Epic in talks with Sony & Microsoft over next-gen, but would "rather get a massive leap in performance and capabilities than get something today."
Epic Games' vice-president Mark Rein has confirmed that the company has been in talks with Sony and Microsoft to help "shape" the next-generation of consoles, adding that he's happy to wait until next-gen hardware can offer "a massive leap in performance and capabilities than get something today."
"If you're talking about the console you plug into the wall at home, I think that needs to be a really big jump," said Rein talking to VideoGamer.com at Develop about next-gen hardware.
"I think it needs to be a really good justifiable, 'Oh my gosh, look what you can do now that you couldn't do before'. And to do that at a reasonable price it just takes time.
"It's going to come out whenever it comes out," he continued, "and again, the whole do it right versus right now thing, I'd much rather get a massive leap in performance and capabilities than get something today."
Rein added that the firm's GDC 2011 Samaritan demo, which showed a cyberpunk peacekeeper battling thugs in a gritty city street, "was a demo to show what we think the consoles should... what we would like the next gen consoles to be able to do.
"In determining what the next consoles will be, I'm positive that [Sony & Microsoft are] talking to lots and lots of developers and lots of middleware companies to try and shape what it is. We've certainly been talking with them and we've been creating demonstrations to show what we think.
"And obviously the Elemental demo, same thing. We're certainly showing capability if they give us that kind of power, but so is everybody else."
When asked what next-generation consoles could offer over the current generation besides a leap in power, Rein added:
"Well if you were asking me to make a little crystal ball prediction, I think you're already seeing the console manufacturers making leaps and bounds in the services they provide on the console.
"For example, you've seen Sony make lots of improvements. They added lots of new entertainment related things and new features to the XMB; cloud services and things like that. Same thing with Microsoft: they now have cloud saves and Hulu and that awesome NBA stuff they showed. They're just layering and layering on really cool services already, so I think that you will see a big improvement in services.
"The new consoles will do something even more profound with that than they do today. I think you're seeing them getting ready for that, slowly creeping up a little bit to a point that when they get hardware that has new capabilities they will take advantage of them. And then I also think we will get a big bump in graphics capability and memory and the things that we need to push our games forward."
But despite the possibilities offered by next-gen consoles and Unreal Engine 4, Rein says that Epic is still "grateful" to see Microsoft support Xbox 360 almost seven years after launch.
"We're very happy with the state of the console business with Xbox 360," he said. "We've made successful games on it. Gears of War 3 did extremely well as you saw and Gears of War: Judgment is fantastic. So I don't really have anything negative to say about what they've done [with prolonging the console cycle].
"We're grateful to have Xbox 360, and we're grateful that they supported it so well and created so much cool innovation on it so late in its life-cycle. We're happy with Xbox 360."