GamesBeat: You touched on it a bit, but what was the optimization experience like for the new consoles?
Flynn: Pretty good. We’re lucky in that obviously we’re not the first title to ship with Frostbite. We’re learning not just from the first party themselves, but especially from the teams within EA who’ve taken titles through. If you look at some of the sports guys, while they’re not using Frostbite, they’ve had two iterations on the new consoles, so they were a big help. We worked with a team in Vancouver to help us do some of that, and also a team in Madrid. They have a lot of expertise. So it wasn’t as hectic as I thought it would be. But it’s still very busy as far as time and work. Still very smooth in the grand scheme of things. We’re enjoying the experience of being on both consoles and finishing the game.
GamesBeat: What was the decision process behind coming out and saying, we’re 1080p on PS4, and we’ve done our best to get the most out of Xbox One? Who made the decision to openly announce that?
Flynn: It started because we’d seen what we thought was interpreted as misinformation from viewers of the live stream we did. Based on that, we said, “Well, it’s important to get the information out there so players can understand reality when they’re considering a pre-order, or if they’ve already preordered Dragon Age.” We wanted to be very clear.
We hear from our fans all the time that it’s important to be clear in these messages. That’s one of the curses and benefits of a thing like Twitter. You can be brutally clear, but you only have 140 characters, and unfortunately that can just inspire a lot more questions. In this case we were able to be very clear, though, because at the end of the day it’s just numbers.
Confirmed: #DAI resolution is 1080p on PS4, and 900p on Xbox One. We maximized the current potential of each platform.
— Dragon Age (@dragonage) October 10, 2014
GamesBeat: What’s the response been like since announcing that? Have your fans seemed to be pretty happy with it?
Flynn: I found that people appreciated the clarity of the statement, whatever platform they’re playing on. The important thing to remember is that Dragon Age looks stunning on all the platforms it’s on. We’re not even close to the maximized potential of either system yet. It’s just around what we can do now. Once you get Dragon Age, you’re in for an amazing experience regardless.
GamesBeat: If you’re not tapping out the systems because it’s so early on, do you feel like there is a reality where, given enough time, the Xbox One version could be 1080p as well?
Flynn: It’s tough to speculate.
I’m not close to the hardware, close to the technical challenges on either platform. What I can say is that delivering the best experience possible is our top priority. We don’t want anyone to feel like they’re getting a compromised experience, no matter how they’re choosing to play the game.
Obviously there’s going to be a difference between things like Xbox 360 and Xbox One or PS3 to PS4. But our job is to match or beat people’s expectations. As long as we’re doing that, we’re okay.
What I do hear loud and clear from people who are responding was that people were less concerned about resolution and more about getting an amazing game. We’ll keep finding optimizations and finding ways to improve. We’ll keep putting those in the games that we make as much as possible.
GamesBeat: One more number, and then I’d like you to elaborate on how Inquisition looks beyond numbers: What’s the framerate locked at on each system?
Flynn checks with PR, who confirmed BioWare and EA are not talking about framerate yet.
Flynn: We’re in cert right now, so we’ll have to just see right now as far as what we come out as with the final fixes and changes. I wouldn’t want to say anything yet. Again, what I can say is that framerate is as much or more a part of the experience as resolution. We have to get a solid framerate in there for fans to be happy.
GamesBeat: There’s been some recent — other developers have said that they have a sort of philosophical belief that 30 frames per second can be better in some situations than 60 frames per second. Do you guys hold with that, or ideally would the game be 60 in all situations?
Flynn: No, I agree with the first statement. For me, to move to 60 fps, very crudely, you’re halving the amount of time you have to render anything. Something has to be given up to achieve 60. For the right game that may be the thing you have to do.
A competitive, PvP-based shooter, for example, you want that smoothness to optimize the experience. You can live with lower-quality textures and simpler animations, especially because you’re not rendering the player character in that case. But you might find that in a different kind of game, you want something more lush, something richer in texture detail and character detail. Maybe you need to drop down to 30 to deliver that.
Again, as long as you’re getting a steady framerate, as long as you’re getting something that is smooth and unhindered, it falls to the kind of game and the experience you’re trying to give to players.