Last week, Infinity Ward confirmed that Call of Duty: Ghosts runs at a native resolution of 1080p on PlayStation 4, but the Xbox One version of the next-gen launch title renders at 720p and then upscales to 1080p. The news came as a shock to many, as players tend to link the Call of Duty series more closely to the Xbox 360.
With Call of Duty: Ghosts getting its DLC content first on Xbox One, but the PlayStation 4 version boasting a higher native resolution, GameSpot asked Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin to say which version customers should pick if they're on the fence.
"A lot of the people haven't seen the game," said Rubin, "either on one system or the other, or next to each other, even. They both look great. The Xbox One is 720p, but it upscales to 1080p. So it is a 1080p output on your TV. The differences are probably more subtle than some people would notice, but some people will notice. It's such a hard thing to talk about."
Going with the crowd
The biggest thing to consider is where your friends are going, Rubin says. "As far as what to tell people to do… people buy a console for different reasons. A lot of the times it's just which one your friends are buying. If you're on one console and they're on another, then you're out of luck as far as playing together. So figure out where you want to be from a community standpoint. Where your community of friends are going to be."
Rubin said it was possible that future Call of Duty titles on Xbox One could run at a native 1080p, but that the game needs to hit a constant 60fps. Even so, he pointed out that it's what the consoles offer in terms of features and services that people should consider before investing in next-gen.
"Both consoles offer a different approach to stuff they do outside of the game, so take that into account if you're trying to make a decision. Look at exclusives--are there exclusive titles on one that you want that are not on the other?"
"This is exactly what we've been thinking about for the entire development cycle," he added. "This is a difficult time for gamers, this is a hard thing to have to deal with. Consoles are expensive. It would be nice if you could throw down and buy two of each, and have an unlimited amount of money for doing that, but we know that most people don't. It's not the case."
Rubin added that the team at Infinity Ward put "a lot of effort" into making sure that the transition between current and next-gen was easy for players, pointing to the game offering $10 current to next-gen upgrades and making sure that a player's stats carry across hardware generations.\
Juggling the next-gen transition means Call of Duty: Ghosts is the "hardest game we've ever made by far," Rubin added. "Two new consoles at the same time. Last time, when current gen launched, it was one per year: 360 for Call of Duty 2; PS3 for Call of Duty 3."
"When we started, most expectations were that we wouldn't [develop for] both generations," he said. But the team at Infinity Ward collectively decided that they wanted to oversee development of both the current and next-gen versions of the game. "Which is great, because we were able to really make the best game on both platforms. The problem is that it was way more work than we realized. We ended up having to not only just grow significantly within the studio, but bring in a lot of help from studios like Neversoft and Raven to be able to do all of that stuff we wanted to do."
"We didn't want to sacrifice quality on any of them."
Rubin also emphasized that it's the social element of Call of Duty that makes it popular with many players; some people go to extreme lengths to communicate through the game."We had a guy at an event leading up to the launch of Modern Warfare 3," he said, "and he was telling me how the company he worked for used to have their meetings on Call of Duty. On the weekend they would do, they called it an update meeting or something, and they would do it in Call of Duty. They would party up and have their meeting in the game."
With the game being released tomorrow, Rubin also said that he was confident that reviews for the game will be good. "From talking to a lot of the reviewers that have gone to the events, I'm feeling very positive. Everyone seemed to come away pleasantly surprised," said Rubin. "I am very hopeful, I think this is going to be a good year."