Durante Rides Again: Final Fantasy XIII Locked At 720p

We're fixed at WHAT?

As promised, Square Enix released a PC verison of Final Fantasy XIII yesterday. As they hadn’t mentioned, it’s locked to run at a 1280×720 resolution. Oh dear. Hey, chillax! Durante, the hacker who whipped together tools to break Dark Souls and Deadly Premonition out of 720p, is on the case. On the very day of FF13’s launch, he released a new version of his graphics-jacking doodad GeDoSaTo to rummage around and open up higher resolutions. Bless his heart.

FF13’s Steam page has the cheek to say it’s “been optimised for PC, featuring full screen support and running at 60FPS.” Fullscreen support! What a treat.

Durante’s first release of the FF13 plugin supports resolutions up to 3840×2160 right, which is a fair improvement, though only in 16:9 aspect ratios. He does warn that the plugin is still in “pre-alpha”, and as such might be a bit wonky. Things don’t look quite as sharp as they could, it doesn’t up-res depth of field effects, and “probably some stuff somewhere is cut off”. But it’s here, and it works.

Players are noticing a few other weird bits in FF13. This Steam forum thread notes that its pre-rendered cutscenes are compressed a lot more than the pretty PS3 ones, it lacks graphics options, and the Escape key quits the game outright. Some would rather than Japanese audio were an option too, split off as free DLC, as it makes the initial download a whopping 49GB.

Square Enix plan to release the other parts of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, XIII-2 and Lightning Returns, “by spring 2015.” Hopefully they’ll pay attention to some of these concerns.

74 Comments

  1. Viroso says:

    Japan is a whole other world where personal computers as gaming platforms are this strange poorly understood thing.

    • DanMan says:

      Indeed. They just can’t do it, can they?

      link to youtu.be

    • MadTinkerer says:

      That’s actually unfair. The original PC ports of FF7 and FF8 were fantastic for their time. Then there’s the Ys series, which has always been a PC franchise that’s ported to consoles rather than the other way around. Then there’s RPG Maker and the Japanese homebrew scene.

      (And, of course, 99% of Japanese porn games are on PC, but I assume we’re ignoring those except for the non-pornographic spin-offs that sometimes happen. But I guess that’s not justifying my case very well.)

      Yes, the mainstream Japanese game industry is basically Nintendo and Japanese Nintendo Partners, but thanks to the cross-pollination of Otaku culture you do get things like animated television series based on story-heavy personal computer game franchises. The equivalent phenomenon in our culture would be seeing a Monkey Island animated series by Disney that airs on ABC. Or an animated TV series based on the Telltale Walking Dead games that has animated cameos by the actors from the live-action series.

      As awesome and sensible as that would seem to us, I don’t anyone is currently planning on making TV series from any Western PC franchise at all.

      • bill says:

        I think that’s more to do with the way japanese media can instantly exploit and monetize any popular trend. If something has any slight hint of popularity then you can guarantee it will have books, stickers, fashion, characters, soft drinks, anime, etc.. within moments.

        I feel like things are much more considered and weighed and if chosen, usually much more funded in the west. In japan they’ll just knock out a quick cheap spin off or three within a few months.

        PS/ There’s also a pretty big market for F2P online RPG games, but those seem to be mainly promoted by internet cafes. Other than that, it’s 99% porn.

      • Viroso says:

        Good points, that’s the big picture.

        Big Japanese developers though, they seem to somehow not understand PCs, and it isn’t hard to understand PCs. A couple FF titles from nearly 20 years ago don’t make much of a case, specially when you look at the more recent DS FF3 and FF4 that were a port of a port, recently. FF13 seems to be one of the rare cases where a bad port is actually a bad port instead of people complaining that it says “Press Enter” on the title screen.

        What’s more is that only now Japanese developers are acknowledging computers. I mean, the big developers. But not the MMO ones. I guess I’m being very narrow here. Still, other than Capcom, most of them ignore PC and when they do acknowledge it, somehow they do something that seems lazy.

        Just now are Konami, Bandai Namco, Square-Enix acting like computers are a thing, when the rest of the world picked up on that almost 5 years ago. It is weirder for Square because of FF11 and FF14, two titles that are mostly PC titles, and yet everything else they do doesn’t show up on PC, Eidos titles outside of the equation.

        Sheesh, I realized I’m adding a lot of caveats here, I guess you are right.

        • nmrahde says:

          That’s not entirely true though. The Japanese video game market was actually MORE in tune with the computer game market for many years.

          If I recall correctly the original disks for the Famicom even functioned pretty much the same (or were the same?) as 3.5″ disks, you could wipe the game on there and have a different one put on.

          Konami released the original Castlevania on multiple types of computer system – PC Engine, Sharp 68000, Amiga, etc.

          Koei has been pretty good about releasing the Romance of the Three Kingdoms games on PC as well.

          The Wizardry was more popular there recently than here, and entire game series like Dragon Quest were inspired heavily by computer games (DQ was basically Wizardry + Ultima).

          That being said, with the exception of Koei, most of my examples are from 20+ years ago. They definitely do not appear in the PC space as often as they used to.

      • Risingson says:

        Ports of FF7 and FF8 actually fantastic for their time????

      • socrate says:

        i stopped reading after you said FF7 was a great port at the time and i went like this O_o

  2. RedViv says:

    Not a good week for Squeenix, is it? The “Definitive Edition” of Sleeping Dogs seems to look and perform worse than the previous release on PC, and bugs that were known for two years have not been tackled at all. Now this.

    • GiantPotato says:

      The “Director’s Cut” of DXHR had the same problem, it had optimization problems and reintroduced bugs that had previously been patched out. Quite strange to see the same mistake made twice by a Square Enix release.

      • Phantasma says:

        Oh yes, please don’t remind me of that.

        I still cannot apprehend, how a supposedly remastered edition can look worse and include plenty of already fixed bugs… and NEVER gets patched up afterwards.

        I’m glad i already had the game plus the DLC and was aware of the botched Director’s Cut before a purchase… although i’d have liked the better boss battles.

        Seriously, how absurd is that?

    • Creeping Death says:

      I was looking at screenshots of the “definitive edition” and thought to myself it didn’t look any better than when I last played the standard version. I wonder if it’s a case of the “enhanced graphics” press information being something that applies to the console versions only. Kind of like how the Tomb Raider definitive edition’s graphics improvements were on par with the pc version.

      • Dinjoralo says:

        There are some differences between the definitive and original editions on PC. The big ones I’ve seen are that the city’s more populated, in terms of both pedestrians and drivers, and improved draw distance. Beyond that, it’s mostly minor tweaks like improved color contrast and jiggle physics on things like necklaces.

      • Geebs says:

        “These editions are definitive. Reality is frequently inaccurate”

  3. SaintShion says:

    Wow, locked resolution and heavily compressed, and yet still takes 49GB? I’m not sure if this dignifies a PC release at all. I typically pick up FF games as they appear on PC for collecting and replaying, so that I don’t have to dust off my old consoles, but I think I’ll pass here. If they’re not going to dignify their game with a proper release, we shouldn’t pay to play it on PC. You can pick up the PS3 version so cheap now and get 1080 with better cutscenes and no graphical issues.

    • golem09 says:

      No, the compression is absolutely fine, it’s way above the xbox version. It’s 49gb, because all the fmvs are included TWICE, for japanese and english lip sync.

      • Cinek says:

        Wait wait wait…. so they include both versions of every cinematic while at the same time NOT giving people a an option to run it with Japanese audio? o_O

        • golem09 says:

          Of course you can choose the japanese voice track, why else include the lipsync vids?

        • Kamalen says:

          Yay about that they added japanese audio almost by surprise.

        • Baines says:

          People aren’t complaining about a lack of Japanese audio. Those that don’t want Japanese audio are complaining that Japanese audio isn’t an optional free DLC, something that they could opt out of (and thus save around 20gb of download size.)

    • socrate says:

      that said i wish there was more jrpg on pc now that they are even rare on console nowaday

  4. c-Row says:

    Lock the screens at Square Enix’s office at 1280×720 and see how fast things will change.

  5. amateurviking says:

    To be fair, the Japanese audio + subtitles makes the characters approximately 100% less irritating than before (apart from Hope, fuck that guy), they should make the English voiceover optional.

    Shame about the perfunctory port, but I’d forgotten how good the combat is once paradigm shifts are unlocked. Had a blast with it last night (hot damn the first 4 hours are turgid though). And it *does* look good, even at 720p (even better with GeDoSaTo – which is really easy to use to boot!).

    Caveat emptor: I think I am the only person on the planet that actually likes Lightning as a character.

    Edit: Apparently I am not alone. Hurrah!

    • Premium User Badge

      X_kot says:

      Yeah, it’s becoming harder for me dig back into RPGs with lengthy, hand-holding tutorials in order to get to the interesting parts. Having to deal with these artificial tech limitations makes it nigh impossible to muster the resolve.

      • amateurviking says:

        It’s not in your face ‘press x to win’ tutorial stuff (all that, and the cutscenes are completely skippable) but it is slow to introduce new concepts and build on them, such that particularly in the first chapters, there isn’t enough there for it to be in any way interesting (you are literally pressing x to win, it’s just not telling you to do that). The story is bobbins too and second only to the X games for stupid/confusing nomenclature.

        Real talk though: probably my favourite FF combat system ever. Makes even the ‘bump in the road’ battles fun once it pushes on (probably at 5 ish hours in). Then at the halfway point the world delinearises and it becomes pretty special. 20 hours in *facepalm*.

        Even with the low res issues I think it’s worth a tenner mind.

        • Moraven says:

          The combat system is great and nice to see something different.

          I am surprised that they started so low for the PC price. Usually there is the FF premium and would have thought at least $30 to start.

          • Cinek says:

            That’s probably a discount for 720p and sub-optimal cutscenes…. *eyerolls*

          • Wedge says:

            Well, at least they’re acknowledging the game is readily available for consoles for practically nothing. It does look funny with the ugly mobile port of FF IV costing the same right next to it though.

    • Seapony says:

      I liked Lightning as well, for whatever reason. Can’t stand Snow though, really had to struggle through the parts of the game with him in it.

      • amateurviking says:

        I think it was when she punched him out in the first chapter. I was like: YAAS, hud that ya bas! She could do no wrong from then on.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Ditto that. She’s very much a high point.

    • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

      It *does* look pretty good at 720p. The problem I’m having is constant framerate drops. This is much more annoying to me than being locked at an inferior resolution.

      Also, I don’t get the Lightning hate, but then, I haven’t played the other games in the trilogy.

      • aepervius says:

        Maybe you have the same problem as i had , I had a stutter every 2 seconds or so. Actually i am betting it is a left over code to search for a controller pad. On the hint of a steam forum psot, i plugged mine and the stutter instantely disappeared.

        I also changed my esc key to backspace , and F8 to ESC for the game duration (using external programs).

        That avoid hitting esc and immediately getting booting out while trying to hit the “1” key.

        • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

          Sadly, I’ve been playing with a controller, so I don’t think that’s the problem. Unless I need to keep it unplugged before booting, then plug it in or something, which I’m going to try. Anyway, thanks for sharing. If I can’t fix it with simple means I’m hoping a patch comes soon.

    • lowprices says:

      Of all the characters, only Fang and Sazh were likeable from the off, but the all went somewhere interesting when they started interacting with each other. Except, of course, for Snow, who remained a gobshite throughout. I only started warming up to Lightning in the first place because she kept punching him.

    • stele says:

      Hope is a DUDE? I’m so confused by these games.

  6. Drake Sigar says:

    I don’t understand why publishers aren’t horrified that unpaid modders are sorting their games out within the week. It should be a PR nightmare.

    • Beard_Arthur says:

      Any SMART developer would be very pleased that the community always fixes their issues; that’s less paid time from their programmers.

      Is it right? Of course not. You can’t imagine they’re all sitting there saying, “Man, we can’t POSSIBLY fix THIS!”, right?

      • Aydrian says:

        It works quite well for Bethesda. They release a game that has a large number of issues and then let the PC modding community fix them.

        • Moraven says:

          While the majority who buy their games is on consoles and will never see those fixes, mods or likely care.

        • suibhne says:

          Yeah, it’s a core part of their business model. They repeatedly return to it as a selling point – “Look, you can fix all those problems yourself if you don’t like buggy games!” – rather than as an apology or an excuse.

      • Yglorba says:

        I don’t think it’s so complicated. I think the issue is that at a certain point down the pipeline that gets the game onto the PC, it passes through the control of someone who doesn’t really care about it — someone who views it as an interchangeable product to be pumped out in the easiest way possible so they can move onto something else. A bored intern, or a contractor, or an executive a thousand miles removed from what the company actually does, or someone who just grabbed the job for a paycheck and who doesn’t really give two shits about what the company is all about — there’s all sorts of people like that.

        It sucks.

  7. LTK says:

    Maybe they meant something different. It has full screen support, as in, the game fully supports being played on a screen!

    • DanMan says:

      This changes everything, of course. I’m glad you mentioned it.

      High five!

  8. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I stupidly bought this & i feel like I should’ve known better. Japanese developers just can’t make PC Games. They don’t get them.

    • commentingaccount says:

      Capcom disagrees with you. Please don’t blame a whole industry for this.

      All three of these really bad ports had one thing in common: they came over a year after the original release, several in the case of this one. They are afterthoughts. Afterthought ports tend to suck.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Capcom makes horrid, console-centric games that they then turn into horrid, console-centric PC ports. Really bad example.

        • subedii says:

          Capcom makes horrid ports. Really bad example.

          DMC4 was a pretty awesome port (probably actually my poster-boy for good port jobs). The more recent Resident Evils also felt fairly solid (whatever you thought of the actual games themselves).

          EDIT: For future reference, I’m not mangling his post, that quote is (fully) what was posted originally.

        • commentingaccount says:

          Really? Because the ones I played were incredible. RE5, DMC4, the first Lost Planet…

          Edit: There’s also RE: Revelations. I played some of that and the port seemed pretty good.

        • suibhne says:

          Huh? Used to be true, RE4-era, but Capcom’s turning out some pretty respectable PC versions these days.

          • commentingaccount says:

            The only bad PC port that Capcom’s done recently was the new PC port of RE4… And even then it got mostly fixed. Sadly the game is still jerky for some. I never had issues, though. Seems to be about 70% of people play it fine and 30% get fucked now. :(

            The main issue I have is that on the few animations that never had 60 FPS versions, when the game drops down, it doesn’t just lose frame rate, it gets jerky as hell. Its 30 FPS support is nowhere near as good as the original game’s support way back in 2005.

            Even with that, it was a western studio that did the port, not Capcom themselves.

          • HadToLogin says:

            You already forget about Dead “must be capped at 30 fps” Rising 3? Or Street “yeah, we know multiplayer doesn’t work, let’s release it anyway” Fighter Subtitle?

          • commentingaccount says:

            I hadn’t read about those. Their PC ports have gotten worse in recent years, then. They used to be the gold standard amongst Japanese gaming developers who port from console to PC. Partially because they developed their games on PC as the initial SKU…

            Sad how times have changed. Very sad.

      • subedii says:

        Alan Wake came over a year late. And that was a pretty good port. Controlled well, visuals were good, and even included the DLC.

        Similar for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I can’t say I had any problems with that.

        • DanMan says:

          MGR: You mean, except for a max. resolution of 1080p, 60fps cap and only 24fps via HDMI?

          link to steamcommunity.com

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            I agree with the FPS cap on HDMI though, it’s a rightful punishment for those who actually use that crap on PC monitors.

            It’s a fine limit on TV sets though, it smooths out the 100+ milliseconds of input lag xD

          • commentingaccount says:

            Tactical: holy crap that is petty.

        • commentingaccount says:

          Alan Wake was also done by an originally PC centric studio, and was only moved off of PC because Microsoft demanded it, otherwise they’d cut the funding. Its release also had a fair bit of fanfare, rather than basically being barely advertised like all three of the super bad ports mentioned.

    • MaXimillion says:

      But the PC port of The Last Remnant was great

  9. lowprices says:

    Man, Durante needs to stop doing this for free. He (or she) really should set up a consultancy business helping Japanese devs port to PC, because he’s doing a surprising amount for them already.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      The issue is that they really don’t need any help, or at least i’m not willing to believe that.

      What happens there is just blind stupidity instead.

      • HadToLogin says:

        Not stupidity, just greedy. When they make straight port they don’t need to check if cutscenes fit and all that stuff.

        It all might work with Durante work, but there might be some issues. And they simply didn’t want to spend QA time checking whole game for them.

        Kinda reminds me Watch Dogs and that “Worse” dude mod – everyone was all “omg, so cool, we have E3 stuff”, just to start game and go “wait, it’s unplayable shit with those settings, why Worse was so stupid to put them in, idiot”.

  10. Jeremy says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve played a Final Fantasy game, but I didn’t think they would create a character with a penchant for mad bong rips.

  11. sharkh20 says:

    By far the worst FF game. Do not recommend.

  12. Xzi says:

    Now you know why they released it for $15 instead of $30. Gives them an excuse to be lazy.

  13. trjp says:

    I stood in the local electronics store today, surrounded by the latest TVs – all 4K – some curved – all over 60″ – all costing fortunes – all looking very pretty indeed with the demo reel playing.

    Where, exactly, is the content for those going to come from if games are still fucking around at 720p?????

    • Cinek says:

      Well, console kiddos got Xbox one, advertised to support 4k… *eyerolls*…

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        And somewhere in a dark corner of the box, an incredibly small font reads something like “Video playback only or badly implemented upsampling, but don’t quote us on that”.

  14. Niko says:

    If there’s any thing gamers have a sensible reason to be upset about, it’s locked frame rates and resolutions, not [buzzword] [buzzword] and [buzzword].

  15. Scumbag says:

    Dear Squeenix
    Lots of people liked FFIX
    Please port FFIX
    Thanks
    An angry person with a very specific cut off point with your produce

  16. GeorgeB says:

    Durante is a hero!

  17. bonuswavepilot says:

    Hmm poking about in this mess watching the rustling of jimmies and wondering how Squeenix would respond (if at all) I ran across an article the heroic Durante had published in PCGamer about what we PC-gaming master race expect from a port. It is pretty good, and apparently has gained some traction around the place… Find it hither if you’re interested – he writes quite well on the topic I reckon.

    link to pcgamer.com