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Dragon Age 3 artist: next gen tech won't be as "obvious" a leap as Xbox to Xbox 360

"I have to be careful here as there are non-disclosure agreements involved!"

The next generation of Xbox hardware won't be quite as barn-storming an upgrade as Xbox 360 was over the original Xbox, BioWare's director of art and animation Neil Thompson has told OXM. It'll still be "quite a big leap", mind.

Speaking to OXM in our latest issue - on sale Friday, in the hands of subscribers now - the BioWare veteran promised more innovation in videogame art next gen, providing developers can overcome the associated rise in costs.

"Clearly we still hammer up against the limitations of the hardware on a daily basis and if you push those parameters back, as I'm sure the next-gen will do, we'll hit them again," he began. "I think the main thing is that the industry doesn't get itself into a corner where it becomes economically unviable to make a game.

"The last technology iteration caught folks by surprise - especially the number of people you needed and the skillset jump to do the work that people expected. In the last generation the perception was that it was going to be a ten times improvement over the previous generation. "

"For the next generation there will be quite a big leap, but it won't be as obvious," Thompson revealed. "People will do things in a cleverer fashion - and I have to be careful here as there are non-disclosure agreements involved! I think they'll be better prepared, shall we say - but we can't see a ten-fold team increase again as the budgets would just be ridiculous.

"You'd have to sell 20-30 million copies before you broke even."

We've already pondered the cost of the generational transition on the site this week. Middleware outfits like Epic, id Software and Crytek are jostling for control of the emerging next gen development scene, a war that's predicted to double budgets.

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EA claims its own Frostbite 2 technology will dominate the new hardware. Dragon Age 3 - which uses the engine - will release in late 2013, and is thus widely believed to be a next generation release.

The next Xbox is rumoured to launch in November, for $350-400 in the US. Besides predictable new features like a beefier processer, expanded Kinect functions and more RAM, it's tipped to utilise Microsoft's game-changing Xbox Illumiroom technology.

Don't miss our full interview with Thompson. It ventures well beyond the question of unannounced hardware, encompassing such topics as what to expect from the next Mass Effect, the death of racing games (he created art for Blur and Quantum Redshift, don't you know) and how BioWare has changed (and not changed) post-Muzyka and Zeschuk.

All that's in the context of a massive Bioshock Infinite hands-on and exclusive look at Injustice: Gods Among Us. Remember - out on Friday.

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