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Call of Duty: Ghosts dev: Next-gen resolution gap not attributable to one specific thing

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Call of Duty: Ghosts will run at 720p on Xbox One and at 1080p on PlayStation 4, but the difference doesn't come down to a single specific factor in either console's hardware or software, said Infinity Ward's Mark Rubin in an interview with Eurogamer.

According to Rubin, executive producer at developer Infinity Ward, the studio has had theoretical hardware for both systems "for a long time," but that's not the main issue. The bigger deal is the unique operating system on the consoles, and the software environment was constantly in flux over the course of Ghosts' development. When the resources for system-level features such as voice chat — which interact directly with a game — change, it becomes a challenge "trying to make enough room for those resources to be used but at the same time use as much resources as possible," said Rubin.

"So all that stuff can change on the fly," Rubin continued. "And you're trying to develop your system to match with that, and it's two systems, now, not just one: Sony and Xbox. That creates a massive engineering nightmare."

When asked about that being the reason for the resolution gap, Rubin demurred.

"I don't know if I can point to one particular cause," he replied. "There's no specific, oh, well, the VO chat on Xbox took up so much resources that we couldn't do 1080p native. There's no definitive one-to-one per se cause and effect. It's just an overall thing."

"I don't know if I can point to one particular cause"

Infinity Ward made the call a month ago, although the decision process was a long one. Rubin added that "it wasn't a lack of effort" on the studio's part, and said that in the future, after developers become more familiar with the consoles' hardware and software, it's likely that things could change.

"It's very possible we can get [future games] to native 1080p. I mean I've seen [Ghosts] working at 1080p native. It's just we couldn't get the frame rate in the neighborhood we wanted it to be," Rubin explained. "First launch, first time at bat at a new console, is a challenging one. That's just the way it is. For people fearful one system is more powerful than the other or vice versa, it's a long game."

Call of Duty: Ghosts launches tomorrow, Nov. 5, on PlayStation 3, Wii U, Windows PC and Xbox 360; Nov. 15 on PS4; and Nov. 22 on Xbox One.

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