DICE: Battlefield 4 Sub-1080p on Xbox One/PS4 "Well Worth" it; Consoles have "Untapped Potential"

By Giuseppe Nelva

December 3, 2013

Battlefield 4 has been released with a native resolution of 900p on PS4 and 720p on Xbox One (both upscaled to 1080p), but DICE’s Frostbite Technical Director Johan Andersson does not regret the choice, as he told Tom’s Hardware in an interview today, since it allowed the developer to keep the game’s experience similar to the one on PC, with 60 frames per second and 64 players.

Yeah, this is sort of a decision for each game team going forward that we work with, but before, getting to having 64 players and getting to 60 FPS was the most important thing because we wanted to bring this PC game experience that you have. And if you play Battlefield I think you’ll agree that the actual game experience of playing on the 64-player server and everyone is interacting, I mean, and having a great frame rate is actually a significant difference from what we had on the current generation of consoles with only 24 players. This sort of enables more types of gameplay, and that was the most important thing for us. That sort of set the bar that we need to get there, and we did get there.

Sure we did still have to do a little bit of a compromise on the solution. We’re not running at the full native 1080p; we’re running a little bit lower resolution than that. But I think it was well worth those tradeoffs in order to make sure that we can actually have the full sort of PC game experience overall being on there. And you’re playing the games in a little bit different way. You’re playing with the controller on a TV; you’re not playing on a PC with a monitor. And it’s very low-latency in that way where it’s even more twitchy for example on a PC or a monitor that’s even more sharp.

Andersson also mentioned that, while it’s a lot easier and quicker to get things up and running for this generation of consoles, there’s still quite a lot of untapped potential that can be used for future games.

Definitely it was a lot easier this generation and a lot quicker. I think you’re going to see that on the games that we and other people launch that they actually are, for launch titles usually so early in the generation, the first title that you have they typically are not great titles, or perhaps the actual games are not that great but they look okay.

Here we got off from an extremely good start I think and we’ve spent a lot of time working on that to make sure that we got to that point, but there is still a lot of things about next-gen consoles that we can specifically optimize and utilize. Things like I mentioned with the async compute or things with how we tweak for the CPUs or what are the exact shaders and settings that we’re using for our graphics rendering. There are still some, quite a lot of untapped potential in the consoles there that we’ll be utilizing for the upcoming games.

Can’t say I’m not excited to see where that untapped potential will lead. Looks like we’ll have to wait quite a bit longer to experience that, but it’s good to see an expert like Andersson, that knows engine better than most, expressing this kind of confidence.

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Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

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