Mercury Steam: Xbox’s Lack Of Blu Ray Is A “Problem”

Mercury Steam – the developer behind ‘Castlevania: Lords of Shadow’ – has had to call in Microsoft to help them try and overcome Xbox 360’s “storage problem”.

The 360 version of the game will ship on two DVD discs when it is released – albeit with an install option on the in-game menu, allowing gamers to play the full title off the second disc.  Like a rather smug sibling, the PS3 version will be on a single Blu-ray.

Mercury Steam boss – Dave Cox – had the following to say;

“Microsoft actually sent their tech guys to the studio to see the game and look at [how we’re] compressing it, but they said: ‘Okay, it’s good. You’re doing all you can.’

I think it’s something Microsoft are going to experience more and more – that they need to help developers overcome the storage problem.

I mean, each console has its own issues [360’s smaller disc capacity and PS3’s slower loading times], but you have to work around them.”

He also went on to mention that cut-scenes weren’t to blame;

“They’re pretty short.  Our longest one is 14 minutes, which is the end sequence… The game’s around 24 hours long and every level’s different. We have so much variety and we re-use very little assets.”

I remember a time when a game coming on more than one disk was seen as a sign of pure awesomeness.  How times change – I’m getting old!

Source: CVG


  1. Two DVD’s 1/2 a Blu-ray… that’s saying something, poor poor M’Soft.

    • more like poor microsoft customers and ps3 customers too

      its just an overall poor situation for everyone really

      • Well not as much us as PS3 users, Blu-ray at the time was limited to 9MB/s data rate, whereas the DVD has been out for longer, so is bound to be faster.
        And as a guide the PS3’s BDP is a x2 player, and the 360’s is a x12, this doesn’t mean the PS3’s 6 time slower.
        The x2 Blu-ray is about the same as a x7 DVD, so make sure yyou don’t compare the x numbers.

      • Then there’s the seek delay as well, which is the main reason for game installs.

        Blu-ray’s a great format though, I love it particularly with movies… I can just see Sony fanboys on the internet as a whole getting carried away with this developers comments.

      • Isn’t a Blu-ray made differently though? I remember when the PS3 launched that there was an article about the 2x on a Blu-ray being constant at all points of the disc, whereas on a DVD the 12x relates to the centre only and as it reads the outer parts of the disc it slows down. I don’t know if it was marketing bull but the article seemed to make out that if a dev programmed the Blu-ray properly they could counteract some of the speed issue by utilising it’s constant read speed or something like that…

        In addition 1x in DVD terms is 1.32MB/s whereas on Blu-ray 1x is 4.5MB/s, so the PS3’s blu-ray drive is probably the same speed of a 10x DVD player.

        I do think Sony should have pushed the boat out to a 4x Blu-ray drive though, to make it actually much faster than a 12x DVD and possibly even fast enough to stream from.

        I’ve never really looked into it but I don’t understand what it is that makes the 360 able to stream data but the PS3 less able to stream data? Is it just the drive speed, or is it something else that causes the PS3 problems?

      • Yup, the PS3’s Blu-ray drive is constant, and its only the peeks of the DVD drive which ‘beat’ it
        The Blu-ray drive can also move more data at a time further mitigating its relative slowness, however its the ‘seek’ speed where it falls down AFAIK

        This is why textures are repeated multiple times over the Blu-ray (and even why some devs have said games wouldn’t be possible on systems because they filled the Blu-ray (which they’ve had to because its a Blu-ray)) and also the major reason for PS3 game installs

        The PS3 also has bottlenecks in its architecture, where the 360 has a 10mb eDRAM buffer directly on the GPU so it can prepare the next frame while the current frame is being displayed… it all adds up to faster architecture unless you can pour time, resources & money into Cell optimisation which 1st party devs have been able to but multi-plat devs don’t always have the resources, time or money to do) as that will almost certainly mean you’re doubling your development costs

  2. You could put Dragon Age (PC) on around 10,417 floppy disks (going by my install size of 15GB). How awesome does that make it? :)

    Good to hear when Blu-ray gets touted positively, although I’d take faster load times and two discs (one with install). Or is the load time thing before installing the PS3 version too?

    • “I’d take faster load times and two discs” il’d rather have a bigger richer game and slower(PS3) load times

      • So would I, but that isn’t what is being implied. Both versions are the same length and presumably contain the same assets.

        Besides, if past experience is anything to go by, the Xbox 360 will come out looking better than PS3 – seems to be the way with multiplat 8 out of 10 times this generation.

      • Exactly,

        Extra texture detail, improved draw distance, better shadowing, anti-aliasing, more things on screen at same time, higher average framerates, stable framerates, fewer torn frames etc… etc…

        It’s not time for PS3 owners to laugh too hard until games look & play (framerate-wise) as good as X360 games.

        not everyone has the unlimited funds & time of Sony’s first party studios to make a game like Uncharted2 (Naughty Dog’s work with the Cell is unrivalled) or GT5 (Where the constant honing & tinkering & distance between releases is unaffordable for anyone else)

      • Don’t forget the mandatory installs, the icing on the cake. With all the time spent installing multi-platform games I’d expect equal FPS at least but I’ve yet to see it.

      • ok i kinda went of point there :( BUT the 2 disk version will be compressed to fit onto 2 disk giving FFXIII style results (lower resolution poorer sound quality) whereas the blu ray version will be like a tad pole in a promiscuas larger lady’s vagina or in tech speak will have plenty of room also regaining poor performing PS3 multiplats the majority of them was due to the PS3 not selling anything like the xbox but now with the PS3slim we are starting to see better and incomparable PS3 versions with more to come like MOH and crisis

      • There are a handful of big franchises where developers can afford to develop for the platforms independently of each other.

        But for 90% of multi-platform releases that won’t be the case, and architecture bottlenecks could cause issues (some minor and irrelevant, but some are major) probably throughout the life of the systems.

        Like I said elsewhere, swings & roundabouts

  3. I remember a time when Microsoft and their fanboys swore blind that a game would never need more than a DVD’s worth of content in this console generation and Blu-ray was a complete red herring that was pointless for games unless it was full of pre-rendered cut scenes…

  4. The PS3 has many bottlenecks that the X360 doesn’t and optical format on the 360 is a big limitation for the 360.

    Swings & roundabouts.

  5. I’d rather take 2 DVDs and know it won’t need a 20 minute install and still have longer load times, thanks.

    • But do you take two bottles in to the shower?

      • Not me. I just mince and rinse.

    • why not wait for the 3 DVD goty edition :)

  6. Both consoles have their limitations. Personally, I thought this would happen earlier with the limited space of the DVD format.

    • compression & on the fly decompression techniques can always be improved and in the world of computers you can always got more for less, just by working at it.

      Microsoft will help them with this and there won’t be a problem.

  7. bluray all day long how difficult is it to scratch the buggers.
    dvds dont last long in my house

    • Yeah they’re great for that – bloomin’ awesome in fact, but so are DVD boxes, just put ’em away when you’re done with them ;)

    • Funnt how all games (even used ones) come in a case. Do you not allow DVD cases in your house? And how much time do you spend trying to scratch your blu-rays?

  8. Let’s be fair, it’s a minor problem for Microsoft. Sony have a far greater challenge when we look at multi-platform titles that tend to suck the big one when it comes to graphical prowess on the PS3. I’d take a snifter of compression any time over the slow loading speeds of BluRay.

  9. I’ll put my hand up here and admit to never playing a Castlevania game before, but a 14 minute end game cut scene? Is that for real?

    • Castlevania Symphony Of The Night is an all time classic.

      Wonder if the 14mins include credits… they seem to take longer than any film

      • I really don’t know what all the fuss is about with sotn. Bought it off the PSN & really feel it was a waste of dosh!!
        Aren’t more developers now putting the ps3 as lead format?? Sure I read that means a better game on both consoles???

  10. bluray is still in its early days and i think the PS4 will still have bluray but it’ll be quicker and the loading times, install times and frame rate problems will be addressed. be interesting to see if microsoft try and get bluray drives in their next console release.

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