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The PS3 and Xbox 360 ended this generation neck-and-neck in terms of sales. This is because, in the end, both systems provided a similar gaming experience. Aside from the argument of exclusives, the only major advantage the PS3 really had over the Xbox 360 was the vast storage capacity of Blu-ray discs. This generation, Microsoft caved in, and the Xbox One has adopted Blu-ray. However, Guerrilla Games — developer of the upcoming Killzone Shadow Fall — claims that the original build of the game was 290GB in size because the PS4 is powerful enough to output textures that high-res, whereas “competing systems” are not.
The statement comes directly from Guerrilla Games technical director Michiel van der Leeuw. He posited that the ludicrous original 290GB size of Killzone Shadow Fall is mainly because the game doesn’t have any assets that have been made for consoles with a lower spec. He did mention cross-generation games as a main reason for this, as the upcoming Killzone is PS4-only, rather than releasing on both the PS3 and PS4 like the upcoming Assassin’s Creed IV or NBA 2K14. He also noted that Shadow Fall’s larger, open areas contribute to that ridiculous 290GB size, as the surface area of the zones are about five-to-10 times larger than those in Killzone 3.
Guerrilla Games was able to compress Shadow Fall down to 40GB in order to fit onto the Blu-ray, but interestingly, Killzone 3 back on the PS3 reached 41.5GB in size. This was because not only had Guerrilla included copies of high quality videos in various languages on the disc, but because the developers duplicated each level’s textures in order to make the content stream from the Blu-ray faster.
Van der Leeuw notes that, originally, the Killzone Shadow Fall disc image was 180GB, and that was before all of the level data was added in, which is when the data reached 290GB. Guerrilla Games was the first developer to hit this snag of image size, so Sony made special libraries for the developer to use. Regardless of those special libraries, though, a 40GB game is a very large file to download if you opt for digital distribution. In this day and age, in large part thanks to Steam and smartphones, users have accepted digital distribution as a more convenient way to purchase a piece of media.
Though our internet speeds are relatively fast nowadays, downloading a 40GB file will still take quite a while, but Sony will allow you to play while you download. The startup file that’ll get you going will be 7.5GB in size, and you can play the first piece of the game while the next piece downloads in the background.
If the impressive original image size is astounding, what’s perhaps equally impressive is that the game doesn’t feature any splash screens. All of the usual junk — the epilepsy warning, the Dolby logo — was negotiated to be put in the credits. Furthermore, after an initial 30-second load time, Killzone Shadow Fall does not experience any more in-game loading.
Killzone Shadow Fall will launch with the PS4 on November 15 of this year.