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Injustice: Gods Among Us dev on ease of developing for PS4

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Injustice: Gods Among Us was released this past April on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U. This week, just seven months later, developer NetherRealm Studios is releasing an Ultimate Edition of the DC Universe fighting game on those current-generation consoles as well as on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Representatives for the studio told Polygon today that a major factor in that relatively short lag time was the relative ease of developing on PS4.

"At NetherRealm, we loved the PS3. Like, I know some devs really didn't like the SPUs [synergistic processing units, the hardware architecture of the PS3], but we have a tech team that spent eight years really perfecting that thing. So we had near-100 percent SPU utilization for Injustice," said Adam Urbano, senior producer at NetherRealm.

"That said, we were willing to give it up because the PS4 is so easy," Urbano continued. "It's just — the tools are great, the hardware's great, it's super-elegant to work on. So getting code up and running is substantially easier than it's been in past generations."

Urbano clarified that while the process was relatively easy compared to the PS3, it still took "some very smart guys [at NetherRealm], as well as some external help" — High Voltage Software led development on the PS4 version of Injustice — in order to get the game on PS4 in time for the console's launch. But the PS4's development environment is relatively familiar to game makers, since the hardware architecture is reasonably close to a Windows PC, and that allowed the Injustice developers to get the grunt work out of the way.

"We could focus on art and gameplay very early on. That was important to be able to be a launch title, which is what we wanted," said Urbano. For example, NetherRealm was able to maintain the existing game's frame rate of 60 frames per second while delivering advanced anti-aliasing that wasn't possible on current-gen platforms and using high-resolution uncompressed textures. The studio also added quick, fun minigames that make use of the DualShock 4 controller's touchpad, NetherRealm's first real experimentation with touch controls on console.

"We just wanted to see where it goes," said Urbano.

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