There’s been a lot of buzz about 60fps lately, mostly because of a series of games that have gone without.
A Plague Tale: Requiem got a 60fps mode, and Redfall and possibly Starfield will be doing without it at launch. This has not been received well in any case.
People are used to the idea of silky-smooth graphics now. You can feel the difference between something running at 30fps and 60fps.
So in that way, the difference really does matter. Since the launch of the new generation of consoles, people have become used to the idea of playing with a higher framerate. It makes your reaction time feel better, and movement feel less juddery.
But this was always a temporary advantage, and it’s a shame that that’s the case. Here’s the problem: people want top-tier graphics, AND 60fps. And that’s just not something these consoles are going to be able to do. You’ll have to pick one or the other.
So why not provide both? That seems like the logical solution and one that I could personally get behind. But from an artist’s point of view, I suppose there’s a degree of frustration here. There has to be compromise between the technical and the art – that’s always the case. But then you have to compromise again, watering down the image for something that is more felt than seen. It’s an interesting little problem.
But ultimately, games are still games. They have an artistic quality – of course they do. Anyone who says anything else has an axe to grind. But, equally, there has to be technical merit. And 60fps, to those who look for it, is a necessity, rather than a choice.
But there’s a catch to this, and it’s one that it is impossible to escape from. The more than needs to happen on screen, the less likely you are to get 60fps. And there are going to be must-have games this generation that simply cannot function at that high a framerate on these consoles.
And while you can expect the usual internet grumbling here, nobody will care. Because a must-have game is a must-have game. It’ll sell millions of copies, it’ll top GOAT lists, as every new hot game does for a while. And framerate will feel like a distant last in the conversation.
Because if there’s one thing people hate more than sluggish framerate, it’s that fear of missing out that keeps us all buying more games than we can ever play.
Is there a nice compromise here? I think the last year or so has proven that there is: 40fps. Available only to those with screens capable of 120hz, this option combines the lush graphics of 30fps with the smoother feel of 60fps. It is the perfect compromise, so long as you have the equipment capable of it.
This won’t make everybody happy, but the more games it is included with, the better. It solves the problem perfectly and, as people upgrade to more capable screens over the coming years, this will make these games ready for the switch.