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inFamous Second Son's Director Explains Why The Game Runs At 30fps

New game's resolution.

We spoke to inFamous Second Son’s director recently, and in our interview he explained exactly why Sucker Punch have chosen to make the game run at a frame rate of 30 frames per second with a 1080p resolution, rather than aiming for 60fps.

Instead of asking him why the game was 30fps, we chose to ask exactly what the game would be like, and what it would’ve lost if they had gone for 60fps instead.

“Resolution.” replied Nate, continuing with “I mean, that’s the easy answer, right? That’s what PC games do.”

“I wouldn’t want to compromise any of the particle effects, as I think that’s what makes Delsin’s powers look alive and real… and you can’t sacrifice any of that” said Nate, suggesting that a higher frame rate could be detrimental to this effects system. “Cruising around town and using those abilities is the chief joy of the game, so that’s not going to be it, and we’re certainly not going to cut down on the detail in the world.”


“What would you expect would go away in a game? Resolution seems like the obvious thing.” was the question posed by Nate to us, and we mentioned how they might have to reduce the people on the streets. “You need people on the streets, or you don’t feel like the hero, unless you’re saving people, you’re just some crazy super killer.”

So, resolution could naturally be affected by attempts to have a higher frame rate, though particle effects and the amount of NPCs were clearly other problems Sucker Punch faced.

It’s obviously something they’ve experimented with, and while the PS4 is a powerful machine, they weren’t willing to cut back on any of the graphical effects purely to get it running at a faster frame rate. It’s clear they’ve considered these things, and made the best choices for the game.

You can see our full video interview tomorrow afternoon, which features even more interesting tidbits of information, such as why they chose to abandon Cole, how Delsin’s character evolved through Troy Baker’s acting and a message to beanie-haters such as our very own Tuffcub.

  1. The Von Braun
    Since: Oct 2012

    Probably not a popular view, but….

    I’m starting to think gamers are now turning into the most spolit group on the planet, i mean why should any developer have to ‘explain’ why they went for a certain frame rate or resolution, unless it was such a p*ss poor decision, the game was broken as a result?.Fine it’s 30 fps at 1080P, as a huge Infamous fan, niether area of game performance are my concerns, i want to see how after 2 proper games and 1 lot of superb DLC, Sucker Punch have evolved the gameplay.If it’s just the PS3 exp, with ‘ohhhhhh’ type fancy lighting effects, it could run at $X HD, 120 FPS and it’d still feel like a dissapointment.

    I don’t seem to recal movie directors coming out and explaining why they shot a blockbuster in a certain format (or if they have, not anywhere as much as developers seem to be ‘forced’ into doing so at moment).

    Yes, i know it’s a new generation of hardware and people ‘expect’ 1080P 60 FPS or it’s not next-gen, but it’s getting bloody tiresome seeing developers explaining resolutions, frame rates etc.

    If media wants to put them (developers, period)on the spot, how about asking so real bloody questions like:why’s the A.I still ropey? why have’nt you taken the gameplay a damn sight further? why does this ‘feel like a last gen’ game running in a better engine? and WTF are they doing in here? (QTE’s)…

    If that’s all it’s going to take to stop people going wahhh, it’s only…(720P or 30 FPS), good luck when 1080P/60 FPS becomes the focus from developers at expense of pushing back the limits on delivering a far better gaming exp.

    Rant over….


    Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 00:39.
    • Blair Inglis
      Since: May 2009

      We also asked real questions such as: why does Delsin wear a beanie?

      This was just the most newsy of them :)

      Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 02:21.
      • Tuffcub
        On the naughty step.
        Since: Dec 2008

        I await the answer with interest.

        Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 09:17.
      • double-o-dave
        Since: Nov 2008

        I guess it’s better than them naming him Frank and making him wear a beret.

        Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 10:25.
    • jonny_bolton
      Chooses The Impossible
      Since: Oct 2008

      I started to feel the same way about gamers after the Mass Effect 3 debacle.

      What right do they have to demand the game be changed post production because they didn’t like it?

      Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 08:08.
    • Avenger
      Since: Oct 2012

      Agreed 100% completely. The whole resolution stuff is tiring, and any information on why the FPS is like it is, is also tiring because it’s all about resource budget and what you want to do in a game.

      As for TSA actually covering this though, they’re free to do what they want; I’m not complaining really. If not for The Von Braun’s comment I would’ve skimmed through and ignored the article.

      Nevertheless I see your point Von Braun, and it was a good rant.

      Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 08:49.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      We felt we could ask the question in an interesting way, so ran with it. It might be the same old topic, but definitely watch the interview for how he answered it.

      Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 10:42.
    • boeboe
      Since: Feb 2013

      I like your posts because its so easy to get sucked into the whole gfx debate and lose a sense of perspective.

      We are essentially worrying about something that is out of our control; they make the game to their design and we play it. How it should always be. Yes, when a game drops with an unstable framerate or screen tearing then that’s a debate but the fact we’re (not TSA, everyone) putting pro’s like Sucker Punch under the microscope is mental.

      Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 11:34.
    • N12K
      Since: Oct 2010

      For me, I think the point is we are talking about hardware that has only been out for 4 months and we are already hearing about developers having to make decisions on dropping frame rates or resolution. I would have presumed it would have been the other way around – developers getting away with sloppy programming where the hardware is new and powerful, with these types of sacrifices being made near the end of the generation.

      I’m not going to argue that gameplay is more important than graphics, I would have to agree, but I can’t help but feel dissapointed we aren’t seeing 1080/60fps on a ‘next gen’ gaming console

      Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 17:47.
      • RudeAwakening
        Since: Jan 2011

        “I’m not going to argue that gameplay is more important than graphics, I would have to agree, but I can’t help but feel disappointed we aren’t seeing 1080/60fps on a ‘next gen’ gaming console”

        I completly agree, we were been told before the PS4 was coming out that the industry would be hitting 60fps and 1080p, so it’s a little worrying that developers still can’t do this on the consoles.

        Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 18:32.
  2. Steelhead
    Since: Oct 2013

    As long as the game provides an entertaining and memorable gaming experience I honestly don’t care. Sucker Punch are old hands now, they know what their doing and I am willing to trust them.

    Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 05:44.
    • Steelhead
      Since: Oct 2013

      Also just thought I’d mention, I’m in the camp that thinks beanies are bloody stupid.

      Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 05:45.
      • JR.
        Since: Apr 2013

        Beenies ARE stupid. And so 2005. I hope there are a variety of reasonably priced hats or masks to buy on the playstation store so we can cover that monstrosity up :)

        Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 08:41.
  3. BullyBurton
    Since: Feb 2013

    If it is a locked 30fps then that will be nice. The jump from 30 to 60fps has never been as apparent to me as the drop from 30 to sub 25fps. As long as this game entertains then I couldn’t care too much about an extra 30fps i’d struggle to appreciate.
    Beanies don’t bother me, but hoods when there is no rain with trousers down and boxers showing is a call to be sectioned! Bring back the 50’s/60’s when there was pride in neat and sharp dress.

    Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 08:46.
    • freezebug2
      Since: Dec 2008

      I think the trousers halfway down people should have the job finished by passers by with a little helpful tug, it’s not like they need to hide the embarassment of showing the boxers but mainly because they wouldn’t be able to give chase with their trousers wrapped around their ankles. :P

      Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 11:18.
  4. Starman
    Since: Jul 2011

    When I said on a titanfall article recently that the fps/resolution stories were tiresome quite a few people said they were still interested in it. Seems there’s less interest when its a PS4 game.

    Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 09:33.
    • blarty
      Since: Apr 2011

      For me Titanfall is a game that’s pushing 60fps as it’s lead concern, and it’s having to sacrifice resolution for that – plus it’s based on a well established Source engine that isn’t necessarily pushing the boundaries of performance.

      I think Titanfall will be optimised and will be upped to 900p, I just feel the tradeoffs made for the XB1 are more stark and pronounced than those being made for the PS4

      Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 09:41.
    • double-o-dave
      Since: Nov 2008

      For me resolution is still a big deal, but not so much frame rate unless its a racing game etc. I don’t wanna sound like a spoilt gamer like Von Braun was saying but I think with this generation 1080p should be expected.

      Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 10:33.
    • bunimomike
      Since: Jul 2009

      Not really. It’s less relevance when it’s a console exclusive. The thing that everyone’s getting worked up about is the comparison titles where we see the Xbox One struggling to keep up with the PS4 (whether it be frame-rate or resolution).

      Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 10:46.
  5. blarty
    Since: Apr 2011

    I don’t see what the issue is, 1080p60 is a consequence of one way of throiwng the dice for the capabilities of the system – and we see that in multiplat launch titles the tradeoffs for the XB1 were harder than on the PS4, you can see the tradeoff in Titanfall for 60 fps at 792p!

    In this instance you have a game that doesn’t NEED to care about framerate and effects and spectacle are the important things here, and the quality of those effects increase at higher resolutions, but you sacrifice fps to push more pixels and effects.

    Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 09:39.
  6. bunimomike
    Since: Jul 2009

    Great question to ask. :-)

    The thing is… it’s interesting to see where the differences lie. What would we lose if a title pushes for 60fps? The Last of Us was the same. It would have loved to do 60fps but it was never going to happen. So they take the extra detail and fidelity with 30fps instead of losing some of those bells and whistles that often help to create the immersive environment (or special effects) that we’ve grown to love.

    Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 10:50.
  7. freezebug2
    Since: Dec 2008

    The most important factor I hink is the need for a rock steady frame rate, whether that’s 30fps or 60fps. Frame drop can be a gamebreaker, good examples are platformers where run/jump timing is of the essence, any frame drop could be disastrous as well as mega frustrating.
    Even more popular tiles like Uncharted or Tomb Raider would suffer massively with frame drop during gameplay based on the same principles.
    Racing titles would benefit massively from a 60fps output from a realism or simulation point of view but any induced frame drop would make a pigs ear out of a pearl neckware item!
    Regarding next gen 1080/60; First and foremost, gameplay has to play a major factor. But as a capable console those figures have to be taken into account otherwise the previous gen with it’s abundant library of titles will be seen as the preferable option leaving no advantage to be gained from upgrading.

    Just my $0.02

    Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 10:57.
    • Kennykazey
      Since: Mar 2010

      Tomb Raider Definitive Edition has framerate drops, but they’re generally handled in such a way that you hardly notice and don’t care. Staying mostly in the 60-45FPS area I believe.

      Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 12:40.
  8. Kennykazey
    Since: Mar 2010

    I find technical detail on a games makeup interesting, but that mean more than just framerate and resolution. It’s always a balancing act and if this generation can at least offer steady 30FPS, I’ll be happy.

    In my head I expect three things from the new consoles: A steady framerate, good texture-filtering and v-sync.

    The interesting thing is how Nintendo is pushing 60FPS over resolution on their titles. And with great results even on the weaker hardware.

    Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 12:47.
  9. The Von Braun
    Since: Oct 2012

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    Von Braun Rants…is’nt it about time you reached for the rant?.

    Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 13:32.
    • bunimomike
      Since: Jul 2009

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      Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 15:26.
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        Since: Oct 2012

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        Comment posted on 12/03/2014 at 16:14.