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DF Direct talks God of War PC, PS4 production, Final Fantasy 7 Remake PC patch

Plus: Quake Remastered is the MP palate cleanser you must play.

Before we move on to discussing the latest gaming and technology news, there's something very important I need to share with you: Quake Remastered has reignited my love for multiplayer gaming. Maybe it's simply nostalgia. Back in the mid-90s, myself and my colleagues at EMAP magazines used to play the game religiously via a mini-LAN set-up in the office. When we moved to offices in Docklands, the whole office was networked up, making more massive multiplayer games a viable lunchtime pursuit. Last month, the same personalities came back together to replay the game once again, starting with the classic levels. It holds up, it genuinely does. If you're jaded by today's massive multiplayer shooters, battle royales, season passes and progression systems, round up some friends and get together for some Quake Remastered. It supports cross-play and all systems - even Switch - support keyboard and mouse. It's amazing: the simplicity, the purity and the genius-level design will blow you away.

Less revelatory but still important are some of the key discussion topics raised by last week's news, kicking off with news that Sony is continuing to produce PlayStation 4 when Microsoft has completely discontinued all flavours of Xbox One. The news was framed by the idea that Sony can't physically supply enough PS5s, meaning that PS4 production was ramped up to the fill the gap. It is true that Sony has previously said that its primary objective is to transition from one generation to the next as quickly as possible, but the fact is that there's always an extended transition period between console generations. For example, PlayStation 4 launched in 2013 but its predecessor only ceased production in 2017.

Older hardware tends to find a new more value-conscious market, especially in a period where new consoles come at a premium. Will continuing to sell last-gen consoles extend the cross-gen transition period? Well, it's far more likely that the existing installed circa-120m user base for PlayStation 4 is playing far more of a factor in that, but it does highlight a different strategy pursued by Sony's major competitor. Xbox Series S sees Microsoft selling a cheaper, next-gen capable machine in the here and now that's not a million miles away from PS4 money. It's a clean break from the past, but still allows users to tap into the prior-gen library and a good companion for Game Pass. Different companies, different strategies, but I'm not sure I'm fully buying into the narrative that Sony is still producing PS4s because it can't make enough PS5s - they're two devices aimed at two very different markets.

DF Direct Weekly's 44th edition, with Rich Leadbetter, Alex Battaglia and Will Judd on perpetration duties.Watch on YouTube
  • 00:00:00 Introductions
  • 00:00:38 Is Sony dealing with PlayStation 5 shortages by Making More PS4s?
  • 00:04:59 Square patches Final Fantasy 7 Remake PC
  • 00:13:21 GeForce RTX 3080 12GB: inevitable pricing and availability problems
  • 00:21:16 Fortnite back on iOS via GeForce Now
  • 00:26:42 DF Content Discussion: Will's Weird Tech - are wheels the ultimate PC upgrade?
  • 00:34:18 DF Content Discussion: Quake Remastered
  • 00:37:17 DF Content Discussion: God of War PC discussion
  • 00:45:30 DF Supporter Q1: Recent reports suggests Series S sales may be outpacing Series X. What does this mean for the future development environment of the Series X?
  • 00:52:06 DF Supporter Q2: Hypothetically, if VRR was to become the norm and every modern display had support for it, what sort of frame rates do you think developers should target?
  • 00:58:13 DF Supporter Q3: Hi DF, do you expect the continuing chip shortages to result in cross-gen releases persisting for the majority of major releases through to the end of 2022?
  • 01:02:43 DF Supporter Q4: Have you ever had discussions about colour grading in games with devs?
  • 01:06:10 DF Supporter Q5: How plausible is Half Life Alyx on PSVR2 according to your crystal balls (of steel)? Any inside knowledge, rumor confirmation?
  • 01:07:04 DF Supporter Q6: Why do more PC games not just do the shader compilation in advance?
  • 01:12:00 DF Supporter Q7: Would the DF team consider exploring the topic of integrated graphics for gaming in a future episode?
  • 01:15:04 DF Supporter Q8: What title coming out in 2022 are you looking forward to the most from a tech perspective?

Other news? We received the first patch for the PC version of Final Fantasy 7 Remake - a PC port that disappointed us owing to its lack of options and remarkable stuttering issues. At first, I found it hard to believe that performance was as bad as my colleagues were saying, so I decided to give the patch a go with a system boasting a Core i9 10900K and an RTX 3080. The truth is that even with the patch in place, everything my colleagues had reported turned out to be true - even at 1080p, the 3080 cannot sustain 60fps. It appears that the patch only serves to remove the mandatory dynamic resolution scaling and even then, only when selecting high frame-rates. Yes, there were complaints about the presence of DRS but the obvious solution is to allow users to turn it on or off, as opposed to limiting it to certain frame-rate targets. It's a game that still requires a lot of work.

Returning to more positive discussion, Alex Battaglia spends some time talking about his recent discussions with Sony's Santa Monica Studio and Jetpack Interactive, where we learned so much about the development process of the PC version of God of War, while hardware guy Will Judd blows me away with his enthusiastic review of the wheels he attached to his PC. I also spend some time teasing the upcoming GeForce Now RTX 3080 cloud review that Tom Morgan has spent a lot of time putting together since his return from the holiday break. Image quality tests, latency analysis, competitive comparisons against Stadia and xCloud... look out for it tomorrow. There may always be issues with cloud gaming platforms, but this is easily the most accomplished streaming system yet.

And of course, we tackle a bunch of questions from the DF Supporter Program. Will the impressive sales success of Xbox Series S skew development towards the junior Xbox? If and when variable refresh rate displays become the norm, will developers target arbitrary frame-rates for their performance targets? Will Half-Life Alyx come to PlayStationVR 2? These are the sorts of discussions we have all of the time on the Supporter Program where backers can talk to the team directly, get early access to a lot of our content and so much more. Join us!