Ys VIII delayed on PC again to fix performance problems

For a second time, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana has been delayed mere days before it was due to launch on PC. Nihon Falcom’s JRPG had been due in September 2017 but was delayed one day before launch, and this new delay comes eleven days before the latest launch date. This time, publishers NIS America are being quite open: it’s delayed again because the game runs poorly and they haven’t managed to improve performance as much as they hoped, so they will hand the port to another developer, and they’re so sorry for all of this. They go into a surprising amount of detail with the technical problems, if you’re curious.

NISA announced last night that the game is delayed indefinitely – it’ll be ready when it’s ready. Company vice president Mitsuharu Hiraoka said in the statement, “we truly regret that we underestimated the severity of the issues that have surfaced (and how long it would take to resolve them)”, and apologised. But if you want to get technical…

“Low framerate issues and memory leak problems were apparent from the earliest PC builds we received. To help combat these, we looked into the drawing processes, which lead to an overall improvement in performance. However, we are still encountering framerate drops in specific circumstances. The systems regulating these framerate issues are heavily reliant on the architecture of the original PlayStation 4 version and, as such, are not existent in PC architecture. The memory leak issues are somewhat less complicated and expected to be resolved this weekend. But in order to solve these issues, we have determined that we must modify the core level of data in the game.

“As the PC version of the game was originally envisioned as a port, we avoided touching the core programming as much as possible and focused on PC performance optimization. However, in light of the feedback of those who have participated in the second beta test, we have concluded that we cannot avoid modifying the core programming.

“Once the changes from the relocalization efforts have been implemented at the end of this month, we will be moving development to an entirely different developer who will primarily focus on frame rate improvements as well as other PC optimizations. Once that process begins, we will monitor the progress and determine the release schedule.”

While NISA seem bad at planning, they do seem determined to do the PC version right for technoheads. Last year they got Peter ‘Durante’ Thoman–the fella famous for his tools making Dark Souls and Deadly Premonition less wonky on PC–to consult on the port for a bit, and this latest statement is more open and in-depth than pretty much any I’ve heard from a publisher before.

When the PC version of Ys VIII does arrive, it’ll also include the new localisation which is fixing up a lot of terrible writing from the initial English release on consoles.

11 Comments

  1. Addie says:

    The difference with the PS4 architecture is that the CPU memory and the graphics card memory is shared, but fast. So there’s certain things that you can do on the PS4:

    – sending a complete new set of graphics drawing instructions

    – mutating graphics geometry on the GPU

    – using the CPU to modify the framebuffer

    …which are fast enough to do every frame on the consoles, but absolutely trash performance on a PC. They need to be translated to the right programming idiom (using shaders to make the changes right on the graphics card, doing CPU operations on the previously-rendered frame, …) in order to have okay performance on the PC – anything else just causes massive stalls while memory is copied around. The PC mostly sits idle, but is only doing very few fps.

  2. Pich says:

    Now i know how NISA got their reputation.

  3. bilstar says:

    I was and still am looking forward to this. It’s obviously a shame I’ll have to wait but I’d rather have it right than experience a ropey game.

    Soooo… good news I suppose? Kind of. Ish.

  4. DinoSteak says:

    Good for them for being ‘honest’ about the port status…BUT…someone should lose their job over this, right? I don’t see how getting the date wrong 3 times is acceptable, there has to be a massive communication gap with these guys. Ah well, maybe it’ll actually be a decent port.

  5. Premium User Badge

    keithzg says:

    Not gonna lie, as someone who’s pulled at the guts of many a PC game, works as the entire IT department of a small software company, and mainly games on Linux, I was actually hoping for some nitty-gritty specifics about technical hurdles and pitfalls.

    This does at least reiterate the truism of software porting, though: design and develop it as cross-platform as you can from the very start, or there will be pain. (Honestly this is the best idea even if you’re unsure it’ll be worth porting it elsewhere, since it forces you to design things in a more modular and maintainable way, with things abstracted where they can be so they’re less Rube Goldbergian.)

  6. racccoon says:

    Delays are a good thing. Shows respect for PC gamers plus we are very resilient. :)

    • Mokinokaro says:

      Considering what NISA usually considers “fit for release,” delays are frightening.

      All I can hope is that they do fix this mess properly and their blunder ensures the Trails series stays in XSEED’s hands.

  7. emertonom says:

    This sounds like the right decision, and can’t have been cheap, so I’m actually glad they’re delaying it.

  8. 111uminate says:

    Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Delay

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