Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin has decided to explain the reason behind the recently confirmed resolution difference between the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Call of Duty: Ghosts.
According to Rubin, the difference is due to resource allocation issues faced by Infinity Ward’s engineers. “There’s stuff in the console’s OS that interacts with the game,” he explained to Eurogamer. “So, for instance, voice chat is often supported by the hardware manufacturer rather than the software, and you’re just using their channel. When that stuff is changing – because they’re developing it on their side – and the resources they’re using are changing – your, from a game design standpoint, challenge is with trying to make enough room for those resources to be used but at the same time use as much resources as possible.
“One of the greatest challenges the engineers have to deal with is memory management, or thread management. There are X number of threads in your CPUs. Where in those threads is the stuff that’s Microsoft or Sony? Where does it fall? How does it work? We don’t have the SDKs for those features yet, and then they come in and you go, okay, well it needs 3MB of RAM – oh, crap, we only allocated two! You can’t just take a MB from anywhere. It’s not like there’s just tonnes of it just laying there. You have to pull it from something else. And now you have to balance that somewhere.”
In the case of Ghosts: “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.”
Rubin also said that it would be wrong to think that the difference in resolution is a confirmation that Xbox One is the weaker console. “It’s a much more complex answer – there’s so much to it, it’s a balancing act when you get into optimization – we need more time with it all, basically,” he told Edge. “It could be years from now until we get to the point where we feel like we’ve maxed out what we can do on both platforms.
“We might get more resources back at one point. And that could make things change dramatically for the Xbox One, for instance. It’s a long complicated road that will take years to develop, and I think at the end we’ll have games looking very similar, usually, on both systems.
“This is the first game on the console and there’s a lot for us to learn with the new hardware so it’s a long-running process – you compare COD 2 to COD 4 it’s a massive leap forward in graphical fidelity. So I think we expect the same thing on both platforms.”
Call of Duty: Ghosts is set to release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, and Wii U on November 5. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions will be available at launch.