We’re only a couple of weeks out from FromSoftware’s take on samurais and Sengoku Japan. And ahead of the game’s broader release, we’ve also got a better idea of what to expect from it’s performance – at least on consoles.
Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry got a few hours time with a build of the game on PS4 Pro, or at least a debug version of Sony’s 4K console. The debug nature of the game means that there’s a ton of analysis that can’t be reasonably be done, but it is enough to get an idea of how FromSoftware are handling development in a world where the Xbox One X, PS4 Pro and 4K-capable PCs are out in the wild.
The first, and main expectation, is that the game will have a variable frame rate on consoles. The code that Digital Foundry played with was locked to 1080p, but the performance was similar to Dark Souls 3 – the frame rate could hit a maximum of 60, but more often than not it would waver up and down depending on the intensity of the scenario. Like DS3 then, Sekiro is a game on consoles that could undoubtedly benefit from some kind of a 30fps cap. It also means the game’s performance on PC should be worth keeping an eye out for, although FromSoftware’s history of PC ports has never been the strongest.
On a more technical standpoint, Sekiro is forced to render more of the in-game world than Dark Souls ever was. The grappling hook means you can traverse the world much faster, which means more of the world needs to be streamed in at any given time to avoid regular stutters and jitters.
It’s worth noting that chromatic abberation has been disabled completely in Sekiro, or at least in this build. It was heavily featured in Bloodborne and made thematic sense given the game’s gothic setting. Sekiro has more motion blur and anti-aliasing this time around, making for less dithering and banding in the overall picture, although obviously high-end PCs will be able to ramp those effects up much further.
Sekiro‘s environment looks like it’ll be a blast to explore. I’ve got doubts that the game will be run at a smooth 60fps on launch, given that the game drops to the 30fps range when smoke and blood effects fill the screen. A 30fps cap would alleviate some of those issues, but then there’s Dark Souls and Bloodborne‘s frame pacing issues.
It’ll also be interesting to see what happens with an Xbox One X enhanced version of Sekiro. Dark Souls 3 still doesn’t have an enhanced patch for Microsoft’s 4K console, stuck at 30fps and a maximum output of 900p. It’ll be interesting to see what FromSoftware does with the extra power available there – and considering the game has been in development while 4K consoles (checkerboard or otherwise) are commonplace, I’m hopeful that some advancement has been made there.