The Order: 1886 16:9 vs 2:40:1 Aspect Ratio: Which One is Better?

The Order: 1886 is an upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive, and it is facing a bit of controversy due to its choice of aspect ratio. The real question is, will a normal aspect ratio work for a game like The Order: 1886, which is going for a cinematic aspect ratio and FOV because it is an artistic choice from the developer, and not something that they are forcing in order to gain better performance or visuals.

Before we start with The Order: 1886, lets go back a bit in history and talk about one another game, which had similar black bars on top and bottom. It was Resident Evil 4, and the developers intention were to target a more cinematic experience, hence they went for a widescreen aspect ratio for the game, resulting in black bars on top and bottom.


When the game was released, there weren’t any complains thrown around regarding its aspect ratio. Infact, the game received rave reviews and is considered one of the best single player action adventure game released during the PS2/Gamecube generation. The point of talking about Resident Evil 4 is quite simple. While people might have issues with the black bars covering the screen, it never caused any problems with the actual game or the experience of enjoying the game.

Unfortunately, in present age, communication has exploded across internet, and now even the tiniest bit of news about a game makes quite a controversy across the web. There is a huge thread on popular gaming forum NeoGAF, which discusses the aspect ratio of The Order: 1886, and sees people going as far as to say that they will simply not buy the game because of the aspect ratio. The funny bit here is that we haven’t even seen the actual game in action – not a proper footage anyways – yet people are still hell bent on proving that this aspect ratio is a disaster.

Ready at Dawn’s Andrea Pessino expressed his opinion on twitter regarding this whole deal.

the aspect ratio is a core artistic choice (frame, FOV, etc), added performance is a bonus but nowhere near crucial

I very much doubt that vision is going to change at this point. The game is built around it.

Keep in mind that with all the hoopla over the resolution and aspect ratio, the developers are actually aiming for the highest possible image quality. Their current solution is to use 1920×800 resolution with 4xMSAA(subject to change), which meets their artistic vision. Their artwork gives us a glimpse at what they are trying to achieve here. See below.


Do you anything wrong with that image? No? It looks beautiful and presents a very cinematic like feel and look for the game. So what would happen with a theoretical 16:9 aspect ratio? We can take a look at it as well (image credit).


The above image illustrates the difference between the aspect ratio for a similar FOV(field of view) for the game. What we perceive that the game will look like is not the case for the most part. It will likely end up as the above image, giving us lesser viewing angle despite having the same FOV.

It’s best if we just let the developers do their job. They know what they want and why they are targeting a specific aspect ratio for their game. The resolution might be lower in term of pixels but the developers have clearly explained that the choice of resolution was not due to performance issues, it was a purely artistic choice. They could have opted for a full fledged 16:9 aspect ratio and full HD 1080p resolution, but they choose not to. It doesn’t mean the game is gimped in any way.

Look forward to see and read more about The Order: 1886 once its press embargo clears on Feb 18th, 2014. Sony will also finally reveal a brand new gameplay trailer for the public, which has been long overdue. Hopefully, it can silence the naysayers, who seem to have their issue with the game.

What do you think of this article? Let us know in the comments below.

Khurram Imtiaz

Editor-in-Chief at GearNuke. I am a hardcore Final Fantasy fan and lover of JRPGs. When I am not posting news, I can be seen sharing my thoughts over at Twitter.

You can follow me on Twitter and Google+

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  • A6K

    This is something that annoys the crap out of me. Like The Evil Within, I fail to see the need to hinder my field of view with black bars and only use half my screen just so developers can sit there with their nose in the air saying “It’s sophisticated and cultured to play it in this ratio.”

    “Cinematic Experience” is just a made up word that holds no meaning as far as I’m concerned. And how does that make the game better? It’s just some fictional term made up by film snobs and hipsters as a means to justify meaningless and worthless annoyances. You want me to have a “cinematic experience?” Then buy a movie theater, let me play the game there, on a huge screen via projector while I munch on popcorn and soda.

    Do you know what I do when movies are in that cropped “cinematic” ratio? I go to my TV’s settings and zoom in so I get to see the movie fill up my TV. You know how many times I’ve had to go back and unzoom because I felt like I missed something? ZERO. Anything that holds purpose is in the middle of the screen and I’ve never felt like I was lost in the plot because I didn’t get to see that extra bush, cup, window or door off to the side of the screen. I never once felt like “I say darling this feels so much like being in the theater, the experience is astounding” by having a cropped ratio. No one has.

    If that’s how they want to make the game with some meaningless hinderance that serves no purpose, fine. It’s your right to do that, but I’m not buying. I don’t care if it gets a perfect score, I’m voting with my wallet by saying “I don’t want it” when it comes to the cropped ratio.

  • Fernand Serre

    We don’t even have 2:40:1 HDTV’s, we have 16:9 HDTV’s so why not just make it fit the screen because the ‘black bars’ are extremely annoying! Or at least make it optional.

  • Mitchings

    2.20:1 would be a better choice imo.

  • datdude

    The black bars in movies don’t really bother me much, but as with most things different people will have differing levels of irritation with these type of issues. I usually prefer they are not there if I’m being honest, but after a few moments most people don’t even notice them anymore, your eyes adjust and it’s not a problem. I can’t imagine it will be any different for The Order:1886. As long as the game is fantastic, this is something I can get past quite easily. I would have a much bigger problem if after all the hype the game was a messy disappointment. Now that really would be something to complain about.

  • IcemanK2

    What did you watch when your TV was 4:3? 16:9 was the image that created those bars on that 4:3 and now 16:9 is standard.

    I am just curious if people truely understand that if they go to 16:9 from 2.40:1, you do lose the black bars but you also lose the left and right sides of the image, so in other words less to see/interact with.

    So you see the point is that those back bars you are hating on are always ahead of thier time and give a more realistic/life-like view to he watcher.

  • Isaac

    I like the idea. Sounds like more processing oomph can be made out of that choice. Also that “blank” space can still be utilized in the right way to get the best of both worlds. You get a hardcore eske view of the game with only the most necessary parts of the HUD on screen like an aiming reticle when aiming or hints showing up to try to keep the player as immersed as possible into the game while the actual blank space can be used to display messages, player health, inventory, compass & rudimentary written down directions to keep it in character with the story. I’ll definitely be getting it for sure & I hope more games take this approach in the future, might even give the PS4 & XB1 more staying power in the future by utilizing more technical trickery.

  • Obambush

    Get your popcorn ready lmfao.

    • ThePokeMaster

      It’s actually still being rendered in 1080p, if you payed any attention.

  • Dennis Crosby

    To be honest it might be a small amount of PS fans who don’t like this but majority of the controversy is coming from Xbox fans and I can’t say there wrong for this all the crap ps fan gave them for Ryse resolution and fps now there trolling back that all. This game will look great and play great that will be the end of the conversation gamer have to understand that because a gamer has a higher resolution doesn’t mean it will look great devs make the game the best way the can to give you the experience designed for that game

  • Kamille

    if there’s something I have always hated about films, no matter how much time it passes I can’t just get used to it, are the black bars and the fact that now we have them in games too it truly pisses me off.

    I rather prefer the 1080p with jaggies and no black bars… At the end of the day the aim cross-hair will always be in the middle, so the interesting stuff will always happen there anyway, the rest is just “gravy” like Square-Enix would say.

    Of-course the Sony fanboys will disagree since those guys are the most hardcore sheep I have ever seen, even worse than the Apple fanboys.

    • Hip2Bsquare

      I am a ps4 owner an I couldn’t agree more

      • Goodgrief

        Every single time you post a comment you always start off with “I’m a ps4 owner” or “Us ps4 owners” and then you proceed to bash and criticize everything about the ps4 and the playstation community. Just who the hell do you think you are fooling? No one, and I mean no one with a brain in their head believes you own or have even seen a ps4 in your life.

        You are the definition of the typical microsoft troll. The fact that you have to lie and troll every ps article pretending to be a ps4 owner says not only you have no life, brains, pride or common sense but you also lack the basic intelligence to understand that people are not as dense as you think they are. This basically puts you on the same IQ level of an orangutan.

        So, you can go ahead now and try and provide some stale dated psn id that probably doesn’t belong to you or has about 1 hour of game time over the last 3 months while all the while sitting on your xbox one and using it as a pogo stick, but you really need to focus on growing up getting a life, finding a nice young lady who won’t be offended at the fact that you live in your moms basement and realizing that at the end of the day regardless of how much you try to bring negative views to the ps4, NO ONE CARES.

    • Jason Mounce

      If people ‘Disagree with you’. You don’t have to presumptuously go “LAWL ITS TEH SONY FANBOYS DISAGREEING WITH ME, I KNEW IT”

      How about, ‘Anyone’ who disagrees with you, simply disagrees with you because they disagree with you? Gamer, fanboy, casual-player or otherwise? You state whom you think are sheep, but at the cost of sounding like a sheep in denial yourself. That and I’d deny Sony fanboys as if they’re the worst when Nintendo and Microsoft fans on their own right have much more issues, Sony fans are too busy rejoicing under the new and great times ahead for them that your description of them is unfitting except to the rare Kiddy who happens to be a fanboy and you use that as a means of stereotyping the entire consumer fanbase which is childish in itself.

      After those two company-fanboys, I’d personally then say the worst fanboys go to Sonic fanboys and then BIOWARE fanboys. Hands down.

    • JimmyNice

      the one thing I can’t stand are jaggies… while they ate rare… they are still in Killzone. If this is fix/artistic choice fixes that… I’m all for it.

    • ThePokeMaster

      Just because you’re not a PlayStation fan, doesn’t mean that its fanbase are “the most hardcore sheep”.
      From a different perspective Xbox or Nintendo fans can be seen as “the most hardcore sheep” ever.

      Anyway, while some people may agree with you, most of this controversy is coming from Xbox fans.