Epic Games wants the next generation of game consoles to be as powerful as they can possibly be, according to studio founder Tim Sweeney and design director Cliff Bleszinski. Speaking with Wired, the pair said that Epic has been "actively lobbying" for Sony and Microsoft's next-gen consoles to be more powerful than they already are.
After seven years, visuals generated by the PS3 and Xbox 360 pale in comparison to what the modern top-of-the-line PC can do. Now, as rumors about specs for the next generation of consoles begin to paint a picture of what's to come, Epic's concerns essentially confirm murmurings that both Microsoft and Sony are designing consoles that will better than what we have now, but won't necessarily be truly futuristic devices.
That isn't what Epic Games has in mind. In order for future "Orbis" and "Durango" developers to take full advantage of Epic's Unreal Engine 4, the next-gen development tools the company has already created, Epic needs the console to be powerful as they possibly can.
“There is a huge responsibility on the shoulders of our engine team and our studio to drag this industry into the next generation,” according to Bleszinski. “It is up to Epic, and Tim Sweeney in particular, to motivate Sony and Microsoft not to phone in what these next consoles are going to be. It needs to be a quantum leap. They need to damn near render Avatar in real time, because I want it and gamers want it—even if they don’t know they want it.”
If there's any company that has the ability to do change the console-makers' minds, it's Epic. Unreal Engine was used to design a large percentage of this generation's games, not just the ones Epic made themselves.
It's likely that the public will get its first taste of Unreal Engine 4 at E3. If the response is as intense as Bleszinski and Sweeney think it will be, it'll be a good thing that Sony and Microsoft decided to hold off on revealing their next-gen hardware.
Note: This post is based off a portion of a much larger feature on the making of Unreal Engine 4. If you want to know more, check out the full story.