Today, we learned that Redfall is going to hit Xbox Series X/S without a Performance Mode, locking the game to a 30FPS Quality Mode until a patch arrives sometime after release. Now, I need to speak to Redfall directly here: You look awesome, and I've spent a lot of years loving console games that ran at 30FPS - or worse. But PS5 and Xbox Series X have given us a glimpse of a glorious future where console games can run at 60FPS, and I'm not willing to give that up now.
Obviously, 60FPS performance modes are not yet universal on current-gen consoles. But we've begun to expect modern games - even gorgeous cinematic powerhouses like Sony's Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarok - to offer the option to go beyond 30FPS. These options have been common at least in part because many of these games were also built with the previous generation in mind, and if something can run to a reasonable standard on PS4 and Xbox One, surely it can be that much better on newer hardware.
That's about all the technical analysis you're going to get here, because I'm not qualified to provide much more and it ultimately doesn't matter much. 60FPS games simply feel dramatically better to play, and now that I've spent nearly three years getting used to console games with higher frame rates, I don't think there's any level of graphical fidelity impressive enough to make me willing to go back.
Redfall is a particularly curious example, given how the vast majority of pre-launch gameplay videos we've seen have been recorded at 60FPS, an experience console players will be unable to enjoy for some (unknown amount of) time.
That makes this sudden Performance Mode announcement feel like a bit of a bait and switch. For as dumb as controversies like Spider-Man's puddlegate are, console Redfall fans are genuinely going to get a launch experience that is demonstrably less smooth than what we've seen in extensive pre-release footage.
Plus this is a cooperative action game, one that'll presumably offer rewards for taking on enemies at escalating difficulty levels over time. I'm sure none of that will be impossible at 30FPS, but when that 60FPS patch hits it's going to feel like the training weights have come off. But I don't think I'm going to have the patience to wait for that moment.
The new-gen crossroads
This console generation is finally hitting its stride, and we're starting to see a strong run of current-gen exclusives. Games like the Dead Space remake and Forspoken have continued to offer 60FPS Performance Modes, while games like A Plague Tale: Requiem and Redfall are purely offering 30FPS options. We're at a bit of a crossroads here, and as devs start to really push the capabilities of the new machines, they're going to start asking the question: do we prioritize fancy visuals or smooth performance?
For me, that question is barely worth asking. We've seen loads of nice-looking games this generation already, but the true revelation of PS5 and Xbox Series X has been just how fast and snappy everything is. Quick resume, instant loading times, and, yes, high framerates. These are the features that have defined the new console generation, not better lighting or antialiasing.
Please, developers, I'm begging you. If you have to make me choose between Performance Mode and Quality Mode at launch, give me the one that actually makes the game play better.
Fingers crossed that more than a few of the biggest new games for 2023 will go the 60FPS route.