Square Enix may have just launched its biggest update to Final Fantasy XIV, but what could have been an almost perfect release has been marred by performance issues on a single platform: Macs. Now while this may sound almost like the situation with Warner Bros. and Batman: Arkham Knight for PCs, Square Enix is doing something differently and, to its credit, perhaps more satisfying. Producer Naoki Yoshida has provided a rather detailed account of the blunder that happened and, unusual in this business, has taken sole responsibility for the fiasco.
Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward might have reignited interest in the MMORPG enough for new players to start digging their heels into the game. That would have almost been the perfect opportunity for those on Mac to try it out, considering that the Mac version was just recently released as well. Sadly, it seems that the version was plagued by performance problems, and Yoshida explains why.
To be technical, the game actually didn’t have performance problems. The real problem was that actual system requirements of the game and the requirements that were communicated to the public didn’t match. Thanks to last minute crunch, not unusual in the game development biz, what got released was an FF XIV that required beefier specs than first thought. Add to the fact that a pre-release version of the game was actually released instead of the final one, and you’ve got a recipe for a PR mess. And Yoshida claims responsibility for making the miscommunication.
Yoshida goes on to talk about the technical considerations that went into making the Mac version, with the intention of letting users know why FF XIV on Macs will never be perfect. The game was developed completely with DirectX in mind, Microsoft’s API for games and graphics. OS X, on the other hand, uses OpenGL (at least for now). Rewriting FF XIV to work on OpenGL themselves would have cost more time and resources that would have detracted focus from developing the core game. Resorting to something like Boot Camp would still mean running the game on Windows, just installed on a Mac. So instead, they went with a middleware solution from TransGaming that translated DirectX calls to OpenGL. While the best solution given the circumstances, it isn’t perfect and users should expect some performance hit.
Naturally, Square Enix is offering a refund to disgruntled Mac owners who bought the game, only to be disappointed with the experience. They have also suspended sales of the Mac version until further notice. Warner Bros. offer the same refunds to Arkham Knight owners but its actions were nonetheless met by criticism and skepticism. To date, none of the parties involved have given a satisfying explanation to what led to Arkham Knights dismal PC performance aside from your usual canned apology. There is even talk that WB knew about those issues yet decided to proceed with the launch. Maybe they should take a few notes from Square Enix on how apologies, or excuses, are done properly.
SOURCE: Square Enix