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Natla
9th Apr 2011, 07:48
Interesting discussion at ... another place. :) I quote "Camera Obscura";


There are two words that CD should take note of: Palace Midas.

In the original game that level had NO order whatsoever. No symmetrical layout. No "main chamber" with side rooms. No sense of forced direction at all. You just ran around exploring, investigating the different rooms, and wondering how they all tie in together. Mess around a bit and you'll find the ruins of the Midas statue. Go a different direction and you come across the aqueduct several floors high yet unreachable from the ground floor. What else is up there? How do I get there? And eventually you find yourself traveling all around the palace, finding out that these separate rooms are in fact interconnecting and leading you to the overall objective of this level.

Temple of Xian, Catacombs of Talion, Ice Palace, Barkhang Monastery, River Ganges, Mudubu Gorge, Aldwych, RX-Tech Mines, Lost City of Tinnos, The Lost Library, the Cairo levels. Instead of chopping levels up to make them "logical" and "realistic", CD should be taking notes of what made these levels so reputable in the first place.

Dunno if I'm allowed to post a link to it or not ... but here goes;
http://www.tombraiderforums.com/showthread.php?t=180168&page=2

chriss_99
9th Apr 2011, 08:16
I absolutely agree with the quote. Core Design used to create a multilayer levels which gave the player a sense of overwhelming complexity. I used to think "No way I'm gonna pass this level" while exploring Midas Palace or Temple of Xian. However, when you proceed in the level everything seems to connect and then you it turns out the level is a huge puzzle itself.

I wonder if Crystals can create such levels considering that in current games everything seems to be 10 times bigger than in the past games. If they were to create such huge levels in the current generation graphics the game would take a lot of space on our hard drives.

Flintmelody
10th Apr 2011, 01:23
I am also going to have to absolutely agree with the quote. when it comes to level design it is game, set and match to the Core games. There is far complexity and layers to the Core levels. You may go through side sections and reach higher parts of a main room, have points where you don't know which path to take or revisit areas where new doors are open. It isn't a straight linear path. Rather than having set puzzles as a blockade to a path Chriss is correct that Core levels are themselves the puzzle offering so much exploration. I wish that type of level design would return but not sure it will.

Natla
10th Apr 2011, 07:42
I don't see why you cannot have that sort of game if people decide to make it. The concept is just a concept - an idea can never be out of date, just the way that it is implemented.

Natla
10th Apr 2011, 08:16
Originally Posted by Supernova;
And one more thread that has quickly turned into a 'Core is better than Crystal' thread.

Reply;
The problem is Core are/were better than Crystal, that's why it keeps coming up.

I think this is true.

chriss_99
10th Apr 2011, 11:23
I hate when people say that Core is better than Crystals. That's not true at all.
Both teams are totally different and have a different approach to the franchise.
Core Design was the studio that invented Lara and Tomb Raider universe. However, they didn't implement enough innovations to the later installments of the series. Their formula became boring and repetitive. The reinvention of the series didn't work out either (we'll never know if it was Core's fault or Eidos').

Crystal took Lara to a different level and made 3 great games which weren't flawless, of course. One thing I like Crystal for is that they're not afraid to experiment and it looks that they really care about the series and fans.
I loved each and every Tomb Raider game and I don't care who makes the game as long as it's enjoyable for me.

Denis..
10th Apr 2011, 11:52
I hate when people say that Core is better than Crystals. That's not true at all.
Both teams are totally different and have a different approach to the franchise.
Core Design was the studio that invented Lara and Tomb Raider universe. However, they didn't implement enough innovations to the later installments of the series. Their formula became boring and repetitive. The reinvention of the series didn't work out either (we'll never know if it was Core's fault or Eidos').

Crystal took Lara to a different level and made 3 great games which weren't flawless, of course. One thing I like Crystal for is that they're not afraid to experiment and it looks that they really care about the series and fans.
I loved each and every Tomb Raider game and I don't care who makes the game as long as it's enjoyable for me.

yeah that's why they don't fix gol's glitches and countless underworld's glitches!
care about the fans??
why on earth they didn't release the second dlc in xbl and only to psn?
why they always releasing unfinished games as now we have tr trilogy and it has glitches that on ps2 version they were not!
why if they care so much about what we want they never listen to us?
(let's see the delays for gol, the problems with gol and the contract with ms i don't know what else they did because they "care" for fans!
clearly u r a cd lover or u waiting for a reply to get a job there!
on the other hand core's trs were all great games (except aod) and not just good games like cd's trs(except tru)!

so baby where is the care for fans again when most people are disappointed and stopped playing tr games after cd took the series?

Andy64
10th Apr 2011, 12:53
On level design crystal havn't shown as much invention as in other aspects. Everything is a straight path from A to B. I miss exploring areas properly rather than the route being so obvious. I want to see CD atempt some areas with tons of layers and complexity like Midas palace or St Frances folly and not just because they are remake levels.

Cristiavano
10th Apr 2011, 14:03
I hate when people say that Core is better than Crystals. That's not true at all.
Both teams are totally different and have a different approach to the franchise.
Core Design was the studio that invented Lara and Tomb Raider universe. However, they didn't implement enough innovations to the later installments of the series. Their formula became boring and repetitive. The reinvention of the series didn't work out either (we'll never know if it was Core's fault or Eidos').

Crystal took Lara to a different level and made 3 great games which weren't flawless, of course. One thing I like Crystal for is that they're not afraid to experiment and it looks that they really care about the series and fans.
I loved each and every Tomb Raider game and I don't care who makes the game as long as it's enjoyable for me.

thank you i hate it when people compare. but i wonder if crystal was planning this make bad games then BAM an instant good game with not so many glitches

Natla
10th Apr 2011, 14:07
On level design crystal havn't shown as much invention as in other aspects

So that this doesn't come across as just a CD bashing thread, in what ways would you say CD have been inventive?

chriss_99
10th Apr 2011, 16:59
yeah that's why they don't fix gol's glitches and countless underworld's glitches!
care about the fans??
why on earth they didn't release the second dlc in xbl and only to psn?
why they always releasing unfinished games as now we have tr trilogy and it has glitches that on ps2 version they were not!
why if they care so much about what we want they never listen to us?
(let's see the delays for gol, the problems with gol and the contract with ms i don't know what else they did because they "care" for fans!
clearly u r a cd lover or u waiting for a reply to get a job there!
on the other hand core's trs were all great games (except aod) and not just good games like cd's trs(except tru)!

so baby where is the care for fans again when most people are disappointed and stopped playing tr games after cd took the series?

Glitches don't mean that CD doesn't care about fans. Every game has glitches (bigger or smaller, doesn't matter) especially the current generation games.

Core Design was working on the same graphics engine for years and mastered it. However, they unfortunately failed when creating the next-gen Tomb Raider game. Of course, the guys at Core were under a lot of pressure because of Eidos and maybe if they had been given more time AOD could have been successful.

Crystals adopted Lara and created the trilogy. I'm not saying that these games are perfect. They are far too short and far too easy. Nonetheless, I'm happy that Crystals revived the series because thanks to those guys I can still play my favourite game. ;)
That's the most important thing for me.

dark7angel
10th Apr 2011, 18:05
Glitches don't mean that CD doesn't care about fans. Every game has glitches (bigger or smaller, doesn't matter) especially the current generation games.

Core Design was working on the same graphics engine for years and mastered it. However, they unfortunately failed when creating the next-gen Tomb Raider game. Of course, the guys at Core were under a lot of pressure because of Eidos and maybe if they had been given more time AOD could have been successful.

Crystals adopted Lara and created the trilogy. I'm not saying that these games are perfect. They are far too short and far too easy. Nonetheless, I'm happy that Crystals revived the series because thanks to those guys I can still play my favourite game. ;)
That's the most important thing for me.

I agree with you 100%! :thumb:

WinterSoldierLTE
10th Apr 2011, 18:24
"Core vs. Crystal" again? Geez...

Gemma_Darkmoon_
11th Apr 2011, 01:56
I agree with most of the thoughts on the thread but lets not decend into more Core v Crystal debate. People can say nice stuff about Core without it being 'CD bashing'.

There are examples of truely superb level design from both developers. Some of the level design in levels like The Opera house, The Folly, The Deck, Nepal and so many more I will probably never forget. The Core games were designed perfectly for their control style but may not work as well with the new controls. I would like to see CD make their levels less linear with the route more hidden. The island and open world are going to be great in letting CD do that and will be very interesting to see what they come up with.

Natla
11th Apr 2011, 05:49
There are examples of truely superb level design from both developers.

What would you say CD's best level is?

chriss_99
11th Apr 2011, 07:54
What would you say CD's best level is?

For me it has to be Southern Mexico. It's a multilayer level, although the path is rather linear. I love the atmosphere, the rain, the bike and level design.

_Love2Raid_
11th Apr 2011, 22:15
CD's levels are quite symmetrical and linear indeed. Even though they might appear to have 'depth' and offer a lot of cool places to explore, you find out pretty soon that this is not the case. For example, the area with the two statues in Thailand, right after the elevator collapses (with the Naga). There are two hallways, but they both lead to the same place! :o

This doesn't have anything to do with their abilities as developers/designers, it's a choice. Maybe they just love symmetry, or maybe they don't have high expectations from gamers when it comes to patience, intelligence, sense of direction and memory? :hmm::hmm:

9er_Fan
13th Apr 2011, 23:35
On the other hand, TR3 tried to emphasize multiple ways to get through the level and we mostly got forks in the road that merged back 30 seconds later. Plus the opportunity to get 5 out of 4 secrets.

I guess I would not distinguish levels as ordered versus disordered but more like linear versus centerpiece. Palace Midas has the tower as it's centerpiece.

Crystal has done this too but not on the scale as Core. I think of it along the terms of using Microsoft Project. In MS Project you can list tasks that you have to finish to realize the project and the software helps you order them and estimate how long they will take.

You have options on how to order them.

Predecessor: Task B cannot start before Task A is finished. This is your classic linear level. Start at A, go to B. You can expand this to Start at A, try to go to B but you need to flip switch at C to get to B.

Mutual Finish: Task D cannot start before Tasks A, B, and C are completed. This is Palace Midas. You had the 4 keys you needed to open the final door. You had a choice of which task (A, B, or C) to do first.

Mutual Start: Tasks A and B must start together. Your classic timing puzzle.


I think what people are clamoring for are mutual finish centerpiece levels. The neat thing about these are they emphasize the centerpiece especially if you have what Valve call "Vistas" (a vista point with incredible scenery). The Citadel in HL2 is a centerpiece that persists through multiple levels.

Denis..
14th Apr 2011, 03:31
it's not that i hate cd really! it's just that im expecting more and chris all games have glitches? ok baby good but other companies are releasing patches to fix them u know!

tr anniversary is my favourite game for a reason i don't know..
and it's a cd game!

as for the comparsion chris said that the games from cd were super easy..that's enough for me not to like cd!

SE_Cath
18th Apr 2011, 11:01
To be honest, after investigating TR1 and its context of creation for the past two months; then playing a few other recent games and finnishing them (including PoP SoT and WW, Assassin's Creed and Uncharted), I've come to some conclusions :

- There was no 3D adventure game at the time of TR1. None whatsoever. As a first, Tomb Raider not only set an example, it could also be more free than it would have been if it had come after other games of the sort. Also, the game was set to be out in the first quarter of 1996. They got almsot one more year to carry on with the development process. This kind of schedule change is unimaginable for a Tomb Raider nowadays.

- So Tomb Raider was innovative by its gameplay, and was such a commercial success that Core 'copied-pasted' the recipe 4 more times. The biggest innovations of the series were in TR2 - vehicules, ennemies, locations,... while TR3, TR4 and TR5 were clearly lacking of innovation.

- One of the biggest critics addressed to TR1 at the time was the lack of 'regularity' in the gameplay. Most of the journalists complained that the gameplay was uneven from one big giant hard level (e.g. Lost Valley) to the easy-peasy one (e.g. Tomb of Qualopec). It wasn't the standard at the time, and, when I look at the later games, I don't think that Core Design ever set an example on that field. Because there's a way to tall a story with a story arc, for videogames as well. If you look at Crystal Dynamics games, the narrative arc is obvious. Ridiculously hard levels at the very start aren't a good way to get people hooked.

- While it was okay at the time to have 20+ hours of gameplay, it's just not the standard in adventure games nowadays. They say DXHR is going to change that, and I certainly hope so because, to me, 60 bucks spent on a six-hour game is a downright theft. That being said, the time count isn't everything. There's also such a thing as 'quality time'. In TR1, a lot of those hours are spent counting your steps to time perfectly your running jump... and miss it, then try again and again. Of course, that way, you can spend 10 hours (if not more) in the Temple of Xian or St Francis Folly. But when you know what you're doing, you're done in 45 minutes top.

- Someone mentioned Cairo levels earlier. I can only speak for myself but I found them really boring. Because they were coming after a set of other huge levels (or, more precisely, of lots of small levels intricated) : Sacred Lake, Coastal Ruins, Great Library,... and then Cairo with yet again labyrinthic levels. Yes, it's fun when you can easily get lost in a level. But not when you 'always' do, because you have to reward the players as well. If they always lose their way, they only end up frustrated. I do believe that, technically, TR4 was the last great TR game Core Design did, but the pace bored more than one critic (and more than one player). For example, City of Khamoon, Venice, Barkhang Monastery, Nevada Desert, Desert Railroad,... were pretty straight-forward levels. But they were fun as well. To go back to the example of 9er_fan above, you have to have a balance between 'predecessor' levels (designed?), 'mutual start' levels (dynamic?) and 'mutual finish' levels (disordered?).

- Crystal Dynamics are really good at making games. If you're not convinced of this, I really advise you to play Legacy of Khain. Technically as well as in the narration, those guys know their stuff. Core Design's recipe was really dead. The change they tried to take with AoD might have been in the right direction - I am not certain, but it's not that far from what Crystal Dynamics seems to be doing with the next game - but it was way too late anyway. So yes, Crystal cares. Maybe a bit too much, even. In my opinion, they listened way too much to the spoiled brats known as the fans' demands* for Underworld - it's a rule, the fans never agree on anything, don't listen to them :p But even when they didn't listen, the franchise went in the right way. Because it's a fact : Legend saved Tomb Raider. And it was a great game. Maybe Lara wasn't taken in the right direction in your opinion, and maybe they shouldn't have changed her biography but the game reached a score that Tomb Raider hadn't reached since TR2. So Underword had glitches, so what ? I haven't met one game that didn't.

- There's also an economic imperative for big games : you have to be as good as the next franchise. This means you have to respect the schedule and be done when you're supposed to. I'm often disappointed when I play recent videogames because of the scale of the levels : studios can make such huge and amazingly beautiful places, like Thailand in Underworld (I have to confess I got lost there and in the Mediterrean levels), or Jerusalem in Assassin's Creed, or that old colonial palace in Uncharted... those places are really breathtaking. There could be so many things to do there, acrobatics, hunt for hidden stuff, mini-games... but nope, all you're supposed to do is cross over (mostly). I'm not sure that developers are the ones to blame. I do believe editors are, or the market and utlimately the public is, for buying short, expensive games. But I think that the public wants that. I mean, if they keep buying those games... Even me: although I didn't get lost once, I know that I enjoyed Uncharted very much. It was short, but well-told, and intense, and beautiful, and I know that I am going to follow that franchise. Maybe, by doing that, I'll contribute, in a way, to that tendancy to make the games even shorter. And this certainly doesn't mean I want Tomb Raider to be like that.

- We really can't compare TR1 and TR Underworld because Tomb Raider is, now more than ever, a matter of big bucks. It's not handled by a 6-people team anymore, but by a (correct me if I'm wrong) 80 people studio... As they become more succesful, games have to obey the rules of the market. That being said, I do believe that Tomb Raider 1 stood out, and that the franchise still stands out amongst videogames. I do believe the next game has the potential to stand out too. I am convinced that Crystal Dynamics have an opportunity there to change the horizon for the adventure-game lovers, and I suspect that's what they're aiming at. I do not know if it can be done within nowadays limitations - time-wise, ressource-wise, even story-wise. I believe that it requires a lot of work, of innovative thinking and of testing - but I know they're good at all that. I don't think that it will happen by rushing the release - which is why I am hoping for a 2012 date... But yeah, I definitely have hope.

If you read this until the end, thank you :flowers:

______________
* : no offense to the fans :flowers: If you know me, you know that I am one of them.

Gemma_Darkmoon_
18th Apr 2011, 21:18
There was no 3D adventure game at the time of TR1. None whatsoever.
In all the Core v Crystal debating that goes on the true level of innovation that TR and Core brought to video games seems often to get so easily lost. Always glad to see it stated


One of the biggest critics addressed to TR1 at the time was the lack of 'regularity' in the gameplay. Most of the journalists complained that the gameplay was uneven from one big giant hard level (e.g. Lost Valley) to the easy-peasy one (e.g. Tomb of Qualopec).

Tomb of Qualopec, Tomb of Tihocan and sanctuary of the Scion were an early invention of the boss level ending in a showdown with a rival human raider. However it was true that those boss battles were suprisingly easy compared to the rest of the game. I can see that levels like TR1 lost Vally and TR2 Great Wall of China and Opera House were way too hard for near the start of their respective games. Hard levels should be included but nowadays such a hard start would put people off.


While it was okay at the time to have 20+ hours of gameplay, it's just not the standard in adventure games nowadays.

If you are going to pay £40/$60 for a new game it has to keep you occupied for a good length of time. I think any TR game should have a decently long completion time and time trail/unlockable replayabilty features. If a TR game has significantly more gameplay than the standard then is a good thing.


Mutual Finish: Task D cannot start before Tasks A, B, and C are completed. This is Palace Midas. You had the 4 keys you needed to open the final door. You had a choice of which task (A, B, or C) to do first.

I think what people are clamoring for are mutual finish centerpiece levels. The neat thing about these are they emphasize the centerpiece especially if you have what Valve call "Vistas" (a vista point with incredible scenery). The Citadel in HL2 is a centerpiece that persists through multiple levels.

Exactly. Lots of the best TR levels like Lost Valley, St Frances Folly, The Deck, Hall of Seasons, Palace Midas, Lost city Of Tinnos and many more use the mutual finish centrepiece level. I think if CD used more of this level type it could break up runs of linear levels and help them create memorable centrepieces.

WinterSoldierLTE
18th Apr 2011, 22:50
@Clara: Very well said. Couldn't agree more. Cheers!

Denis..
22nd Apr 2011, 05:43
< long post truncated >
i read this all and there are parts im not agree although most of your post is accepted 95%

i don't accept the underworld had glitches, so what all games have..

many companies are patching their games to fix those glitches and make the game more enjoyable..
cd never do that with any tr game on both xbox and ps3, the games are untouched and they look unfinished.

cd never patch gol either..

don't get me wrong i like tr underworld and gol but the can both be better if they patch them!
now tr trilogy is on ps3 and it has many glitches fixed )ex.the thailand zip line gone) but there are new ones that weren't on the ps2 version of legend and anniversary and again it seems that they won't patch them..

SE_Cath
22nd Apr 2011, 12:26
You're right. Although I'm quite sure that Underworld on 360 is patched, since you're asked to update your version of the game before you play the two DLCs. But you're right, more patches certainly wouldn't harm... For example, the glitch happening in TRU Mexico, when you enter the underground : one bridge is down when it should be up. To fix it, you have to restart the entire Mexico level. As far as I know, that glitch appeared on every current-gen version and never got fixed. Ever. I remember a message from tha_mattster on TRF that summarized it all...

This game looks big budget THANK GOD no more cheap half finished "let the public do beta testing haha" nonsense.
While it made me smile, I just think that message nailed it.

So yeah, that's also one of the reasons I hope they won't rush anything this time around. They really should take the time they need.

WinterSoldierLTE
22nd Apr 2011, 14:42
That bridge glitch is interesting. Didn't have that on the PS2, tho there were still afew slightly annoying glitches. But it's a current gen console game run on a nearly outdated console, so I expected a few glitches.

dark7angel
22nd Apr 2011, 14:45
I played Underworld on the PS3 and didn't find any glitch! Lucky me I guess.

Greenas
22nd Apr 2011, 19:13
I played underworld on PC and apart from a few slightly annoying camera dsiturbances, the game was great! It didn't crash once.

And as for the Crystal/Core debate, I don't understand why people are still getting upset about this. You've had years to accept the fact that the past is the past and there's no point arguing over it because it's not going to make a difference to what's going to happen in the future.

Denis..
23rd Apr 2011, 06:39
I played Underworld on the PS3 and didn't find any glitch! Lucky me I guess.

u kidding now..
the zip line in thailand, countless framerate drops etc etc etc i can go forever!
come on

dark7angel
23rd Apr 2011, 10:37
u kidding now..
the zip line in thailand, countless framerate drops etc etc etc i can go forever!
come on

Then go on! I'm telling you I didn't find any glitch!!! The zip line in Thailand does ring a bell, but it wasn't something major and I was refering to glitches that kept us from moving forward and forced us to replay the level, and I didn't find any of those.

And I'll tell you more, appart from some minor bugs, I didn't find any major glitch while playing and replaying Angel of Darkness.

SE_Cath
23rd Apr 2011, 10:48
It's pretty normal actually : AOD was requiring way too much power from PCs at the time, which ended up in all the glitches. It runs way better on nowadays machines. But AOD had 3 patches to fix the early glitches. All Core Design TRs had patches, but they also had many more important glitches.

As for the discussion about Crystal follow-up, for sure there aren't many glitches that can really keep people from moving forward; but there still are - I've seen countless reports of that bridge glitch in Mexico, since the day the game was released - so, to me, there should have been a fix, because when people (mainly people who don't work yet) spend 50 or 60 bucks on a game, then it's a matter of respect to make sure your game runs okay for them.

dark7angel
23rd Apr 2011, 10:54
It's pretty normal actually : AOD was requiring way too much power from PCs at the time, which ended up in all the glitches. It runs way better on nowadays machines. But AOD had 3 patches to fix the early glitches. All Core Design TRs had patches, but they also had many more important glitches.

As for the discussion about Crystal follow-up, for sure there aren't many glitches that can really keep people from moving forward; but there still are - I've seen countless reports of that bridge glitch in Mexico, since the day the game was released - so, to me, there should have been a fix, because when people (mainly people who don't work yet) spend 50 or 60 bucks on a game, then it's a matter of respect to make sure your game runs okay for them.

And I believe that and agree that a game should be as polished as possible because they are indeed very expensive. And I don't doubt the people who say they found the glitch in Mexico and others, but I sure didn't like Denis' reply to my post, because believe it or not I didn't find these major glitches so many people did. :flowers:

traider28
25th Apr 2011, 15:27
There are two words that CD should take note of: Palace Midas.

In the original game that level had NO order whatsoever. No symmetrical layout. No "main chamber" with side rooms. No sense of forced direction at all. You just ran around exploring, investigating the different rooms, and wondering how they all tie in together. Mess around a bit and you'll find the ruins of the Midas statue. Go a different direction and you come across the aqueduct several floors high yet unreachable from the ground floor. What else is up there? How do I get there? And eventually you find yourself traveling all around the palace, finding out that these separate rooms are in fact interconnecting and leading you to the overall objective of this level.

Temple of Xian, Catacombs of Talion, Ice Palace, Barkhang Monastery, River Ganges, Mudubu Gorge, Aldwych, RX-Tech Mines, Lost City of Tinnos, The Lost Library, the Cairo levels. Instead of chopping levels up to make them "logical" and "realistic", CD should be taking notes of what made these levels so reputable in the first place.

Those were the good ole days of tomb raiding!! I miss very much. The last couple of Tomb Raider games I did not even finish.

9er_Fan
26th Apr 2011, 05:21
At the risk of turning this into a PC versus Console debate.

While going through the developer's commentary for Portal 2 (everyone should play that game, BTW), I began to wonder if consoles are the limiting factor.

Valve was commenting on how difficult it was to make good looking blobs (you will understand when you play it) especially on the XBOX. The machine was just maxed out. I was noticing how quickly and often I was having to load a new level (and I was on the PC). They said that the PS3 was a bit better than the XBOX because it had multiple cores.

So I am wondering whether the XBOX (which is almost 6 years old) and the PS3 (which is over 4 years old) are, at this point, holding all developers back.

Denis..
27th Apr 2011, 03:57
At the risk of turning this into a PC versus Console debate.

While going through the developer's commentary for Portal 2 (everyone should play that game, BTW), I began to wonder if consoles are the limiting factor.

Valve was commenting on how difficult it was to make good looking blobs (you will understand when you play it) especially on the XBOX. The machine was just maxed out. I was noticing how quickly and often I was having to load a new level (and I was on the PC). They said that the PS3 was a bit better than the XBOX because it had multiple cores.

So I am wondering whether the XBOX (which is almost 6 years old) and the PS3 (which is over 4 years old) are, at this point, holding all developers back.

u bet they do!
naughty dog said that with their uncharted 2 they pushed the ps3 to it's limits, halo reach did the exact some thing to the xbox 360 so yeah there is a limit..
ex. xbox 360 has much power indeed but the dvd disc is limiting the company due to the size of the disc on the other hand ps3 has blue ray, u can save in it 5 times more data than u would save in the old dvd disc.
the ps3's 8 cores requires much more work on a game to work properly but xbox 360 has only 2 which it's easier for the company to work on it..

certain games indeed push both consoles at their limits..