‘Our Game is 480p. Yeah, It’s Low Resolution, And Very Intentionally So’

‘ I don’t think anybody actually cares about this with 2D games,’ says Heart Machine’s Alex Preston.

Posted By | On 13th, Nov. 2014 Under News | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet

Hyper Light Drifter

If you are reading this, you are probably aware of the on going resolution wars between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Almost every game these days is expected to run at 1080p, even indie games. But Hyper Light Drifter, an upcoming indie game will run at 480p. For those who are unaware, Hyper Light Drifter is an upcoming 2D action role-playing game developed by Heart Machine releasing across a ton of platforms including PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Developer Alex Preston believes resolution does not matter for 2D games and he gives a pretty good reason to justify his statement. When asked whether his game will run at 1080p resolution, he had the following to say:

“Not at all ,our game is 480p, so. Yeah, it’s low resolution, and very intentionally so. I mean, it is pixel style, so why would we make it 1080p?,” he said to GamingBolt.

“I don’t think anybody actually cares about this with 2D games. It’s always more of a question of 3D games. I mean, resolution actually matters in that case. But in 2D games, it’s just the resolution you draw your sprite at. I don’t think that question has ever been a point of interest for anybody on 2D games, really.”

And for people who care about higher resolution in 2D games, Alex had the following to say. “And people who care about that, I mean, okay, great, that’s silly, I can’t help you.”

Alex definitely has a reasonable point here. Very few indie developers have the budgets of AAA game publishers and as such they work under very limited resources. Under such a situation, making a title with engaging gameplay should and must be a priority for them. And if the gameplay of Hyper Light Drifter below is anything to go by, Heart Machine are surely putting their limited resources to use in the right direction.

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  • WEL

    I sometimes just have to question the sanity of these so called indie devs or more like, hipster devs.Always with their arrogant statements like if they were the absolute truth when it really is not.

    As of now I’m playing Secret of Mana through emulation and the difference in sharpness when the resolution is increased is quite telling. And not to mention, 60fps too.

    • Guest

      I honestly don’t understand how or why Microsoft and Sony keep letting so much shovelware get on their systems. Some indie games are really cool but others are of such low quality that they wouldn’t even be accepted as NES games. Not to mention that they have the audicity to charge $20 for them.

    • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3


    • Cloud Air

      its funny that you would say sony and microsoft have too much shovelware right after the wii u got sonic boom lol

    • John Mumpitz

      its not microsoft, though. its SONY who is pushing with that indie crap, because they can’t afford AAA games.. its pathetic.

    • arbbles berglers

      ironically, the secret of mana’s actual artwork is what you would call “254p”. your emulator is upscaling it to fit your monitor. there’s no magical graphical enhancement from it. any sharpness you’re experiencing is from the difference between crt tvs and modern panels, and probably some antistropic filtering that the emulator itself is employing (which has nothing to do with resolution.

      so really, by pointing out your enjoyment of such a low reso game (snes’ native resolution is about 1/7th the resolution of 480p), you’re actually arguing in favor of a game like hyper light drifter not bothering with 1080p.

    • Nicholas

      You are a dunce. You are the exact target of his message, yet your own arrogance prevents you from understanding basic information.

      Secret of Mana does not magically become a higher native resolution simply because you loaded it with an emulator. It is upscaled, similarly to how this game will be on consoles. Your emulator actually does a worse job, as it uses software upscaling rather than hardware based like the consoles do.

      Oh and just to educate, your treasured Secret of Mana runs at 256×224, aka 224p.

      -Edited to fix autoincorrect changes.

      Wow I also got beaten by 8 minutes. Stupid job!

    • Stickz

      u just owned urself with that comment….

    • NinoBr0wn

      Whoosh right over his head

  • Guest


  • Guest

    Take THAT fake gamers. It’s about the gameplay, not the graphics.

    • Guest

      Yeah, MS fanboys should be all over this since they don’t care about res and only gameplay.

    • John Mumpitz

      fake gamers = every Sony Pony/NeoGaf-Member ever.

    • Brady the Defiled (sillibk)

      Fake gamers = Xbone Drones.

    • John Mumpitz

      Not really. XBOX ONE Owners dont care about graphics. They care about GAMEPLAY.
      PS4 Owners Are The ones who keep shouting 1080p and all. No matter how stuttery The end result is. Just Look at CoD AW and UNITY BOTH run better on xbox one.

  • asbofive

    Then I will Very Intentionally PASS!!!

  • Guest

    If this game is 480p on the PS4 then its 320p on X1. Just kidding, now watch a bunch of pathetic fanboys get all upset over a joke.

  • I think everyone is missing the point. The problem with resolution is that if you have a multiplaform game and it’s 1080p on one platform and 720p on the other, one is obviously better than the other. Holding back one platform to be less than 1080p to keep both systems the same is also a problem. Drawing pixels intentionally at 480p is fine and has nothing to do with the 1080p resolution “scandal”. I’m pretty sure the Xbox One and PS4 would just upscale that to 720p or 1080p to fit your TV anyhow. Also indies having less money than AAA has nothing to do with whether your game is 1080p or 480p. More pixels don’t cost more money.

  • albatrosMyster

    I think the point is in this paragraph actually:

    “I don’t think anybody actually cares about this with 2D games. It’s
    always more of a question of 3D games. I mean, resolution actually
    matters in that case. But in 2D games, it’s just the resolution you draw
    your sprite at. I don’t think that question has ever been a point of
    interest for anybody on 2D games, really.”

    It has become un-important for 2D games for the simple reason that the hardware has not been a limiting factor for a long long time for these games, so the devs pick whatever they want according to their budget/taste/ or they bet how lot they can go… and it works.

    For 3D games (as he notes for those who did read) there are technical reasons to render as high and as fast as you can, since the hardware is often a limiting factor this becomes a point of discussion (most of the time it’s really not about the games themselves, it really is used mostly as a comparison point for how different hardware platforms handle a given piece of code)…

  • DLConspiracy//

    This game looks cool hopefully resolution snobs will give it a chance.

  • smashbrolink

    So when’s it due to release?
    My wallet is ready!

  • I wonder why people cares about resolution AT ALL.
    They’re games.

    • ineedgames

      If they cared about Resolution in the first place then they shouldn’t call them selves gamers.

    • mrpete987

      I don’t care like it matters if the game is good or not, but you have to consider clarity of image on a large modern HDTV.

    • I play PS1 and Snes games in my modenr HDTV, I enjoy them even if the resolution is something like 320×240.
      People barely notice the difference between 720p, 900p and 1080p and if a game is good in 1080p, it can be good in 900p and 720p… so yeah, I don’t really see why people is so obsessed in getting 1080p.

  • mrpete987

    Is it weird that I think 2D artwork in games, both hand drawn and pixel art sprites, look fantastic in high definition? I’m not saying games are all about resolution, but look at Dragon’s Crown and that recent game Dust: an elysian tale. Both beautiful 2D games in high def. I really want this but shudder to think of what 480p will look like on my 50 inch 1080 p plasma.

    • Matt

      Not weird at all – think of the history of art before games.

  • Matt

    This is a strange thing to say. Any kind of art or text looks clearer when displayed at the native resolution of the screen. When I play older games on my PC that were 320×240 or so it looks better when blown up to 1920×1080 (my monitor’s native resolution), not upscaled afterwards by the video card.

  • Zeag

    The real way this game would work when rendered at true 1080p would be a zoomed out camera, thus showing more stuff on screen at once, which is most likely not what the dev is going for. Imagine the player being a tiny tiny mass of pixels on sub-32 screens; not fun.

    It would require a complete rethinking of the game’s mechanics (probably), more visual backgrounds and other technical considerations.

    I appreciate his choice for the game but his statement is partially incorrect 😛


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