This is a big week not only for Xbox One and gaming PC owners, but the gaming industry as a whole. A new IP will be birthed tomorrow under the name Titanfall. Its fresh take on the FPS genre has resonated well with many. However, its technical side might not.
The Xbox One version of Titanfall hasn't been able to nail down the 60 FPS sweet spot like many were expecting. Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann has noticed some unfortunate framerate drops when playing the game, which he noted in his pre-review:
The frame rate in Titanfall is uneven on the Xbox One and though it's usually fine, it can get downright nasty in specific situations. In one Last Titan Standing match–where every player spawns in a robot suit–several players crammed their mechs into a tight area and began duking it out, and the frame rate dived down to what must have been single digits per second. Even out in wider areas, the game feels a little hitchy from time to time, and there's noticeable tearing throughout.
I experienced similar issues during the beta, hoping that the final version would flesh everything out. It appears Respawn wasn't able to address the issue in time for launch.
What makes this particularly alarming is that the Xbox One version runs at a 792p resolution. It's not much more demanding than 720p, the resolution the Xbox 360 was able to run games like Call of Duty at during last gen without missing a beat.
To make matters worse, Titanfall isn't a very visually striking game. Yes, it is presented well, but underneath its polish is a game that runs on the 10-year old Source Engine. It's not a graphical showcase by any means.
Although this comes as a shock, let's not be too hasty to throw a noose around the Xbox One. This is a game developed by Respawn Entertainment, a studio that has no relationship with Microsoft outside of the console exclusive deal EA worked out. It might not be the game that shows what the Xbox One hardware is capable of, but it's not a first-party game either.
Some speculate that Respawn was planning to run Titanfall on Xbox One at a 720p resolution, as was "leaked" by CBOAT on the NeoGAF forums. These speculations argue that Respawn was pressured to up the resolution by Microsoft in order to make the Xbox One version appear more alluring. Whether or not the rumors are true is unclear, but it doesn't sound unreasonable. This begs the million dollar question: how will the Xbox 360 version fare?