Phil Spencer Explains Why Ryse is 900p and How the Quick Time Events E3 Debacle Was Born

on October 30, 2013 10:13 PM

Microsoft Game Studios President Phil Spencer is one of the men that knows the ins and outs of the development of Ryse: Son of Rome the best, he actually considers the game almost like a first party production, as he explained in a long interview on the latest episode of Podcast Unlocked on IGN. What’s more interesting, though, is his explanation on what led to the choice of a 900p native resolution for the game:

We actually had Ryse running at 720, and at 900, and at 1080, and we looked at all the graphics techniques that we wanted to put in place: the antialiasing we wanted to employ, the lightning technique we wanted to employ, and we made the decision that 900p was the best resolution for everything that we wanted to do bringing that game to market. I think it’s the best looking game I’ve seen on consoles.

You wanna make the right decisions. Other games… Forza is 60 frames per second 1080p. Game developers are gonna make their own decisions based on the artistic view they have and on how they want the game to look. That’s what gamers should focus on: does the art director’s…the animation director’s…does their vision come true on the screen?

Spencer also mentioned that he understand that players didn’t have much to judge the game before, so he doesn’t blame those that considered resolution important, but since now people are starting to get their hands of the game, he thinks the resolution discussion will “tone down a bit.”

Perhaps even more interesting is that we finally get to know what led to the rather unfortunate decision of including button displays on the demo showcased at E3, making people think that they were quick time events and sparking a rather negative initial reaction to the game.

The story around the video presentation we did at E3 on screen… We were sitting down and reviewing the gameplay video and we were getting some feedback from some people in the room….we kinda do these big forums where we all look at the video and comment… And there was one question about whether it was real gameplay, and that people wouldn’t believe it was real gameplay, and maybe we should put the buttons above the enemies, so that people knew what the player was doing when they’re playing the game.

I’ll go on record I wasn’t a big fan of that approach. But I think what that led to were certain people looking at what they saw on screen…and gamers, having seen games like this before where you simply put buttons up…  I think it put a certain stigma around what people thought about the combat in the game.

He continued by mentioning that of course the buttons were removed afterwards, which wasn’t very difficult as the were never actually in the game, and the development team focused a lot on giving the combat as much depth as possible.

I can definitely imagine that whoever had the great idea to add those QTE-like buttons to begin with has probably been publicly flogged in front of Microsoft’s headquarters. Of course I’m kidding, but I can think of few worse decisions leading to this year’s E3. It’s good to hear that it had nothing to do with the actual gameplay of Ryse: Son of Rome.

 /  Executive News Editor
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.