The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Final Fantasy XV

The Lows

Tyler WIlde: I finally want to fantasy
This is a pretty minor quibble—I’ve had a good week—but I’m so tired of the game we play with publishers who don’t want to admit that their game is definitely coming to PC. I misread our own headline about Final Fantasy XV which said it may be coming to PC, missing the “may,” and had a weird wave of excitement. I’ve never been into Final Fantasy, but I suddenly really wanted to play this one.

While I contemplate what my life is going to be like after I move into a big blocky East Coast home surrounded by parks and schools—not at all what I’m used to—the thought of disappearing into a hundred hours of silly RPGing became more appealing than it’s been since I first played Mass Effect during a lonely week by myself in a studio apartment. But then I read the “may” and got bummed. I’m 99 percent sure FFXV will be on PC, but all the ‘will they, won’t they’ crap is as exasperating as Ross and Rachel. Just marry us already you dweebs.

Evan Lahti: XCOM 2 performance issues
The fog of complaints on forums comments and Steam reviews can’t paint an accurate picture of how big the issue actually is, but some amount of people are less than happy with XCOM 2’s framerate on rigs that exceed the recommended spec. I’m one of them—running a 980 at 2560x1440 on High (not Maximum), I get 40-55 fps in combat and some other areas, like character customization. That’s surprising but not awful. More annoying, though, are the occasional (but jarring) fps dips I and others are experiencing during cutscenes and camera movement.

I reached out to 2K Games this morning to see if they have anything to say about it, and I’ll be sure to write it up if they get back to me.

Fallout 4 Vinyl Slide

Tom Senior: Smash hit
I keep meaning to do a feature that rates different customer service experiences across the games industry. Partly because calling out bad practice could encourage change, but also because it's quite fun to read about customer service disasters. We got a good one today courtesy of Bethesda, who requested that a customer destroy the remainder of an incomplete set of records before a refund would be supplied. He did, with a hammer.

As well as being an evidently stupid request, this sort of incident displays a degree of stinginess that’s especially graceless coming from a large company. Granted, if the customer gave the three spare records to someone else, that could potentially deny Bethesda 75% of a sale. It’s probably worth sacrificing that for the sake of goodwill and general common sense.

Chris Livingston: This blows
I’m sure I’ve written my share of misleading headlines, but all of you websites out there advertising “Complete puzzle solutions for The Witness” that do not actually have a complete puzzle solutions for The Witness are making me want to break a puzzle panel over your heads and draw squiggly lines on your face in permanent marker. In related news: I occasionally cheat at The Witness.

I am sure these sites will someday will have a complete set of solutions, but last night I went to at least five different sites looking for help with a single puzzle. No one had it, despite all advertising that they did. I even watched a video on a site that advertised a complete guide, and long minutes into the video the player walked up to the very puzzle I was stumped on, looked at it, then turned around and left the area while—no lie—a text box popped up on the video saying “We haven’t solved this one yet.” Arrrgh! The only thing more infuriating than the puzzles in The Witness is how hard a time I’m having trying to avoid figuring out the infuriating puzzles in The Witness!

Godus Wars Slide

Angus Morrison: Is nothing sacred?
I feel a bit awkward talking about Godus at this point—I want it to catch a break so I can say something positive instead of wincing when I go to write the news. Godus re-emerged this week after a few months’ silence and Peter Molyneux’s retreat from the limelight in February last year. Godus Wars is a sort-of-but-not-really standalone RTS that appears as a separate game on the Steam store but is automatically unlocked for all Godus owners, just as Godus is unlocked for all Godus Wars owners. Bit weird, but okay.

What was truly exasperating is that after the relentless, pounding criticism of Godus’ resentful approach to player interaction and the inspiration it seems to take from free-to-play mobile games, the second region in the $15 Early Access game had a $5 paywall in front of it.

There was a backlash, naturally, and credit to 22cans for removing it faster than you can say “Jesus Christ”, but it is beyond me how anybody could have maintained the slightest belief that it would slip past unnoticed.

Phil Savage: Bug, not a feature
Aw, Angus took Godus Wars? In that case, let's revisit the best headline of the week: "Rogue Ant Simulator devs blow budget on 'liquor and strippers'." In the video that prompted the story, Ant Simulator lead developer Eric Tereshinski claimed that his business partners blew Kickstarter and investment cash on booze and strippers—an allegation that said business partners call "100% bullshit." The industry hasn't been quite so '90s since the '90s.

It seems as if the whole thing will devolve into lawyers, which is a pretty spectacular way to end a longterm friendship. There's no larger message here—no great lesson to be learned or commentary to be added—because everything I could say should go without saying. But just in case, independent of whether it did or didn't happen in this specific instance: are you a project lead who's planning to spend all that project's money on getting drunk and ogling women? Well, don't. Obviously.


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