When it comes to frame rate in most console games, we often hear about 30 fps instead of 60 fps for most of them. Although for some recent games – especially for some first party titles on the PS4 – the frame rate is unlocked, and often runs above 30 fps in games like inFamous: Second Son, TitanFall, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and Killzone: Shadow Fall.
In a recent interview with Digital Foundry, Bluepoint’s President Andy O’Neill talked about this 30 vs 60 fps debate, explaining the reason why developers usually go for a locked 30 fps.
Bluepoint Games recently shipped TitanFall on the Xbox 360, which ran at unlocked frame rate at the cost of screen tearing, but it also had a locked 30 fps option available for the players – for those who prefer it. Andy talks about the reason why they went for unlocked frame rate.
We’d set a 30fps cap for large scale test, and it had ‘stuck’ due to concerns about tearing with a variable frame-rate. While we were working on the day-one patch, we snuck in a 60Hz on/off option and didn’t tell anyone about it. It didn’t take Respawn very long to find it, and they much preferred the feel of the unlocked frame-rate like we did. EA found out about it a bit later [laughs].
He explains that while 30 fps can be preferred, if developers lock the frame rate from the start and target 30 fps, it becomes the expectation instead of 60 fps. “If you lock the frame-rate at 30 for too long during development for demos or stability etc, 30fps becomes the expectation and you’ll never ever hit 60,” said Andy.
Bluepoint Games ended up with unlocked frame rate as default option because of the low input lag that the game gives at an unlocked frame rate, although it came at the cost of screen tearing.
PlayStation 4 exclusives Knack, Killzone Shadow Fall and inFamous: Second Son, all run at an unlocked frame rate, which is certainly an interesting situation here. It seems like developers have enough leg room on the PS4 to target close to 60 fps, although even if that is not fully achievable, they can get close enough to the target that they feel confident to ship the end game with unlocked frame rate. Killzone: Shadow Fall did end up with a 30 fps lock option, and inFamous: Second Son’s latest patch is going to do the same, and introduce a 30 fps lock option. Similarly, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition ran at an unlocked frame rate on the PS4 and locked 30 fps on the Xbox One.
What do you think about the statement made by Bluepoint Games? Do you prefer unlocked frame rate over locked 30 fps? Let us know in the comments below.