The head of Xbox Studios says the machine removes the need to think about technical constraints – and discusses controversial Halo: Infinite and Fable demos
The era of video game design being defined by technology is over, according to Microsoft. Two hours after the Xbox showcase event livestreamed on 23 July, I’m speaking to the company’s head of studios, Matt Booty, via video call. The showcase revealed 22 games, “built to launch exclusively on Xbox consoles”, nine coming from first-party teams – a clear response to Sony’s live event in June, which concentrated on exclusive PlayStation 5 titles. But there was no mention of hardware during the one-hour stream, and now Booty is keen to make the point that projects developed for Xbox Series X, due this Christmas, will not be as delineated or constrained by hardware specifications as they have been in the past.
“We’re at a point where the technology is out of the way,” he says. “In previous generations, the hardware and its limitations would leave a pretty clear fingerprint on a game. I remember the first early games that used sprite scaling and then suddenly every game had all these objects flying around the screen. You’d build a game around technical advances like that. But now we’re at the point with the tech where we can just let the stories and the characters that the teams have in mind reach the screen.”