Over the weekend, a story began spreading about a cracked version of Resident Evil Village which, with the DRM bypassed, runs better than the version on Steam. The team at Digital Foundry (opens in new tab) then put that claim to the test and confirmed that, yes, the pirated version does not stutter like the official version.
You can watch DF's analysis above, and here's a summary of the findings (opens in new tab), but the long-and-short of it is that, while the differences are relatively minor, regular DRM checks appeared to be causing frame stutters, particularly during combat.
The culprits in this case look to be the supervillain team-up of Capcom's in-house DRM alongside our old friend Denuvo, which is said to be layered on top of Capcom's tech. It's hard to point the finger at one or the other, but unless the cracker was also fixing bugs while removing DRM, it seems one or both of them must be the cause of the problem.
Denuvo says that it has nothing to do with any Resident Evil Village stuttering. The company sent PC Gamer the following statement: "At Denuvo, we understand that an uninterrupted gaming experience is key, after all we're gamers too. With respect to the recent piracy and tampering of Resident Evil Village, we have run multiple tests on multiple machines and there is no difference in game experience on the legitimate version protected with Denuvo Anti-Tamper, versus the unprotected version without Denuvo Anti-Tamper. We cannot comment specifically on the Capcom implementations as they are unrelated to Denuvo's solution."
Without directly saying that DRM is the cause (it's notable that this stuttering does not appear in the console versions, according to Digital Foundry), Capcom has acknowledged that there's a problem, and said a fix is on the way. It told us yesterday the company was "currently looking into the reported PC performance issues" before sending over a new statement this morning: "The team is working on a patch to address PC performance issues which will be available soon. We'll share more details as they’re available."
Bit embarrassing, innit. It's not been a red-letter day for Capcom or Resident Evil in general: As well as this, today saw the announcement that the spin-off RE: Verse has been delayed, yet again, and Capcom won't commit to anything beyond '2022' (opens in new tab).