In the resolution wars that continue to rage today between Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, there’s been some controversy about the top-end abilities of both machines. Games like Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes run at 720p native on Xbox One while the PlayStation 4 version of the game is able to natively run the game at 1080. Today it’s been made apparent that the PS4 launch title Killzone: Shadow Fall doesn’t always run as high-definition as Sony has claimed.
The claim comes into play on the 2nd of November, 2013, as Social Media Manager Sid Shuman (from Sony) speaks up on the PlayStation Blog. It’s there that it’s claimed that the developers at Guerrilla Games were running "Killzone Shadow Fall’s campaign" at "1080p native resolution (1920 x 1080)."
This much is true. We’re looking at a Digital Foundry analysis done by Eurogamer in which they analyze digital output from the systems at hand (the PlayStation 4 in this case), ascertain data (frames per second, resolution in this case), and output the lot in easy-to-read formats. One of these is the following video where a frames-per-second meter is laid over video in the same places the video output the data.
While in single-player mode it seems Sony was truthful, the multiplayer element isn’t quite so simple. Single-player Killzone: Shadow Fall shows 1080 x 1920 (1080p resolution) with an unlocked, variable frame rate - often times, but not always, at 60fps.
In the same Sony PlayStation Blog article as linked above, Shuman says that "there’s the competitive multiplayer mode which runs at native 1080p and 60 fps." This is not true, according to this most recent analysis.
There it’s suggested that Killzone: Shadow Fall multiplayer runs with a 960 x 1080 framebuffer with a variable framerate. The video you’re seeing above is of multiplayer in Killzone: Shadow Fall and shows how FPS hovers around 50.
NOTE: PlayStation 4 game recording direct from the console only outputs to 720p, so you won’t find any 1080p gameplay videos right off the bat, anyway.
This has also been confirmed - all the way back in September of 2013 - by the developers of Killzone: Shadow Fall. In a Eurogamer interview, Guerrilla Games lead designer Eric Boltjes spoke up on the "holy grail" 60fps.
"Running 60 has become this Holy Grail. Suddenly people think if you run 60 your game is better. Technically, that's not really true. …
We analysed what 60 brings. 60 in multiplayer is really important because your reaction time is a lot shorter. In single-player it's actually a lot longer. It's not because our AI is stupid, but because you simply have more time to react. We said we don't need 60, and we want the graphical push." - Guerrilla Games lead designer Eric Boltjes
So what’s the big difference? When you’re playing the game - unless you’ve got robot eyes capable of discerning the tiny differences - there’s not a whole lot to be worried about.
We’re sticking by our Killzone: Shadow Fall Review’s final judgement one way or the other. It’s those gamers out there that are more worried about the exact specifications than they are the final overall experience that should pay heed.