Pixel counters over on the Beyond3D forum have already started picking apart Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The general consensus is obviously that the game isn't running native 1080p. That much is obvious from the trailer. However, the graphics technicians and pixel engineers wanted to apply some guesswork to the upcoming first-person shooter from Sledgehammer Games and Activision.
Now, we often talk about pixel counting but rarely ever discuss how it works. Thankfully, Beyond3D user Allnet breaks it down for the uninitiated...
“It's tricky, but you're basically looking for a leading edge. Some steps have the erm, subsample, and others do not. It kind of just... works for non-integer scaling ( in which case all steps get extra sub-sample shades, and makes it harder although we know how rotated grid MSAA generally looks. It gets more complicated as you go up from there, and you have to look at other factors in image quality).
From here, the pixel counters estimated the resolution for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare to be between 810p and 900p. The general consensus was that it wasn't 900p, and that it could be closer to 1440 x 810p or perhaps 840p, which was a figure they kept consistently coming back to, even if it wasn't stable across all the tests.
As mentioned by forum user Statix...
"I was getting ~840p pretty consistently. Could be dynamic resolution though, because some parts of the video are definitely blurrier than others."
Digital Foundry also did their own analysis of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and came up with 884p, but even they admit that it's a ballpark figure given inconsistent and unreliable information, hinting that perhaps the resolution could be 1568x882, which isn't even a common resolution used for the average television screen. Richard Leadbetter writes...
Here we find a ratio of 49/60 - giving us a provisional measurement of 1568 rendered pixels contained in the 1920-wide sample. Assuming that the upscale is the same in both x and y directions, this gives us 882 pixels on the vertical - unfortunately even the higher quality trailer doesn't give us enough in the way of long horizontal edges to work with in producing a definitive result, and in an ideal world we'd have more viable shots for analysis on both axis.
More generous than the Beyond3D crew, Leadbetter settles with 882p for now until they can get get clearer information on the resolution.
Based on the Xbox One's previous hardware limitations, and having to rely on 720p for games that have lots of heavy graphical lifting involved, the 810p resolution seems more likely. If Sledgehammer cuts some corners and scale back some of the effects, I can also see the 882p becoming a reality for Advanced Warfare. Remember, console hardware is fixed and optimization can only take you so far.
However, some users on the Beyond3D forums asked whether or not the resolution could increase before launch, or with a post-launch patch, ala Trials Fusion, Assassin's Creed IV or Call of Duty: Ghosts for the PS4.
That kind of wishful thinking was shutdown pretty quick using the kind of pragmatism that's rarely proffered as a PR talking point.
This is true.
When you're designing a game the one thing you're not going to do – on a console, mind you – is push the resolution when you're still optimizing to maintain consistent frame-rates. If you're idling between 50 and 60fps during action sequences, and idling between 40 and 50fps during heavy action sequences, you're not going to boost the resolution in the frame buffer because then you're only going to drop your target frame-rate, exponentially.
In simple terms: Call of Duty prides itself, as a brand, on 60fps (with drops). If they're maintaining 60fps at the moment (or even 57fps consistently) they wouldn't jeopardize that by boosting the resolution and having to settle for 30fps.
Just as the quote above mentioned, it was all a PR game for Titanfall's resolution boost. Remember, even after patches and optimization, Titanfall on Xbox One idles at 57fps and rarely ever maintains 60 consistent frames per second. There was no way the game was going from 792p to 900p when all that would do is cut the frames down to a consistent 30 through 45fps.
Leadbetter also mentioned that there is a consistency in frame-rate that also must be maintained for the Call of Duty games, writing...
“Advanced Warfare is still deep in development and could see substantial changes before it is released - though for a game like COD where a sustained 60fps is so important, we would hope for solid frame-rates taking priority over resolution increases.”
We contacted Sledgehammer Games and Activision's PR affiliates for a clear cut answer (because, why not?) but we haven't received a response as of the writing of this article.