With the release of Redfall upon us, many players are asking themselves a simple question: How hyped are we for the release of this game? As much as I would be happy to relay the message of a positive reception… it would be wrong to lie. After all, the build-up to Redfall‘s release has not gone without its issues. While we could point towards the poor showcase of the IGN First gameplay as a “gameplay demonstration,” a different topic is sweeping social media and how apparently the game will crash and burn upon launch because the Frames Per Second (FPS) is not up to expectations. This is the story of the 30 FPS Debacle.
Why 30 FPS and not 60 FPS?
So for the uninitiated who might not know the importance of Frames Per Second, here is a quick example of what we are talking about:
If you did watch the video from start to finish, you will see how the higher refresh rate of the 60 FPS in comparison to the 30 FPS. For your average player, the difference between 30 and 60 isn’t much, but it can usually depend on the kind of game in which you are playing since that refresh rate can usually mean a smoother overall experience… At least in theory.
In this day and age of gaming, most people believe that we should no longer be in an age where games run at 30 frames, but rather at 60 for a variety of reasons. The change in technology. More powerful equipment under the hood. You likely have plenty of reasons you can consider as well. And personally, I would agree too that the experience of a game should be as smooth as possible for those playing. But we also live in an age where the option is there for those who wish to play a game either for its performance or for its graphics. And the lack of a performance mode is where we currently find Redfall.
Redfall launching without a performance mode
Earlier this month, we did get a post from Bethesda talking about the launch of Redfall. It was a simple message, but one that left everyone feeling a good sum of the player base feeling an overall lack of confidence.
Simply put… a mistake was made. Those looking forward to the game felt a sudden betrayal and many who were planning on playing on Xbox Game Pass saw this as a broken promise of games launching at 60 FPS. So much so, that since April 12th, any post on Redfall saw a flood of responses demanding the developers to push Redfall‘s launch back. Sufficed to say, the demands likely will go unheard with the release happening in less than a week’s time. That and it does seem like after a good sum of delays Redfall got (originally aiming for late 2022), Redfall might not be able to afford any more delays.
Performance vs Graphics
The other possible explanation (if there was one we could pull out of this) may just be how Bethesda sees Redfall in a playable enough state at 30 FPS. Now would this be a good excuse to launch the game as such and delay the 60 FPS performance mode? Doubtful.
There has been a recent trend with game releases where some games give the option of setting a preference for your play experience. If you are someone who wants to see the game in its full splendor, you can prioritize graphics. If there’s a preference for a smoother-looking presentation, then you can prioritize performance. And of course, there is also an option to strike a middle ground with a balanced experience. Of course, at the time of writing this, we currently are witnessing the fallout of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor and the state the game launched. Long story short on PC: Not good.
Back on topic, it would be difficult to say how exactly we would break down what the preference is for those playing. For those of us who play on a near-daily basis, we can likely assume performance is the standard. But for the more casual gamers, they may just want to see the beauty of the game and keep it at graphics.
And in a sense, this could be the logic behind Redfall’s choice to push forward without having performance available at launch. For some titles, prioritizing performance means the presentation of the game is going to take a hit. Will it make the game look ugly? Not really, but it certainly will not look as good as you would hope. But will it hurt the launch of the game? Possibly, but Metacritic likely will post the reviews by the time this article goes up.
If a game isn’t worth playing at 30 FPS, it isn’t worth playing at 60 FPS.
This is the conclusion I came to when reflecting on this whole debacle. A lot of people feel as though the lack of 60 FPS is going to kill the game’s launch. However, I would argue that the idea of having a higher FPS making a game better is like Tony Stark telling Peter about the suit.
Such a simple line, but a great point all the same. If Redfall were to launch with 60 FPS and we found out that the game was still not good, would that mean 30 FPS would be even worse? For some, yes. But the point remains that frame rate is hardly going to be a make-or-break for this game. If the game comes out and it turns out that the game isn’t going to be fun, no amount of frame rates is going to save it.
Now this is not to say I’m defending Redfall. The problem I face is looking at this from an objective standpoint and playing devil’s advocate. Does this mean Redfall magically gets a free pass in my book? Far from it. But this is the play Bethesda (and by extension, Microsoft) is making and thus will be judged for it. If the game performs well enough at 30 FPS, that will only mean the 60 FPS will run even better. And while it will certainly hurt things in the short term, the long term might not matter if the game has a positive reception at the start.
But if the launch is poor, people likely won’t stick around for long to see those improved patched in at a later date.
So at the end of this whole debacle, what is the biggest takeaway from this? Simply put like all things in this world, that’s up to you to decide. If you feel as though Redfall is unplayable because there are not enough frames, feel free to either wait for that patch or just play another game altogether. Your average consumer, likely won’t consider the importance of performance and just play the game as is. If the game looks pretty while murdering vampires, then that’s already mission accomplished.
If there is a poor reception for Redfall, we know exactly where the fault lies upon.
For myself, I’m taking a simple approach: If the intention is to play day 1, then that’s what I’ll do. And if the game is boring or performs poorly, then I will uninstall the game and not look back (even when the 60 FPS patch does happen). My biggest hurdle with Redfall isn’t the lack of 60 frames, but rather with Arkane themselves. If you did not enjoy titles like Dishonored or Deathloop, then you are already going into Redfall with a negative mindset. If it turns out Redfall does turn things around though, then I’m all for it. Otherwise, Redfall could serve as yet another cautionary tale of the importance of getting it right before launch.
Something that will become even more apparent with Starfield coming later this year.
So what do you think?
Are you planning on playing Redfall? Did Bethesda make a big mistake in launching the game without a performance mode? And what do you expect the fallout of this to be?
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