|QUOTE (Digital Foundry)|
| The first thing we noticed is the unusually wide aspect ratio - it's closer to that of a 2:35:1 movie than the common 16:9 presentation we normally see in video games. Both versions of Dragon's Dogma are thus rendered in a sub-HD resolution (1280x608), but in order to avoid any unwanted scaling this is actually contained in a native 720p buffer with blank pixels rendered at the top and bottom of the screen.|
But why make the change? The open-world design of Dragon's Dogma is particularly demanding: large-scale environments are packed full of detail, while the world is lit and shaded using a huge number of dynamic light sources, all of which put a burden on the current-gen consoles with their limited amounts of RAM and processing power. In that respect, adopting this particular kind of framebuffer set-up works as a performance-saving measure designed to reduce the overall pixel workload of both console's respective GPUs, so that these resources can be better spent enhancing the visuals elsewhere. There'll obviously be a RAM saving too in comparison to a standard 720p image buffer.
As a side effect this gives the game a slightly more cinematic look, while images appear as crisp as they would in a 'full-screen' 720p game
Can't wait to see what happens when developers like these are unleashed on the next-gen consoles
Edit: this is that Iphone game/app whatever I was talking about yesterday: