As gaming has become a much more mainstream hobby and consoles have become a common feature in households over the past decade, one unfortunate trend has caught hold and that's that PC versions of many popular games aren't the original, they're the port. Games are made for console and then ported to PC, often with no consideration for its particular eccentricities or its certainly more powerful hardware, especially towards the end of the last generation.
Which is why it's great to see a company like Respawn announcing new graphical features for the PC version of Titanfall in an upcoming patch, not because they shouldn't have been there in the first place (they should) but because Respawn is actually taking the time out of its schedule of game updates and DLC development, to make the PC platform that bit better and that's encouraging.
One need only look back a few years to games with horrible PC ports like Dark Souls, where the graphics to this day – without mods – are some of the best examples of muddy, pixellated awful, especially considering the game came out on PC less than two years ago. Fortunately it can be fixed with fan made modifications to make the glowing ground text readable, or actually have textures that are in keeping with a game of its age and pedigree.
However we can go even more modern and take the example of Need for Speed Rivals, which was a launch title on both the Xbox One and PS4, designed to showcase the power and beauty of the new systems. And yet because neither is particularly powerful, it was locked at 30 frames per second. Sacrilege, but understandable given the hardware constrains. Yet on the PC port, that 30 frames per second limiter remained.
I suppose we shouldn't have been surprised though, EA did the same with the previous Need for Speed: The Run too.
It's not like they fixed these games post launch either. These games can still be played in their broken and unloved state now. It's only if you download some extras that a fan made that you can play them how they should be played on a PC – as pretty as possible.
So while Respawn's move to add SLI support and the ability to play on a 4K display to Titanfall, should have been something that was there from the start and chances are, if this was a PC central developer, they would have been, it's good news for PC gamers that it's taking notice and taking the time to add these features.
Really Respawn's time should be focused on somehow raising the resolution on the Xbox One, which despite being the game's flagship system, is only running it at 792P, which works out to 1408x792. While we know it might be getting bumped to 900P at some point, 4K resolution (3840 × 2160) is more than four times the detail and is a great way to showcase how pretty, the rather dated engine can be.
These sorts of moves are important too, because they not only show the very vocal, loyal and – often – more financially secure PC gamers that you care, but it's a great way to showcase the capabilities of the game too. If your game is pretty, you're going to show it off it on the PC, so making the PC version the best it can be is a great marketing move.
It's the same move graphics card companies like Nvidia and AMD make. They make their top end, flagship card a monster – just look at the Titan Z - even though only a handful of people around the world will buy one or three. The same is true for gaming, even though the audience can actually be pretty huge if it's taken care of – just look at Minecraft.
So kudos to Respawn for respecting and listening to the PC audience. It doesn't get a pat on the back yet, as it should have had SLI support in there from day one, but going forward, I hope to see more developers take the tack of at least fixing their problems after launch.
With EA leaving such a bad taste in our mouth, it's about time someone made us feel loved.