Microsoft's Titan..falls

Titanfall only at 792p?

Titanfall only at 792p?

With every Console comes a major 1st party title that is labeled a "System Seller". The game that because it is developed by the console manufacturer, it takes full advantage of the system's hardware and capabilities to showcase the pure power and features of the system. It enables the console manufacturer to show off all of the power and prowess of their hardware, and how versatile it is. The Super Nintendo had the amazing Super Mario World, the Gamecube had Luigi's Mansion, Nintendo 64 the world renowned Super Mario 64, Dreamcast had Virtua Fighter 3, the Xbox had Halo, Xbox 360 had Project Gotham Racing 3. 

When the Microsoft marketing machine started pumping up the Xbox One release, the showcase title was Titanfall. A promising title filled with action, adventure, chaos, mechs, explosions, online multiplayer gameplay in a game that, according to the Devloper's founder, Vince Zampella, brings  "scale, verticality, and story" to first-person shooter multiplayer gaming". All of this, while running at 60 frames-per-second in full 1080p glory, to showcase the power and prowess of the Xbox One hardware. This was the game so massive that an engineer for the developer stated in an interview with Eurogamer that the game would not be possible on the PS4, because it wasn't powerful enough.  And that is where the game hits a major snag. You see.. As time went on, and both systems launched, we learned that the PS4 is actually much more powerful than the XBO, and every cross-platform title has highlighted this.

Next came the news this week that the title would only be able to run at 720p. This set the community ablaze with speculation and questions. Now that the game is set to begin an open Beta, it has been confirmed that the title will only run at 60fps at 792p. Turns out, the XBO hardware isn't powerful enough to handle the game either. Even with the recent development that XBO could get a 53 Mhz increase from disabling the Kinect camera, the XBO still cannot run Titanfall at 1080p. Some have been quick to point out that the game is still unfinished, in BETA, and that there is time to run optimization to enable improved performance. Even pointing out the Assassin's Creed 4 situation on PS4, a game that was originally only able to run at 900p on the PS4 until an optimization patch, which enabled the game to run at 1080p on the PS4. It is important to realize however, that the increase there was only from 900 to 1080p, already running at 60fps. In Titanfall's case however, the game is only capable of squeezing out 792p at 60fps right now. Ramping up to 1080p from only 792p seems a far stretch, if not impossible. This presents quite a challenge for the developer. And for Microsoft, after blasting the game on ever marketing channel they could find over the last 4 months, even 2 (TWO) pre-movie commercials to promote the XBO before a movie we went to a couple months ago, this is a serious blow. After all the hype, promotion and talk, even with disabling hardware features to eek out additional power from the XBO, Microsoft cannot deliver on it's promises with Titanfall. While it's important to remember that, again, the game is not finished, things do not bode well. 

All of this is pretty damning for the XBO. We consistently seem to see the flagship system falling behind in sales and delivery on promises. Add to that recent speculation tha Titanfall is coming to the PS4 soon. And what keeps the XBO from meeting it's own expectations and promises for Titanfall? Grant Brunner over at ExtremeTech puts it perfectly:

"So, why can’t Titanfall reach 1080p? It all comes down to frame rate. Twitch games, like competitive first-person shooters, require smooth frame rates for precise aiming and maneuvering. If the game dips to 20fps during a frantic moment, that could easily turn the tide in a battle. For a game like this, the priorities are obviously on visual polish and frame rate, so resolution takes a back seat.

Maybe if this were an Xbox One exclusive, the development team could have built and optimized the engine for 1080p rendering at 60fps like Forza Motorsport 5. However, this game has to run on the Xbox 360 and PC as well, so other considerations had to be made. It’s certainly not impossible to make games run at 1080p on the Xbox One, but it seems as if it’s more trouble than it’s worth for a game like Titanfall."