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Gears of War 3 stereoscopic 3D announced

Epic confirms full 3D stereo coming to Xbox.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Upcoming Xbox 360 exclusive Gears of War 3 includes the option to play in stereoscopic 3D, Epic Games has announced.

"We asked, could we do it?" executive producer Rod Fergusson told Eurogamer at a Gears of War 3 event in London.

"It felt like something we wanted to have. It was a feature we didn't want to be deficient in. When you look at Gears 1, it was what people used to demo HD at the time.

"It's still fledgling technology. It's still a niche feature. But it was something we could support, so we felt, why not?"

A handful of Xbox 360 games have launched under the "stereoscopic 3D" banner, including Crytek's Crysis 2 and Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops.

But the Xbox 360 does not, currently, output in 3D to the same degree as the PlayStation 3. That is, it does not output in full, HDMI 1.4 stereoscopic 3D in the 1280x1470 twin 720p framebuffer configuration.

Instead, the Xbox 360 renders using 3D techniques based on the principle of two distinct images crammed into one 720p framebuffer. This is how Gears of War 3's 3D effect works.

It also forces the game to run at a lower resolution. "It's a little bit jaggier in certain areas," Fergusson said. But the difference is "not huge". "Instead of 720p you're at five something," he explained.

"It was something that came in really late in our process. It wasn't something where we said, OK, we're going to design the game from the ground up for 3D. It was more of a post-process 3D, where we're like, OK, certain things need to be adjusted, but for the most part it generally works.

"It's great. I love the qualities it provides, the window into a world. That's what the 3D gives you. Having that depth of character, and being able to see that separation from the reticule and the creatures in the background – it's a different experience but it's a really good one."

Meanwhile, Fergusson confirmed Eurogamer's May story that revealed that full, PlayStation 3 level stereoscopic 3D is coming to the Xbox 360 – in effect a 720p image per eye.

"As you look forward, in the next XDKs [Xbox Development Kit] coming out of the Xbox, it'll have more support for 3D or more higher quality for native support for 3D," Fergusson said.

"We're supporting the current state of the art for Xbox. Moving forward, the Xbox will be able to take it further."

Fergusson's comments here suggest full stereo 3D on Xbox 360 will not be enabled until after Gears of War 3's 20th September launch.

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