have one already. Rockstar has not made any indication about that.

      The hard disk is standard in the PS3, so that's a known quantity on the PS3. It isn't required to play almost all the games on a 360 (the only ones I know of that require it are FFXI and the Halo 3 beta, and Halo 3 probably only requires it since the beta content is too big to be stored on a memory card). I don't have any real numbers but anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of Core 360s in the wild without a hard disk attached is very low. Considering the price of the HDD versus the memory card ($100 for 20 GB versus $40 for 0.05 GB), requiring the 360 to have a hard disk would not be an onerous burden for most gamers, I would think.
      • by yincrash (854885)
        I would believe this to be the most likely intent.
        However, I also wanted to point out with my original post that using the term SKU should not be used in news articles because it doesn't really mean anything important unless you're in a warehouse or working at a store.
        Basically, that was a really piss poor sentence because several replies to my post all inferred different meanings.
  • by Mr_eX9 (800448) * on Monday May 07, 2007 @12:13PM (#19022165) Homepage
    I thought from the very beginning that making the hard drive optional was a step backwards in the system's design.

    The original Xbox was a really ballsy system overall. It was the first (commercially successful) console to have a hard drive and internet connectivity built-in. It brought LAN gaming and broadband online gaming to console gamers in a really big way. I thought it was really cool that if I played the same couple of maps or levels in Halo over and over it only had to load them once because Bungie was able to stream the files to the hard drive.

    I feel like MS pussied out on the 360's design by removing the hard drive because they took that away from developers. Instead of innovating the console market again, they just seem to be riding on the success that they've already created. Now we're finally seeing a successful multi-platform developer complain about the 360's limitations. I don't think this looks very good for the 360 or for Microsoft.

    P.S.: I'm sure the PS3 has development issues too--mainly the long load times as a result of the Blu-Ray disc and still figuring out the Cell architecture. But Rockstar is used to taking crap from Sony, so they're not complaining about it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by SuperCharlie (1068072)
      I agree and I squeeled like a stuck pig on my xbox forum of choice when I learned of no Hard Drive option in the 360's. I think the decision was made for a few reasons. First, I think the Hard Drive was what eventually bit MS on the rear towards the end of XB1 as far as cost. If I remember correctly (maybe not) that size drive went out of normal production and was expensive to include as the lifecycle ended. Also, besides the tard pack low cost option, I think they made the decision to up the RAM instead o
      • by Politburo (640618)
        If I remember correctly (maybe not) that size drive went out of normal production and was expensive to include as the lifecycle ended.

        Doesn't make much sense to me.. they could have gotten cheaper/larger drives and just formatted them down to 8 GB.
        • Doesn't make much sense to me.. they could have gotten cheaper/larger drives and just formatted them down to 8 GB.

          Or... get this... formatted it at the new disk size and pass on the tech advantage to their customers.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)
      I feel like MS pussied out on the 360's design by removing the hard drive because they took that away from developers. Instead of innovating the console market again, they just seem to be riding on the success that they've already created. Now we're finally seeing a successful multi-platform developer complain about the 360's limitations. I don't think this looks very good for the 360 or for Microsoft.

      I speculate that the thinking behind the decision was that Microsoft understands that game consoles are pri
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)
      The 360 is much less ballsy. Essentially, they should have aimed for a 400 price mark and not done an elite or a core. If that means wired controllers and a smaller drive, then fine. Right now, MS's strategy is to hobble the premium by making sure everything works with the core. They should have just hafd one system with a HD and a damn wifi adapter. Instead, the MS wireless adapter is 100 MSRP. The 20 gig drive costs that much and the damn VGA cable is 40 dollars. This is just price gouging. This tie
  • by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Monday May 07, 2007 @12:47PM (#19022829)
    I don't get it... why are they claiming the 360 is somehow imposing limitations on a game's design? Hasn't it always been developer policy to create software for the least common denominator (ie, a 360 sans hard drive) first and *then* add extra features for more powerful systems afterwards?

    If I had to guess, it sounds like they are testing the waters, seeing if the 360's multiple configuration can be used as a viable scapegoat, should the developers miss the deadline they publicly set for themselves.

    Sure, the PS3 fanboys are probably eating this up now, but will they be chomping at the bit later on, if it turns out the delays were actually caused by the nightmares involved in developing for the PS3?
    • I don't get it

      GTA IV was well into development before they decided to add the 360 so developers designed and built a game thinking they could use a HDD. Now that they can't use it they are running into problems with their basic design. As a developer you run into this stuff all the time when management decides to move from Oracle to MySQL well it's going to take longer and have X, Y, and Z issues...

      PS: It's not hard to build PS3 games that use 30-50% of the systems capabilities the issues are in tweaking
  • Gates says (Score:2, Funny)

    by TravisO (979545)
    9.4GB is enough for anyone!
  • a couple of months ago [slashdot.org]. I thought the mass storage of the 360 wasn't up to par with the PS3. Whether or not Sony can recover from the marketing disaster that was the PS3 launch is another question entirely.
  • Does such a thing even exist? Even if you ran tight on space you could upgrade to a 60GB unit. That' about 8 HD-DVD'sdatawise.

    From Xbox.com:
    Custom IBM PowerPC-based CPU
    * Three symmetrical cores running at 3.2 GHz each
    * Two hardware threads per core; six hardware threads total
    * VMX-128 vector unit per core; three total
    * 128 VMX-128 registers per hardware thread
    * 1 M
    • by HAKdragon (193605)
      Does such a thing even exist?

      Yeah, it's called the Core version. However, we don't know how many people bought the Core and hard drive separately.
  • by kinglink (195330) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:06PM (#19024321)
    The full interview shows how biased the magazine is. Even the linked story has it. They basically laid out the obvious flaws with the xbox 360 and all Houser could do is say yes. What a shock for the Playstation Magazine.

    But on the other hand they at least mentioned he said both systems have issues. And trust me from what I've seen with the PS3 and how my company is handling it, the HD issue and the Disc capacity should be the least of their worries. The 360's issues are easy to enumerate and resolve.. the PS3, not so much.

    Seriously the 360 has proven itself over and over. We have Oblivion, yet if Rockstar can't get their head out of their ass and figure out how to do the work they don't deserve your money. We have at least 4 major open world games on the 360 (hell Just Cause was also available on the PS2, at the same size world which was "fucking enormous".) And Rockstar the guys who everyone seems to think can piss gold can't figure this one out?

    Please.
  • When "limitations" are mentioned, I think about the GTA series (well, 3, VC and SA) in general.

    30fps limit and/or 60hz on computer.

    Think about it for a second, 30fps limit on machines that can churn out 2 to 5x that amount?

    Or the 60hz, which gets even more painful to my eyes as time goes on? Hell, I've amazed people
    by being able to look at a monitor and tell the diff between 60/75/85hz w/o looking at the display
    properties. 60hz hurts (pun intended), 75hz is tolerable and 85hz and above is best looking and
  • So put a hard drive in the system requirements. If the game is good enough, core system owners will buy the HD. Sure, it's a bigger risk since you're limiting your market, however that risk is mitigated by the fact that you won't have to compromise on the quality of the game. (Although I wonder what percent of core 360 owners don't have, or have plans to buy, a hard drive).

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