by William Usher

Back in June, it was originally confirmed by Insomniac Studios that Sunset Overdrive was going to be 900p at 30 frames per second. Some gamers thought that since the game was in beta and still had a few months to go before release that maybe Insomniac Games would boost up the resolution or frame-rate before release. Well, that’s not going to happen.

In an interview with IGN at the EGX convention, Insomniac Games president Ted Price basically whipped out the news that even with Microsoft giving back 10% of system performance to developers with the option to disable Kinect 2.0’s skeletal tracking, Sunset Overdrive won’t be running above 900p or 30 frames per second.

Price stated that…

“What happened for developers not using the Kinect is that there was a slight boost in CPU power that we got to take advantage of. This game really does push the limits when it comes to the number of enemies on screen, so it was useful for us to have more CPU juice to help with physics, navigation and AI. We’re running at 900p and 30 fps native. This is a game with a lot on the screen and we made the choice to be at 900 because we wanted to push the level of detail, action, the size of the city and the views you can experience as move around. What’s great about Sunset Overdrive is if you can see it, you can go there.”

Anyone who had hoped that optimizations would boost up the resolution or frame-rate within the last few months leading up to Sunset Overdrive’s release at the end of October must feel sorely disappointed.

The reality is that the Xbox One seems to show a bit of its peaking with some titles early on as far as resolution and frame-rate go. I know some people were hoping for more following the XDK update in June, but as director of development of Xbox software engineering, Kareem Choudhry, mentioned in an article on Winsupersite, the optimization for the removal of Kinect’s skeletal tracking was only going to have minimal effects on most titles, saying…

“Previously, 10 percent of the GPU was reserved for system level processing which included Kinect-related skeletal tracking data,” …. “With this change, titles that are not using skeletal tracking with Kinect can choose to use that portion of the system reserve for other purposes.”

In the case of Sunset Overdrive the June XDK update only afforded Insomniac Games an upgrade in the way the game’s core systems performed, as opposed to opening up leeway to expand the specifications of the title.

The likelihood of the Xbox One’s lifespan is that it will nestle in at 900p for most larger titles, and it will hit 1080p for linear or less resource-heavy games. As for the frame-rate… I think stability in frame refresh is more important than resolution in the long run, and hopefully there will be a moderate compromise insofar that we won’t be seeing games drop below 30fps as often as we did during the PS3 and Xbox 360 era, where 20fps was a common occurrence for a lot of triple-A titles such as Sleeping Dogs and Grand Theft Auto V.

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