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Bioshock widescreen issues clarified

A couple of days ago, a number of widescreen TV owners having just bought Bioshock noticed that something appeared odd when comparing their displays with those of standard definition TVs. For some reason, the image looked like it had been cropped. According to the recent Irrational Games’ response, however, this is not the case at all.

Elizabeth Tobey, Community Manager at Irrational Games, provided the whole lowdown on the official site of Bioshock. She starts off saying that the game was developed and tuned with widescreen mode in mind as the primary display right from the word go. Artists and designers alike went through many widescreen mode options and then finally settled upon the one that best suited their idea of the optimal gameplay experience. For your information, the game doesn’t crop a lower resolution image so as to fit the widescreen mode, but renders natively to the max 1280×720 resolution when running at 720p.

Not to leave standard def owners out in the cold, Irrational opted for the field of view used by widescreen mode for 4:3 displays as well. Thus, both parties would experience the same quality of gameplay. However, in order to avoid leaving black bars on the upper and bottom parts, the developers “slightly” extended the vertical field of view for 4:3 mode. This way, they hoped to satisfy the needs of both high def and standard def owners.

In her conclusion, Elizabeth lends some hope for those simply unable to settle for the current mode:

We understand that not all users might not be happy with these choices and we will be looking into options for allowing users to adjust FOV settings manually. But as we mentioned earlier, changes to video game code do not happen in minutes or hours. We appreciate your understanding.

There you go. As said by the community manager herself, there’s still light at the end of the tunnel.

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16 comments on 'Bioshock widescreen issues clarified'

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lol i dont get what this “issue” is …. widescreen vs 4:3 it’s either its gonna be stretched and look fucked up or top/bottom cropped slightly to maintain aspect ratios… and if its not just chopping off image and its actually rendering to the correct native formats, then this isn’t na issue its a FOV design point. you can’t have the same view in 4:3 and widescreen without screwing someone over, im sorry but a tiny bit of roof and a bit of the dudes wrist isnt needed to play the game so why are we bitching about this?

Exactly. Nobody would have ever noticed if somebody hadn’t pointed it out. It doesn’t effect the gameplay at all and it is just people nit picking. Which as I always say: It doesn’t matter how good the game is, somebody will always find something to bitch about.

Comment by x El Scorpio x on 2007-08-24 21:19:33 | Reply

I don’t see the problem…it’s just fine and hardly anybody would have said anything about it if it wasn’t posted all over the internet

Comment by Steve B on 2007-08-24 21:40:30 | Reply

“Not the case at all”? Really? From what I read of their explanation, that’s exactly what it is - the 16×9 image is a cropped (but higher-rez) version of the 4×3 image. So what. Stanley Kubrick’s films, when broadcast (in 4×3) included did the same thing - extra “real estate” appeared at the top & bottom of the film. I guess most films that are wide aspect ratios are shot on 4×3 stock, then “matted” to bring them to the theatrical ratios. Kubrick preferred to go back to his original stock and use that for the broadcast version instead of resorting to pan & scan. It’s the same thing here.

Comment by AugustusBot on 2007-08-24 21:48:29 | Reply

This really is pretty lame by them though. Standard def tv people SHOULD be the ones left out in the cold, not those who spent big bucks on widescreen hdtvs. standard def should have the same vertical size limit as HD, and should not have black bars at the top / bottom. instead their horizontal range of vision should be smaller than those w/ widescreen… as it has been for every single game before this one.

Comment by trj156 on 2007-08-24 21:47:22 | Reply

this does not matter at all…

Comment by Nuncio on 2007-08-24 22:00:17 | Reply

Umm… How about how amazing this game really is. It is with out doubt one of the 10 best games I’ve played all time. I’m shocked that such a big deal is being made of this. Every one relax and play the game…

Comment by AugustusBot on 2007-08-24 22:07:55 | Reply

are you serious? top 10? ever.

Am i not far enough into the game yet? I killed steinmen, i’m at the beginning of neptunes bounty… and to me it’s just your run of the mill every day hohum FPS / survival horror.

i duno what the big deals about. zelda on wii is better imo, and i’ve been playing it all week instead of bioshock.

Comment by newmodel on 2007-08-24 22:08:30 | Reply

Yeah this game is crazy good, and looks amazing.

Comment by The_Glovner on 2007-08-24 22:28:14 | Reply

it is in my top 10 games of all time and twilight princes although good has also been down before and is run of the mill

Comment by The_Glovner on 2007-08-24 22:28:34 | Reply

i mean done not down

Comment by AugustusBot on 2007-08-24 22:44:51 | Reply

what has bioshock done that hasnt been done before? choices of being ‘good’ or ‘bad’? Jedi Knights games did it. The hacking mini games? It’s called Pipes, an age old game. Magic + Guns? That’s been done too.

I admit zelda is the same formula every zelda game, but it also gets better each game.

Bioshock, like Gears was, is overhyped. Ya, it’s good, but no i’m nowhere near the point of claiming its one of 10 best ever.

Comment by AugustusBot on 2007-08-24 22:48:51 | Reply

*like i said though, i’m only about 3.5 hours into the game. apparently it gets amazing?

Comment by InfamousGuZ on 2007-08-25 00:48:12 | Reply

I think if you finish the game you’ll change your mind. It may have been done before. But not this well. This game ranks up there with Half-Life for me.

I mean, I played the game through looking for everything, over 15 hours. I plan on playing it again, and again.

Comment by Daze Of War on 2007-08-24 22:38:44 | Reply

Who cares. Just play the damn game and enjoy it. It’s not like it ruins the game. Freakin cry babies.

Comment by SDungeon on 2007-08-25 04:10:01 | Reply

pfft, if there is a better gaming experience that is available if the devs release a bioshock patch, then of course people will bitch about it. Bioshock arrives at my little local gamestore next week and hope a little FOV patch comes out. Quite a few computer games I have have had FOV patches released for them just because - the gaming experience can get better. If all you’re really absorbing is mainly video from the TV, then don’t you want that video to be the best it can?

Wait guys, play through the game, wait for a patch, play it again, but with a slightly fresher experience.

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