Far Cry 4 Creative Director Alex Hutchinson iterates that hitting perfect HD resolution may not be as important as crafting quality video game experiences.
In a recent interview with OXM, the Ubisoft (EPA: UBI) dev reflected that more stock should be put into a game’s total merit–gameplay mechanics, innovative features, story–rather than its visual fidelity.
“[1080p] is certainly not something I care about in a game,” Hutchinson said.
“It feels weird to me that people are cool about playing a sort of retro pixel game, and yet the resolution somehow matters. It’s like: is it fun, is it interesting, is it new, is it fresh, are there interesting questions?”
Although Far Cry 4 has hit the famed “1080p mark” on PS4 and Xbox One, Hutchinson believes that this standard isn’t the best way to judge games or consoles, and the industry should try move away from it in favor of actual in-game content.
“I think it’s a bad axis. We should not be in a business that sells itself – we are, a little bit, but that sells itself on the flavour of like, gadgetry and technology. I think that’s a bad sign.”
The resolution disparity isn’t anything new in the gaming world, and it’s fueled the next-gen console wars for some time.
Months before the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the gaming community was polarized as a result of each system’s graphical performance.
Since Microsoft’s Xbox One could only hit native 900p resolution upscaled to 1080p, gamers favored Sony’s PS4 as it could run in full 1080p without any scaling. This skewed the perspective of one console being “better” due to its visual power has been prevalent among gamers ever since.
But Hutchinson believes that meaningful game experiences trump 1080p and visuals. It’s not full HD that’s been selling consoles, he says, but the games themselves.
“Resolution [is only brought up] because of the disparity, the idea that one version is being held back. I don’t think that has sold consoles for a while now.
“I think experiences have been selling them, and that’s your challenge. If you don’t have a new cool experience, or a social experience–like Call of Duty sells consoles, even though art-wise, it’s not exactly… like Call of Duty to Crytek’s games, one sells a metric s**t-ton and the other doesn’t.”
Hutchinson’s words ring with a certain truth, but many gamers want as much bang for their buck as they can get. Resolution might not be everything, but the desire for 1080p has been so influential that it’s become a major tick-box for AAA games.
But this isn’t the first time Ubisoft has spoken out about the importance of content over visuals.
An anonymous dev for Assassin’s Creed: Unity reportedly said that 1080p doesn’t make a substantial difference in gameplay.
“I’m happy to enlighten you guys because way too much bullsh** about 1080p making a difference is being thrown around,” the purported anonymous dev said.
“If the game is as pretty and fun as ours will be, who cares? Getting this game to 900p was a b**ch. The game is so huge in terms of rendering that it took months to get it to 720p at 30fps.”
The dev was prompted after Ubisoft fell into hot water after revealing Assassin’s Creed: Unity would only run in 900p / 30fps across both Xbox One and PlayStation 4, despite the latter console being able to handle more graphical workloads.
In any case, Far Cry 4 looks amazingly fun. The mountainous region of Kyrat has everything from stampeding elephants and ancient temples to the delightfully mad despot Pagan Min. And it also has explosively satisfying FPS action.
As far as visuals go, the game is stunning, featuring a swatch of majestic vistas across every sector of the highlands. The screens and video released thus far paint Ubisoft’s new Far Cry as a work of art, and it’ll be interesting to see how well it stands up when it’s released.
Far Cry 4 is slated to release on Nov. 18, 2014 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.