Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition runs in 1080p/60fps on Xbox One, the same resolution and frame rate as the PlayStation 4 version. Reaching those benchmarks, however, was an involved process, according to comments from Blizzard Entertainment production director John Hight. In an interview with Eurogamer, Hight explained the balancing act between resolution and frame rate and revealed how Blizzard was ultimately able to achieve 1080p for Xbox One.
Hight said Diablo III for Xbox One initially ran at 1080p, but Blizzard needed to lower the resolution to keep the game running smoothly at 60fps. "We did have 1080p, but we were finding it challenging to keep our frame rate. Because Diablo's so much of an action game, we wanted to have a responsive feel--especially with four players. When you get four witch doctors in a room full of demons, that's probably the worst case scenario for us because we have effects going off everywhere. We want to make sure that it still feels very glassy, very responsive, and that's why we dropped resolution down on it," he explained.
Hight went on to say that Blizzard found it "challenging" early in the development process to get the Xbox One version of Diablo III running at 1080p, and so the studio dropped the resolution to 900p. This news made headlines, and Microsoft reportedly did not want the PS4 version of Diablo III to be graphically superior to the Xbox One version.
According to Eurogamer's performance analysis of Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, from an image quality perspective, the Xbox One and PS4 versions are "absolutely identical." However, frame rate tests have shown that the Xbox One version dips below 60fps during some sections that feature more enemies and effects. As a result, Eurogamer argues that a 900p version on Xbox One might have resulted in smoother overall experience.
Last week, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said 1080p is not a "mythical, perfect resolution." He argues that frame rate is often more important than resolution, and said developers should determine what resolution and frame rate is best for their games.