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.
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