PS3 "a pain in the ass to work on"
Sony’s PlayStation 3 has been described as a "pain in the ass" to make games for – nearly five years after its launch.
Marvin Donald, game director at Darksiders II developer Vigil, told Eurogamer the studio is forced to do "wacky stuff" on Sony’s console.
"It’s a pain in the ass to work on," he said. "Five years later, getting used to it? That means it’s a pain in the ass.
"I’m not an engineer, but I hear about it all the time. We have to do wacky stuff with the way we manage memory."
During the PS3’s early life it was dogged by shoddy ports of multi-platform games.
At the time some developers complained about the complexity of the hardware, and suggested it would take time to wrap their heads around the systems under the hood.
In 2009 then Sony Computer Entertainment chairman Kaz Hirai claimed the PlayStation 3 was intentionally difficult to program for in order to ensure that the console met its promised ten year life cycle.
"It’s hard to program for, and a lot of people see the negatives of it, but if you flip that around, it means the hardware has a lot more to offer," Hirai explained.
"We don’t provide the ‘easy to program for’ console that [developers] want, because ‘easy to program for’ means that anybody will be able to take advantage of pretty much what the hardware can do, so then the question is what do you do for the rest of the nine-and-a-half years?"
Donald explained that the cause of Vigil’s PS3 headache has to do with the memory management.
"Even as an artist, it’s like, OK, my textures are too big, I’m in trouble because I checked in something that’s making the 360 crash because it’s a 2048 when it really should just be a 1024, or even smaller.
"But on the PlayStation 3, the assets go into different categories, and if one of those categories becomes too bloated it’ll crash the system. It’s a little bit more sensitive on the PS3 in that regard. There are some things you just can’t do, or you have to do differently. Yeah, it’s a pain."
It should be noted that there is no suggestion here that the PS3 version of action adventure game Darksiders 2, which is over a year from release, will be inferior to the PC, Wii U or Xbox 360 versions.
Meanwhile, some have speculated that the next-generation of consoles, including the inevitable PlayStation 4, is right around the corner.
They promise vastly advanced visuals, but will the PS4 also prove to be easier to create games for than its predecessor?
"They have to do things their way," Donald said. "Somebody over there is going to think it’s better. And it’s really just different, which makes it a pain for everyone to port games back and forth. But, whatever. We’ll see."