505 Games has moved assure players that the long-promised patch to fix Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night's troubled Switch port is still on the way, but it now isn't expected until November, almost four months after the game's launch.
Fans were understandably unhappy when Koji Igarashi's long-awaited Castlevania spiritual successor arrived on Nintendo's platform back in June. While the game itself is undoubtedly superb, the Switch version was beset with performance issues.
As Digital Foundry reported at the time, the game suffered from erratic frame rates, extremely blurry image quality, low resolution art assets, crashes, lengthy loading times that, in some cases, "becomes downright horrible", and unpleasantly high input lag. The result, it's fair to say, was not a particularly enjoyable experience.
In response to complaints, developer ArtPlay and publisher 505 Games pledged to fix these issues, telling fans that it was "immediately shifting resources to improve performance and stability for the Switch", and that it would be addressing problem areas through a series of small updates. In August, 505 confirmed that work was still ongoing and that it would now "bundle performance improvements into (likely) one patch", although no ETA was forthcoming.
However, in a new blog post, the publisher has finally confirmed that it hopes to have its fixes released "by the end of November". These will now arrive in the form of two separate updates, the first addressing the bulk of problems, and the second improving performance for "especially troublesome areas and enemies".
"We apologise for the long development cycle," senior community manager Jason Ryan wrote, "Most of the changes are on a room-by-room, enemy-by-enemy basis so there are a signiﬁcant number of assets being reworked and it's taking more time than initially expected." Development efforts, continued Ryan, were ultimately aiming to address four areas on Switch: visual fidelity, loading times, particle effects, and, finally, input lag.
Elaborating further, Ryan said that changes to backgrounds and environment rendering would "result in noticeably sharper environments in most areas", and that load times Load times between scenes were already "greatly improved", although "still not where we would like them to be, so work remains". Additionally, "hundreds" of particle effects have been reworked, with more still to come, with the new versions "much less impactful on the performance of the game". These, said Ryan, were "one of the main culprits for frame rate drops during ﬁghts".
Lastly, ongoing work was said to have already resulted in a significant reduction in input lag, and that the the game "should feel much more reactive when playing".
Following the launch of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night's performance update for Switch in November, developer ArtPlay is hoping to improve a number of other assets and enemies, such as the Doppleganger, across all platforms. These, however, will be addressed "[as] part of our regular development cycle and updated when ready."