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Discussion Digital Foundry || Pokémon Scarlet / Pokémon Violet - DF Tech Review - Incredibly Poor Visuals + Performance

Thorakai

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the change will come when the development process stalls because they simply can't work with the tools. I think this is what happened with Gen 4. but as their games grow bigger, if the engine collapses under them, then all hell breaks loose. as I mentioned in other threads, this is pretty much why devs change to third party tools
Yea there is nothing riskier than totally missing your release window because your game is literally unplayable, thus losing potential millions because of an unforeseen delay. ESPECIALLY since we now see demand is currently high enough to support three separate mainline entries in the span of a year-long period. Even from a profit-hungry POV it would be in a company’s best interest in making developers job as easy and seamless as possible to make sure games make their release dates.
 
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Pokemaniac

Caught: 905
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it's pretty much SS's multiplayer but in a larger world and progression
The Union Circle is pretty different from how anything in Sword and Shield worked, and in a way that would be fairly intrusive to how lot of aspects of how the game work. A fully coherent multiplayer session is a lot different than just dropping a bunch of mostly non interactive ghosts of other players on the map.
 

curl-6

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I really don't like to sit in negativity, but this is appalling.

Comparisons to the likes of Dying Light and Xenoblade 3 on the same hardware, and even BOTW, a game designed for an even less capable system, shows there's just no blaming the hardware for this one.
Some of the assets legitimately look like they're from an original Xbox title.
It's unacceptable for a major title to release in this state in this day age, even more so for one of the biggest games of the year.

Unfortunately, I just don't know where we go from here. It's still selling like hotcakes so there seems little reason for them to improve, and they seem hellbent on continuing their brutal release schedule no matter the cost.
 

Tentacle-tropes

Paratroopa
Yeah I know that's our understanding of the situation, I know what TPC's job is, and I'm sure what you both are describing is probably what is happening, but I can't shake the feeling that all parties involved are "in on it", meaning as Tentacle said let's not rock the boat when the IP prints money. I just can't see the situation getting better without somebody high-up the food chain stepping in.

I've also been thinking about whether the anime situation might point towards some change in their brand management. One can only hope.
Of course their “in on it” as you say the IP prints money. Rocking the boat just doesn’t mean printing money though. Any plan going forward will have to be carefully considered so as not to affect those that are apart of the Pokémon multimedia apparatus. GF does monitor fan feedback so I wouldn’t be shocked if they are having this conversation internally with TPC & Nintendo.
 
I’d be embarrassed if I was TPC(or is it Nintendo not giving them the funding???).

Hard to fathom Gamefreak are this incompetent.

Either way, they’ll never be held in Nintendo quality regard despite them swimming in cash.
 
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ILikeFeet

Adept
Unfortunately, I just don't know where we go from here. It's still selling like hotcakes so there seems little reason for them to improve, and they seem hellbent on continuing their brutal release schedule no matter the cost.
the direction you go is fixing your tools. this game isn't a result of lack of care but their tools buckling. they didn't have the time to upgrade the engine with the games' cadence. if they don't fix their tools, the next game could be worse to the point where it can't come out on time because it's too broken. GF is starting up a tools R&D team to upgrade their engine separately from game development
 

JazzPotatoes

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I'm just annoyed that Gamefreak went from being one of the premier Gameboy/GBA developers, to this.

If you look at the presentation and scope of those Gameboy and Gameboy Colour games, nothing else came close. They had huge worlds to explore, excellent spritework, and fantastic world presentation. Gold and Silver are some of the most technically impressive games on the platform.

Now we've got games with outdated visual presentation, poor performance and crap optimization, even though the series itself is still as popular as ever.

Gamefreak need to stop pumping out a game a year, and pivot to a new engine. It's obvious their current engine doesn't have the tools or capability to let them keep on top of development, and the rushed schedule is exacerbating this. They need to go back to having one round of mainline Pokemon games per system, and making the most of the hardware. I'd also like to see them move to something like Unreal Engine, just because even when running on Switch, it comes with native features enabled that are still years ahead of what GF is implementing in their own engine.
 

Zellia

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Just watched the video, and, oof, the comparisons to Arceus and BotW really ram home just how bad SV look and run in comparison. As much as I've had fun with SV, this tearing down of the game's graphics, performance and bugs is 100% justified.
 
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I’m sorry but what the hell happened to this game!? This is not the game people were expecting at all. I mean just look at this trailer from a couple of weeks ago.



You cannot tell me that this trailer is the same game that hit retail. Almost everything shown is way better than we got. The resolution is better, the shadows are better, the frame rate on distant objects and NPCs are better. The MENU SPEED is better.

Don’t believe me? Go to 7:37 in the video and watch the Sunflora moving at the correct animation rate. This scene is absolutely not the same in the main game. The Sunflora animate like garbage and this part of the game is a slide show.

Among other things, the battle against team star the NPCs all look better. All those characters on screen and the game isn’t hitching or dropping frames. The infamous windmill from that digital foundry video isn’t refreshing at 2 fps at long distances.

Again, I ask what the hell happened to this game. Was Gamefreak intentionally lying about this games performance in this trailer? Did some game breaking bug tied to the CPU crop up that they could never fix, so their solution was to just cut as much CPU overload as they could. Is all of this related to that so called memory leak.

The game shown in that trailer is what I was expecting at release. I feel completely duped as a fan. This is not ok.
 
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JazzPotatoes

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I’m sorry but what the hell happened to this game!? This is not the game people were expecting at all. I mean just look at this trailer from a couple of weeks ago.


The game shown in that trailer is what I was expecting at release. I feel completely duped as a fan. This is not ok.
I very much doubt the footage in this trailer is the game running on a stock Switch. I imagine it's footage captured from development PCs, without whatever cutbacks GF felt they needed to make to get the game running on Switch.
 

9-Volt

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I’m sorry but what the hell happened to this game!? This is not the game people were expecting at all. I mean just look at this trailer from a couple of weeks ago.
This is a very carefully cut video. They showed Star base flags at a close distance so the frame problems is not noticeable. Fields are empty, nothing to strain the performance or nothing to pop up as the character moves.
 

big lantern ghost

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It’s always a bummer to see the result of being stretched as thin as GameFreak are with Pokémon titles. It really seems like they’re running out of road on this current arrangement. I don’t know near enough about dev to know what the best solution would be.

As an outsider looking in at Pokémon at this point, I’ve thought a more Monster Hunter-ish schedule could work well: a game launch followed by a substantial expansion 12-18 months later, with several years between titles.

I get why they don’t, they make a ton of money putting these out every year. But it kind of feels like if they let this go another year or two, there won’t even be a workable game ready for launch.
 

Christo750

Koopa
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I’m sorry but what the hell happened to this game!? This is not the game people were expecting at all. I mean just look at this trailer from a couple of weeks ago.



You cannot tell me that this trailer is the same game that hit retail. Almost everything shown is way better than we got. The resolution is better, the shadows are better, the frame rate on distant objects and NPCs are better. The MENU SPEED is better.

Don’t believe me? Go to 7:37 in the video and watch the Sunflora moving at the correct animation rate. This scene is absolutely not the same in the main game. The Sunflora animate like garbage and this part of the game is a slide show.

Among other things, the battle against team star the NPCs all look better. All those characters on screen and the game isn’t hitching or dropping frames. The infamous windmill from that digital foundry video isn’t refreshing at 2 fps at long distances.

Again, I ask what the hell happened to this game. Was Gamefreak intentionally lying about this games performance in this trailer? Did some game breaking bug tied to the CPU crop up that they could never fix, so their solution was to just cut as much CPU overload as they could. Is all of this related to that so called memory leak.

The game shown in that trailer is what I was expecting at release. I feel completely duped as a fan. This is not ok.
The framerate definitely seems more stable but in that Sunflora shot you mentioned, there's a guy walking behind at half the frame rate.

But yeah, you're definitely right. There's something up with this game overall. I saw this video earlier and it seems overclocking works really well to smooth out the experience. If there is a patch, this honestly may be the extent of it. I think this was done for BOTW to help with load times.


 
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This is a very carefully cut video. They showed Star base flags at a close distance so the frame problems is not noticeable. Fields are empty, nothing to strain the performance or nothing to pop up as the character moves.

That doesn’t explain the Sunflora or the distant windmill running a lot better. Unless they decided to despawn every Pokémon and NPC just for this trailer shot. We know that animation frame cuts are hard coded based on distance from the camera and that trailer shows that the retail release is a lot more aggressive about cutting those frames. You can’t “carefully edit” around that.

I very much doubt the footage in this trailer is the game running on a stock Switch. I imagine it's footage captured from development PCs, without whatever cutbacks GF felt they needed to make to get the game running on Switch.

This makes no sense. The PC dev environment can emulate the Switch’s speed and clocks. And at this point in development you’d think they would be at the point where they’re optimizing for actual hardware.
 
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NarohDethan

Bob-omb
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I’m sorry but what the hell happened to this game!? This is not the game people were expecting at all. I mean just look at this trailer from a couple of weeks ago.



You cannot tell me that this trailer is the same game that hit retail. Almost everything shown is way better than we got. The resolution is better, the shadows are better, the frame rate on distant objects and NPCs are better. The MENU SPEED is better.

Don’t believe me? Go to 7:37 in the video and watch the Sunflora moving at the correct animation rate. This scene is absolutely not the same in the main game. The Sunflora animate like garbage and this part of the game is a slide show.

Among other things, the battle against team star the NPCs all look better. All those characters on screen and the game isn’t hitching or dropping frames. The infamous windmill from that digital foundry video isn’t refreshing at 2 fps at long distances.

Again, I ask what the hell happened to this game. Was Gamefreak intentionally lying about this games performance in this trailer? Did some game breaking bug tied to the CPU crop up that they could never fix, so their solution was to just cut as much CPU overload as they could. Is all of this related to that so called memory leak.

The game shown in that trailer is what I was expecting at release. I feel completely duped as a fan. This is not ok.
It's a marketing fluff piece, of course they won't show up the bad bits.
 
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It's a marketing fluff piece, of course they won't show up the bad bits.

There are stuff in this trailer that go beyond just “carefully editing the bad bits out.” Across the board the NPC animation frames is a lot better than the main game, with them not having their animation frame cuts at super close distances. The Sunflora do not animate at 30 fps in the main game, and the team star section does not run anywhere near that well.
 
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The framerate definitely seems more stable but in that Sunflora shot you mentioned, there's a guy walking behind at half the frame rate.

But yeah, you're definitely right. There's something up with this game overall. I saw this video earlier and it seems overclocking works really well to smooth out the experience. If there is a patch, this honestly may be the extent of it. I think this was done for BOTW to help with load times.

There are still cut animation frames on distant NPCs but it doesn’t kick in anywhere near as close as it does in the retail release.

That video is interesting since it seems like the animation frame cut off is hard coded into the game and is super aggressive! Doesn’t get better at all overclocking it.
 

Zellia

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With that trailer, I do find it grimly funny that at the time we were all guessing it was an updated JP build with better optimisation, but it just turns out that actually the English trailer was representative of the game and the JP trailer was effectively touched-up.
 

daase ko

Octorok
Obviously they can make good textures, looking at the characters clothes, so it's scary how backed into a corner they seem to be with their engine that they have to settle with such bad terrain textures to not tank the performance more than it already is.
 
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Party Sklar

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It's a marketing fluff piece, of course they won't show up the bad bits.
You’re right, but I think we’re a bit surprised because that’s not usually what Nintendo does. Granted, their games usually are very polished so it’s not like they have a lot to lie about, but I think it’s one of the first times I feel cheated by a trailer they put out.

Especially since the first trailer for S/V looked like shit, then the quality of what they showed improved over time, like it happened with Arceus. Except unlike Arceus, the final product is running like the first trailer and not the improved ones.

Good news, though, they appear to already be working on some patches for the game. I sent an email to Nintendo to complain about the quality of the game and, after some back and forth, they said that « we hope that the next updates will allow you to fully enjoy your game ».
 
Staff Post New

Red Monster

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Staff Communication
Hey folks. We know that the topic of performance problems with Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are a hot button issue, and it’s something that a lot of people feel very strongly about. Conversations about these problems are of course encouraged, but please don’t disparage people for liking the games despite the performance. Speaking of performance, it’s ok to criticize the game’s technical issues, but let’s not imply that games development is anything other than hard work. As always, be considerate and respectful. - Red Monster, PixelKnight, Aurc
 
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Mr Swine

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Someone over at Resetera posted a Twitter link on installing Pokémon in the system storage (main) and not on the SD card makes the game run smoother. It does work, so I’m wondering if the SD card read speeds are to blame
 

curl-6

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Whenever a Switch game doesn't look or run great, especially recently, the first conclusion so many seem to jump to is that the hardware is entirely responsible, so it's good to see DF providing some perspective there.

There are just so many factors that can influence a game's technical quality, from development time or lack thereof, manpower, budget, ability, tools, etc.
Sometimes it really is a result of hitting the hard limits of chip performance, but this is definitely not such a case.

The recent re-port of Ark for instance shows what a difference it can make to the same game on the same hardware but with different development circumstances.
 
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Bowser Sr.

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Someone over at Resetera posted a Twitter link on installing Pokémon in the system storage (main) and not on the SD card makes the game run smoother. It does work, so I’m wondering if the SD card read speeds are to blame
Considering that we have people reporting problems on cartridges units and considering that, y'know, other games on SD Cards don't mess up like this, I'd guess first and foremost that the blame still falls on Gamefreak being Gamefreak
 
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EggmaniMN

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It's the 2nd worst performing "major" game I've ever seen on the Switch with the worst being Deadly Premonition 2, which is me being very generous considering DP2 "major." It's baffling. And it'd be one thing if it was because it was actually doing too much but it just clearly isn't. Whatever is going on at Game Freak, they apparently had 3 years to make it and whether it's their engine or the way they cycle devs between projects or something completely different, they need to sort it out NOW. I finished Scarlet the other day and it's the most disappointing release of the entire generation to me. The gym challenges being these weird non-sequitur minigames, the performance, the ugliness, the bugs, superfluous towns, mechanics like the TM maker, even the trainers are largely pointless. It just seems like the game we have now is the day one bluesky idea and it never got fleshed out. There's so much here that's just wrong that a patch could never fix it.
 
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L_esson

Tektite
Considering that we have people reporting problems on cartridges units and considering that, y'know, other games on SD Cards don't mess up like this, I'd guess first and foremost that the blame still falls on Gamefreak being Gamefreak
I've moved my Scarlet digital copy to the internal storage and didn't notice much change. Maybe some things load slightly faster, like when loading my save from title screen and some Pokémon while navigating in the PC boxes?
I'd be curious to see more in-depths analysis on this, just in case I'll keep it installed there as it's the most optimal conditions to play it anyway (even if improvements are extremely small).
 
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EggmaniMN

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Any change that people are noticing between switching from SD card to internal storage is only there because they have to close the game entirely. Power cycling the console gets rid of the memory leak for a bit too. A few games have benefited from using the internal storage because it's faster to load from than really any SD card is going to be but it wouldn't dramatically affect frame rate or anything.
 
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catonkatonk

Moblin
I've never played a Pokemon game but from an outside perspective, GameFreak is a mysterious and strange entity.

It's wild that they released Arceus and Scarlet & Violet in the same year, but wilder still that the games had differing art styles and presumably used different tech (to the point where, according to this thread, even things like movement and throwing a pokeball feel different). & wildest is the fact that these games were developed by less than 200 people??
The comparison to Xenoblade 3 is an interesting one because that is a game that is developed on technology that Monolith had been building since the early 10s, and reuses the art style and assets of 2 and Torna. Of course each game looks better than the last: They have the luxury of years to refine the same technology. Torna has the exact same artstyle as 2, but the second you begin playing it the technological glowup is obvious.
And it's possible that more people worked on the score of 3 than the entirety of Scarlet & Violet. Which is a bit bonkers, especially when you compare the sales potential of each product.

If GameFreak were lazy & greedy, Arceus and Scarlet would look and feel the same outside of the differing battle mechanics. Instead what we get is an example of "working harder, but not smarter", I guess.

And I do wonder about Nintendo's role in all this, actually. I always got the impression they were hands on in the games they published. That their QA process best in the industry. My one expectation of a game published by Nintendo is that it is extremely polished.
EPD & its satellite studios have a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can be brought to bear on all of their big projects. Tech from Breath of the Wild gets reused for Ringfit. Monolith's world design staff are tasked to help with Breath of the Wild.
Meanwhile GameFreak are clearly struggling with managing the Switch's memory while running an open world. This is a solved problem for Nintendo's internal studios, but they won't solve the problem for what will easily be the biggest selling game they publish this year?

Finally, if it is some sort of sacred law that a new Pokemon game must be released every six months and it must have a totally different graphical style... I don't understand why these games aren't built like Smash or Fire Emblem or Nier Automata or whatever, where GameFreak directs but the actual technical work is undertaken by third party studios?
 
OP
OP
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ILikeFeet

Adept
wildest is the fact that these games were developed by less than 200 people??
that's definitely not true. it's over a thousand people, if you include localization

And I do wonder about Nintendo's role in all this, actually. I always got the impression they were hands on in the games they published. That their QA process best in the industry. My one expectation of a game published by Nintendo is that it is extremely polished.
EPD & its satellite studios have a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can be brought to bear on all of their big projects. Tech from Breath of the Wild gets reused for Ringfit. Monolith's world design staff are tasked to help with Breath of the Wild.
Meanwhile GameFreak are clearly struggling with managing the Switch's memory while running an open world. This is a solved problem for Nintendo's internal studios, but they won't solve the problem for what will easily be the biggest selling game they publish this year?
Game Freak isn't a first party studio. they're co-owners of the IP, so they do what they want and ask for help if they need it. GF gets a lot of external help anyway, so it's not like they specifically need Nintendo to fix their problems
 

Mr Doggo

I am inside your house
Game Freak isn't a first party studio. they're co-owners of the IP, so they do what they want and ask for help if they need it. GF gets a lot of external help anyway, so it's not like they specifically need Nintendo to fix their problems
I dont think that help is working a lot lmao
 
I dont think that help is working a lot lmao

Well they have a lot of problems with tools and their technical capabilities to properly create their vision is lacking.

But more than that. No one actually believe that less than 200 people were able to create Arceus and S/V and launch both within 10 months right?

If you really sit and think about modern game development, it is apparent this is not possible.
 
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9-Volt

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how many zeros? and Bandai gets exclusive rights to produce merchandise and animated media
Bandai already has the rights to Pokémon merch, in Japan they have the toy license exclusively. They used to have it in west too but those awful figurines were not appreciated here.

Nobody wants the Pokémon toy license in west, both Jakks Pacific and Tomy dropped the license.
 


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