XCOM 2 [official site]’s technical problems are “the first thing we talk about about when we come in in the morning”, claims lead designer Jake Solomon. “We take it incredibly seriously. Me and all the leads, that’s what we work on all day and that’s what we’re committed to right now.”
While very well-received critically, XCOM 2 has run poorly for a significant number of players, this correspondent included (though it ran well for our reviewer Adam). Speaking to RPS yesterday, project lead Solomon stated that Firaxis were unaware this would be the case when they shipped the game. “I can honestly say that we didn’t know it would be this way at launch.”
While a small hotfix, released yesterday, did not address the major framerate issues, larger fixes are “coming soon”. Solomon also revealed that the post-animation pauses some have criticised XCOM 2 for are being worked on.
While he did not name an exact cause for the performance issues, he did reveal that “maybe it was our optimism about our new deferred renderer and MSAA – a lot of little things like that.”
One of the reasons the problems were not known about prior to launch was that “it’s not across the board, the issues are kind of myriad… sporadic.” This is indeed the case – again, our reviewer had no serious performance problems, and quite a few of our readers say the game’s been fine for them too.
“Maybe this is damning on me, but I’m sitting here talking to you now on the laptop I use to play it on,” explained Solomon, “and I didn’t see these issues. We didn’t catch this stuff in compatibility testing. We’re fully, fully accountable for the product in people’s hands, so we certainly take responsibility for it.”
“To people who are suffering them, if they’re frustrated, I’m as frustrated and more. We will continue to update the game, and we do have some workarounds – heck, you guys even posted some workarounds – but we definitely have fixes coming soon.”
“I can’t say dates, but I would say that we’re working very furiously. We already have a lot of those issues in our sights.”
Addressing the issue of whether the sometimes long pauses after certain events and animatinos in the game are down to bugs or a design decision, Solomon agreed that “some, particularly the Sectoid reanimate animation, take too damn long, I totally agree. And in fact we’re going to change that. I am personally looking into that stuff right now, any gameplay pauses. Camera pauses after kills and stuff like that, I am evaluating all those things to make sure that’s not egregious.
“And that stuff’s on me. I do a lot of the camera rules in terms of it moving and staying and pausing and so on. Taking into account the flyovers and making sure the player has all the context they need for their actions. If things can be sped up they certainly will.”
Our full interview with Jake Solomon, in which he also discusses the thinking behind the game’s divisive difficulty, the tactical intricacies of the game and the legacy of the original X-COM series, will be published soon.
For more on XCOM 2, visit our XCOM 2 guide hub.