Quantum Break is an upcoming action-adventure third-person-shooter created by Remedy Entertainment, creators of such titles as Alan Wake and Max Payne, set to be released exclusively on Xbox One in April, 2016. The game has recently been sent out in demo version to a number of content creators and gaming news websites, and one in particular, “Digital Foundry”, analyzed the game’s pixel count per screen and found that despite Remedy’s claims that the game will run natively at 1080p, the game actually has only been seen performing in 720p.
For many people, the difference between 720p and 1080p is not something that they often notice or point out. However, when it comes to the PC gaming crowd and hardcore movie buffs, they will always notice the tiny discrepancies in screen “crispness” in the same way an audiophile will always know if a music file is in MP3 or OGG format. However, these changes are quite small – some games and movies even use other methods to achieve a 1080p look while technically only running at 720p, like MSAA or Anti-aliasing to smooth out the picture.
Some gamers are in an uproar, using this moment to attack Microsoft for not delivering on their “4K resolution games” promise they made when the Xbox One was first announced. Others are using the event to point out and laugh at console gaming in general, claiming this generation of consoles is barely a step up over the last generation. These people often will value games more for how graphically intensive they are than for what the actual gameplay consists of. For instance, the popular first-person-shooter Crysis was touted, on release, to be the best looking, most difficult to run game ever. People flocked to buy the game, to test their PC’s strengths, and many most likely used this as an excuse to upgrade their computer. In reality, despite the graphics, the game was ultimately mediocre, not having much to differentiate it in terms of gameplay compared to other modern and even slightly dates shooters. One of the top-rated first-person-shooters of all time, Half-Life 2, was almost never hailed for how amazing the game looked, and more for how fluidly it played and the story it presented.
Overall, Remedy has been a studio that has consistently released games of a high quality, and I doubt Quantum Break will break that mold. When the game releases, I’m sure many of these people using it as an excuse to launch an attack will still purchase the game, or they never were even going to buy it in the first place. Remedy’s last game, Alan Wake, also had a resolution lower than 720p and used scaling tricks to make the game look better, and that game sold very well and got high praise from critics. Never judge a game by it’s screenshots, as that’s how you end up purchasing beautifully detailed, but ultimately painfully boring or mediocre games.