This fall when Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gamers are tearing through Cybertron in the shiny metal skin of Grimlock, PC gamers will remain earthbound, forced to witness the grand robot battles from afar. After a poor showing on the PC for Transformers: War for Cybertron, High Moon Studios isn't even going to attempt to port the follow-up.
It's simply beyond their capabilities.
PC gamers were severely disappointed with the version of Transformers: War for Cybertron released on their platform of choice, a glitchy, bug-ridden mess with graphics capped at 30 frames per second, a by-product of console-centric design.
When Activision and High Moon Studios revealed the upcoming sequel, Fall of Cybertron, PC gamers were even more disappointed. Having written the initial article on the new game, I found myself bombarded by requests from players to get to the bottom of this disheartening situation. During a recent conference call with High Moon's game director Matt Tieger, I finally got my chance.
"There are a couple of reasons why that is," Tieger explained when I asked why no PC version of the sequel were planned. "Focus is one. I know that it's not a huge leap to do a PC SKU, but it is different. It's outside of our area of expertise, to be honest."
It's an honest answer, something the developer took away from the experience of creating the PC version of War for Cybertron, which Tieger said was a stretch for the studio.
"I think there are a few things that are inherent in what PC consumers are looking for that frankly we didn't deliver good on."
Things like customizing your user interface, remapping your controls, and "some of the voice over stuff," Tieger continued. "A lot of that stuff is easy or comes inherently on the console."
Not so easy on the PC, as it turned out. "We were spread so thin that I feel like we barely served that audience. Then there were some issues with continued support that were frankly beyond our control, but at the same time did not create a great experience for PC gamers that got it."
Rather than attempt to create a third version of Fall of Cybertron that the developer couldn't properly support, High Moon decided to skip the PC altogether. It was a hard decision, but one that makes perfect sense.
"It seems like so glamorous from the outside, but games are this constant struggle of tough choices; it just is when you're making a game. Despite the fact that it's an artistic creation, the technical constraints of how many resources you have and what you can do — you really want to try and do the things you can do well."
Better no game at all than a broken disappointment, right?