Kitase on Emotion Engine for PS2: “PS2 really was a very high performance graphics machine”

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Ken Kutaragi is the main man behind PlayStation. He was the one who developed PlayStation 1 to 3. He is known for his crazy ambitions and talks in technology. His hardware customizations were always ahead of their time but also difficult to work with.

Yoshinori Kitase in a recent interview explains the issues that they faced during the porting of Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation VITA, giving us an insight on how a complicated hardware setup can make porting difficult.

Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD remaster has taken far too long for a Remaster of a old game. It was originally announced on September 13th 2011 at a event celebrating 10th anniversary of Final Fantasy X. Due to the delays, people kept wondering if it was just Square Enix being lazy or there were actual issues associated with the porting of game from PS2 to PS3/VITA. As it turns out, the custom hardware of PS2 was a big bottleneck, especially “Emotion Engine” CPU, that was included in PS2.

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Yoshinori Kitase in a Q/A session with PlayMagazine (via NowGamer) explains that even though PlayStation VITA and PlayStation 3 pack far more hardware grunt than PlayStation 2, the lack of emotion engine, which they used heavily in Final Fantasy X, resulted in a big problem for them during the porting process. Explaining this all, Kitase says:

“That would be the fact that the PS2 was such a great platform. Of course, the PS3 and PS Vita have better specs but with the Emotion Engine at its core, the PS2 really was a very high performance graphics machine.

We used the graphic engine of the day at full capacity when creating the original game and this allowed us to realise the kinds of visuals that just could not have been done with the standard methods available then. This meant that when we came to port Final Fantasy 10 to the PS3 there was a lot of trouble because it could not be achieved simply by converting the data across to the newer format.”

Emotion Engine was a custom CPU that was built specially for PlayStation 2. A lot of PS2 exclusives relied heavily on it. It was not easy to emulate it and hence Sony even included it in earlier PlayStation 3 models to keep Backward Compatibility support for PS2 intact in PS3. The emotion engine was dropped later from PlayStation 3 and Sony instead worked on emulating it and provided Backward Compatibility for PS2 through Software Emulation. It took them years of  development to finally create a Software Emulator for PS2 that had some decent compatibility.

PlayStation 4 is built using a completely different approach. While it does have its own set of hardware customizations, there is no crazy hardware, the likes of Emotion Engine or Cell Processor, included in it. Ken Kutaragi is no more the main man behind PlayStation and instead the PlayStation 4 was developed for the first time by Mark Cerny. It remains to be seen whether Cerny can reach the level of Kutaragi with his hardware or not.

What do you think of this news? Do you think hardware customization is a good thing even if it results in lack of backward compatibility and issues with ports? Let us know in the comments below.

Stay tuned to GearNuke for latest news and info on Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster.

Khurram Imtiaz

A Geek and Gamer, who loves JRPGs and VITA. Follow him on Twitter and Google+

  • Vinit Mundada

    how about a MIPCA

  • Daniel Lawson

    No it wasn’t, a year later at it was already GENERATIONS behind graphically there were even things you could do on the Dreamcast that were not possible on the PS2 it was a POS … emotion engine… should have been call Liar Engine with all the fabrications Sony made and how they would send people to Dreamcast forums to disrupt fans from talking about the system prior to it’s US launch.

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    Mark Cerny will EXCEL Kutaragi’s legacy…no doubt.

  • spideynut71

    LOL….the XBOX crapped all over the PS2 graphics, using off-the-shelf PC components. PS2 couldn’t even do normal mapping. PC games like Thief:Deadly Shadows, Doom 3, Morrowind….they were only ported to XBOX because the PS2 couldn’t handle them.

    • http://www.gearnuke.com/ Khurram Imtiaz

      I think Metal Gear Solid 2 alone gives the PS2 a significant boost over Xbox. Then we have got games Shadow of the Colossus, God of War 2 etc.

      The main reason these games might have not gotten a PS2 port might be due to Xbox having a x86 architecture and hence a PC to Xbox port would have been far easier. It has nothing to do with the underlying hardware.

      • spideynut71

        You can “think” what you want, but you’d be wrong in assuming that is the case. For the same reason people are falling all over themselves praising the PS4, and dissing the XOne, the reverse could be done for the the PS2 vs XBOX : the XBOX hardware was FAR superior to the PS2, and the exclusives (including PC port exclusives) proved this. As for multiplatform games, the XBOX versions had better AA, textures, fps, lighting…almost across the board. With games like Spider-man 2, Madden , GTA3, GTA:SA, Splinter Cell :CT, etc. the XBOX versions had OBVIOUS advantages in graphics. It’s really not debatable, nor is it surprising. XBOX had 2x the RAM, 2.5x the CPU power, standard HDD, standard broadband (vs optional for both on PS2) and 1.6x the GPU power. All of Sony’s promises about the “theoretical” advantages of the Emotion Engine proved to be bogus over time.

    • ratbuddy

      Dude, the Xbox came out over a year and a half later than the PS2. Get over it.