'Nobody knows final next-gen hardware specs,' DICE exec suggests

Patrick Bach claims Battlefield 4 studio is working on target specs and alpha hardware

The executive producer at EA studio DICE has questioned whether any game development studios know the final specs of next gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft.


Speaking to CVG about the upcoming hardware transition during a wide-ranging Battlefield 4 interview conducted at GDC this week, the series' executive producer Patrick Bach said:

"I don't know if anyone has the next-gen hardware to be honest - really. There are versions of it, but does anyone have the final hardware? Do we really know what the final hardware will be?

"There are specs and alpha hardware, but nobody knows exactly what it will be. The only thing I can say about what we're building is that we've set the bar with what we can do and we can scale it down to 360 and PS3."

It is believed that development kits for both the PS4 and Next Xbox are being distributed across the games development sector, though Bach did not confirm this. The media has been gripped by a frenzy of speculation regarding the final specs of Sony's PS4 and Microsoft's rival platform, though the numbers are constantly shifting as each new report comes through.

On the subject of the first Battlefield 4 gameplay video, which was released earlier this week, Bach explained: "What you saw is pre-alpha - it's not the final game or anything. We are lacking a lot of optimisation. Without going into detail about what it could look like on a lower spec machine or a higher spec machine, we will have the scalability to bring the most out of any piece of hardware.

"The demo is the visual target of what we want the game to look like, and when I say visual target I don't want people to confuse that with rendering pictures that you could never create in the actual game - when we create our visual targets a big part of that is to make it realistic, as in you will be able to run it on a machine that you can buy.

"We've seen visual targets that are pre-rendered or running on machines that are designed for showing off technology - this is the game. [Single-player producer] Tobias was playing the game in the Frostbite engine with the content that we're using to build the game."

Sony revealed PS4 last month and confirmed a PS4 release date of "holiday 2013" in at least one of Japan, Europe and the US.

Meanwhile, it has become a growing expectation in the industry that Microsoft will announce its next-generation Xbox platform at a special event in late April.