Halo 5 Dev Talks Length Comparisons to Halo 4 and Explains Why It Chose 60fps

"The reality is that length is a really weird metric because people play the game so differently."

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During a panel at San Diego Comic-Con this week, Halo franchise development director Frank O'Connor fielded questions about Halo 5: Guardians' length and why developer 343 Industries chose a frame rate of 60fps. First, O'Connor said the number of hours it can take to finish a game can be misleading.

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"The reality is that length is a really weird metric because people play the game so differently," O'Connor said to a fan who remarked that the Halo 4 campaign felt a little too short. "So [instead], I think about things like replayability and scale. It's a much bigger game [than Halo 4]."

O'Connor went on to say that Halo 5's four-player co-op extends the number of hours you can play. In Halo 5's campaign, you'll always have three companions--played by either AI or human players. As a result of this, along with Halo 5's bigger levels designed to accommodate four players, the same campaign can be played in a number of different ways.

Overall, O'Connor said Halo 5 is absolutely a bigger game than Halo 4--but that's not the whole story.

"It's definitely, definitely bigger," he said. "And for some of the players in this audience, the [Halo] games do seem to be getting shorter, but that's because you're getting much, much, much better at the game as well. And if you're like me, you're going to grab a Warthog and drive it places it's not supposed to go."

"It's currently longer for me right now; your mileage may vary," he added. "But for me, it's much longer because there's more places to explore and much more open, sandboxy stuff."

O'Connor went on to say that Halo 5 is a much more "vertical" game than past entries in the series. Using the new Spartan abilities, players will have all manner of new ways to move through the world--including vertically--to explore in ways they never could before.

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Also during the panel, O'Connor explained why 343 chose a frame rate of 60fps for Halo 5. In short, O'Connor claims that 60fps is not about visual fidelity, but rather "experiential fidelity."

"Some people are fine with 30fps; we're not discounting that," O'Connor said. "But our simulation, the way your controller works, the way that you move through the levels; the way that four players move through those levels; they're all actually tied into a 60fps simulation. So the reality is, if it was visuals, what we'd do is we'd just overload everything at 30fps; higher fidelity textures and lighting and so on."

"The reality is 60fps is gameplay," he added.

A frame rate of 60fps might take some getting used to, but O'Connor said Halo fans who tried the 60fps Halo 5 beta or the 60fps multiplayer in Halo: The Master Chief Collection have realized there is no going back. "When they go from [60fps] back to the OG version at 30 and sometimes less than 30, it's kind of a shock," O'Connor said.

Overall, O'Connor said he hopes fans see 60fps as a positive move for the franchise. It's also worth noting that Microsoft has not locked in a final resolution for Halo 5 just yet--it might be 1080p, or it might be lower.

"We hope you love the game at 60fps, we hope that you think it's beautiful, that's up to you to decide," O'Connor said. "But it is gameplay. It has never been a question about visual fidelity but everything to do with experiential fidelity. 60fps is the speed you'll move through the universe, not the speed we're updating the frame buff."

What do you make of O'Connor's comments about length and frame rate? Let us know in the comments below.

Halo 5 launches October 27 for Xbox One. Also at Comic-Con this week, 343 responded to concerns about the fact that the $250 Halo 5 Limited Collector's Edition does not come with a physical disc. The developer also warned fans not to rush through the game's campaign.

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