The freshman effort from studio Fool’s Theory looks promising. A small group of seasoned game developers that comprise the studio has been together now for about a year – including former CD Projekt Red (The Witcher) team members – and PAX East 2016 offered our first look at their game, Seven: The Days Long Gone. The Polish group set out to do something they said “no one has done,” which was to create an isometric, parkour-style, jump-and-climb action RPG. We got the chance to play Seven: The Days Long Gone, an Unreal Engine game, and speak with project lead Jakub Rokosz at PAX East.
The game takes place in a “beyond post-apocalyptic” future where mankind is slowly rebuilding. The plateau of Peh begins our story, and players get to explore the Empire of Vetrall throughout the campaign. We were placed in the game as protagonist Teriel the thief, but were informed that Fool's Theory also intends to allow players to choose their own character when the game is complete. Teriel is possessed by a demon, Artanak, who has an agenda of his own. The demon and its host work together to learn about the Empire of Vetrall, aiming to discover much about the ancient world and its secrets. Gamers can expect about 10 hours of campaign play with many more added, assuming all the side quests and adventures are also completed.
For a week following the holidays, game news has been non-stop in its roll-out since Christmas day. Valve experienced store downtime on Xmas for a period of about an hour, resultant of an emergency shutoff to protect users from a caching issue that exposed personal information. Valve stated that users have nothing to worry about with regard to credit card information and account data.
That wasn't Santa's only gift to the games industry, though; employees at Red5, developers of Firefall, were reportedly told that payroll would not be issued due to lack of studio finances.
News more specific to games – not just the industry – emerged for The Witcher 3, Escape from Tarkov, and Far Cry Primal. Additional information was revealed about the new Assassin's Creed: The Game: The Movie adaptation. You'll find all that in our news recap video below. Script below that.
This week's game news looks to the worlds of Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher, Overwatch, Elite: Dangerous, Paragon, and Steam's account theft.
An interview with CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kicinski went live on Polish site Money.pl, where the CEO – who openly discusses his company's financial efficiency – talks about the White Wolf's future adventures. The company hopes to continue its devotion to the Witcher series, despite initial plans to conclude the story with Wild Hunt. Geralt's story is done, Kicinski told the site, but that doesn't mean The Witcher is. This has been the major delay to Cyberpunk 2077, a game that has internal, unannounced deadlines, but Kicinski said to expect Cyberpunk news in 2016.
Our hardware news recap is over here.
That and all the other week's news items are recapped in the below video:
Last week's game news recap overviewed major No Man's Sky, Star Citizen, and RPG news (including some Fallout 4 discussion). That was our first weekly recap of games industry news and, finding it to be tremendous fun and receiving positive feedback, we've returned with the second episode.
This week was another eventful period for the industry, heralding the arrival of Black Ops III, the Fallout 4 launch trailer, and putting a public spotlight on Valve's advertising during sales. News also erupted surrounding the Warcraft movie trailer, followed shortly by news that The Witcher series has already gone through pre-production for its own movie creation. Granted, the Witcher is technically based on a book – but close enough.
The Witcher 3 has been, alongside GTA V, one of the biggest releases of the year. The game has seen one million PC activations via the company's GOG Galaxy service, netting a profit of $62.5 million USD in 1H15. First-half net profit of the Witcher 3 grew 768% over 2011 + 2012 figures.
The launch of the Witcher 3 introduced a couple of game graphics options that aren't very commonly available in settings menus. Photographers may be familiar with the likes of chromatic aberration and vignetting, but not many games have offered these items for tweaking in the past.
We recently benchmarked The Witcher 3 for GPU performance and remarked that the game was horridly optimized, taking the opportunity expand on the graphics settings in a limited fashion. Since this posting, CD Projekt Red has released a new game patch (1.03) that drastically improves PC performance on various video cards; AMD is expected to release a Catalyst 15.5 beta driver update that focuses on the Witcher in the near future.
This Witcher 3 optimization guide defines the best graphics settings for improving FPS in the game, seeking to explain each option in greater depth. We independently benchmarked various game settings on a Titan X (to eliminate bottlenecking on the hardware) and took a graphics settings comparison video, found below. Although screenshots can get some of the job done, a comparison video is critical for a game like The Witcher; CD Projekt Red's newest RPG makes heavy use of temporal filters, which means that the filters make the most impact over time (seen through movement, which isn't conveyed in a screenshot). We'd encourage checking out the video for just a few comparisons of the many options.
The Witcher 3's bombastic launch included bonus, spill-over fanfare surrounding the use of nVidia's GameWorks middle-ware in Project Cars. AMD spewed fire, telling Ars that GameWorks “completely sabotaged” AMD's performance, further stating “it's wrecked our performance, almost as if it [were] put in to achieve that goal.” This implication of an nVidia-branded torpedo to AMD's performance garnered attention on reddit and other social networks, following a week of similar postings related to Project Cars. We decided to do some of our own research.
During the GTA V craze, we posted a texture resolution comparison that showcased the drastic change in game visuals from texture settings. The GTA content also revealed VRAM consumption and the effectively non-existent impact on framerates by the texture setting. The Witcher 3 has a similar “texture quality” setting in its game graphics options, something we briefly mentioned in our Witcher 3 GPU benchmark.
This Witcher 3 ($60) texture quality comparison shows screenshots with settings at Ultra, High, Normal, and Low using a 4K resolution. We also measured the maximum VRAM consumption for each setting in the game, hoping to determine whether VRAM-limited devices could benefit from dropping texture quality. Finally, in-game FPS was measured as a means to determine the “cost” of higher quality textures.
We normally upload a “benchmark course” video to the site's YouTube channel, dedicated to showcasing just a small part of our extensive testing methodology for each game benchmarked. The previous title we tested was GTA V, and with the launch of the Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt, focus shifts to CD Projekt Red's new game.
This video walks through our benchmark course used during video card benchmarking for the Witcher, an exhaustive process that seeks to uncover the best graphics cards at various settings. We've only got four video cards left in our test tonight, which will be followed-up immediately by an article with FPS charts and other data. More performance articles will follow shortly thereafter.
In the meantime, take a look at the game's hi-fidelity graphics at 4K resolution:
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