God of War dev has no problem with the Starfield FPS cap on consoles

When Bethesda’s long-anticipated RPG, Starfield, was announced to be capped at 30 frames per second, it fueled a rather controversial topic within the gaming community. Known for their commitment to delivering immersive and meticulously detailed worlds, Bethesda’s decision was seen by some as a sign of the game’s incomplete development. However, this type of point of view was challenged by none other than Dannie Carlone, senior environment artist at Sony Santa Monica and a key contributor to God of War Ragnarok.

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The Starfield FPS cap might only be an issue because of Microsoft’s supposedly false promises.

In the modern era of gaming, the argument over framerate versus graphical fidelity has been an ongoing one. While some prefer the fluid motion and responsiveness of a 60 FPS or higher game, others argue that for large, expansive games like Starfield, the trade-off in visual detail isn’t worth it. Carlone sits firmly in the latter camp.

Carlone, a developer with an impressive portfolio, came to Bethesda’s defense in response to criticisms from DreamcastGuy, a popular YouTuber known for his gaming news coverage and reviews. DreamcastGuy had interpreted the FPS cap as an indication that Starfield might be released unfinished – an all-too-familiar scenario with AAA games in recent years. However, Carlone’s perspective on the matter was different.

He argued that the framerate decision was a deliberate design choice by Bethesda, not a sign of laziness or an incomplete work. Bethesda, he reasoned, had capped the game at 30 FPS to maintain consistent resolution and minimize pop-in, which is reasonable considering the immense size of Starfield’s interplanetary map.

Although he acknowledged DreamcastGuy and his right to disagree with this decision, Carlone expressed admiration for his work on YouTube.

This controversy emerged during this year’s Xbox Games Showcase 2023 when Todd Howard, Bethesda’s director and the game’s executive producer, revealed the FPS limit for Starfield, among other things. Howard explained the decision was, in part, motivated by creative reasons and a desire not to compromise on the game’s visual quality.

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Starfield’s parity performance on both the Xbox Series S and X begs the question, is Microsoft cannibalizing the sales of its own flagship product?

However, critics aren’t having it. Many point to the contrast between this FPS limit and Microsoft’s advertising, which had, in the past, emphasized the Xbox Series X and its capability to run games at 60 and even up to 120 frames per second at 4K resolution.

In the years since the console came out, Microsoft has insisted that the choice ultimately lies in the hands of the developers. Given that Bethesda’s project began before Microsoft’s acquisition of the company, there was an expectation that the tech giant wouldn’t prioritize a 60 FPS standard. But, after the controversy surrounding Redfall, some hoped that Phil Spencer would step in and ask, if ever so kindly, to help make Starfield a big console seller.

Many within the gaming community expressed understanding of Bethesda’s decision, noting that achieving high frame rates and visual fidelity simultaneously is challenging, especially for expansive games. Others suggested that the FPS limit could be attributed to Microsoft’s desire for parity between the Series X and Series S, given that the latter is expected to run Starfield at 1440p and 30 FPS.

After all, it wasn’t long ago when a developer complained about the Xbox Series and its “potato GPU”.

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How Starfield looked today compared to how it did a year ago is night and day, further hinting at Bethesda’s commitment to delivering a completely unique and awesome game.

As divisive as the 30 FPS cap might be, many believe it won’t significantly impact the game’s long-term success. Starfield has already received positive pre-release reception and promising comparisons to other critically acclaimed titles. The true test, of course, will come once players can experience Bethesda’s interstellar adventure for themselves.

Fingers crossed, it will succeed if only so that Todd Howard will come back as soon as possible to work on Fallout 5 and The Elder Scrolls 6, the latter of which could be his last game ever.