Late Access: Deadly Premonition’s Troubled PC Release

By Alec Meer on October 30th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.

filenames I regret using
Today in Games We Were Convinced Would Never Come To PC, it’s lovably clunky survival horror cult classic Deadly Premonition. Access Games’ oddball, divisive Twin Peaks semi-homage has a dedicated, even fervent following on console, but it was a complete surprise when it showed up on Greenlight one day. Now it has completed its walk with fire, and is available on Steam right now. Sadly, it seems to be a HORROR-PORT, so rife with issues that the dev’s offered public apologies for it. Modders, fortunately, have been to the rescue already.

Of the many reported issues with this ‘Director’s Cut’ version of the game, there’s the likes of a fixed, 1280×720 resolution (harkening back to Dark Souls’ hobbled PC release), no gamepad support (bizarre for a title which originated on console) and for some people (including our own Adam Smith) a total lockup at the start of the second chapter. Sounds like a mess, basically. This even prompted an apology of sorts from lead designer Hidetaka “Swery65″ Suehiro on Twitter today: “To all the fans of Deadly Premonition. As usual, The steam version evaluation seems to be polarizing. Sorry it is seems to give some unsatisfied. I’m embarrassed that problem give you big disappointment. Anyway, thank you. Please enjoy. I love you all!”

As yet, that love has not entailed promising a patch. My premonition is that there may not be one, at least not for some time – again, this sounds all too much like the Dark Souls situation.

In yet another echo of that, a fan (Update: ah, same dude who released the Dark Souls fix, apparently. A hero for our times!) has almost immediately come up with a mod to enable resolution changes. It’s apparently little bit wobbly for this initial release, but expect updates soon.

What a shame, both for the game itself and that it’s another publisher treating PC like the black sheep of its electronic family. I’m going to hold off on playing the game until I hear things have improved significantly. That said, I didn’t ever play it on console, and to be honest there’s a part of me which really doesn’t want to. I love the idea of this weird, wooden thing which manages to be fantastic despite itself, and fear that the reality could simply irritate me. I don’t want another Alan Wake, you know?

Such conscious avoidance is poor form for someone who writes about videogames for a living however, so I suspect I shall find myself in Greenvale before too long. This is the sort of thing I’ll be in for:

It’s not quite Tommy Wiseau, but it’s not far off.

What is in the PC version are the likes of pepped-up textures, a new control system and a “surprising new scenario from the game’s director, Hidetaka ‘Swery’ Suehiro.” What, does he dress up as a clown or something?

The game’s launched as part of Steam’s current Halloween sale, so is a few groats cheaper until Nov 1. A more expensive special edition includes the bundled soundtrack too. Sadly, if problems are resolved it almost certainly won’t be until the sale has passed. NOT FAIR.

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67 Comments »

  1. DickSocrates says:

    It’s also on GoG, for cheaper with no DRM. Steam isn’t the only place that sells games on PC.

    GoG needs the trade more than Steam does.

  2. Prolar Bear says:

    The guy who made the mod isn’t any ordinary fan. He’s the guy who fixed Dark Souls.

    • forddent says:

      In other words, the man is basically a god.

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      Oozo says:

      Sorry for semi-hijacking that thread, but I was wondering: Is too early to ask how moddable the game is, in general? Resolution is not a very complex thing to do, I guess, and even though I love the game for all its faults, there are some really interesting mechanics under the hood. I think that a team of dedicated modders could, if the game allows it, do very interesting things with it. But does it allow it? Maybe only time will tell…

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    Anthile says:

    The person who made the fix for Deadly Premonition, Durante, is the same who made the one for Dark Souls.

    That said, this one might be the absolute worst port in history. Beyond Resident Evil 4, Dark Souls and even Saints Row 2.

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      RedViv says:

      Getting beyond Saints Row 2 would be quite an achievement.

      • Shaun239 says:

        Yeah, even the modders couldn’t fix the SR2 port without making you jump through a million hoops – or rather, drive through them. If your processor clocks higher than the 360′s, the timers on certain missions are off – so to fix that there was a mod where you had to do a race on the runway and then change some file somewhere depending on the time when you crossed the finish line.

        I love that game, I especially like the main character and all the action in the cutscenes compared to the sequels (not sure if ‘like’ is the right word’) but so, so, not worth bothering with that port.

        • Baines says:

          SR2 modders did eventually come up with another solution to the speed problem. There was also apparently something you could change in your BIOS(!) to fix it. And allegedly the problem is Win7 specific, not existing when you play under Win8.

          But yes, it was a bad port. Wasn’t it CD Projekt who did the port?

      • Keyrock says:

        Yeah, for a port to be worse than the SR2 port, I imagine it would have to set your computer on fire the moment you start it up.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Aside from the speed bug (which fixed itself as my playtime accrued, oddly enough), I didn’t have a single problem with Saints Row 2. By comparison, I bought Dark Souls long after its initial release and installed the game patch-free as a test. It was literally unplayable in its vanilla state and nothing I tweaked would fix it. It took the unofficial patch just to get me into the game.

        Dark Souls wins by a country mile for me.

      • The Random One says:

        Beyond: Two Rows

    • ghost55 says:

      Devil May Cry 3 was worse. way worse.

  4. mrpage says:

    That tweet from the developer is really obnoxious. That “as usual”, suggesting no-one has ever released a PC game without making a hash of it, and hey-what-can-one-do-do-eh? really sticks in the throat.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      To be fair, the translation is awkward at best.

      “That’s all right, Mr Ryan. My Morse is so rusty, I could be sending him dimensions on Playmate of the Month.”

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      basilisk says:

      I think that sentence is mostly referring to the fact that the game has always been very divisive and not the technical issues of the PC port. Those are probably summed up with “I’m embarrassed that problem give you big disappointment”, which is sort of endearing, but not quite twenty Eurobucks worth of endearing.

      • frightlever says:

        I read the “apology” as a kind of “I’m sorry you were offended” non-apology.

    • Crane says:

      I interpreted that as him saying that the Steam version was very polarising, the same as the other versions of Deadly Premonition were, not the same as every other PC game or anything like that.

    • dE says:

      I find it odd to get offended by the tweet. It’s obviously from someone struggling with the language and having issues to express himself with it.

  5. DrGonzo says:

    It’s not so much Tommy Wiseau. It’s Twin Peaks lost in translation I think. I really enjoyed it.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      This. It’s really, really not The Room. Not even close. The story is every bit as replete with meaty subtext as Pathologic, for all the campy madness, awkward fanservice and the sense at least half of the good stuff simply fell together by accident. It blows pretty much every AAA release this year out of the water in that respect, whether or not it was intentional.

      Also, I cannot stress enough that the combat is not even slightly as repellent as a lot of people are making it out to be. Simply complete any of the sidequests giving you one of the weapons with infinite ammo and it utterly ceases to be a problem if you’ve got any degree of patience at all.

      • I Got Pineapples says:

        It’s actually a fairly well put together story and at least some of the weirdness stems from the translation.

        Some of it is that it’s also some very Japanese weirdness. Which is weird and surreal in Japan and becomes more so divorced of cultural contest.

  6. Paul says:

    Swery kind of sounds like an asshole.

    “We released a worse port in history but some people don’t like it, love you all!”

    I want to play this, but not without controller support. At least resolution will be fixed by Durante, thank spaghetti monster.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      SWERY just isn’t that great with English.

      The port isn’t SR2 bad at all, but still not great. There are zero graphic customization options and the game is locked to 720p. However, it does run very smooth and is perfectly playable if you can get used to the keyboard controls and lower res.

      SR2 on the other hand, couldn’t really be played at all.

      • I Got Pineapples says:

        It’s perfectly playable. I’d just be a lot happier if I was allowed to use a freaking controller.

  7. Nenjin says:

    “I don’t want another Alan Wake, you know?”

    I know this so bad, it hurts.

    • forddent says:

      I know one thing with an absolute certainty: This game is no Alan Wake.

      It is, in fact, approximately 100x better than Alan Wake.

      • MuscleHorse says:

        Hey. Hey. HEY. I enjoyed Alan Wake! It was an enjoyable third person, linear shooty bang. Nothing life changing, but enjoyable.

        • I Got Pineapples says:

          Yeah. I was wondering ‘Wait? We all hate Alan Wake now?’

          • Nenjin says:

            “All”, maybe not.

            That said, i’d rather make out with a cheese grater than suffer through that thing people sometimes call a game that is Alan Wake.

          • Soldancer says:

            That’s strange – Alan Wake was generally a lot more critically acclaimed than Deadly Premonition. I liked the latter better, but that’s like saying I like chocolate more than peanut butter. It’s not a zero-sum distinction.

            Anyway, Alan Wake is a fine game, with lots of spit and polish. Deadly Premonition manages to be a terrific game, in spite of pretty much a complete lack of spit and polish.

          • Nenjin says:

            I found it to be a pretentious, overwritten snooze ride with a barely sensible plot and quite possibly the lamest enemies ever. Going from normal walking’ ‘n talkin’ to “spppooookkkkkyyyy forest with shadowy rednecks” was so boring I quit after an hour and uninstalled. It was so transparent that it wrecked what little ambiance I was enjoying.

            And the game basically telling you what scares are going to happen next via the pages? Yes, that’s what I want in my horror game. Spoilers. Written by the main character. Who then desperately tries to sound scared because the plot says he’s supposed to be.

            I’m sure people liked Alan Wake. I just thought it was thoroughly bland and cliche’d.

          • Nick says:

            You decided it was pretentious and overwritten in an hour? Huh. Well, no accounting for taste, I loved Alan Wake, aside from some overly long combat sections and am sad there is no Alan Wake 2.

            Its a tad unfair to call it cliched, its central theme hasn’t really been done enough to go that far and certainly no in games. Unless you start reducing it to such base elements that cliche no longer has meaning. And its really not spoilered by the texts at all.

  8. Oberoth says:

    Judging by the dev’s name, he’s Japanese and that’s probably why the port sucks. Why? Because PC gaming barely has a market in Japan and Japanese gaming companies don’t really care about overseas markets, so developers and publishers over there don’t really know how to handle PC ports. To be honest, I’ve been surprised by how many PC ports we’ve been getting of Japanese games this gen, because there haven’t been many in the past. Hopefully things will improve on the Japanese side, but I will not be surprised if we get years of bad ports before things rise to an acceptable level.

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      Now to be fair, saying there’s no Japanese PC market is like saying there’s no Japanese Indie Scene. Which is to say not true. There is a sizable-ish PC market in Japan, it’s just that PC gaming in japan is regarded as being for Creepy Basement Dwellers. Like the West. Only they actually say it out loud. So you end up with things like the Dojin-soft, which is indier than the western indie scene but caters to the audience it caters to. They also still have a AA games industry over there.

      What it doesn’t have is much of a PC market for mainstream games, because the real people don’t want to be tainted by the creepy PC users, so there isn’t much expertise in that area.

      • dskzero says:

        What kind of excuse is that? You either make a playable game or you will see the game pirated into oblivion and that’s entirely your fault as a developer. Don’t release it if you can’t make it work correctly.

        • BooleanBob says:

          Why would anyone want to pirate an unplayable game?

        • Juan Raigada says:

          I don´t understand your reasoning. Unplayable games get pirated and playable games don’t? Seems counterintuitive (or the worst excuse for piracy I have ever heard).

          Also, can´t see how it relates with the post you are replying to.

      • Baines says:

        There certainly doesn’t seem to be much expertise in the area.

        Dark Souls kind of had an excuse in that its PC port was openly done on the cheap, versus not being done at all. But they also admitted that they didn’t really know much about PC ports.

        SNK Playmore made a bit of a mess porting KOF XIII to Steam. They most definitely underestimated the task, presumably assuming it would be a quick and easy job to port directly from the arcade board (Taito Type X2, which runs Windows XP Embedded) to PCs. It wasn’t. The port was rife with issues throughout its final beta period, and officially released with a list of known issues. SNK Playmore has been patching the game, but people seem to expect patching to stop before everything is fully addressed (much less the game actually enhanced.)

    • Shaun239 says:

      Anybody who can’t be bothered to play it, can always experience the awesomeness of the game through one of Giant Bomb’s awesome LP’s. That way, you can skip the parts with the combat and driving.

  9. Low Life says:

    I just came here to post this wonderfully informative interview with Mr. Swery himself, promoting the original Director’s Cut release on PS3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us2s_ZaujPc

  10. Paul says:

    You know, this “japanese devs do not know PC so we must excuse them” BS needs to stop.
    They want our money, they need to put in the fucking effort. Come on now. We are not asking miracles here. Resolution support as hacked by Durante in a day and controller support are not rocket science.

    • Oberoth says:

      Not saying we need to excuse Japanese devs, but we do need to keep in mind that there’s going to be a steep learning curve for them due to their inexperience.

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      darkChozo says:

      I don’t think people excuse Japanese developers so much as they understand that Japanese devs don’t release bad ports out of laziness. If EA or Ubisoft release a bad port, there’s a sense that they’re doing it because they didn’t want to put in the effort for a good port — they have access to the talent and the money. If FROM or Access release a bad port, it feels more like they don’t have any idea how to make a good port but did their best anyway. Intent matters, basically.

      • WrenBoy says:

        That’s kind of patronizing to be fair. Do you really think that Japanese devs are technically incapable of adding controller support for PCs?

        They clearly just don’t care enough to fund a proper port.

        • Oberoth says:

          I don’t think the problem is a technical one. This specific developer may not have anyone who knows how to do it or simply didn’t think PC players would actually use a controller (which is a semi-reasonable conclusion given all the PC master race people who say that controllers are terrible). I’d be surprised if any of the smaller studios even know that you can easily use an Xbox 360 controller on PCs.

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          darkChozo says:

          Well, “technically incapable” is a nebulous term. It’s more a matter of experience; even if you have brilliant engineers you’re going to run into issues if none of them are familiar with PC. And if you’re inexperienced with the PC market, you might miss things that PC gamers care about and console gamers do not.

          As for the controller support, from what I’ve heard (ie. someone on the forums said so), it’s because they’re using an older joystick API that isn’t Xinput. That shouts inexperience to me.

          • WrenBoy says:

            If they used the wrong api, how did they not notice during testing?

            I’m sure some of the issues are due to inexperience but if you were taking a project seriously you could either budget time for your engineers to do some research or hire some pc specialists to assist your existing team for the project.

            The only reason I can think of for not doing that is because they cared just enough to fund X yen, where x cannot have been a very large sum. This is what that brought them.

            Support inferior ports if you like but it seems cynical to me rather than their inexperienced heart being in the right place.

          • Oberoth says:

            Japanese game development and publishing is illogical in many ways. Besides, if no one but indies have PC development experience and few Japanese devs actually have foreign workers with PC knowledge, where do you expect them to find experienced people if they’re not under the umbrella of a large publisher? Besides, as this Gamasutra article explains, the corporate culture doesn’t really lend it self to pointing out the obvious or developing modern games.

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            darkChozo says:

            Wrong API as in obsolete API, not non-working API. Again, I’m going off second-hand knowledge here, but I’m guessing that they were targeting “old-fashioned” controllers and not the 360 pad that’s standard nowadays. That’s why I’m thinking inexperience with the market.

            And, if rumor is going to be believed, acquiring software engineers with experience in porting to PC is not exactly easy in Japan. Talent shortage is not an easy thing to overcome, especially if you only have the resources of a small dev/publisher (haven’t done too much research but this appears to be the case).

          • WrenBoy says:

            But if they were that sloppy then how did they produce a working game on the console? Its not all inexperience. A developer who occasionally sees problems he’s never seen before is usually a happy developer. Like I said, this was obviously ported on a tiny budget.

            Oberoths article was pretty interesting and in terms of salary they surely don’t seem competitive but at the same time there are modders who habitually do this for free. Why not send them an email asking what it would take to assist with a port?

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        No trying to be rude, but intent doesn’t mean fuck-all when my money is involved. Either release a stable port, or don’t expect to see my cash until it’s fixed.

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          darkChozo says:

          Well, in the end it’s just internet arguing. Theorized intent is what separates the EAs and Activisions from the Valves and the indies in the court of Internet opinion.

          If you’re the type to not buy a game out of principle, then you may be more willing to buy a game that has bad bits out of incompetence than a game that has bad bits out of apathy. Personally, I don’t care much either way – the question in my head would be if the game’s high points outweigh the negatives of the bad porting.

    • Stardreamer says:

      To be fair, there may be something of a truth to saying that many Japanese devs and publishers don’t understand the PC market. There are a fair number of local devs and publishers who seem to go about their business ignorant of what gamers actually want, so why should those culturally different from us be excused?.

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    golem09 says:

    ALT
    is the magic key for this game. It pauses the game, which is great for cutscenes.
    And If you have ultra long load times, just pause and unpause once and the loading time will be over quick.

    Horrible port. I especially hate that I can’t alt-tab out of it without the game crashing.
    But then, I never expected this to do well in the tech department.

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      basilisk says:

      Bloody hell. I never would have thought that could possibly work, but it does. Loading is suddenly near instantaneous.

      What a shame.

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    strangeloup says:

    I had a feeling this port would suck, Zach. My coffee told me.

    I’m glad I picked up the PS3 version in their Halloween sale. (Plus it was a few bob cheaper.)

    It’s a wonderful, deranged thing though. Like a cross between Silent Hill and Twin Peaks, filtered through schizophrenia. I do worry that it might be a sort of game-version of The King In Yellow, causing you to lose 1d6 sanity points for every hour you play, and eventually summoning an otherworldly monstrosity, but in the meantime it’s pretty engaging.

  13. Metalhead9806 says:

    Honestly I’m getting tired of the BS ports. I took it with Dark Souls because the game itself is amazing.
    I’m just going to buy a PS4 next gen and use it for Japanese games, It’s clear that those guys have no idea what they are doing.

  14. johnbolive says:

    my best friend’s mother-in-law makes $63/hr on the computer. She has been fired for 6 months but last month her pay was $18525 just working on the computer for a few hours. pop over to these guys
    ————-> READ MORE

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    VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I played the Director’s Cut on PS3, and didn’t find the combat half so problematic as when I played the original’s 360 version. BUT I’m not sure if that’s due to actual improvements or just stockholm syndrome.

    For what it’s worth, the PS3 Director’s Cut was also a shitty port, with lots of frame dropping and constant, highly irritating audio stuttering. They did fix the stair cameras and tweaked the driving though.