Dishonored 2 has been available to PC gamers for the past 24 hours, but fans are outraged at the technical issues that are affecting the game. The game is currently sitting at a “Mixed” rating on Steam, with slightly more positive reviews than negative. Most of the negative reviews are slamming Bethesda and Arkane for the poor quality of optimization. Even with expensive hardware, Dishonored 2 suffers from low frame rates and mouse input issues.
Bethesda released a public statement in response to the outcry. They mentioned that they “intend to provide improvements to allow for more consistent frame rates on affected systems and provide an update to the mouse code for smoother input.” There’s currently no mention of technical specifics, but they encourage affected players to follow the Steam community for help and also follow their recommended system settings.
Highly anticipated games put a lot of pressure on both the publisher and developer when released. Batman: Arkham Knight suffered similar performance issues last year, which prompted Warner Brothers to offer a full refund to every owner. They explained in a statement that Arkham Knight was unfixable. More recently, Just Cause 3 also had a rocky start due to poor optimization.
Understanding Technical Issues
Technical issues can arise for many reasons, but the main cause is poor optimization with different hardware configurations. Developers set minimum and recommended system requirements by putting the game through a rigorous testing phase. However, the combinations of computer hardware are almost endless, so it’s not always possible to catch every bug or performance issue.
Gamers aren’t convinced that Dishonored 2’s poor optimization is due to a lack of testing. People praised DOOM this year because it had smooth frame rates even with mid-tier hardware. DOOM runs on id Software’s id Tech 6 engine, which is an upgrade to the id Tech 5 based “Void” engine that Dishonored 2 uses.
PC gamers often blame poor performance on the lack of care taken when porting the game to PC. For Dishonored 2, this wasn’t the case. Harvey Smith, one of the directors of Dishonored 2, tweeted in October that all three versions are developed in-house and separately, meaning the poor optimization issues are exclusive to the PC.
A Helping Hand
In the meantime, frustrated owners have turned to Reddit and the Steam forums. Gamers are banding together to share their experiences in an attempt to uncover the cause of the technical issues. Players have discussed possible fixes and reasons for the poor optimization, and also post their hardware configurations in case there’s a pattern among those that suffer poor performance. The most recent development is that AMD Phenom processors lack SSE4.1 support, which is a requirement to run the game.
Watching the community band together in an effort to fix issues that the developer hasn’t is a heartwarming sight. While there’s no miracle fix that players can perform, there is hope that some clever individuals will be able to decipher the issues and enable gamers to enjoy the sequel that they’ve been waiting for since 2013. Otherwise, it’s up to Arkane to release a patch before frustrated gamers demand refunds.