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Evil Within to run at 30FPS, in letterbox

It’s a bit of a shame that considering this generation of consoles was supposed to make developing games that were compatible with them and PCs, a lot easier, it seems to be leading to crippled ports. The hardware in them is near identical to a mid to low end gaming PC, so it should be simple. Instead though, most PC ports we’ve seen so far won’t even support a higher frame rate than 30 out of the gate and that’s exactly what’s happening with the upcoming Evil Within, despite its ridiculous VRAM requirements.

The reason for the low frame rate, was apparently a decision that was made early on in development. “Shinji Mikami and the team at Tango designed The Evil Within to be played at 30fps and to utilize an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 for all platforms”, a Bethesda spokesperson said. “The team has worked the last four years perfecting the game experience with these settings in mind.”

They did however offer a caveat for PC gamers: “For PC players, we’ll provide debug commands on how you can alter the framerate and aspect ratio, but these commands and changes are not recommended or supported and we suggest everyone play the game as it was designed and intended for the best experience.”

I’d sacrifice a few wrecked mouth reflections for a few more FPS

Along with the sub-par frame rate, the aspect ratio seems like a weird choice too. Deliberate letterboxing is rarely something aimed for in an entertainment product, but according to Bethesda the idea is to display “certain elements,” in the black areas off screen. Weirdly, turning them off will be a “console-only,” command. It will be possible on PC, but Bethesda doesn’t recommend it.

Despite these restrictions on performance, Evil Within will still need a GPU with at least 4GB of VRAM to be able to run with the highest quality textures.

This is similar to the recent Shadow of Mordor bloated VRAM necessities and it stems from the fact that with the Xbox One and PS4 both feature 8GB of shared system memory that a developer can utilise big chunks of for texture storage. On the PC however, even though system memory is often higher, it can’t be so easily shared with the GPU, hence even those with Titans are struggling to run these games at maxed out settings – even if it doesn’t make much difference to fidelity when compared with other options like higher resolutions.

The PC version will get some extra graphical options to play with, but if you’re running a system with more than 4GB of VRAM, I expect you’ll easily be able to max out a game that can run on the GPUs in the PS4 and Xbox One anyway.

PC graphics options include:

  • Fullscreen or windowed support
  • Anti-aliasing – FXAA, MLAA, SMAA
  • Shadow Quality – High, Medium, Low
  • Motion Blur
  • SSAO
  • Reflections

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KitGuru Says: A 30 FPS lock in 2014 seems ridiculous, especially considering the requirements want an i7 or comparable CPU as well as all that VRAM.

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