EDIT: June 2015
As of June 2015, the bars can now be disabled on all consoles via the settings. To disable:
- Navigate to the Pause Menu
- Selection Options
- Select Graphics
- Select Letterbox
- Select Disable Letterbox
The following information is now out of date and should not be considered as the answer. It is left for archival purposes.
This is not possbile for PS3
Though they state that it gives a more cinematic view, there is another reason why they did it.
By putting black bars on the top and bottom area, they can lower the amount of the game needing to be rendered at any time. Most PS3 renders the game at 720P. This means the amount of pixels from top to bottom is:
Hence the name 720P. The number of pixels from left to right is:
The total number of pixels on the screen being rendered at any time by most games is equal to:
1280 x 720 = 921600
You can see the this in the image below, showing the resolution and the number of pixels on both the height and width for the most widely-adopeted resolutions:
The problem is that the PS3 is incredibly old hardware, and such cannot render the game as good as they want to be with a low FPS. To combat this, they lowered the number of pixels being rendered by the PS3.
Without the black bars, the game could render like this:
With the black bars, the game DOES render like this:
By doing this, you end up rendering less of the game, since sections are not being rendered and are being covered up by the black bars.
This does Two things:
- The game runs faster, with more FPS, compared with rendering all those pixels, and
- Allowing the game devs to increase graphic abilities without loss of FPS as much
But why can you do it on PC?
Just kidding, the reason is that PC can be more powerful that PS3, so they can handle rendering all the pixels easily if they have good specs. The developers then don't need to limit the resolution they can render, so they allowed to change them in the Debug settings. Of cours, they would like you to refrain from doing that (to allow this practice to be widely adopted), but they still gave them the chance anyway