It’s quite funny what rumors can start in gaming forums, all from the poor comprehension of the few. So now, here’s a good one. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, developed by Naugthy Dog for the Playstation 3, could be ported to the Xbox360. We like this. Just as moronic as PS3 fanboys screaming about Bioshock coming over to their little baby.

So it all starts in an innocent interview with Evan Wells, Naughty Dog’s co-president, at Eurogamer. The question in question is this one, “How hard would it be to port Uncharted to the Xbox 360?” I will cut down Evan’s response into manageable chunks, and we’ll see what we can discern from it.

Firstly, he says “I won’t say that it would be impossible, but it would be very difficult and we most certainly would have to make enough concessions that it would start to feel like a different game”. Naturally, of course it isn’t impossible, or at least it would be hard to say it’s impossible without actually attempting to port the game. And since Naughty Dog developed the game exclusively for the PS3, it would indeed be very difficult.

We’ve already seen how third party developers are struggling with porting to the PS3 from the Xbox360. Quite simply, porting is a bitch. However, it’d be even more difficult in this case. Naughty Dog have used the SPU’s (mini processors on the PS3’s Cell) in their animation system, calculating physics and more. They have perfected this so much, that at this moment, much of the game relies on the specific nature of Cell. For example, Christophe Balestra (Naughty Dog’s co-Vice President) states; “We developed a brand new animation system that took full advantage of the SPU’s. Nathan Drake’s final animation is made of different layers like running, breathing, reloading weapons, shooting, facial expression, etc; we end up decompressing and blending up to 30 animations every frame on the SPU’s.”

Whether this animation system will translate over to the Xbox360 is hard to say. It’s certainly not impossible, but since the game was made with Cell in mind, some concessions would need to be made. Furthermore, since Uncharted is the best looking PS3 game, Naughty Dog have had to work very close to the PS3’s hardware to get the visuals they have achieved, and would need to work just as hard to achieve them on the 360 – meaning a port might take over a year.

Evan then gives an example of what might be conceded in the port: “One thing that would be particularly difficult would be keeping the game load-free. The HDD really came in handy and allowed us to have pretty big open levels with lots of detail.” Yes Uncharted is one of the very few games that has zero loading throughout the whole game. The game is completely streamed, and this is only possible with the PS3’s Hard Drive, which not every Xbox360 has. Not game breaking perhaps, but it would make it a very different game, making it less of the movie experience that it is trying to achieve.

Furthermore, the game takes up 22GB of a Blu-ray disc, whereas an Xbox360 DVD is only 9GB. Lets not get into a fanboy war about the advantage of Blu-ray, since the Xbox has Mass Effect, a huge game, in fact far longer than Uncharted in game length. But that somewhat misses the point, could Naughty Dog have compressed the game to fit into 9gb? Perhaps. However, once again they would need to make a lot of concessions, and spend money doing so, removing resources from making the visuals and gameplay as good as they are. The high quality surround sound, the hundreds of minutes of HD cutscenes, and the high-res textures all take up space. As Christophe says, “To get such high-resolution textures and movies, a Blu-ray was indispensable to achieve the graphic quality of Uncharted. We fill the disc at 91 percent and it’s optimized, meaning we don’t duplicate any data. That includes all our game data, sounds, 7 spoken languages and 102 minutes of movie.”

Some how Evan’s reply drew this response from a particular gaming blog: “In order to have those huge levels, it has to be installed on the hard drive, because the Blu-Ray drive is far too slow to load quickly (which is why in many PlayStation 3 games have repeated content on the discs.)” No the game doesn’t have to be installed on to the hard drive because the Blu-ray drive is too slow. There is no loading in Uncharted, none, and the hard drive helps with this yes, but the game isn’t actually installed onto the PS3: “We’re only using the hard drive as a cache, the game doesn’t need to be installed, but the fact the hard drive is on every PlayStation 3 helped our streaming technology dramatically.”

Moreover, the PS3’s blu-ray drive is not slower than the Xbox360’s drive when the 360 is reading a double-layer DVD, and let’s face it, most if not all games are on a double-layer DVD. Read speeds are approximately equal. And no, many PS3 games do not have repeated content on the discs. Oblivion is said to do this, for unknown reasons, but I can assure you that the 22GB’s of Uncharted does not include any duplicated data, though of course much of it will be extras and HD cutscene movies.

And so, does Evan’s comment mean Uncharted could be ported to the Xbox360? I don’t bloody know! Both consoles have not hit the roof of their capabilities yet, they both have a long way to go with developers squeezing more and more out of them each year. What I do know, is that they are very different beasts, and if you develop exclusively for the PS3 you have to think very differently about your game engine. Using the SPU’s means you have to program to the specificity of the PS3 hardware and this can result in very specific things, like Nariko’s hair (Heavenly Sword) or Naughty Dog’s animation system. Porting this over to the Xbox360 might just be more trouble than its worth. Let alone Naughty Dog is owned by Sony and anything they make will only be on a Sony console…

So in celebration of this gloriously absurd rumor I present to you Nathan Drake dancing in this hilarious little video:

[youtube width=”425″ height=”335″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E7b-vaCW5o[/youtube]


  1. Two mistakes/misleading comments in your article:

    Bioshock is not published by MS therefore it may very well be coming if they decide to do it.

    Second, 360 DVD can only hold 7GB of space. You lose two gigs due to security precausions among other things.

  2. It is true that Bioshock is a different kettle of fish to Uncharted, but the discussions are the same, with both Microsoft and TakeTwo having to come out time and time again to destroy the rumours.

    7gb may well be the case, I was under the impression it was more about the 8.5GB mark (the recent double-layer DVD’s). And if 2gb are lost because of security etc, a similar amount will be lost on a Blu-ray disc.

    Although both your points have grounds, neither are particularly misleading when interpreted properly.

    Thanks you very much for commenting.

    Patrick Steen

  3. Sorry.The 360 doesn’t need this game. I bought Uncharted, it’s over-hyped and what I see with my eyes could easily be done on the 360. What is with the foilage? You can run thru it and it moves on the paths but if you go outside of that it’s static? Not very next-gen. If you want to play this game on the 360 just load up Just Cause, add a little Gears of War and sprinkle in some Tomb Raider.

  4. Haha, what you see is animations which they said were the major road bumps in porting. Obviously “sorry” didn’t even read the article. Patrick, getting a game down from 22gb to 7gb would kill it. 2GB taken off the Blur-ray is a lot less than 2GB off the dvd, so your rebuttal is pretty poor and you have misinterpreted their points.

    The truth is, if they had to they could. But chances are they would end up with a very different game. Why would naughty dog even bother…

    Bioshock does not need to come to PS3, most PS3 owners have a computer so who really cares. I wouldn’t get it on PS3 anyway…

  5. Hello San. I agree with you, and you can see that the article I wrote agrees with what you said as well.

    As far as Bioshock, it would be very welcome on the PS3.

    As far as “Sorry” saying the game is overhyped, I will be reviewing the game very soon and we shall see how good it actually is.

  6. First off I want to commend Patrick Steen on some excellent review skills. Glad to see more professional writing than the high school dropout stuff from 1UP or GameSpot’s backdoor paid crapola!

    ….and for those interested enough to understand the technical reasons here’s why PS3 can run games without Any Loading Times in a game like “Uncharted”!!!

    First and foremost the Xbox 360 is closer to a regular PC in how it’s processor works. In that both platforms run a symmetrical multi-core processor and the PS3 runs an Asymmetrical multi-core processor (only one of it’s kind). If you would have visited the ProFX Engine website 7 months ago, they had benchmarks for loading their “Bayou Demo”. The results posted had a PC w/Nvidia 8800 card doing it in 5 seconds and the Xbox 360 loading Bayou Demo in 10 seconds on an older version of their engine. The PS3 was listed on the benchmarks, loading the same demo in 1.2 seconds. That’s 4 times faster than the PC and over 8 times faster than the Xbox 360 (I have screenshots of this as proof)! How can the PS3 do that?

    Speed has nothing to do with it in and of itself. Nor the fact that it has a hard drive. That just makes it more capable of storing added cache information not unlike a computer. Level loading pre-stored information is nothing new in the computer world. But that doesn’t explain how the Cell enables the PS3 to do all these calculations at the same time, it’s calculating the present level! …..or how it can take very small files, do all the calculations on the fly in real time to render huge complex levels. “Uncharted’s” last level is almost a complete ProFX Ultimate Demo in itself!

    The CEO Sebastien Deguy of ProFX stated in an interview that they were working on an optimized port of their ProFX engine for the Sony PS3: “That said, programming the PS3’s eight Synergistic Processing Units (SPUs) can be quite challenging from time to time, but there is definitely a lot to gain from the architecture, and ProFX on PS3 should run impressively fast. (We should get confirmation on that by the end of the year or so ;) (notice wink)!

    Go to “Dr. Dobb’s Portal search this number: 201800372 for this interview with Sebastien.

    So how does this relate to loading separate levels that can only be calculated on this Asymmetrical Multi-core processor? Well all of the levels in “Uncharted” are made of of procedurally generated textures rendered “LIVE” (living) as only the PS3 can, in Real Time, On the Fly (no or close to no load times unlike other platforms). The Cell’s cores are uniquely “Lockable”, along with having their own memory, unlike any of the competition. All with shared on chip cache/memory (no unlocked shared memory like all other platforms). This makes the PS3 not simply multi-threaded, but gives it completely separate multi-tasking abilities the others can’t even fathom.

    The best comparison is the new Sony PS3 commercial with the Octopus. The average, multi-threaded, symmetrical multi-core processor is still like the fingers on a single hand (can do separate things, but not work on unrelated tasks). While the PS3’s Cell is not simply Multi-threaded (many fingers on a hand), but Cell (because of lockable cores with their own memory) is truly multi-tasking as well. Picture an Octopus with Swiss Army Knives on each tentacle and you get a glimpse of the “Beast With-in” the PS3. For if PS3 were a person, it could not only sign the checks for bills, tie it’s shoes, cook it’s dinner, write a letter, and scratch it’s head at the same time, it can calculate it all for tomorrow as well and store it on it’s hard drive. That’s why Naughty Dog says “Uncharted” is still only using 30% of the PS3’s power.

    Don’t get me wrong, these other platforms have their benefits. But if you have the capability of calculating completely unrelated threads for separate multi-threaded tasks on the PS3, why not use it? Not only can you calculate a level and render it, but you can calculate and store the next completely unrelated level and render the whole thing without visible loading times or screens. The job of all game developers this generation is to learn to utilize the unique abilities of the PS3 to calculate, render and store a game On the Fly in Real Time on this incomparable machine. That’s how with the old ProFX un-optimized engine, PS3 was able to even out perform a PC w/8800 GPU (with more memory) and leave the Xbox 360 eating their dust! …”Uncharted” is the first of many games that use ProFX’s procedural texture mapping, it’s multi-core chip and PS3’s hard drive to it’s best advantage! ;)

  7. OMG I post up those benchmark screens I took and now they are all over the web!

    Well at least ProFX is getting their name out there! ;) ….I still wonder if ProFX is what Uncharted developers used for Drake getting wet!

  8. it’s a good lookin game no doubt about that but you gota consider these things. first programming for the cell takes a lot more space than xenon does like i mean they have to programme for 7 SPUs 7th 1 being different from the other 6 and then getting the PPU to excecute some commands for the SPUs which yes reduces speed slightly. You also have to realise the 360 has a far superior GPU which spec sheet already is ahead of the RSX(ps3 GPU). the xenos(360 GPU) runs at 95-100% efficiency due to unified shader architecture which basicly means everything you see on the xenos spec sheet is done like for example the number of shader ops. whereas for the RSX it has less pipelines and runs at normal efficiency which is around 50-60% meaning that it is doing about half of what it’s spec sheet says.

    Then you gota take into consideration that the xenos has MEMEXPORT which alows it do a lot of DX10 and Shader model 4.0 and Dx10 has a huge physics advantage over Dx9.

    Basicly you have to look at the ps2 and realise that even it hasn’t peaked out yet and is still getting better. also look at games like far cry 2 that is coming out on 360 ps3 and pc. it runs on all and it is a superior game to uncharted. also uncharted can show off as it is a third person shooter by over dramatising on drake. then you also have to look at games like warhound coming out for 360 by techland which most people seem to already be saying has totaly annihalated crysis and when you look at the warhound technology video you can’t help but think oh crap i think they are right.

  9. “Just as moronic as PS3 fanboys screaming about Bioshock coming over to their little baby.”

    Bioshock is coming to PS3 this October 2008, but I’m sure you already know that by now. Just putting it out there.

  10. I know this is too late to comment, but it just bothers me that i really want to tell you guys this.

    Uncharted WILL NOT go to 360 because…
    1. Its being published by Sony
    2. Sony owns Uncharted IP
    3. the biggest thing of all, Naughty Dog is owned by Sony

  11. Time for you two to eat a little crow Patrick and Dan!

    Because, with the arival of Killzone 2 we have many things the RSX was not supposed to be able to do with it’s 7800 gpu (haha), that it most definitely does do. Because, it 1st of all, is demonstrating Deferred Rendering w/MSAA (how many times? well if you idiots can find aliasing in it, you’re liars), tile based rendering (reserved for Unified Architecture gpu’s like in X360, Mobile Devices and PS3, as is Feferred Rendering w/MSAA). Multiple Render Targets (MRT) also only posible on Unified GPUs and I could go on, but I think the game proves my point nicely. Since it’s obviously better than Crysis on DX10 hardware!haha

    Killzone 2 is the first game utilizing the full OpenGL ES 2.X spec (as stated from the very start in 2005 GDC, which can be revisited on a Japanese site, btw). Which can only run on a Fully Programable Unified Architecture, BTW!

    Now I’m going to tell you the Big Secret in the difference between DX and OpenGL (that’s never been a secret). That’s the main reason, that makes this all possible on not only the PS3, but your OGL ES 2.X compliant Cell Phone in the near future (w/ console quality games coming soon).

    It’s all in POV (point of view) folks. It’s how M$ DX renders everything around it’s POV (camera view which is calculation intensive including everything around it and behind it). OpenGL has always more effiently rendered w/ the camera POV moving around the environment (nothing is rendered or calculated behind it)!

    So now what is the RSX? Well Killzone 2 pretty much puts the 7800 LIES to rest. Being that it out did the 2005 KZ2 video and is doing things that can only be done on a chip with Unified Architecture. You FOOLS!!!! ;)

    Now when is M$ going to get that POV right? Because they didn’t do it with DX10 as we saw in Crysis on DX10. It’s still a power hungry monster that lacks the efficiency and POV aspect that OpenGL ES 2.X has had from it’s very roots. Also it’s the first ground up built (gutted OGL) Application Programming Interface (API) out the door (M$ has yet to dump it’s power hungry POV). Now you tell what API’s are going to be running on the majority of systems in coming years?

    And if you are ignorant enough to say DX anything, come tell me about it in two years! haha

  12. I don't think people realise how stupid they are for believing that uncharted will ever come to 360 as if you had a brain you would realise that sony own naughty dog and they have already announced that naughty dogs games will only come to ps3.

  13. technological possible is, they wont do it becouse is just too expensive… they made uncharted to blend seamlessly with the PS3 hardware. being hard to port, doesn`t means that the xbox can`t handle these graphics… just remembering that forza 2 runs at 30 pfs and looks very inferior to forza 3 that runs at 60 fps… in the same console.