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Shadow Warrior Dev Explains Xbox One's 900p Resolution Limitation

By William Usher 2014-06-24 12:04:03 discussion comments
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Shadow Warrior is going to be 1080p at 60fps on the PlayStation but only 900p and 60fps on the Xbox One. Why is that? Many gamers fell upon questioning the reasons behind the resolution disparity after games like Wolfenstein: The New Order proved to run at the coveted 1080p, 60fps margin. However, there are a few reasons why some games can hit it and others can't.

Flying Wild Hog's lead programmer, Krzysztof Narkowicz, further explained to Gaming Bolt exactly why some measures had to be taken to get the game to run at the specified resolution on Microsoft's console. First, Narkowicz breaks down how the resolution game worked on the Xbox 360, saying...
“On Xbox 360 eDRAM usage was required for every rendering pass, so it was crucial to fit there. That’s also why many games had strange subHD resolutions like 1280×672,”

This explains why a lot of games were barely or sub-720p on the Xbox 360. However, you might have noticed that a lot of games running sub-720p (but coming close enough) still managed to have a tag on the back of the box that reads “720p HD”, even though it may have been one of those oddball resolutions that Kryzsztof mentioned.

We're seeing a similar thing with some Xbox One games (or at least as far as marketing goes), where 900p is oftentimes passed off as being “close enough” to 1080p. You'll also notice that given that 900p is always guaranteed – such as with games like Titanfall or Dead Rising 3 – a lot of times the back of the box will completely forgo the mention of resolutions.

Nevertheless, Narcowicz explains that the Xbox One affords the team a bit more freedom than what the Xbox 360 did, but he goes on to mention that...
With Xbox One it’s a bit different. eSRAM works like an optional additional cache. It just accelerates selected memory operations and there isn’t some hard limit like on Xbox 360. Of course people are scaling down resolution, because the more stuff fits in eSRAM the better performance. We manually manage eSRAM during every rendering pass, moving data between eSRAM and DRAM from time to time. Every time trying to fully utilize available eSRAM for bandwidth heavy operations.”

One of the big concerns about the Xbox One is bandwidth, and it's one of the main reasons why it has such a hard time managing certain graphics-heavy games like the PlayStation 4.

Even more than that, this bandwidth limitation is actually something we haven't heard about for the few third-party developers working with the Wii U. Nevertheless, even with beefier specs than Nintendo's console, the Xbox One is facing an uphill struggle for the long-end of the eighth generation of gaming given that hitting roadblocks so early on in the console's lifespan may not bode well in the years ahead.

For now, gamers will have to settle with games being output at higher, yet equally odd, resolutions that were present on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

As for Shadow Warrior... the game is scheduled to arrive for both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One some time soon. For more information on the game, feel free to pay a visit to the game's official website.
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