Remedy Fails to Bring 1080p to Xbox One – Analysis Shows Quantum Break Runs at 720p

Fahad Arif

Reports are that Sony is working to make 4K gaming on consoles a thing with an upgraded, robust version of its PlayStation 4 system that will be powered by contempo hardware. But two and a half years of the eighth generation consoles’ existence quite clearly lay bare the fact that Sony is not the one who’s got more to worry about. Despite working with extra processing power that was previously reserved for Kinect, and trying to push the resolution to 1080p, Remedy Entertainment has reportedly not been able to optimize Quantum Break, their upcoming graphically-stunning action-adventure story-shooter, on the latest-gen Xbox One console.

Digital Foundry Analysis Suggests "Native Resolution of 720p" For Quantum Break on Xbox One - PC Version Not Tested

After much unnecessary controversy that followed Microsoft’s announcement regarding Quantum Break’s release on Windows 10 PCs, the long-awaited title will finally be up for grabs in only around a couple of weeks now on both platform. However, those who were looking forward to play the game on Xbox One in standard current-gen 1080p resolution with 30 frames per second that Remedy Entertainment had promised are in for a huge disappointment. The third-person shooter reportedly runs at a "native resolution of 720p."

The news comes from the good folks over at Digital Foundry, who got the chance to play the first two chapters of Quantum Break at Remedy HQ for an “unrestricted” time. The outlet concluded that the pre-release version of the time-bending action-adventure game maintained native 720p resolution instead of 1080p, and that is not just for the screen-space lighting, ambient occlusion, and global illumination pipelines that Remedy had already clarified would be rendered at 720p. In its SIGGRAPH 2015 whitepaper [PDF], the developer pointed out that the overall final output of the game on Xbox One will be 1920x1080. Digital Foundry writes:

“The paper [Remedy’s whitepaper] also states Xbox One's final output is 1920x1080, and that's where there is some confusion - as we've yet to see evidence of full HD 1080p gameplay in close analysis - barring the title's HUD elements and menus. In every scene tested so far, a native resolution of 720p is the consistent result found in each pixel count test - so while there's every possibility of individual render targets operating at higher resolutions, basic geometry that we're able to measure hands in a 720p result as things stand.”

Expecting a game to run at native 1080p resolution on eighth generation console is not much to ask for, as 720p is something that you would see on last-gen PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. This is yet another sign that developers have to struggle with the hardware that powers the current-gen consoles, especially Microsoft’s Xbox One, to deliver smooth gameplay performance with full HD resolution and solid frame-rate.

As for the Windows 10 PC version of Quantum Break, you can expect it to offer 1080p gameplay with 30 frames per second or even go as high as 4K with 60 frames per second. Digital Foundry has nothing to say about it though, as they didn’t get a chance to check it out.

"But let's not forget that there's also a PC version in development too. We didn't have time to sample this at the press event, but Remedy were pretty open on the state of the build at that time. Limited to 1080p at 30fps, it still required plenty of work before launch. The developer is promising a maximum 4K experience at 60fps, but it remains to be seen exactly how this will pan out, or exactly what kind of hardware will be required to make this happen."

The most recent Windows 10 PC port, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, didn’t fair quite well in terms of technical performance, so it’ll be interesting to see what Remedy has in store for us with Quantum Break. There is also no word from the developer on the game’s resolution being dropped to Xbox 360 levels on Xbox One, so we will have to wait and see what they have to say about it. Of course, Quantum Break is a big, big game for Microsoft, and so they certainly wouldn’t want anything to go wrong with it.

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