Naughty Dog's Uncharted 2 is inarguably one of the greatest games of recent years. But according to its creators, it almost didn't "fit" on PS3 - thanks to the firm's ceaselessly ambitious development style, and the need for a whole lotta memory.
The studio is now, of course, working hard on Uncharted 3 [pictured] - but says it hasn't learnt its lesson about "shooting for the moon", or, indeed, its "seat of the pants" approach. Then again, with a track record like ND's, who can blame it?
"If anyone on the team makes a face like, 'Oh, we're f*cked', then we know we're good," ND co-president Christophe Balestra told Edge issue 223 (which is in stores now).
"We have to be uncomfortable. Three weeks before shipping Uncharted 2, we couldn't even fit the game in memory. The day we have no solution to that, that's going to be a real problem."
The solution in the case of U2 was, as it continues to be, to simply "make it fit".
"We shoot for the moon, which is what the artists want to see," added Balestra. "We're driven by artists, and it's the job of the programmers to make it fit, in terms of memory and frame-rate. The artists will always go beyond what we have at our disposal, and [newly previewed U3 level] Château is a perfect example."
How then, we hear you ask, is Uncharted 3 ever going to top a predecessor that maxed out memory? SPUs, friends, SPUs.
Balestra uses the analogy that of PS3's "six-lane freeway" of SPUs, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune used two. Uncharted 2 used all six, but at 'street cars' level of performance. Uncharted 3? Guess what... That's 'more like Formula One'.
"We're at full speed, optimising code specifically for the SPUs," explained Balestra. "It's a great resource because [SPUs] are extremely fast, and if you optimise they get faster than you ever thought they could be. That's where the quality of our images comes from."
And what quality. We suggest you remind yourself just how stunning Uncharted 3 is looking right now:
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is due for release on November 1, exclusively on PS3.
To read Edge's whopping 10-page Uncharted 3 reveal feature, order the mag here and have it delivered straight to your door.