The Titanfall Xbox One version won’t be able to handle 1080p, 60FPS according to the developer, but Microsoft is already launching its damage control for the Xbox One 1080p fail.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, it’s possible the PS4 vs Xbox One console battle could be decided by Titanfall in the short term since it’s very likely we’ll never see a Titanfall PS4 version.
Microsoft studio manager Mike Ybarra responded to the debate by claiming that focusing on the resolution doesn’t do the topic justice:
“I think the point that gets lost a lot is that it’s all a game of trade-offs. Resolution alone is not the final determination regarding if a game looks great or not. It’s one of many different levers and it’s up to the game teams to decide what is best for their unique game experience.”
To understand what Microsoft means tradeoffs we can look back at the Xbox 360 and PS3 as an example since they also had a significant GPU performance difference. In general, most high end games on the last generation were never natively rendered at the high definition resolution of 1920 x 1080. Most games didn’t even run at 720p and a hardware upscaler chip would convert whatever resolution was drawn into 1080p, which results in blurriness (although, in the case of the Xbox One, some say the hardware scaler produces an image that’s overly sharp, and BF 4 used a software-based solution instead).
But as game developers got used to the hardware they were able to optimize dramatically, increasing both the frame rate and visuals. For example, Halo 3′s native resolution was 640p while Halo 4 was 720p. Halo 4 did this by implementing faster dynamic lighting algorithms, FXAA, a much more noticeable Level of Detail (LoD) system, and dropping certain motion blur effects. There were other tradeoffs related to the resolution at which certain shader effects were applied. Still, the overall result was a better looking game on the same Xbox 360 hardware.
Of course, Ybarra was talking about Ryse: Son Of Rome, which ran at 900p on the Xbone. But his overall points may still apply to the Titanfall beta, which runs at “only” 792p at this time. While Forza Motorsport 5 and some other Xbox One games do run at 1080p natively, Titanfall is a twitch shooter where framerate is critical. It’s possible that developer Respawn feels that lowering the native resolution is a better tradeoff rather than risking the FPS drop to unplayable during frantic fights. This is similar to how Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is framerate capped on Xbox One at 30 FPS, but even though the PlayStation 4 version produced a higher average framerate testers found they preferred the lower consistency of the Xbone.
The other factor is that the Titanfall beta is not the finished product so it may be expected that performance may be improved as the game is optimized for release. Never a rumored Xbox One patch that will unlock the portion of the GPU reserved for the Kinect, there’s also talk of an updated Xbox One SDK providing better performance. So it’s possible Titanfall’s native resolution on the Xbox One may increase to 900p, although 1080p may be a leap even a giant robot can’t make.