Home Gaming Remedy explains why resolution isn’t everything with Quantum Break

Remedy explains why resolution isn’t everything with Quantum Break

2 min read

Remedy responds to 720p uproar over Quantum Break

I’m busy playing through Remedy’s latest new IP, Quantum Break, as we speak, and it’s fairly clear that its more than just another heavily narrative driven shooter from the studio that brought us Max Payne and Alan Wake. Quantum Break is meant to be a technical showpiece for the Xbox One, delivering stellar visuals and advanced effects that a system seller usually flaunts. That suffered a blow yesterday when it was revealed that the exclusive runs only at 720p, but Remedy have fired back.

Speaking down to the idea that resolution is the be all and end all when it comes to visual fidelity, Remedy explained some of the methods they used to produce a clean, crisp image with Quantum Break. Yes, the game runs at a native 720p, but it does so for 4x MSAA anti-aliasing and an effect called temporal reconstruction. Used in Alan Wake too, temporal reconstruction mitigates the effect of sub-1080p rendering, retaining information from the past four frames to smooth over the rendered image.

“Quantum Break’s 1080p output is a temporal reconstruction from four previous 720p 4x MSAA frames. This approach gets us high pixel quality in combination with complex shading and effects, allowing us to achieve a cinematic look. However, varying sample counts between passes and temporal upscaling makes talking about resolution, as it is traditionally understood, complicated in the case of Quantum Break.”

The technical gurus over at Digital Foundry remake that this method was used in Alan Wake to great effect too, with the Xbox 360 title managing to be one of the best looking games on the system while actually running at a low 960×544 resolution – a big drop from the then standard 720p. Taking that into account with the truly impressive lighting and visual effects that Quantum Break bombards players with starts to paint a clearer picture, and one the Remedy hopes fans will still appreciate when the game is out.

“Since the start of Quantum Break’s development, the most important thing for Remedy and Microsoft has been delivering a compelling gaming experience with superior artistic quality. This is what Remedy is renowned for. We’re confident that we have achieved this, and can’t wait to hear what fans think on April 5 when they play the game.”

But it’s another lesson on how pixel counts don’t always tell the entire story. Quantum Break looks better than a large portion of titles out right now and manages to do so through the use of clever rendering techniques over raw pixel pushing. Would it have looked better at 1080p with these bells and whistles? Perhaps, and that’s probably what PC will show.

But without actually knowing the amount of work that goes into optimising games like these to look their best, its easy to scoff at a four letter representation of countless hours and shrug it off as lazy. Remedy is trying to convince you that its anything but, and I tend to believe them.

Last Updated: March 23, 2016


  1. There is no reason companies need to explain themselves every single time output is mentioned: Is the game pretty? “yes” stop bitching. A lot of effort was put in and its their product and art. They can deliver what ever they want.


    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      March 23, 2016 at 11:06

      Ag you know those console gamers, it’s all about the graphics for them. 😉


      • Francois Knoetze

        March 23, 2016 at 11:08

        “raises hand slowly” I am one of those peasants “drops smoke pellet”… BUT I AM NO GRAPHICS WHOOOOOORE (could be heard in the distance)


        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          March 23, 2016 at 11:14

          Can tell, no volumetric smoke. 😀


          • Francois Knoetze

            March 23, 2016 at 11:26

            You monster!! I tried! at least its running at 1080p(but downscaled to 900p in effect heavy areas) and 30FPS…blah blah blah console peasant defence jargon.

      • Ohmicron

        March 23, 2016 at 21:44

        I would say it’s about being sold a product that makes a claim that it runs in 1080p and finding out it doesn’t. That is plain and simply a lie no matter how you want to spin it. I’m sure it still looks good and is a good game but it’s the lie and then the excuses that people will complain about


  2. oVg versus

    March 23, 2016 at 11:29

    SO TRUE. Look what hit the PS VITA store yesterday with NO advertising at all. THE BEST GAME ON THE VITA, no resolution required. It works thanks to GREAT GAMEPLAY.



    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      March 23, 2016 at 11:36

      But, what’s a Vita? *run*


      • oVg versus

        March 23, 2016 at 11:56

        I can see why people say its dead. Its dead according to SONY (Uncharted did not sell). SONY never follow through with their side projects. From wands, cameras to the Vita. I would not be surprised if they give up on VR thanks to their track record of discarding things if its not an instant hit. Its hit or miss with SONY.

        SONY VR… we will wait and see.


        • miaau

          March 23, 2016 at 12:18



          • Fox1 - Retro

            March 23, 2016 at 12:35

            Memory Stick.

  3. Admiral Chief in New York

    March 23, 2016 at 11:32

    “temporal reconstruction” in a game about time, LOOOOOOOOOL


  4. themaster

    March 23, 2016 at 11:33

    Peasantboxes, why even bother?


  5. HvR

    March 23, 2016 at 11:43

    I think somebody needs to come up with conflict resolution plan for angry Xboners.


  6. miaau

    March 23, 2016 at 12:19

    I do not care to hear explanations or excuses about crap like this.

    Is the game fun to play? Will I, the prospective punter, enjoy myself should I buy the game? Of course, the developers and publishers will say yes.


  7. iusedtobe(a)regular

    March 23, 2016 at 12:51

    “with superior artistic quality”

    To what exactly? Other xbox exclusives? Surly they cant be talking about the PS4 and if you are looking for superior artistic quality look no further than “The Order : 1886″………at least until Uncharted is released and Horizon and GOW4 and TLOU2 (hopefully) and of course, Dreams.


  8. Matthew Holliday

    March 23, 2016 at 12:58

    Sure, what they say makes sense, game is still pretty and will still be awesome and stuff.
    but they can justify it all they want, an excuse is still an excuse.

    resolution may not be the be all and end all, but its not like they wouldnt have gone with 1080p if they had the option. Same as witcher 3 and assassins creed, the xbone limited them and they had to sacrifice resolution for performance.
    Its not the first time an xbone game has had to have the resolution dropped.
    Making excuses for it is just annoying.


  9. eliteop

    March 23, 2016 at 16:41

    Yup, market a game to run in 1080 and hype everyone up, then release it in 720 and make excuses.
    Sure it does still look good and probably good game play/story, but this is like me sending you an invite to a party where I claim topless waitresses will be serving good booze, and when you arrive they are all 80+ years old, but still serving good booze, right?


    • Joshua Daniel Kidson-Hitchens

      March 23, 2016 at 20:26

      thats exactly right and they still wanna charge full price like we promised to sell you a dozen of eggs but sorry we cant do a dozen but i can sell u half a dozen for the price of a dozen


    • Joshua Daniel Kidson-Hitchens

      March 23, 2016 at 20:30

      this is microsofts fault and should offer discounts on games that cant run 1080p as we were promised the bastards cant even say sorry will discount that for you


      • Samuel Herrera

        March 24, 2016 at 07:30

        That’s exactly right. This is why I and many others cancelled our pre-orders of Uncharted 4 after ND announced that the multiplayer would only output at 900p, and that the story would only be 30fps despite them promising 60fps.


        • Revolver Ocelot

          May 5, 2016 at 18:03

          Gonna have to do better than this, you sad little Xbox moron. 🙂


    • Matthew Holliday

      March 24, 2016 at 11:51

      Topless waitresses, but they’re all wearing nipple caps with tassles.


  10. Darren Peach

    March 23, 2016 at 16:43

    While this technique they are using may be advanced and works, Surely this generation of consoles should support progressive HD by default ? HD has been around for a very long time and both Sony and Microsoft are guilty of releasing sub par products when you consider this fact.


  11. zainfazal3000

    March 28, 2016 at 23:07

    It doesn’t matter what Remedy or Microsoft says, All gamers will see is “720p” I already know of people who said they aren’t going to buy the game now. This will impact sales now and it is a shame. Resolution is literally the last thing that gets decided when developers are in the final stages of optimizing a game. It’s just goes to show you that resolution is not that high of a priority for developers.

    The damage is done. sadly.


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