I don’t know if I should preface this article with the proverbial “prepare your flame-proof jockstraps” comment or if I should just wait until the end and hold up a hefty glass with a swirling milkshake that captures the tears of fanboys, but either way, this news will rock socks and rustle Jimmies worse than J.J. Abrams telling a bunch of Star Trek fanboys that Star Wars is the better franchise.
Anyway, if you haven’t already heard, The Swapper is coming to the Wii U this November, following the release of the game on PlayStation consoles this August. This was made evident recently, as noted on websites like Wii U Daily. What you probably didn’t know was that the game is being retooled on the Wii U with PC features that were extricated from the upcoming PlayStation 3 version of the game.
Kotaku UK’s Keza MacDonald noted that the game was better looking than the PS3 version and also maintained the same “depth of field” as the PC version. Not only that but the depth of field was one of many post-processing and rendering effects removed from the PlayStation 3 version of The Swapper in order for the game to hit 30 frames per second.
In a separate e-mail from the developers of the game at Curve Studios, production manager Amanda Alan noted that…
“While everyone knew that 60 fps on the PlayStation 3 wouldn’t be possible, the team wanted to make sure that the game ran at 30 fps and that the player had a consistent experience across the board.
“The obvious solution was to remove some of the lights. However, since most lights are placed to subtly guide the player in a certain direction (or aid with puzzles), avoiding major changes was the only way forward. The solution was to go through key areas of the game and examine how every light was affecting speed, then plot a path that addressed performance while keeping the overall lighting setup seemingly intact.”
That’s got to be depressing for the PS3 owners… not only is the game not running at 60 frames per second but it had key lighting features removed to bring the aesthetics down on par to the console’s aging, geriatric hardware. All those claims about the Wii U being weak and under-specced, and here it is it’s the PS3 version of the game getting the downgrades.
The Wii U, alternatively, is actually, finally, being utilized to the utmost of its capabilities by matching the superior PC version of the game. You can talk about underpowered and under-specced all you want, but the Wii U dropping the graphics hammer on the PS3 should make a bunch of Nintendo fans cry some tears of joy. Don’t you worry, I won’t be slurping those tears… those aren’t tears of the butthurt.
On the flip-side of the margin, we have the PS3 just getting roasted by Allen, who states that…
“Working through the game like this is a great example of how we convert games to older hardware with the minimum impact on the experience,” … “It’s tempting to just ‘turn off’ features when faced with lower frame rates, but going through the game in more detail and working out where the main performance bottlenecks are means we’ve ended up with a game running smoothly while still looking great.”
Looking great, but with a lot of stuff turned off… and still not looking as good as the Wii U.
It’s funny because 4A Studios said that Metro: Last Light wasn’t worth doing on the Wii U, as reported in an article by Now Gamer because the CPU was “horrible” and “slow”. Even though the console’s main benefit is in its GPGPU and memory bandwidth – not to mention its capabilities to produce DirectX 11 equivalent graphics through its own custom API and proprietary graphics processing technology.
Unfortunately, a lot of developers aren’t as fastidious as Curve Studios when it comes to dedicating time and effort to making a game pop and shine on Nintendo’s console. Thus, proving that the Wii U is at least designed well as a games console, even if it doesn’t match the spec benchmarks of the PS4. It just needs some special tender, love and developer care.
It’s also sad that Nintendo has received so much hate over the Wii U that the only way to prove its capabilities is by showing that it can do things that other consoles can’t.
Nevertheless, Nintendo should be proud that a game is running comparable to the PC version of the game. For that, I believe we need to whip out the “Like a boss” meme of Satoru Iwata. Behold, greatness!
TL;DR: The Wii U is capable of running The Swapper with equivalent graphics to the PC version of the game while the PS3 is not.
(Updated: 25 July, 2014 @ 17:41:07)