More Devs Should Be Open Like The Biomutant Team

More Devs Should Be Open Like The Biomutant Team
Image: Biomutant

I know I’ve already written once about Biomutant this week, but it’s worth going back to the furry kung fu game once more, only because the studio has done something genuinely very cool and very transparent that, honestly, I wish we saw more of.

Separate to the cool character creator stuff we saw yesterday, devs Experiment 101 have released unedited gameplay footage of their furry whack-a-mole simulator on different platforms. But what’s cool about this is just how transparent they are about how well Biomutant will run on, say, a PS5 versus a Xbox One.

In two separate videos, which you can view below, the team announced that people playing on Xbox Series X will natively get the best experience on console. This isn’t by design: the studio apparently ran into stability and performance issues with the PS5, and to guarantee performance, the game will run at a native resolution of 1080p on Sony’s next-gen console. On the Xbox Series X, it’s a native 4K target at 60 frames per second with dynamic resolution kicking in to keep the frame rate high.

“With this build, the option for native 4k on PlayStation has been deactivated due to stability- and performance-related reasons,” the developers said in a release.

Here’s the PS5 footage of Biomutant:

And for Xbox Series X fans, or pure comparison, here’s the game on that platform.

For those wondering about the game’s Xbox Series S performance, there’s no footage of that because Experiment 101 doesn’t own an Xbox Series S console at all. Microsoft, if you’re listening, surely you can hook the team up — supply of the Xbox Series S isn’t anywhere near as bad as the Xbox Series X, after all.

 

The takeaway here is that the studio is completely open about the situation before the game’s release next week. They didn’t opt not to disclose it, or only release footage shot in a certain way and then left people with the impression that there would be parity between the two consoles.

Also, it’s worth remembering that 1080p/60 FPS upscaled isn’t that bad. That’s the native resolution for Returnal, a game exclusively built for a next-gen console, and nobody has complained about the quality of the visuals there. It’s a completely different game with a totally different aesthetic, for sure, but it’s worth calling out because an entertaining game can still be entertaining even if the resolution isn’t the highest number imaginable.

What the Biomutant team are doing here, if you’re super cynical, isn’t good business. This disclosure isn’t likely to help Biomutant sales. But it’s the sort of openness and transparency that communities have always asked for. I just hope, at least this time, fans follow through and reward them for it.

Biomutant comes out on May 25/May 26 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, with backward compatibility for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. More info on the PS5/Xbox Series X optimised version will be revealed “soon”, according to the devs.

Comments

  • Yeah… That’s all well and good until you get put on a list because you went out and told people the game runs better on a competitors platform.

  • I wonder if that’s a publisher decision, and there’s studios that would love to be that transparent if it wasn’t for threats from the marketing department.

  • Well, if I get this on console (which I probably won’t, because my PC needs to do more than play WoW at some stage) they did just make it much easier for me to pick. I’d much rather have this level of transparency than marketing speak that doesn’t actually show the product. The more informed my decision, the less it feels like anyone’s stolen my money when I play the game and it’s not exactly as I expected.

  • Yeah but remember when the Anthem devs were being praised on reddit for how open they were before launch… ah fun times.

  • its all well and good to be up front with this information so consumers can make an informed decision. but the bigger question is why. its been known for months before the consoles launched that the series x is more powerful than the ps5, but not by enough to result in 4k60 vs 1080p60. its usually just one “step” down ie 1800p60 should be fine in theory (as a target, dont know if theyre using dynamic res, its only mentioned for the xbox 4k target).
    ultimately it just shows there could be some serious issues at the core of the game and people might want to wait before buying on any platform.

    • Bit hard to argue it’s the game when Sony’s exclusives can’t manage it either. As Alex pointed out, Returnal also uses upscaling instead of as the native resolution. With that in mind, I’d be asking if it’s the game or a problem with the PS5’s documentation if even the exclusive games are having problems reaching the hardware’s roof.

    • It’s not an issue with the game, it’s an issue with PlayStation’s backwards compatibility. Same reason Mass Effect remaster has a 120fps mode on Series X but not PS5.

      • Ahh I see. have no interest in buying the consoles so wasnt aware of this issue the ps5 has. sony might want to do something about that.

        • It makes sense, actually. Xbox just has “Xbox” versions of a game at this point because the games play interchangeably on this gen and last gen without needing a separate version of the game, as I happily discovered with Ori.

  • Being up-front in a fan forum is really not the same thing at all as putting an actual disclaimer on the box. Sure, a few hundred fans will be forewarned but thousands won’t.

    Also, telling people up-front that your game runs like shit is not all that different from telling a potential girlfriend up-front that you’re kinda an arsehole, then bitching about her later when she complains because, well, it’s not like she wasn’t warned. No, the up-front disclaimer still doesn’t make it okay. Don’t be an arsehole.

    • The released it as part of their official marketing across Twitter, Youtube and presumably every other popular social media site. I didn’t realise the major and main social media sites used to advertise the product in nearly its entirety for most consumers was a “fan forum”.

      • You may not have realised, but as isn’t all that uncommon, you would be wrong. None of those venues are shops. They are places fans go. For the most part people don’t subscribe to the General Motors Twitter account simply because they’re thinking about buying a car and people don’t look at the McDonald’s YouTube channel simply because they’re thinking about buying a burger. The people who do this are fans.

        • I’m afraid you’ve already been caught not reading the article, Angora and no amount of backpedaling is going to save you from the simple reality of it. This article has nothing to do with content only on “fan forums”, but is a parroting of the officially existing marketing that was released for the consumer on larger, product dedicated platforms like Youtube and their official websites for Biomutant. If people choose not to check the official marketing provided openly to them by a developer and publisher on their main marketing platforms to make an informed purchase, then that’s entirely their problem for not doing basic purchase homework.

          It’s not THQ Nordic’s problem to handhold customers through simple Google searches after they’ve made the material available. If they’re purchasing games in this price range, then they’re likely an adult and they should have enough of a brain to do a simple Google search where they will easily find these videos showing off the product. If they are too inept at performing such a search and make an inappropriate decision, then the fault is entirely on them.

          Also Angora, do you seriously think people don’t extensively research a car before buying it? What privileged planet are you living on where you can afford not to research a purchase requiring a loan?

      • Ease up there. But yeah, this was an official release they put out on email – the publisher and devs were very open about this. Clearly, everyone hasn’t forgotten the Cyberpunk lessons.

        • Nick could’ve been more tactful, but it’s clear from Angora’s response that he didn’t actually read the article where THQ Nordic’s official social media and Youtube channels were thumbnailed as clear official releases of info, rather than any “fan forum”. It’s extremely unfair for that comment to be made when this as close as the developers can get to putting the information on the physical product box given the video content.

          We can at least wait for the product to release before we start savaging them for lying.

          • No, as I mention above, these are fan forums. They are not places the average person goes when thinking about making the impulse buy of a game. The fact that you personally, as the resident authority on everything, don’t like the use of that term is neither here nor there.

            And once again, a lot if not most potential game purchases wouldn’t subscribe to the offical developer email list, quite the opposite, in fact, for anyone who isn’t interested in filling their inbox with spam.

            Regardless of what you want to call it, none of this semantic pointlessness changes the fact that companies don’t and shouldn’t get a free pass even if they put a sticker on their product saying that their game is shit, although in this case they’re not even doing that.

          • As mentioned above Angora, your focus on “fan forums” is a strawman fallacy because Kotaku and “fan” information has absolutely nothing to do with the availability of the information posted by the developers and their publisher which is easily available through Google and their official websites. It’s not “fan related” when the company publishers official marketing materials on their official website. If you’re going to use a term, you should use it correctly when nothing reported here has anything to do with “fans”. It’s an official release by the company to provide specifications. As for being the “resident authority”, basic literacy and reading the articles provided does tend to help with repeating basic information already found in the articles, yes.

            Where did I or anyone else say anything about email lists? These videos are some of the first results you’d find for Googling the game name and finding the official release website or going to their Youtube channel. There are absolutely no impediments or special details required for finding this information for anyone competent enough to use a search engine. It’s an irrelevant detail to even mention email lists because these videos are publicly available as marketing for searching the game name.

            If companies shouldn’t get a free pass, then maybe you should wait for the game to release before you determine if your complaints are applicable to them. Were you this dedicated to the consumer when CP2077 released in the abysmal state it did or are you looking for a reason to be negative about an attempt at a CP2077 situation avoiding disclosure?

          • This is seriously pushing it. Let’s tone down the pedantry and invective — internet doesn’t need any more inflammation added to it.

            Angora does have a point as far as regular consumers are concerned: if they walk into EB Games or JB and pick the copy up off the shelf, or from an Amazon listing or somewhere else, you won’t see this information listed. That’s not on the developer (publishers, retailers control those) but it’s also a not-insignificant factor that could affect people’s experience too.

          • Pointing out that we live in the age of of the internet isn’t “pedantry”. Gamers for the most part are adults who are capable of looking and researching beyond and object immediately in front of them and with the age of smartphones there’s absolutely no excuse for not doing a Google search. If Angora had this same complaint about Cyberpunk I’d agree with him, but I fail to see why people should get away with these extremely nasty attacks when the developers are people too.

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