Dark Souls II Was "Unplayable" Before Graphics Downgrade

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Dark Souls II Was "Unplayable" Before Graphics Downgrade

Dark Souls II

The PC version of Dark Souls II should still look and play the way the game looked and played in preview builds.

Dark Souls II fans who picked up the game for Xbox 360 or PS3 were pleased to find a top-notch game, but a little dismayed to see that it didn't quite look as good as Namco Bandai had been showing them in previews. For example, preview versions featured a lighting system that seemed to plunge the world of Drangleic into deep darkness, traversable only with the help of a trusty torch. A Forbes source has explained that the reasoning for the graphical downgrade was in pursuit of a stable framerate, as the game was practically "unplayable" on last-gen consoles before the downgrade.

"This is what it comes down to: a playable framerate. The early builds that the screenshots came from were playable but only just so. The game was not in a state where it could be sold at that point. I strongly suspect that they were focusing heavily on delivering a top-notch experience on PC and underestimated the challenges the new systems would pose on PS3 / Xbox360. That's my analysis, anyway. But, factually, the early builds played like Blighttown the entire game."

"I sincerely don't think they intended to deceive," said the source, "but in the end they sacrificed a huge amount of graphical fidelity at the very end of development because they couldn't resolve the framerate in any other way. They had to promote the game with screens and trailers, but at that time even they had no idea they were going to have to drop the settings so much, I suspect."

"The game would have been much worse without the change, as in, many would call it unplayable and broken," he added.

The source's comments heavily suggest that the PC version of the game will still look as great as it did in the preview builds. So, if you're a true Dark Souls fan, you may want to wait until the PC version releases in April.

Source: Forbes

Permalink

Rather than a complete downgrade for everyone, they're keeping the better graphics for the PC? I... don't know what to say. As a PC gamer, I'm almost never given this much respect on multi-platform releases.

Am I correct in understanding that it was only a problem on last-gen consoles and assuming the game would have been playable on PS4/XBoxOne? If that's true, then is there a significant amount of work involved in shipping down graded graphics for last-gen and the preview level graphics for current generation players?

Props for deciding not to ship a game with choppy frame rate issues.

Denamic:
Rather than a complete downgrade for everyone, they're keeping the better graphics for the PC? I... don't know what to say. As a PC gamer, I'm almost never given this much respect on multi-platform releases.

this pleases me greatly also.

However, in a game like this, I can see them wanting to keep a decent framerate going. so props to them for making that right decision rather than shipping the game out and having 8 billion customer support calls on why their system was on fire after 2 hours of playing the game. (lets face it, alot of console gamers stick their consoles in little cubby holes with bad ventilation)

I think it would have been better if their response had just been "the preview was of the PC version of the game".

Well, it's always nice to see PC players not get screwed over. But I'm not a big fan of how people are just giving this a free pass because it's Dark Souls. Seems slightly biased to me.

Steven Bogos:
For example, preview versions featured a lighting system that seemed to plunge the world of Drangleic into deep darkness, traversable only with the help of a trusty torch.

Well, that explains why I always found the torch useless (aside from puzzle solving) even though my TV traditionally does horribly as far as brightness goes. 'cause it was meant to be an important mechanic that was cut at the last moment. Huh.

On the other hand, I did just kill The Last Giant on NG+ while dual wielding Ladels. So I guess the graphical fidelity isn't as important to the fun as...everything else is.

It was rather silly for console gamers to expect the game to look that good and run on hardware as old as the PS3 and Xbox.

Hopefully, they're not misleading on the PC version however.

Elfgore:
Well, it's always nice to see PC players not get screwed over. But I'm not a big fan of how people are just giving this a free pass because it's Dark Souls. Seems slightly biased to me.

I've seen a considerable number of people raging hard over this because of it being "false advertising," so it's certainly not getting away with it, so to speak. Granted, I can buy the graphical fidelity argument, and I think people should know better than to acknowledge alpha/beta/whatever gameplay as "advertisement." This does sort of remind me of the whole Watchdogs hullabaloo though, which seems to have garnered a great deal more venom for whatever reason.

At least the game is good enough even without shiny graphics, though I am admittedly disappointed.

I remember watching the preview and thinking, "That's too dark. How am I going to be able to play in that?" So I guess I'm the only person on the planet that's okay with this. I don't know, I think they made the right call. Make it so the game is playable and enjoyable verses it's so pretty that it can't be seen by mortal eyes.

Honestly, I could care less about how fancy the graphics should of been. It's not why I buy a soul's game. I appreciate that they thought of frame-rate first as shitty frame-rate would ruin this game. Game has been pretty great so far, it's cool the pc guys get something a little more shiny

Mahorfeus:

Elfgore:
Well, it's always nice to see PC players not get screwed over. But I'm not a big fan of how people are just giving this a free pass because it's Dark Souls. Seems slightly biased to me.

I've seen a considerable number of people raging hard over this because of it being "false advertising," so it's certainly not getting away with it, so to speak. Granted, I can buy the graphical fidelity argument, and I think people should know better than to acknowledge alpha/beta/whatever gameplay as "advertisement." This does sort of remind me of the whole Watchdogs hullabaloo though, which seems to have garnered a great deal more venom for whatever reason.

At least the game is good enough even without shiny graphics, though I am admittedly disappointed.

People complain about Watch_Dogs graphical downgrade, I actually noticed an improvement but people don't seem to grasp that what changed was the colour pallet, which went from a B/W contrast, to a more subtle gradient colour pallet. B/W Contrast looks good in screenshots but is a nightmare to play (see here: most modern games), while a more gradient colour scheme, while superior, causes complications for those who can't tell colours apart (majority of males, especially younger male adults) which makes it appear worse. A gradient colour scheme makes the game more colourful (subtly) and infinitely more playable as more things can be visible (and pop-out) at any given time. They also removed a lot of the blacks and the whites and replaced them with more greens and blues, which is more attune to how the human eye works but again few people will notice this and will fly over their heads.

I actually see it as an upgrade in lighting, however, they appear to have not upgraded the anti-aliasing software or reflection models to compensate, or can't. I don't know about the weather effects though.

Seems like an engine limitation. You can only get it to run so lean before it starts taking big bites out of your framerates.

I will be happy when the port comes out and at least has all the prompts in KB & M, not that I'll use them. I always found a controller was more precise when trying to dodge fighting more than one enemy. Better graphics will be nice too. I do love me some good textures.

Good to know that there's never going to be a middle ground for console players seeing as how there's a new current gen that's been here since last year and it's nowhere near as weak as last gen and it's already coming out for PC "untouched" so I really can't see a reason for them not to put it on the current gens so fans don't have to go out and spend money on a new rig if they already have a current gen console, having options I've been told time and time again are a really nice thing for people to have, this is the case where there should be another instead of jus PC or old gen.

I may not be a fan of the series at all but hell if I see some options that can be used and even though PC users aren't getting screwed this time (as if they get screwed 100% of the time that's made out to be) I'd say console users are and it's not a "pffft you should have expected a downgrade you plebeians", it's better to expect at least a future version on the new current gens, they are new and here for a reason, to say it's too much effort or work is bs, to say they were working on old gen first is also bs since the games now out they should plan on a current gen release since current gens are "basically PC's" after all.

Why is this coming from a guy at Forbes talking to a source instead of the developers just saying it?

So how is this news O: ?
Pretty much EVERY multi plat game in the last 4-5 years was running on Low/Ultra Low settings on the PS3/360 at 28 fps and 690p.
That is worlds apart from the PC versions, hell even CoD looked much better on a PC then on a console. And they notice just now :O

Mahorfeus:
[quote="Elfgore" post="7.845345.20828937"]This does sort of remind me of the whole Watchdogs hullabaloo though, which seems to have garnered a great deal more venom for whatever reason.

That might be cuz whenever there was any Watchdogs' advertisement, it was related to how good it would look and then the gameplay stuff, asides from it pretty much being called the "next-gen flagship", so with all those expectations a lot of people didn't take well the delays and a considerable visual downgrade.

This game on the other hand, I've always heard about the setting is really good, and that the gameplay is really good but pretty hard to learn at first.

I'm sure if they really spend sometime with the engine they would be able to do it, logic being there are games before it on these consoles that looks better and runs smoother there's no reason why they couldn't do it if they would apply themselves.

I'm actually kind of ok with a graphical downgrade if it means the whole game isn't going be another blighttown situation. And honestly Dark Souls wasn't anything to really write home about graphically speaking but it still looked pretty damn great, and I'm sure Dark Souls II still looks pretty damn good for a downgraded PC to console port.

It'll be fine if they put in ACTUAL KEYBOARD AND MOUSE CONTROLS this time.

seditary:
Why is this coming from a guy at Forbes talking to a source instead of the developers just saying it?

Because as a salesman you never ever go "And over here is a shit product that we also sell...", especially not when it's the hottest selling cookie and you are charging the same price as everything else.
You hype it up as long as people want to buy it and if things are put in question you do some apologies much later on, still going home with all the rupees plus good will on top.

Obviously they can't run the same game on all systems but not telling people what comes with their box (or rather what doesn't) is still dodgy business, as in bordering on illegal.

I really hope this means that we will get all the goodies with the PC version.

I mean some people must understand that the downgrade was necessary for the game to even work. You can't really say that "oh no they are not giving respect to the game by scaling it down in graphical quality" and I tell you:

What do you expect? The last gen consoles are ancient 8year old machines with 512 RAM (that's how much I had on my computer in 2002 and it was considered "good") so stop being mad at the devs for not giving you top of the line graphic fidelity..only PC can offer you that.

Good.
Nobody wants blighttown 2.0.

I already have it on PS3 and was planning to get it on PC anyway so it doesn't matter too much to me. That said im glad that the PC version is actually going to look better rather than getting shafted like most PC games.

Sorry, but Konami themselfs did this trailer:

And for this case the same could have been done to inform everyone of what the product was actually going to be like instead of waiting for release day and go all "Oh wait, you thought THAT was on consoles? I know we let you play like that in the Betas and never made clear if the previews were from the PC or not but please, have some dignity"

ExtraDebit:
I'm sure if they really spend sometime with the engine they would be able to do it, logic being there are games before it on these consoles that looks better and runs smoother there's no reason why they couldn't do it if they would apply themselves.

You'd be surprised by how much processing power dynamic lighting systems tend to use

Elfgore:
Well, it's always nice to see PC players not get screwed over. But I'm not a big fan of how people are just giving this a free pass because it's Dark Souls. Seems slightly biased to me.

I figured Dark Souls 2 gets a free pass because the graphical fidelity isn't one of it's major selling points, whereas something like Watch Dogs gets lambasted because they made a point of hyping up the graphics.

Charcharo:
So how is this news O: ?
Pretty much EVERY multi plat game in the last 4-5 years was running on Low/Ultra Low settings on the PS3/360 at 28 fps and 690p.
That is worlds apart from the PC versions, hell even CoD looked much better on a PC then on a console. And they notice just now :O

True. For the past 5-6 years I've been mostly a console gamer and even I will not contest that. Yes, console versions of most games look considerably less pretty than their PC cousin. In other news, grass is green.

I wonder if they made this statement because of the whole Watch_Dogs bullshot nonsense.

Denamic:
Rather than a complete downgrade for everyone, they're keeping the better graphics for the PC? I... don't know what to say. As a PC gamer, I'm almost never given this much respect on multi-platform releases.

Wait until release and then see.

Given the Dark Soul's PC ports it's entirely possible that this could be marketing double speak for we got the PC version looking amazing but running at 20 fps on a good day, then we stopped developing and got back to work on the console version. Although hopefully not.

This is surprising news considering the devs kinda fucked up the PC release for Dark Souls 1. But now the PC version of DS2 is superior to the console version... Interesting. Well, I am always happy to see games not being limited to the console hardware.

fix-the-spade:

Denamic:
Rather than a complete downgrade for everyone, they're keeping the better graphics for the PC? I... don't know what to say. As a PC gamer, I'm almost never given this much respect on multi-platform releases.

Wait until release and then see.

Given the Dark Soul's PC ports it's entirely possible that this could be marketing double speak for we got the PC version looking amazing but running at 20 fps on a good day, then we stopped developing and got back to work on the console version. Although hopefully not.

I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one. Dark Souls' PC version was literally an afterthought. They had no plans to port the game and only did so in response to PC gamer demand(first time I can recall an internet petition actually accomplishing anything). Dark Souls 2 was planned as a multiplatform release from the start. Sure, it's possible that it could be an incredibly lazy multiplatform release, but given the sort of statements the devs have given in regards to the PC version, a repeat of the last game's port would cause an internet backdraft of epic proportions(and yet still seem insignificant in comparison to the Mass Effect 3 debacle).

While I don't agree with what From did, the moment I saw the previews for DaS2 I said to myself "on PS3/360... either those graphics are going to change, or the game is going to suffer." I do hate being right some time.

Austin93:

Elfgore:
Well, it's always nice to see PC players not get screwed over. But I'm not a big fan of how people are just giving this a free pass because it's Dark Souls. Seems slightly biased to me.

I figured Dark Souls 2 gets a free pass because the graphical fidelity isn't one of it's major selling points, whereas something like Watch Dogs gets lambasted because they made a point of hyping up the graphics.

I think this sums it up. Watch_Dogs is billed as a next-gen experience, the preview was running on "A PC emulating PS4 hardware" yet it seems that something had to give.

it's refreshing to see them being up-front and frank about this. Not making excuses but explaining the issue straight away. Good for them

I was wondering why the torches seemed useless so far. I haven't gotten far, but places that gave you a fire to light your torch didn't seem to need them and I was fairly certain I was at a spot from the trailer.
I guess if I every get a good enough computer and buy the game again I will have to expect darkness as a new challenge.

Kopikatsu:

On the other hand, I did just kill The Last Giant on NG+ while dual wielding Ladels.

And he was known to all from that day forward as the Soup Master, champion of the Ladle.
I won't lie, that sounds like an hilariously awesome way to try and beat the entire game.

Lovely Mixture:
While I don't agree with what From did, the moment I saw the previews for DaS2 I said to myself "on PS3/360... either those graphics are going to change, or the game is going to suffer." I do hate being right some time.

Austin93:

Elfgore:
Well, it's always nice to see PC players not get screwed over. But I'm not a big fan of how people are just giving this a free pass because it's Dark Souls. Seems slightly biased to me.

I figured Dark Souls 2 gets a free pass because the graphical fidelity isn't one of it's major selling points, whereas something like Watch Dogs gets lambasted because they made a point of hyping up the graphics.

I think this sums it up. Watch_Dogs is billed as a next-gen experience, the preview was running on "A PC emulating PS4 hardware" yet it seems that something had to give.

It wasn't emulating anything...Watch Dogs ran on a high end PC (I'm talking about the 2012 E3 demo).

On topic though, I really hope that all these boasting will actually pay off and not backstab us again like they did with the first game. I really want to play the game with mouse and keyboard for a change with rebindable keys, 60 fps and with graphic fidelity to fit the platform.

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