Musing: About Dark Souls Coming To The PC…

My musings on the Dark Souls game and whether its worth dying over the problems this game has on the PC, among other things.

There is a PC game coming out this week that is called Dark Souls. Its a game that has a lot of attention right now. Which is unsurprising, considering that the game had a rather large Internet petition requesting that Namco, the devs, port it from its console roots to PC. Dark Souls is, from what I understand, a hardcore RPG fantasy game where you fight some incredibly difficult bosses , survive in a world and wield swords. Suffice it to say, the world will kill you without a second thought. Well, that’s the short version anyway. It was only after the Internet petition and a reluctant publisher thinking it over, that the game was green-lighted to be ported to the PC with a new content expansion. Sounds great right? And that you should buy it right? Well…

Sites like Rock-Paper-Shotgun have gotten a hands on with the game and played around with it. While the game is functional, it is in a rough state. It has a whole list of problems and the worst one in my opinion is that Dark Souls comes loaded down with Games for Windows Live. I’ve talked about GFWL in the past before and it is not a service I allow to be installed on my computer. When you have software that could potentially corrupt your save files, I tend not to bother with it. To add to the list of problems, the game is locked at 30 fps, has multiple areas with framerate issues and the graphics don’t look as good as they could be. This is due to the poor optimization of the game not taking advantage of the power of PCs. To top it off, the game is locked at console resolution. So those of us with higher resolutions get a sub-par game to look at. So suffice it to say, this game was very hurriedly ported over to PC and was barely optimized for the platform.

The general attitude towards Dark Souls is that we should just accept the flaws of the game. The idea behind that is it will encourage this publisher to release more games like Dark Souls onto the PC. Some other hopefuls think that maybe they will even patch the game later and/or release higher quality sequels onto the PC. I wish people were more positive about other games. I for one can’t quite figure out where all this hopefulness came from. (Starting to make me wonder if I’m getting a little too jaded. I hope not)

I’ve been musing on this game for some time now and I have to wonder: why? Why should we simply accept Dark Souls with all of its problems & issues and say its for the greater good? Is it really for the greater good? I don’t think it is. We are accepting a badly ported game and, I fear, encouraging other developers to release bad ports for their games.I mean, we’re fine with it for Dark Souls, why wouldn’t we accept it with other games? It also sends a bad message that we will accept Games for Windows Live and that right there makes me shiver. Its also irritating to me that Namco didn’t even have the courtesy to fix all the framerate issues this game has, considered how much power PCs have to consoles. I find myself looking at Dark Souls and wondering why so many people have put this amount of will behind the game. I guess it has to be one special game out of the crowd to get it.

I’d like to point out the elephant or dragon in the room. That being Namco. I need to point this out because Namco doesn’t publish games to PC all that often. To just assume that they are going to patch the game after it has been released is being really hopeful. Most major publishers on PC release a few patches here and there and then call it done. I get the feeling that Namco will follow the same kind of development of this game. That’s supported by the fact that they pushed this game out the door and gave the team only enough time to get it ready for the PC and nothing else.

There are a lot of ifs and maybes people have gotten into their head over this game. IF this game sells well, then MAYBE they’ll support it with post-release patches. IF it sells enough copies, then MAYBE a sequel will get published to the PC. MAYBE they’ll actually try to make the sequel a quality release. Far too many maybes in my opinion. I find it concerning that people are buying into all of this. Its similar to the hopefulness we see in places such as Kickstarter. While I applaud that people are more hopeful these days, I worry that they put that hope into the wrong people and efforts. It also worries me that people’s expectations are getting out of hand, considering the whole Ouya Console and people wanting games like Skyrim to run on it. I find it extremely unlikely an android console like the Ouya will get Skyrim. And if/when it fails to get games such as Android and people realize this, I fear that will cause a backlash against Kickstarter, We could see a backlash against Dark Souls for being such a poor PC port. I guess we’ll find out in a week or so.

I would love to be wrong about this game. I would love for Namco to completely surprise me and support this game with plenty of bug fixing and patching post-release. It is far too often that publishers just won’t support their games and we have so many games that could be really great, if the publishers had put in that bit of extra effort. But that doesn’t seem to be good business, for whatever reason, so publishers don’t bother. I have no doubt that the developers behind this game would like to put more work and effort into their game to get it to shine. But they have to listen to the publishers who pay them. So the ball rests in Namco’s court at this point, if this game is a financial success on the PC.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we should boycott this game. It is pretty apparent that the game has a lot of rich gameplay and content to justify the attention that it is getting. What I am saying is that you should be wary and realize what your getting into. Make an educated purchase of this game. If you do buy Dark Souls, please, don’t buy it because your putting hopes that the game or the series will be better for it. If this were an indie developer, that could be possible. But they aren’t. So if you do get this game and can accept the multitude of problems the game has, then by all means, enjoy. Anything you get afterwards, and I do hope you do get some post-support patching, will be icing on the cake. Just be wary of the fact that they may not pour icing.

Until next time…


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