Following the news that Call of Duty: Ghosts’ resolution would differ between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of the game, Infinity Ward Executive Producer Mark Rubin explains some of the developmental hurdles the studio had to overcome, why the difference in resolution, and also why we shouldn’t worry for future Call of Duty titles on next-gen hardware.
Speaking to EuroGamer, Rubin explained how working with the PC as well, as the SKUs of both current-generation platforms along side the SKUs of next-generation platforms, all which differed from one another, “was a massive challenge.”
“Working with the theoretical hardware would have been a disaster if… honestly, the hardest thing to deal with is not the architecture. It’s the OS (operating system) of the systems. That’s the thing that comes on the latest. The Xbox One’s OS on their box versus the Sony OS, becomes the hardest. All the SDKs and stuff you have to work with – that’s the stuff that changes, not the hardware itself.”
“Earlier, we learned that Call of Duty: Ghosts on the PlayStation 4 would run at a native 1080p resolution while the Xbox One version would run at an upscaled 1080p resolution. When asked if it was one particular factor that caused the difference, Rubin answered, “In a way.”
“I don’t know if I can point to one particular cause. Early on, we didn’t know where exactly the resolution of anything would fall because we didn’t have hardware or the software to support it. We tried to focus in on 1080p, and if we felt like we were on borderline of performance somewhere… We tried to make the best decision for each platform that gives you the best-looking game we could get and maintains that 60 frames a second.
“There’s no specific, oh, well, the VO chat on Xbox took up so much resources that we couldn’t do 1080p native. There’s no definitive one to one per se cause and effect. It’s just an overall thing. We took each system individually and said, ‘okay, let’s make the best game for each system.’
“I think both look great. Some people might notice if they had them right next to each other. Some people might not. The Xbox One is 1080p output, it’s just upscaled hardware wise.
“It was a late decision, too. That call wasn’t made until a month ago.”
He added that while it might have been possible to get Call of Duty: Ghosts running at 1080p on the Xbox One, it might have also interfered with the game’s frame rate, which is something the studio did not want to compromise on, understandably.
“It’s very possible we can get it to native 1080p,” he said. “I mean I’ve seen it working at 1080p native. It’s just we couldn’t get the frame rate in the neighbourhood we wanted it to be.”
“And it wasn’t a lack of effort. It wasn’t that it was like last minute. We had the theoretical hardware for a long time. That’s the thing you get pretty quickly and that doesn’t change dramatically. It was more about resource allocation. The resource allocation is different on the consoles. That huge web of tangled resources, whether it’s threads-based or if it’s GPU threads or if it’s memory – whatever it is – optimisation is something that could go theoretically on forever.
“I definitely see slash hope both platforms will look way better the next time we get a chance at it. As an obvious analogy – and if people are not sure about this it’s pretty simple – look at Call of Duty 2 versus COD 4. It was a massive leap forward in graphics, and that’s just because it takes time to get through this.
“First launch, first time at bat at a new console is a challenging one. That’s just the way it is. For people fearful one system is more powerful than the other or vice versa, it’s a long game.”
Those last words. What do you think about it? Are we hyping up these technical issues beyond their real importance? Hopefully, we’ll see future titles on both consoles all running at high frame rates and resolutions.