I can't seem to find any way to remove the ugly black bars that are on the top and bottom of the screen. Supposedly, this is used to create a more cinematic look, but to me personally it looks ugly, and takes up too much room on an already small screen space.

Is there a way to disable them?


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The following information is now out of date and should not be considered as the answer.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.

But Why?

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:

720P Pixels

Hence the name 720P. The number of pixels from left to right is:

1280 Pixels

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: enter image description here With the black bars, the game DOES render like this: enter image description here

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?

#PCMasterRace ;)

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

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    Do you have a source for your assumptions? All other PS3 games work fine in 720p, even "down-graded" versions of PC or PS4 titles, like this one. What makes you think that The Evil Within couldn't run in 720p resolution, and that the cinematic effect is just a marketing ploy? Also, the PS4 and PC versions have the "cinematic" bars too, although they should be powerful enough for the game. – Kodama Oct 14 '14 at 23:47
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    @Kodama Why do you think guns got bigger and bigger on consoles? Same concept. Hiding part of the scene to have to render less. Same goes for narrow FOV's of some games. All just happening to save computing time. Consoles are holding gaming back. – user28015 Oct 14 '14 at 23:52
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    The reason they say it is a cinemtic experience is so they can hide the fact they are essentially lower the resolution being lowered, without actually lowering the resolution. – Ahkam Nihardeen Oct 14 '14 at 23:54
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    @Kodama, the aspect ratio is for all the games, regardless of platfrom (Unless you debug on your PC). The issue here is WHY the black bars exist, which is described above. If they only show the black bars on only the PS3 platform, people will complain that they are degrading the quality of one platform. To stop this, they just do it for all, stick a cinematic label, and all is good for them. – Ahkam Nihardeen Oct 15 '14 at 0:03
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    @KernelPanic, yes it does look awful. The PS3 is showing 720P (1280*720), but is acutally rendering less(1280*around 600). I am not sure for the PS3 version, it is 800 for the PS4 versions. Yes, the black bars would mean they render less so it is less stresfull and has a smaller toll on the FPS. I would recomend the PC version if your computer can handle it. – Ahkam Nihardeen Oct 15 '14 at 1:45

YES, this IS possible on PS3.

You can disable the cinematic black bars on all versions of The Evil Within, including the PS3, if you have downloaded the latest patch released June 2015.

In the pause menu select: options > graphics > letterbox > disabled.


As stated in the publishers official blog linked above the feature to remove the cinematic bars was based on fan feedback.

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  • lol thanks for the downvote, I wonder who it was and why they did it? hmmm. – Colin Sep 2 '15 at 4:54
  • I wonder aswell @Colin – Ahkam Nihardeen Sep 2 '15 at 5:27

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