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What if Uncharted 3 ran at 60FPS?

Amazing Sony video shows us how it looks.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception launches in the USA today: a game that somehow manages to eclipse the technical brilliance of its predecessor, offering up a range of graphical effects and physics work that is quite unlike anything else we've seen on the current generation platforms.

In common with most console titles, Drake's new adventure runs at a capped 30 frames per second - a necessity when you factor in the sheer amount of processing going on behind the scenes in rendering the state-of-the-art visuals. However, Jorge Soares, the editor of Eurogamer Portugal, noticed something rather interesting in a recent Uncharted 3 marketing video - the game was clearly and obviously running at 60 frames per second.

You can take a look at the 60Hz asset right here. Do bear in mind that streaming video doesn't take well to high frame rates, but most modern PCs should be able to handle the load - just switch to full-screen mode and things should be a lot smoother. The HD encode will require some pretty meaty CPU power to work smoothly - so for many, the SD encode will offer smoother playback. However, if you're using an iPad, you should get a lovely, smooth presentation.

Uncharted 3 desert gameplay miraculously running at 60FPS. Use the full-screen button for smoother frame rates - performance in the window on most streaming video is rather poor.

So how exactly was this video made, bearing in mind that the final shipping game categorically runs at 30FPS? No concrete answers were forthcoming from Sony PR, but the chances are that something akin to the multiplayer game's Cinema Mode was used to record gameplay, which was then dumped out of the system in an offline render. So how does it look? As you would expect, really: magnificent.

At Digital Foundry we're used to media assets being generated at absurdly high resolutions way beyond the capabilities of the existing consoles (Microsoft's recent 5120x2880 (!) Kinect Sports Season Two screenshots raised an eyebrow or two) but it's rare that we get to see any kind of artificial boost to temporal resolution. From what we can see, the game is still operating at native 720p - it's just the frame-rate that's had a boost (and Sony's encoder seems to have had some trouble with that, blending later frames) and as such, serves as an interesting "what if" on how Uncharted 3 might look and move on more powerful hardware.

To illustrate how the same section looks and performs in the final shipping game, check out our test below. We hope to have a full tech analysis of the single-player mode really soon.

Here's the same desert sequence analysed from in-game captures, demonstrating that the actual shipping title is capped at 30 frames per second.

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About the Author
Richard Leadbetter avatar

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.