Dead Cells Developers Say Improving Switch Performance Is Now Their Priority

Dead Cells on Switch
Dead Cells on Switch

Dead Cells is a really good video game, and is a perfect fit for the handheld Nintendo Switch. However, the Switch version performs noticeably under 60 frames-per-second, which makes for a less smooth experience than on other gaming systems. Yesterday, the game’s developers said they’re getting to work on improvements.

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In a post on Reddit last night responding to a thread that complained about the Switch’s framerate drops, a representative for Dead Cells maker Motion Twin said that performance fixes are the company’s “main priority” in the coming months, although the developers don’t expect a fix to come until November “at the absolute earliest.”

This isn’t the first time Switch performance has come up. When I was reviewing Dead Cells, I noticed Switch frame-rates that felt somewhere in the 40fps zone during several parts of the game, usually some graphically detailed areas and any room with a lot of enemies. It only rarely impacted my enjoyment of the game—which, again, is great—but it was noticeable.

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In the process of writing my reviewing, I asked developer Motion Twin if there were any performance patches planned. One of their developers, Benjamin Laulan, gave me a lengthy and detailed statement explaining that while they were aware of the performance dips, they had had made the call to ship the game as it was, rather than delay it to work on deeper Switch optimization. He also said that if they heard from players that the game’s Switch performance wasn’t up to snuff, they’d go in and fix it after launch.

It looks like they did hear that from players. Yesterday evening, in a thread on the Switch subreddit warning players of low Switch frame-rates, Motion Twin responded with another lengthy, thoughtful statement further explaining the reasons for the Switch version’s performance, apologizing to anyone disappointed by the port, and pledging to begin work on a fix. They said that they’ve allocated “all available resources” to Switch optimization, and that it will be an involved process.

I’m not surprised that some players have been bummed that Dead Cells fell short of the smooth performance it has on other systems. Given how much fun I’ve had playing the game on Switch, I’m also not surprised that the developers decided the game was fun enough to ship as it was, rather than delay it. Hopefully by the end of the year, we’ll have a Switch version of Dead Cells that makes everyone happy.

Kotaku Editor-at-Large

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DISCUSSION

This is irresponsible, and is probably going to keep me from picking it up. If you know your game isn’t going to perform at the level in which it is expected, still ship, then say after you get called out that you knew but still decided fixing it months after release was the best option, then you don’t deserve to have your game purchased on that platform. You delay and you fix it, not ship a poorly optimized game. It’s not like the Switch isn’t capable, Motion Twin just didn’t get the job done. If Dark Souls can do it, so can you.