The cyber-FPS remake Hard Reset Redux is out today, and naturally there's a launch trailer, which is every bit as goofy as, but slightly more narratively cohesive than, the game itself. But there are also concerns kicking around (hey, Reddit) that the new version is actually a downgrade of the original, with lower-quality textures, fewer anti-aliasing options, and missing effects. In response to the complaints, developer Flying Wild Hog has issued a statement explaining “two of the main changes we made to the game's appearance, and why we made them.”
Here are the relevant bits, quoted in their entirety:
“1. Baked Ambient Occlusion (Hard Reset) has been changed to a Dynamic system (SSAO): One of the main undertakings that we made when developing Redux, was to upgrade the game to the new version of our in-house Roadhog game engine (RoadHog v2). The new Dynamic system is one of the changes that came with this move of engines, as our new engine no longer uses Baked Ambient Occlusion (none of the games we’ve released have used this post the original Hard Reset). The new Dynamic system used in Redux is an overall improvement, as it works on ALL OBJECTS instead of ONLY STATIC ones. This is an important change in a game like Redux, as it features a ton of dynamic objects with physics. So this new system works better to highlight more of the objects that players will be directly interacting with during their playtime (e.g. characters, barrels, terminals etc). Nothing has been removed from the game, as it just currently uses a different system which highlights more objects instead of a pre-determined selection."
"2. Textures and Post Process: As with the Occlusion system, we have changed the post-processing filters we used in the original Hard Reset. Redux does not use the same Image Sharpen Post Process which was used in the original H.R. This change was made to decrease aliasing, which cause flickering during camera motion. Because of this the game can at times look worse during static screens, but it looks better in motion. Hard Reset Redux is a game where players will constantly be moving and shooting; so this change was made to improve the overall visual experience that the game delivers during gameplay.”
Separate from that, the studio said it is looking into reports of “missing particles and lighting effects,” and will issue fixes if and when it confirms that there are problems. That may well be what's happening in these images, in which the new, graphically “enhanced” version looks significantly poorer than the original: The Reddit post in which they're linked says the effects were cut intentionally to increase performance, but the developer's response suggests it may in fact be a bug. Either way, the differences are also apparent in the comparison video posted below, although based on the Fraps counter, the framerate of the Redux version is dramatically increased. (Fair to say that the original is screaming along pretty well too, though.)
“Overall we all feel confident that Redux represents a solid improvement over the original Hard Reset,” Flying Wild Hog said. “Not just because of the new content and features that we added which improve gameplay and add new variety (even for seasoned HR players), but because Redux is a considerably better performing game which offers players a smoother and better balanced overall experience.”
Update: The post originally stated that the 85 percent discount for owners of Hard Reset or Shadow Warrior was only valid until June 10. It's actually a permanent discount; June 10 is when the standard ten percent launch discount expires.