Sony Santa Monica’s senior producer Steve Caterson has revealed that the team deliberately slowed God of War III’s framerate down from 60 frames-per-second during development in order to provide a cinematic effect.
The framerate for God of War III runs between 30 and 60 frames-per-second with v-sync enabled to stop tearing and Producer Caterson was more than happy to explain the advantages of this:
It’s interesting; God of War 2 had some tearing going on with it, but with GoW3 there shouldn’t be any tearing at all and the variable frame rate helps us out with that. We’ve also got some good code in place–that you can’t tell is working–which helps to make sure frame rate drops are gracefully executed. By graceful I mean that you won’t see any tearing.
In some respects—and I know I’m going to get shredded on the boards for saying this—we intentionally slow things down. We want to show you what’s going on in some scenes. A good example is this one huge creature who grabs Kratos and, if we showed that at speed, you would just never even see him. So we say, ‘ok slow the camera down, zoom in—there he is! Doesn’t he look cool?!’ and then we ramp the speed back up and put you back into the action. It’s a pacing thing.
Also, there are some small pauses in the combat that some people though were slowdown because there were so many guys on screen but it’s intentionally there because it makes the hits feel more impactful.
In a way it is understandable what Sony are trying to do here, after all the game is visually stunning to look at, so to be able to take all this in at a slowed down pace is surely a good thing, however there will no doubt be those out there who consider dropping the framerate as a cop out on Sony’s part.
Update: Sony Santa Monica’s director of technology, has spoken via Twitter to clarify this matter further, explaining that the slowing of the action is not the same as dropping the framerate “We slow timestep so 1 sec of game lasts >1 sec for dramatic effect. NOT the same as slowing the framerate”.