Factor 5: Wii engine "does everything that the PS3 did and then some"
Julian Eggebrecht, president of Factor 5 (´Turrican´, ´Rogue Squadron´
has commented on the graphics engine they are developing for Wii. Speaking to IGN, he said that "it does everything that the PS3 did and then some."
Eggebrecht appears to be saying that their current Wii project, which had only just been revealed, will look at least as good as the studio´s recent PlayStation3 game ´Lair´ or better. Here is the context:
We want to push the hardware. (...) I mean, on the graphical side, we're going to try and do everything to outdo everything else on the platform, the same as we did for the Star Wars games back on the GameCube. (...)
We're pretty much at a state where we're almost done with the engine. At the same time, we've also been working on content quite a bit because we had enough running very quickly on the platform that we were able to. But the biggest milestone or mark right now is that we're almost done with the engine and it does everything that the PS3 did and then some, quite frankly. So we're pretty happy with that.
It's not just what a lot of people were expecting. 'Oh, we're going to cash in on what we had from Rebel Strike.' Which we actually also did. That was a fun experience just to bring that game over and play it on Wii. Nevertheless, we said, well, weighing the pros and cons, why don't we do something completely new based on all the experience we had back then? So, that's almost done.
While it is a given that Factor 5 will indeed push the Wii´s graphics, possibly even beyond ´Metroid Prime 3´ and ´Super Mario Galaxy´, I can only assume that Eggebrecht was misquoted.
Comparing any graphics engine running on Wii hardware to their own ´Lair´ engine on PS3 seems nonsensical. Eggebrecht once praised the ´Lair´ engine´s advantages over ´Unreal 3´ technology. While the latter engine is being ported to Wii, it is certain to deliver less visual quality than on the PS3, due to the Wii´s relative hardware limitations.
I am trying to get some clarification directly from Factor 5. Unfortunately, I am at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and my PDA phone has been stolen on Sunday, so please be patient.
EDIT Last October, Eggebrecht spoke to Revogamers in great detail about the Wii hardware and possible graphics engine development.
I mean not that you would meet a 20 million dollar budget like on the PS3, but if you want to get really, really advanced graphics out of the Wii, then you have to spend probably more money than basically going for the cheap solution, so that might be an inherent problem, so it might actually not be the laziness of certain developers, but it might be the... inability or the non existent willingness of the publishers to actually give them in a budget to do better graphics. (...)
The one thing which makes it probably harder for developers who are coming from the traditional direction is that the shader system inside the hardware works quite differently, you have something more right about that than the traditional AGI and the video pipelines. Because the thinking back when the basic graphics hardware structure was developed was to get very, very efficient, that hotwired a lot of things. But there're many possibilities in terms of how to use that hotwiring and actually rewire it, if you're clever about it. If you connect you can get a lot of shader effects which would've been on the 360 or the PS3. (...)
Aside from the shaders, our main limitation which we always found on the GameCube was the memory: the memory was a struggle the whole time; it was a very hard struggle. That was actually our biggest struggle. When we got the Wii specifications we were excited because we said "wow, this is actually the amount of memory which we needed"
Eggebrecht goes on to say that they would probably approach a Wii engine in a way that would allow for the technology to be licensed to other studios. The ´Rogue Squadron´ engine was simply not built that way.