The Evil Within's letterboxes are now optional on consoles

Eight months after The Evil Within came out, console players can finally go full-screen. A new update for the third-person horror game which lets players disable its contentious letterboxes is available now across all platforms.

Publisher Bethesda said the patch was based on community feedback to The Evil Within, which originally ran in an extra-wide 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Developer Tango Gameworks said this was part of the game's cinematic, claustrophobic vision, though skeptics theorized that rendering a smaller viewing area was also meant to improve performance.

A PC patch let player disable letterboxing (and bump The Evil Within's 30 frames-per-second cap up to 60) later in October, but it's pretty standard for PC games to offer more graphical options than their console counterparts. Now that everybody can drop the letterboxes, it's worth remembering that the game was designed with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio in mind, whether you think it was a worthwhile tradeoff or not.

"[It] prevents you from seeing the floor," senior producer Jason Bergman told NowGamer in a 2013 interview. "Any time you take something away from the player they’re very used to, it makes them uncomfortable[.]"

Later in that same interview, Bethesda VP of marketing Pete Hines said The Evil Within's difficulty is "part and parcel with the experience" and it "can’t feel casual and easy to get through." Since the new update also rebalances Casual difficulty "to be more forgiving to players with increased ammo amounts and adjustments to the game’s health bar," maybe artistic vision just has an eight-month expiration date.

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