The resolution and frame rate of Titanfall on Xbox One heve been a source of controversy between fans, but Respawn Lead Engineer Richard Baker mentioned in an interview on Eurogamer that things may still change in the future.
One of the elements that may see some adjustments is the game’s resolution, specifically Baker explained that the key to cranking it up higher could be the removal of the current hardware-based 2x multisample anti-aliasing, possibly replaced with the more performing (but a bit less pleasing to the eye) fast approximate anti-aliasing, or no anti-aliasing at all.
We’ve been experimenting with making it higher and lower. One of the big tricks is how much ESRAM we’re going to use, so we’re thinking of not using hardware MSAA and instead using FXAA to make it so we don’t have to have this larger render target. We’re going to experiment. The target is either 1080p non-anti-aliased or 900p with FXAA. We’re trying to optimise… we don’t want to give up anything for higher res. So far we’re not 100 per cent happy with any of the options. We’re still working on it. For day one it’s not going to change. We’re still looking at it for post-day one. We’re likely to increase resolution after we ship.
Framerate is also a focus area for possible improvement, since at the moment the game seems to struggle to hold 60 frames per second during the most crowded battle scenes:
A lot of the performance is on the GPU side. There’s still room for optimisation and we’re still working on it. Ideally it would have been a rock-solid 60 all the time when we shipped but obviously when there’s big fights going on, lots of particle effects, lots of physics objects… we’re still working to condense the systems, make them more parallel so we can hit 60 all the time, ideally.
Baker also mentioned that the team experimented a lot with the Xbox One’s peculiar ESRAM, and that it seems to be having a beneficial effect on the game’s performance:
We’re just trying to put as much trust in it as we can. It’s an extra thing you have to manage but if it makes the game run better it’s better than not having it, obviously. We’ve iterated on it – whether the shadow maps should be in there, whether it’s better to have more render targets, whether some of the textures we use a lot should be in there. We played with it a lot and it definitely helps performance so if it wasn’t there, it would be bad [laughs].
It’s worth mentioning that judging by the wording, the interview has been recorded before the release of the game, and yesterday Producer Drew McCoy mentioned that resolution will probably take a back seat to performance, so we’ll have to wait and see just how much juice Respawn will manage to pull out of the Xbox One.