Interview with the developers of Farming Simulator 19
Interview with the developers of Farming Simulator 19
How have you managed to keep it fresh with the latest entry in this long-running series?
I can’t reveal too much yet at this point, but one thing that will be pretty obvious once we show more in-game screenshots and videos are the improvements we’ve made to the GIANTS Engine which powers the graphics of the game. Light, shadows, textures…you will see improvements all across the board.
Generally said, agriculture is a huge area and there are lots of opportunities to go deeper, simulation wise, and to offer more options but also add new game mechanics to really push the fun factor.
Having worked on so many games in the series, would you say that the games have progressively gotten better?
Yes, indeed. The versions not only evolved on the technical side but their breadth of content got bigger and bigger. In Farming Simulator 19 we will have more machines and tools than ever before and have added new features, as well as depth, to the existing gameplay. In each game, there are also new “mini-features” which might not be obvious at first, but add a lot of realism for simulation fans. E.g. the tire deformation we’ve added in FS17 when you add weight to your tractor.
What are some of the new environments we can expect to see this time around?
You will be able to play in an American and a European environment. The exact regions and look of the maps will be revealed in the coming months.
What are some of the new mechanics that have been introduced with the game?
There will be new crops, new machines, new missions and many more features will be unveiled at a later stage. You can look forward to horses as new animals on your farm but stay tuned for more announcements.
Would you say more and more players are being drawn to such diverse genres as this one? If so, what would you say is the appeal of such simulators?
I’d say yes, but it’s not just typical gamers which get drawn into it. Well done simulators also appeal to an audience which wouldn’t consider themselves gamers. What we hear a lot about our game is that people love that they can decide what happens next. Alone or together with friends they shape the world and build their empire in a relaxing atmosphere. You’re not getting stressed out and can relax but still use your brain trying to be most efficient. That said, you can also learn a lot by playing simulation games. You might not just get drawn into the game itself but the whole game-world. We’ve seen emails from players who are now interested in real life farming, have started helping out on farms on the weekend or even became farmers after playing our game.
What would co-op in this game entail?
You can play Farming Simulator with up to 6 players together on consoles and 16 players on PC which a lot of our players take opportunity of. Build your farm together and coordinate the tasks needed to be done. From a player perspective an exciting part is setting up the production chains with real friends. So you might have one player chopping corn, while others transport it to the silage bunker and another one compresses it there.
Can you tell us about some of the new vehicles we can expect to see in this game?
The vehicle fleet in our game will be the largest ever, including machines for new game features and added realism. Some of them will be brand new models like the AGCO IDEAL Combine Harvester which was revealed at the Agritechnica convention in November last year. We’re also very excited to tell our fans more about the new brands in Farming Simulator 19 later this year but you’ll have to be patient for a bit longer – just like us.
Were there any particular challenges you faced during the game’s development?
One of the trickiest challenges specific to Farming Simulator, and one of the most important gameplay aspects, is that the player can switch from any location in the world to any other world. This limits the possibilities for streaming quite a lot so that we need to have the whole world loaded all the time. That makes it tricky to still create believable, dense worlds. Many parts of the world need to be simulated all the time. The crops are always growing, an AI helper might be working the field somewhere etc.
Would you say there’s currently a space for more diverse games to be made?
With the right passion, dedication and knowledge, yes. You can reach people who normally wouldn’t play videogames that often but play your game because there are interested in the topic. It’s not that easy to find the right balance between managing player expectations (e.g. those who want it super realistic and those who want the game to be as much fun as possible.)
The game is now confirmed for the PS4 and Xbox One, which also means it will support the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. Can you please let us know the resolution and frame rate it will run at on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X? And the resolution and frame rate on the base PS4 and Xbox One versions?
We can’t give any final numbers on the target framerate/resolution yet as we are still in the middle of development. But we will probably target 30fps and 900p/1080p resolution for Xbox One/PS4 and 1440p on Xbox One X/PS4 Pro along with increased rendering quality over the old ones. We also might end up with some settings options like we did for FS17 on PS4 Pro were the player can set the tradeoff between even higher rendering quality and higher resolution.
Given that you are now working on both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, what kind of technical differences did you found between the two?
We can’t really comment on the specifics here. Generally speaking however, both platforms are very pleasant to work with, especially since we already have our game running on PS4 and Xbox One. The differences we see between the older consoles are quite big, and we expect the difference to be even more visible in the games in the future, we developers have time to really get the most out of the hardware.
Does the game have any sort of microtransactions or loot boxes?
No, we don’t have any plans for this.
What is your take on the recent trend of Games as a service model and the possible controversial monetization practices arising from it?
How you monetize the game should already be part of the game design right from the start to make it an enjoyable and fair experience for the players. You need to figure out what works best long term for you and your community. At least in our case we don’t have any plans to include random elements for extra content. Since we’re fully supporting mods there is tons of user generated extra content out there anyway for the players to play with.
The current generation of consoles will probably end in the next couple of years. What is your biggest expectation from the next PlayStation and Xbox?
More RAM, more cores, more HDD space (e.g. for mods)…well, more power. Doesn’t sound too exciting but there’s a lot we can do with that extra oomph.
From a developer perspective, do you think the next-gen console era will be the 4K/60fps era?
It sounds like a logical evolution. That said, I’d say only half of my friends who own a PS4 have already upgraded their TV to 4K. The technical oriented ones have or are thinking about it, others usually still are wondering, if it’s really necessary. They might wait until their current TV finally breaks down and then the new one will be 4K. From the technical side we’d like that though and it also didn’t take us long to support the higher resolution modes of the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.
Any chance of a Switch version of the game?
We will take a look into it but can’t tell more about it yet. Currently we’re aiming at a 2018 release for PC, Mac, PS4 and Xbox One.
Is there anything more you’d like to tell our readers?
Yes, indeed. Even though I’ve joined GIANTS Software in 2015 and haven’t been around earlier I have to say “Thank you for your support, feedback and mods in the last 10 years!”. The series launched in 2008 and many, including myself, probably couldn’t imagine that it would grow so big throughout the years. It’s an awesome community though, bound together by a shared passion for farming, big machines and user generated content distributed as mods.