Welcome to the Sub-HD generation of gaming

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hazeSubHD.jpg

What’s going on with developers lately?

The upcoming Playstation 3 shooter Haze will be yet another game that falls short of the true HD mark.

In a recent interview with Free Radical, the developers of Haze made it known that the game will not be hitting the 720p mark. In fact, this game will only be running at 1024×576. Why are so many developers creating their games in a resolution lower than true HD? I understand that many of them are dropping the resolution to allow the game to run at a smoother framerate but It’s becoming a popular trend lately.

In the interview, Free Radicals creative lead, Derek Littlewood says the following:

“Yes. Well, as you develop an engine you’re aiming for a certain thing, but as all the pieces slot into place, you end up realising what sort of resolution you can run it at and that’s where we ended up with for Haze.”

When developers set out to create a new title for one of the HD consoles, why aren’t they setting the goal of a true HD game from the beginning and then sticking to it? Now I know that in many previous cases such as Halo 3 on 360 and GTA4 on the PS3, the sub HD results have been perfectly acceptable. That’s no excuse though, many gamers are promised true HD gaming and that’s exactly what they should be getting.

Why is this happening? Why aren’t console manufacturers doing more to ensure that gamers get what they are promised? As mentioned previously, sub HD results have been acceptable but I still believe that 720p should be set as a target for the developers that must be reached. So many people have spent their hard earned cash to purchase TV’s capable of displaying 1080p but the money is going to waste if 720p televisions aren’t even hitting their full potential.

If you play a game like Halo 3 that runs at 640p on your 1080p TV, it will be upscaled by roughly 40%.

Forty percent!

It feels to me as if dropping the resolution is like a “get out of jail free” card for developers. Make your game the way you want and if it happens to run like a tortoise on tranquilisers, no problem, just drop the resolution.

How would you feel if you bought any other product only to find out you were only getting 90% of what you paid for? You might argue that the games have looked fine so far. But if you forked out a ton of money for a sportscar and then later realised that it had 10% less power than you were promised, you wouldn’t shrug it off.

We should feel cheated.

Free Radical Interview can be found here .

Last Updated: May 20, 2008

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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