Sledgehammer: 60fps is our "competitive edge"

"You don’t ship an engine, you ship a game," says co-founder Schofield

Sledgehammer Games co-founder and general manager Glen Schofield has discussed the rivalry between its Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 in a new interview, insisting that Call Of Duty still has the technical edge.

Speaking to website AusGamers, both Schofield and the interviewer refer to Battlefield 3 only as "the competitor". However, when asked whether he is concerned at the graphical advantage that it appears to have over Modern Warfare 3 Schofield replied:

"We really re-vamped this engine. We put a whole new audio system in and it is as competitive as anybody out there. You can go out and name your engine and call it whatever you want, right. You know, I’ve done that before; I’ve seen that trick and the bottom line is, this game will run at 60 frames a second. Not sure any of our competitors will.

"Not sure I’ve seen any of our competitors on the console especially running at 60 frames a second and I’d be a little scared at this point -- in June -- if I was looking forward to a particular game that wasn’t on the console and running at 60. And I think 60 is our competitive edge and you just don’t throw that away. "

"What you do is you build upon it, right? And build and build and build. And we build new tools that make us more efficient," he added. "So I don’t know what the future holds for the engine. But you don’t ship an engine, you ship a game."

In the same interview Schofield appears to deny that the Modern Warfare 3 sub-series was conceived as a trilogy or that it will end with the latest games. He also indicates that the single-player campaign will be "a little bit longer" than the previous game.

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Latest comments (25)

Tony Lawson Studying games software development, University of Sunderland10 years ago
60 fps should not be an advantage it should be the standard.

If there are games out there that cannot reach 60 fps on a dedicated games console then the game has not been made correctly. I can understand PC games making sacrificies because of the variations of hardware, OS and other applications running but on a console you know the hardware and what it can do. There are no excuses.
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Lewis Brown Snr Sourcer/Recruiter, Electronic Arts10 years ago
Its not sure its as simple as that I doubt the FX scale, vehicles and everything else would be possible at 60fps for Battlefield 3 and there is a lot more of that in Battlefield 3 than COD.

I'm sure a more technical person can states whether thats true or not.

I still cant tell much difference between 30/60 and would personally rather have all the bells and whistles offered, rather than more frame rate I cant really notice anyway....
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Tommy Thompson Studying Artificial Intelligence (PhD), University of Strathclyde10 years ago
I've always been rather skeptical of the 30 vs 60fps debate. So when you have two FPS games running varying fps how much of an impact does it make? I imagine that it is dependant upon the game engine and that Dice would not go to such lengths to release a console title that is unplayable. As Lewis says there is a LOT more going on Battlefield from what we've seen and that means a lot more computation (I think Halo 3 ran at 30 fps and it has a lot of stuff going on at any given moment). Furthermore, aren't framerate issues moot when you have to fight against latency problems with shoddy netcode?

Mr Schofield doesn't really bring anything to the table other than "60 is larger than 30". When we can see the MW3 engine pull of what BF3 is doing, maybe then it could be a proper debate. Otherwise this is Sledgehammers official entry into the mudslinging contest.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tommy Thompson on 29th June 2011 1:59pm

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Berkman Lord Gülenç Artist 10 years ago
I think most important part in a game these days is how much it binds with the player, and freedom to be and play the way they like.

Unfortunately, that disappears when you stop adding new content and innovative approaches to what you already have.

Mr. Schofield states that "You don’t ship an engine, you ship a game." and at the same time talks about a specification that is almost imposible to notice in a console game. More frames is ofcourse looks and feels better. But COD pays the price for that with resolution, size, effects, mechanics and so on. In the other hand, Battlefield 3 brings many new features to the sequel (Mostly for consoles, which is fair since whole 60fps thing is for consoles anyway.) and still there is no problems in graphics, even they are better.

Only thing good about Call of Duty in a technical side is 60fps and as a "Game to Ship" that positive side removes alot from game itself.

So next time I hope he realizes that going up to 60fps in the 'engine' reduces the overall quality of the 'game', spending computing power on something that is not noticable.

But ofcourse I see that as the last line of defence for COD, which surfaced, suprisingly, now?

His statement, "You don’t ship an engine, you ship a game." is invalid when you consider the whole text.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Berkman Lord Gülenç on 29th June 2011 4:43pm

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Jarryd Key Analyst 10 years ago
I disagree. 60 FPS simply isn't necessary for all games. In a game with a furious pace that requires split-second reaction times (e.g racing sim, competitive FPS, etc.)? Sure. However, slower paced games don't benefit from it. Imposing artificial technical requirements restricts graphical fidelity. Maintaining a consistent frame rate that does not drop below 30 is the most important thing. After all, 30fps has been considered a stable and acceptable frame rate since the early days of 3D accelerated PC games.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 10 years ago
60 frames per second is great where and when it's implemented, but I don't think it's by any means essential - I would rather stable servers and connection and a consistent framerate of minimum 30 fps. On the PS3 Black Ops online was horrendously unstable on launch, and I am informed Bad Company 2 had plenty of issues as well, so hopefully their 'sequels' respectively will be a bit more reliable.

Personally, I would take a multitude of game modes and various ways to play than a higher frame rate, which is why out of the two I'll probably be investing in BF3 this winter.
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Neil Alphonso Lead Designer, Splash Damage Ltd10 years ago
If 60 fps was essential, most titles on the market wouldn't be 30 fps. It's not really worth arguing as the evidence is in plain sight.

60 fps is without a doubt one of the biggest advantages CoD has as a franchise, so it's hardly surprising they'd champion it. I think that the primary dev platforms of BF and CoD will make a far bigger impact than framerate when they go toe to toe this fall.
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If the game is any half decent, 30 or 60fps doesnt matter too much overall. The end result experience and network of teammates is the final arbiter. Everything else is window dressing
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Graham Simpson Tea boy, Collins Stewart10 years ago
The 60fps argument by ATVI is all about setting a competitve gaming standard. You guys have really got to start thinking outside the box. COD is going competitive gaming ala SC2 style (just look at Elite it's the beginning). Think... competitions / TV / etc you name it. For that it needs a stable and fast engine. 30fps does not cut it when there are professional teams competing for money. One day COD will by in the Olympics. You read it here first.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Graham Simpson on 29th June 2011 3:57pm

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Gregory Keenan10 years ago
30FPS +Vsync most people don't notice the difference from what Ive seen.. Also Battlefield maps are so much larger than COD maps, more complex physics (bullets) and destructible environments. The engines are too dis-similar to be compared.
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Isnt it like comparing pears and apples? Some might like pears or apple,s and other prefer pomegranates or uber healthfoods
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Andrew Lee Pearson Studying Game Designer, Train2Game10 years ago
Each year Call of Duty releases a new game with higher graphics, however its easily noticed that to compensate the maps are tiny compared to the original and its expansion.
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Tommy Thompson Studying Artificial Intelligence (PhD), University of Strathclyde10 years ago
30fps doesn't appear to have upset all of those professional Halo players.

@Gregory & Chee
Agreed, the whole thing is just chest beating, there's no real argument to make.
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Alex Wright-Manning Head of Recruitment, Splash Damage Ltd10 years ago
I want my games to innovate, excite and enthrall me. I don’t need 60fps and 1080p to do that, and neither do the majority of the game playing public. Just ask Zynga, PopCap and Rovio.

Most buyers of either of these titles probably won't even know what FPS is, and as for the argument that 'professional' games players need to have 60fps or it affects their performance? Well, if that's the case they're likely playing on a PC anyway.

The day that CoD is in the Olympics, is the day that the human race needs to take a long hard look at itself. o_O
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Kevin Robertson Account Executive - Eastern North America, Unity Technologies10 years ago
To me, the rivalry isn't graphics. Do you like gameplay to be individual-oriented, where perks and score dominate, or do you like squad-based, tactical, team-oriented gameplay? The immersive suspension of disbelief is what draws fans of this genre, and DICE seems to align better to that formula. They've mastered the art of squad-based warfare recreation, and it looks like they'll be catching up, if not even surpassing Infinity Ward / Treyarch in single-player campaigns. I hear more and more people converting to BF from CoD where I don't hear anyone doing the opposite.
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Paul Baker Game Designer, Ubisoft10 years ago
The way I see it, if I can play the exact same level at 60 instead of 30 in an engine, as a dev, I`m going to add detail till I hit 30 (unless 60 is a mandate). I really don`t feel a lot of differnce between 60 and 30 in general, but if the game has lots of variation in FPS, then 60 will feel better, because if the game slows down to half speed at 60, its still 30 FPS.
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Adam Campbell Studying Games Technology, City University London10 years ago
In a lot of games like COD, 60fps isn't really 60fps..

That said, I think it's only an advantage in some ways and some games. I don't want 60fps in every game at the sacrifice of visual richness and complexity. Some games do better for having that.
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@ Kevin - Right on. You hit the nail on the proverbial spot!
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Tom Cooper QA Technician, Codemasters10 years ago
Console gamers love slick 60fps responsive titles as proved by the market leaders in both racing and shooters this generation.

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Dan Toose Senior Designer, The Creative Assembly10 years ago
Tony - You might want to rethink that when you're budgeting countless aspects of your game, with project goals that may require you to put more effort elsewhere. I'd avoid making arbitrary rules about you do and do have to do when you make games - You're going to find what's objectively vital in one project may be a subjective preference in another.

Kevin's take is on the money.

The kind of end users who truly care/think about what sort of frame rate their FPS is running at are PC gamers anyway, and would be mortified to have an average FPS as low as 60.
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Jamie Watson Studying Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment, Queensland University of Technology10 years ago
yes 60fps is good to have IF it is needed if not then 30fps is fine.

the whole point of FPS doesn't really matter at all along as the game can play well without lag or jagged edges etc.

i play BC2 on PC and dont get 60fps all the time,yet i play fine.
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Gábor Stanyó Programmer 10 years ago
An untrained brain might not be conscious about the differences between 30 and 60 fps, but those differences are there. First and foremost controller latency will be higher with 30 fps ( Eurogamer ) thus gamer reaction is faster with 60fps. Preferences might differ, but to me responsiveness is the most important thing in a game I intend to play (and replay) a lot. Second is bit subjective: low fps games tire my eyes much more than high fps games in long, over an hour game sessions.

High fps might be a hardcore action-gamer thing, but it is a playerbase big enough to cater to, so Sledgehammer is right in his own set. On the other side, I always thought of the Battlefield franchise as a more casual one, so BF3 will probably do fine with 30 fps.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game10 years ago
FPS may matter to some, and not to many others. However it wouldn't be prudent to mention the real competive edges. Firstly, CoD is the strongest brand in gaming. Regardless of which is the better game, more people have played the last 4 CoD iterations, and a lot of players are happy with CoD, it doesn't matter if BF3 is better, if they never actually get to play it becuase they bought the game they know they will like, rather than the one they may like. And launching head to head means less people will buy both.

Secondly, Battlefield has a strong chance of ruling PC, but from appearence, you can buy Call of Duty on Steam, and it is unclear whether BF3 will be pulled from steam to try to push Origin. If that is the case that is a great commercial advantage for Activision, but not a great one to use in an interview.
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Graham Simpson Tea boy, Collins Stewart10 years ago
See aTVIs announcement today

"Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 3 Multiplayer Reveal, Xbox 360 and Activision $1 Million Tournament, Immersive Live Events, and AAA Talent Combine to Kick Off Inaugural Call of Duty® Gamer Celebration 100% of Ticket Sales to Benefit The Call of Duty® Endowment"

Money Tournies
TV/Web broadcasting

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Graham Simpson on 30th June 2011 11:28am

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Marco Antonio Rocha Lima Systems Enginner - Workin as Qualit Assurance Coordinator 10 years ago
30, 60...120 it does not matter. What matters is a good game. Ok 60 fps,may be has a good response on controls... And i like both COD series and Battlefield series. As a Gamer on the Multiplayer side Battlefield is better with bigger sceneries and good graphics too. For some players is like prefer a Soccer Team than other. Thats not the case. As i said i like both but dont matter 30 or 60fps, im a hardcore gamer too. The developers may have to focus on network multiplayer algorithms, gameplay response, good scenery, visuals, textures, physics, realtime rendering, reasonable motion capture moves and good sounds sounds at a minimum limit of 30fps with a good story with good AI and a good multiplayer too with some possibilities as cooperative play, cooperative multiplay, multiplay with bots when the memory architecture permits and not focusing on 60fps only. Hardware capabilities will tell not only optmization with loss of quality. In my opinion If you dont have enough hardware you may have a minimun focus on achieve 30fps with the best quality you can do.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Marco Antonio Rocha Lima on 31st August 2011 6:58pm

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