Recapping last week's game news -- following our DOOM benchmark and review -- mostly looks at major Overwatch playerbase announcements, future Star Wars titles (and an RTS, maybe?), and Ubisoft's plans through March, 2017.
Overwatch announced a major achievement in its acquisition of 9.7 million active players during its beta weekend, Respawn Entertainment teased its work on a new Star Wars title, as did EA, and Blizzard is making moves toward an eSports media network.
Video below, script below that.
Game Director Stig Asmussen recently posted to Respawn Entertainment's website that “I am happy to announce our partnership with Electronic Arts and Lucasfilm to deliver a whole new adventure to the galaxy.” Asmussen says that the company has begun work on a third-person Star Wars action-adventure title, and posted the announcement partially to make a call to talent for hire.
Respawn is known almost exclusively for Titanfall and is a studio founded by former Infinity Ward executives Vince Zampella and Jason West. With an expansive game making history, to include Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (recently remastered), Respawn believes it will herald the “exemplary level of quality first established at Respawn with Titanfall, a game that epitomizes our studio's dedication to […] groundbreaking mechanics.”
The domineering maw of a Venator class Destroyer from Star Wars stares down visitors entering MSI’s CES 2016 suite, a case mod 400 hours in the making by Sander van der Velden. The Destroyer bears near-perfect resemblance to the iconic Star Wars ship; its 3D-printed PLA shell is textured with intended imperfections to more realistically depict its battle-hardened exterior. Behind all the plastic casing and a sturdy, aluminum frame, the Venator hosts a micro-ATX gaming PC that’s fully operational and cooled on an open loop – but all the function is aesthetically implemented.
Battlefront is one of the best-optimized games right now, strictly looking at the graphics-versus-framerate output across multiple GPUs. The game fronts brilliant shading, lighting, and post-FX, leveraging what appears to be some form of PBR (though we're not positive) to create a more realistic aesthetic without hammering draw calls and polys.
That was all tested on an X99 platform, though, so we figured it'd be worth a look at Battlefront's fluidity across our (still limited) CPU suite. We benchmarked Battlefront with the Intel lineup (G3258 to i7) and some of AMD's FX CPUs, including one APU + dGPU combination. Anything not present here means one of two things: We either don't have it or it is presently being used for another benchmark, which accounts for quite a few CPUs, given game launch season.
We've been conducting CPU benchmarks on Star Wars Battlefront over the past few days and, thanks to DRM install limitations, it's taken a lot longer than normally. The testing has finally progressed to low-end CPUs, including the A10-7870K ($128) and popular Intel Pentium G3258 ($50) dual-core processor. The 7870K posed no issues with Battlefront – performance is nothing phenomenal, but it works – but the G3258 didn't work at all.
This limitation was a result of Battlefront's forced CPU requirements. The game demands a quad-core CPU, and the Pentium G3258 will produce a black screen issue when launching Battlefront. Interestingly, the beta seemed to work on the G3258 just fine – again, not the best FPS, but it worked – and that has ceased with the full launch. We're seeing a black screen with max FPS (200, capped) that allows console input, but doesn't actually output video. This threw a flag that the game should work with the G3258, even if poorly, and we decided to do some research.
During CPU and GPU benchmarking for Star Wars Battlefront, a DICE game published by EA, we encountered an additional layer of DRM beyond the EA Origin requirement. Steam, Origin, uPlay, and other proprietary game distribution applications utilize various means of digital rights management, often tied to online user accounts in the modern day, but some games go further.
October 9 saw the conclusion of a beta week full of GPU benchmarking, posting initial performance numbers that were agreeable with nearly all modern, $120+ GPUs. Our testing put everything from the 750 Ti to the 390X – and above – to the test, and we ultimately concluded that the ideal GPU selection included the R9 380 & GTX 960 for 1080p and GTX 970 & R9 390X for 1440p. But that was the beta, something we indicated amply in the first benchmark, and those numbers had potential to shift as the game approached launch.
Star Wars Battlefront is now officially out for PC. Our refreshed Star Wars Battlefront GPU benchmark tests FPS output at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K, using Ultra, High, and Medium settings. The tests, as always, bench the GTX 980 Ti vs. the 980, 970, 960, and downward, alongside AMD's R9 390X vs. the R9 290X, 285, 270X, and 250X.
Below is a look at the game's graphics settings maxed-out at 4K, followed by a quick recap of the Battlefront graphics settings and what they do.
During GPU and CPU benchmarking for Battlefront, we encountered a 200FPS framerate cap / lock when using high-end configurations. For accurate benchmarking, this FPS limit had to be removed to allow the “natural” or absolute performance of the hardware on-bench. Thankfully, being that Battlefront runs on a familiar Frostbyte engine to previous Battlefield titles, the console commands are all nearly identical to Battlefield 4.
Here's the command you want to unlock FPS and disable the FPS limit in Star Wars Battlefront:
This $1000 mATX gaming PC build is aimed at those wanting a fluid gaming performance at 1080p and, to a lesser extent, 1440p at a mix of high and ultra settings. While this PC won’t be a powerhouse or capable of computing the answer to life, the universe, and everything, it is fully capable of playing games like Fallout 4, Star Wars Battlefront (which we benchmarked), and GTA V (we also benchmarked) at reasonably high settings at 1080p and 1440p.
Today’s ~$1000 PC build uses an i5-6600K in conjunction with an nVidia GTX 970 graphics card. Together, the GTX 970 and i5-6600K PC build outputs an FPS exceeding 60FPS in Battlefront (1080p) and nearly meeting 60FPS at 1440p, easily running most games at Ultra settings with 1080p.
UPDATE: Our launch-day Battlefront GPU benchmarks are now live. Refer here for updated charts.
The PC version of Star Wars: Battlefront was made available through beta channels yesterday and, somewhat surprisingly, the graphics settings and assets appear to be fairly feature-complete. It's possible (even likely) that some final optimizations are in the pipe leading up to launch but, for now, the game's high-resolution, high LOD assets are a testament to its preparedness for benchmarking.
Star Wars: Battlefront fronts some of the most advanced, realistic graphics we've yet seen, rivaling GTA V and The Witcher 3 in intensity and technology. Battlefront makes heavy use of terrain deformation and tessellation to add the appearance of greater depth, smooth terrain elements, and create a landscape that scales impressively well at various view distances.
We deployed a suite of video cards to benchmark Star Wars: Battlefront in an exhaustive test, including SLI GTX 980 Tis, the Sea Hawk 980 Ti, GTX 980, GTX 970, 960s, 950, the 390X, 290X, 270X, and more. This Star Wars: Battlefront benchmark compares FPS of graphics cards at maximum (ultra) settings, high, and medium settings in 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions.
Disclaimer: This article makes no intentions to comment on gameplay value. We're strictly looking at visuals and framerate performance in Battlefront.
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