Carmack: ‘No one has tapped out this gen, raw power in next-gen not compelling enough’

Even with Rage looking the way it does — it’s easily among the more impressive-looking games of recent years, and running at a silky smooth 60 frames per second — there’s still more juice to be squeezed from both the 360 and PS3, says technical director and all around code god John Carmack.

Chatting in a video interview at E3, the id Software man makes it clear that not id or anyone else has managed to max out the consoles just yet; “This generation of consoles has been really great for developers,” Carmack begins. “Here we are 5-6 years in and nobody’s tapped out this generation. We haven’t, our competitors haven’t.

“There are still plenty of innovative things that could be done on this generation. And we’ll see games continue to get better in the coming years.”

Carmack and co will be shifting their efforts to the development of Doom 4 (the production of which was said to be “ramping up” earlier in the year) once Rage is out the door. Fingers crossed we’ll be seeing something mighty impressive from it then.

When the inevitable next generation arrives though, Carmack believes developers will have a hard time distinguishing their games from this generation.

“When we start looking at the next generation of consoles, there’s going to be competing factors there. On the one hand, games look so damn good right now, you’ll have to throw A LOT of extra processing power at it to make a difference that’ll register, to make people want to go out and spend another $300 on a new console.”

He went on: “Just throwing 10 times the graphics power and turning 30hz games into 60, giving anti-aliasing, running at 1080p instead of 720p and deeper frame buffers; these are the obvious things that will happen if you give graphics programmers 8-10 times more power. They’ll suck it all up.

“Each of these things will be good, but it’s not completely clear to me that that’s going to be immediately compelling enough to make people go out and buy the next console.”

id’s latest, Rage, will arrive in early October. Grab our latest impressions here.