Dark Souls 2 Graphics Downgrade Necessary For Gameplay

The controversy behind Dark Souls 2 and its downgraded graphics could come down to a simple playability issue, according to one source close to development who was quoted on Forbes.com.

The reason for a major downgrade between preview builds of Dark Souls 2 and the final product could be due to framerate. The source elaborates:

“This is what it comes down to: a playable framerate. The early builds that the screenshots came from were playable but only just so. The game was not in a state where it could be sold at that point. I strongly suspect that they were focusing heavily on delivering a top-notch experience on PC and underestimated the challenges the new systems would pose on PS3 / Xbox360. That’s my analysis, anyway. But, factually, the early builds played like Blighttown the entire game.

“I sincerely don’t think they intended to deceive, but in the end they sacrificed a huge amount of graphical fidelity at the very end of development because they couldn’t resolve the framerate in any other way. They had to promote the game with screens and trailers, but at that time even they had no idea they were going to have to drop the settings so much, I suspect.

“I want people to know the truth. I know a lot of people just feel lied to, but I think the reality is a bit different. It doesn’t mean they handled it properly, but I think they made the only decision they COULD make in the end. The game would have been much worse without the change (as in, many would call it unplayable and broken.)”

The bad news for PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers could ultimately be good news for PC gamers. If Dark Souls 2 was optimized for PC, it should look great upon release in April.

It could also be good news for gamers who have hopped onto the PS4 and Xbox One generation. IGN reported in February that “The new engine for Dark Souls 2 was created with next-gen consoles in mind.” Ando-san, a programmer at the Dark Souls series’ developer From Software, said the programmers challenged themselves to create a game that could work for the next generation.

“Some of the things we prioritized when creating the engine was actively take in new technology such as deferred rendering and physical-based rendering to increase the flexibility of graphic creation, and really pursue the photo-realism and lighting.”

Dark Souls 2 is the direct sequel to the punishing 2011 hit, Dark Souls, and its predecessor, Demon’s Souls.

Have the lesser graphics diminished your playing experience? If Dark Souls 2 does come to the PS4 or Xbox One, would you consider picking it up?

Image via Forbes.com