Deck 13's upcoming Lords of the Fallen, a game hailed as a mix of The Witcher meets Borderlands, was announced last year near this time. The title is steadily moving along in production, save for one itsy, bitsy problem: Deck 13 and CI Games are having a tough time getting Lords of the Fallen to hit 1080p on both the PS4 and Xbox One.
According to an interview with IGN, it looks like it's one thing or another, as the team weighs whether or not the game should be 60fps and 720p or 30fps and 1080p. However, even at 30fps there's no guarantee that the Xbox One will be able to hit 1080p.
Speaking with CI Games' executive producer, Tomasz Gop, he told the mega-gaming site...
"We definitely won’t be below 30fps, definitely," ... "I think if we have to choose between resolution and framerate, we’ll probably choose to go full HD 1080p and have a stable, rock-solid 30fps, rather than try to lower the resolution and push it to 60fps because we believe this game looks pretty good, so we’d rather have a decent resolution to show it off.”
Here's the thing: When a game is supposedly “locked” at 30fps it only really locks at that frame-rate if it can idle around 50fps. The reason for this is that games are always going to hit that slowdown point when a bunch of stuff crowds the screen. A “locked” 30fps usually means that the game, unlocked, fluctuates between a capped fps (just up to or around 60fps) and something close to around 30fps. To avoid the jarring instability of a bouncing frame-rate, some studios try to lock-in a consistent frame-rate to have an enjoyable gameplay experience. Mostly to avoid situations like Titanfall where the game doesn't really maintain 60fps, but bounces around rather frequently.
As for the resolution. Gop goes on to say that...
"We’re working very hard right now to deliver PS4 and Xbox One in 1080p but I can’t confirm whether it’s possible. It’s probably easier for me to confirm it’ll happen for PlayStation 4, because it appears on this one we’re almost nailing it and pretty much there. For Xbox One though, it’s slightly tougher and we’re still working on it, so I can’t confirm that yet."
So basically, Gop is saying that they can't commit to 1080p for PS4 and Xbox One because the Xbox One may not be able to commit to 1080p.
The next logical question in the sequence of the fanboy inquisition is: Does this mean the PS4 version will be downgraded to match parity with the Xbox One if they can't hit 1080p?
That's a good question, I'm glad fanboys are thinking ahead. Well, the reality is that we can't know for sure because Deck 13 and CI Games have yet to pledge allegiance to a specific frame-rate or resolution. The real question is actually this: would you rather play the game without obvious jaggies at 60 frames per second and 720p, or would you would be willing to deal with potential dips at 30 frames per second and 1080p that's as clear-as-an-ICA 2200 nanny cam?
The trade-off seems like it could create a divisive atmosphere amongst the gaming community.
Deck 13 and CI Games aren't the only studios running into resolution woes for Microsoft's prime-time media box that does some gaming on the side. Several other studios ran into similar problems, from Konami to Infinity Ward to DICE, all trying to get above 720p on the Xbox One. Even the Xbox technology director admitted that 1080p would be hard to achieve.
Unless Deck 13 decides to sacrifice some obvious visual features on the Xbox One version, I doubt they'll be able to hit and maintain 1080p at a solid frame-rate.