Since the demos for 2K Czech’s Mafia II have become available, a controversy has erupted over the visual differences between the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions. The main bone of contention for PlayStation 3 owners was that some of the environmental effects on the PS3 appeared inferior to those displayed on the Xbox 360.

Frankly, the major difference even a layman would notice was that the grass in the PS3 version was very flat, washed out, and lacked detail when compared to the Xbox 360. Because this was a demo, PS3 owners still held out hope that these effects would be included in the final build of the game.

However, Elizabeth Tobey, Senior Manager of Interactive Marketing for 2K Games, today confirmed that the lack of detail was done purposely:

Hey guys,

When designing Mafia II, we optimized for each of the three different systems the game would run on to make sure the core experience was the best it could be. Because of this, there are some differences from one platform to the next. In terms of the PS3 version, I wanted to clarify a couple points you have been asking about: There will not be highly detailed grass or large pools of blood, the cloth movement is less noticeable than, for example, the PC version, and the visual fidelity in the demo is generally representative of what you’ll see in the full game.

Our aim is to make a cohesive and immersive experience and optimize the game for each platform so that it could run its best. And while there are some differences between each version, I’m sure you’ll find that the core gameplay and the heart of Mafia II remains no matter whether you play on PS3, 360, or PC.

Thanks for your patience while I checked with the dev team on the specific issues you were asking about, and I hope you see you in Empire Bay next week.

This caused the controversy to explode as PS3 owners had a difficult time understanding why 2K could not at least achieve visual parity on both systems. In response to accusations that 2K was providing an inferior port of the PC and Xbox 360 versions, Tobey responded:

The core of the game is exactly the same – the most important aspects of the game remains throughout every version of Mafia II. To me, that is the utmost important thing – that we focused on what we truly wanted people to experience and made it amazing…

I really dislike the word “inferior” because I disagree with it completely. I wanted to answer your specific questions about individual details people brought up, but overall the PS3 version of the game is a full world with all the content (and actually exclusive extra content) and an amazing story line full of driving, shooting, and other Mafia goodness.

It’s a shame to put down the work the team has done because of a few specific details – as I said, there are slight differences across all three platforms, but the core and important part of the game is the same…

Nothing was ported. Each version was built on its own system – be it PS3, 360, or PC. That’s actually one of the reasons for the slight variations – there is no port here.

Tobey further explained that the grass effects had to be removed from the PS3 version in order to maintain an acceptable framerate, which is not something PS3 owners wanted to hear (or could believe). To see what all the fuss is about, check out the two playthrough videos below. The top video shows Mafia II on the 360 and the bottom is on the PS3.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiEsCuMoFHw

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKHuSyhPvvk&feature=related

Amazingly, this “controversy” is all about the lack of grass and blood. Seriously. Look, I understand wanting games to look as pretty as possible and it’s likely that this issue could have been avoided with a longer development time. But still…we’re talking about grass and blood. If PlayStation 3 owners are really that bent out of shape over having the ultimate graphics, they should buy all their games on a PC. Furthermore, the real problem with both console versions appears to be some major tearing and antialiasing problems…at least in the demos.

Unfortunately, this seems to be more of a “Xbox 360 version looks better, so we’re angry” debate and Mafia II is the latest proxy for this fanboy-console war. The irony is that the gameplay appears to be the same on both systems, and PlayStation 3 owners will be receiving exclusive and FREE DLC available at launch. The Betrayal of Jimmy download pack will provide PS3 owners with an additional 25 missions, which is no small thing.

So PlayStation 3 owners, are you going to boycott Mafia II on the PS3 as a result of the minor difference in graphics? And if so, will you consider buying it for the PC or Xbox 360?

Mafia II releases on August 24, 2010, for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows PC.

Source: 2K Forums

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