A senior developer at Rocksteady Studios shared on Twitter that he believes the Xbox Series S console has “hamstrung” an entire generation of video games. A conversation has started online regarding game development following news that Gotham Knights will launch only supporting 30fps on consoles, despite being PS5 and Xbox Series X/S exclusive. This has prompted some to make strong statements regarding why some games may be constrained, and making the Xbox Series S a prime target.
A post from Gotham Knights developer Fleur Marty on Discord is what started today’s complex and controversial discourse. Marty explained that Gotham Knights would not feature a Performance Mode, a mode that usually sacrifices resolution and graphics features for frame rate. As such, Gotham Knights would only support 30fps on consoles. Developer Warner Bros. decision has been criticized by players who wanted Gotham Knights to support 60fps
In a series of tweets, Rocksteady senior character technical artist Lee Devonald joined the conversation regarding Gotham Knights. At first, his focus is on addressing what 60fps means and the tradeoffs necessary to reach that. He says it’s especially important considering “we have a current gen console that’s not much better than a last gen one.” He the responds to a question about a hardware bottleneck and specifically mentions the Xbox Series S GPU, with multi-platform games having to “optimize for the lowest performer.”
Another follow-up tweet from Devonald showed just how little the senior developer thinks of the Xbox Series S. He says that there’s an “entire generation of games, hamstrung by that potato.” The reason why the generation is hamstrung isn’t just because the Xbox Series S exists, though. Devonald explains that Microsoft “won’t let you launch on one without the other.” It’s this requirement, which must be met for a multi-platform game to launch on Xbox consoles whatsoever, paired with the Xbox Series S’ comparably less powerful GPU that explains why Devonald believes the generation is hamstrung.
To Devonald’s credit, he has since apologized for his posts regarding the Xbox Series S. Twitter users pointed out that Devonald’s call for respect for developers is hypocritical if he’s doing so while attacking Microsoft’s Xbox Series S developers in the same breath. He also clarifies that, while Rocksteady has the same parent company as Gotham Knights developer WB Games Montreal, he is completely unfamiliar with the project and doesn’t know anything about its development or what may be limiting the game.
A lengthy post from Devonald to close out his thoughts and step away from the conversation makes no mention of the Xbox Series S, but does say that any problems there might be with the current console generation are “likely not the reason for the decisions” behind Gotham Knights‘ 30fps. He says that he wanted to educate regarding “some of the trials that occur in development, and that development teams should “always be free to make their game their way.” Further, he reiterates that any level of developer abuse or harassment is wrong and needs to stop, something that everyone should be able to agree with.