Epic Games vice president Mark Rein has been discussing his company's interactions with Microsoft over Gears Of War and the Xbox 360 hardware, interestingly implying that a mock-up of the game with 256mb of RAM was key in making Microsoft decide to ship its next-gen hardware with 512mb.
Speaking during a podcast Q&A session conducted by Microsoft director of programming for Xbox Live, Larry Hryb, more famously known as “Major Nelson”, Rein describes how Epic founder Tim Sweeney argued for the inclusion of a hard drive as standard for the system.
“That was something we really wanted”, said Rein. “But we realized that the 512 megs of RAM was way more important, because otherwise, you couldn't do this level of graphics if you had to both write your program and do your graphics in 256 megs. Nothing would really look that HD."
The VP continued: "So we argued and argued, and what Tim did was actually send a screenshot of what Gears of War would look like if we only had 256 megs of memory." Evidently, this mock-up had some effect on Microsoft's decision, since Rein goes on to explain:
“The day they made the decision, we were apparently the first developer they called. We were at Game Developers Conference... [two years ago] and I got a call from the chief financial officer of Microsoft Game Studio and he said 'I just want you to know you cost me a billion dollars'. And I said: 'No, we did a favor for a billion gamers'."