The Ultimate Evil Edition of Diablo 3 officially launched for consoles a couple of days ago, and there was a bit of concern about the Xbox One‘s choppier framerate due to the game being pushed to 1080p resolution at the insistence of Microsoft.
According to Blizzard‘s production director John Hight, they had planned to release the game for the Xbox One at 900p, which is what they were showing at E3 2014, until Microsoft deemed the resolution “unacceptable” and insisted it be pushed up to 1080p.
“We did have 1080p, but we were finding it challenging to keep our frame-rate,” Hight explained during an interview with Eurogamer. “Because Diablo’s so much of an action game, we wanted to have a responsive feel – especially with four players.”
“When you get four witch doctors in a room full of demons, that’s probably the worst case scenario for us because we have effects going off everywhere. We want to make sure that it still feels very glassy, very responsive, and that’s why we dropped resolution down on it.”
An early report from Total Xbox claims that Microsoft demanded Blizzard turn up the dials, and worked with Blizzard’s programmers to do so. During the Eurogamer interview, Hight quotes Microsoft as saying “‘This is unacceptable. You need to figure out a way to get a better resolution.’ So we worked with them directly, they gave us a code update to let us get to full 1080p.” The “code”, of course, being the software development kit update that rolled out in June, granting developers access to GPU reserves that were previously set aside for Kinect usage.
Once word got out that Blizzard was claiming they were kinda/sorta strong-armed in to pushing the Xbox One release to 1080p while sacrificing a locked in framerate, head of Xbox Phil Spencer took to Twitter to address the concern.
According to the many, many tweets, Spencer claims “We didn’t force any game to ship at 1080p.“, and went on to state “..let the studios make the call on what they want to ship. They know their games better than I do.”
In regards to Diablo 3, Spencer tweeted “I just thought we could get to 1080p. If Blizzard thought it wasn’t right for Diablo they had the call on what shipped.” Spencer also went on to confirm that he does not dictate framerate or resolution for any Xbox One game, even for their own first party studios.
So on one hand we have Blizzard, the game’s developer, stating that Microsoft deemed their 900p resolution unacceptable. On the other hand we have Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, claiming that he wouldn’t dictate a game’s resolution or framerate, even one of his own first party studios. Who do you believe?
Bradley Keene is the Executive Editor here at What’s Your Tag?, generally handling reviews, public relations, and our social media communications. He’s an aspiring video game journalist, Baltimore native, and on again/off again WoW player that favors roguelikes, horror games, and point-and-click adventures. His favorite console is the Dreamcast, favorite game is the original Metroid, and he could watch The Goonies for the rest of his life. Contact him by e-mail at the address above, or follow his insanity on Twitter.