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Amalur dev: Xbox 360 "significantly easier" to develop for than PS3

But current gen consoles in general are "mature and stabilised"

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning lead designer Ian Frazier has told OXM that Xbox 360 is "significantly easier" to develop for than PlayStation 3, and that while he'd "love" to get his hands on a next generation Xbox, there are advantages to working with "mature and stabilised" platforms.

"As a player, I'd love another generation of Xbox," Frazier commented at a preview event. "I feel like we've been pushing this technology for a really long time, and I'd love to jump to the next level, the Xbox 720 or whatever it ends up being.

"As a developer? It's really nice having a stabilised platform. Especially with the Xbox, it's so solidified, people know it so well - it's just really, really easy to develop for at this point.

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Those facial animations certainly aren't pushing any boundaries.

"Our team were coming from a PC background, we had Settlers of Cataan on Xbox Live Arcade but that's it, that's the only previous console experience we had. Going to Sony platforms was a little bit tricky, Xbox was significantly easier, but across the board it was really nice going to platforms that were mature and stabilised.

"So as a player I say 'Yeah, let's bring on the next generation!'. But as a developer, I'm like 'Oh god, no, please, let's all stay the same.'"

A solid RPG with modest graphics, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning makes a fine case for sticking with what you know. Frazier suspects next generation games won't offer anything qualitatively different at first.

"Honestly I'm really curious to see," he mused. "It's something we don't get a lot of information about on the back channels. I get little bits and pieces of information now and then. My best guess is that it won't be completely crazy new things, but mostly a graphical upgrade. We'll see."

Among others, Syndicate studio Starbreeze is equally cautious of next gen, with CEO Mikael Nermark calling on manufacturers to make the development process less of a headache.

Asked whether Big Huge Games had been obliged to limit or cut features in order to develop Amalur for console hardware, Frazier insisted there were few compromises.

"One of the things we wanted to do really late was go to Direct X 11, which wasn't possible in the timeframe we had. But as far as the platform goes - not really.

He added: "we could have done things with motion controls and whatnot, but we didn't really want to in Reckoning. Voice control similarly didn't really fit - we don't have squads and it's not really a militaristic kind of game, or even a party-based game. So those things, not really.

"If you gave me the holodeck I'd love to work with that. But as far as things that are on the table tech-wise? Nah, just better graphical quality would be nice, more memory would have been nice. I wish every Xbox came with a hard drive, that would make things much easier. Not being able to bank on a hard drive makes everything a whole lot harder, tech-wise."

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Later in our chat, Frazier implored Xbox 360 owners to install Amalur to hard drive. Having reviewed the game, which is littered with loading delays, we'd encourage you likewise.

Amalur hits UK stores on Friday. It's out now in the States.

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