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DF Direct Weekly talks Cyberpunk 2077 1.5, Horizon Forbidden West and Dying Light 2 VRR

Plus: are Elden Ring PC recommended specs in any way meaningful or helpful?

The latest DF Direct Weekly has landed - and it's a first. Owing to various commitments to deep-dive projects, only John Linneman and myself were available to film this one and it begins with thoughts and impressions on the new Cyberpunk 2077 'next-gen' patch, which Tom Morgan covered extensively just yesterday. There's also discussion on why we chose not to take another look at the game on PC: ultimately, our settings recommendations remain the same, even though ray traced local shadows have been added to the game in addition to all of the other RT loveliness already contained therein.

There's also good news with Dying Light 2's performance upgrade for Xbox Series X owners with a variable refresh rate (VRR) display. This mode is curious. Essentially, VRR puts the GPU in control of when to refresh the screen rather than running at a standard 60Hz or 120Hz. Techland uses VRR plus 120Hz support to run Dying Light 2 in excess of the standard 60fps cap, seeing the game operate more typically at 80-100fps. This is a dramatic improvement to frame-time (60fps at 16.7ms per frame vs, say, 90fps at 11.1ms), producing a smoother game with lower lag. Yes, frame-rate is variable, but a typical VRR window of 80-100fps translates into a floating per-frame render time in the 10ms to 12.5ms range - the fluctuations are difficult for the average player to pick up, but the improved response and fluidity is effectively a constant. This, along with the 40fps mode in Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, are fascinating examples of how developers are tapping into the capabilities of HDMI 2.1-equipped televisions.

With Tom, Alex, Audi and Will imprisoned in Rich's basement, only John and Rich himself were available to perpetrate DF Direct Weekly #49.
  • 00:00:00 Introductions
  • 00:00:55 Cyberpunk Patch 1.5 is out
  • 00:17:07 Dying Light Xbox VRR Mode
  • 00:20:07 DF Bonus Supporter Q: Hey guys, did you have any chance to look at the Dying Light 2 VRR mode for Xbox?
  • 00:22:28 Nintendo announces the death of 3DS and Wii U storefronts
  • 00:27:52 Chrono Cross Remaster filters can be disabled
  • 00:30:14 Final Vendetta - Bitmap Bureau's new game
  • 00:31:52 Elden Ring recommended specs are bizarre
  • 00:37:11 DF Content Discussion: Horizon Forbidden West
  • 00:41:31 DF Bonus Supporter Q: SkillUp's review for Horizon Forbidden West showed significantly more noticeable pop-in than Digital Foundry's. Any idea why that might be?
  • 00:45:16 DF Bonus Supporter Q: Do you think there is enough headroom for a 40fps mode?
  • 00:46:20 DF Bonus Supporter Q: Do you think AMD FSR would be the better choice for the performance mode of Horizon Forbidden West?
  • 00:49:12 DF Bonus Supporter Q: What do you think about the fact that all Decima games we've seen so far only lightly utilise TAA?
  • 00:50:30 DF Bonus Supporter Q: What graphical elements of Horizon Forbidden West could benefit from an eventual PC port?
  • 00:56:49 DF Supporter Q1/2: Would it be possible to make a kind of generation comparison video?
  • 01:01:00 DF Supporter Q3: Is there a setting on LG C1 that is suitable for 30fps games?
  • 01:03:21 DF Supporter Q4: What are some great HDR implementations in games to really convince somebody that HDR is as amazing as some people say it is?
  • 01:06:13 DF Supporter Q5: Who would you recommend to buy AMD GPUs assuming the cards are available at MSRP? Do you think AMD can catch up with Nvidia in RT/ML and does the coming XeSS help AMD?
  • 01:12:42 DF Supporter Q6: Do you think we're going to start seeing larger and larger gaps between 30fps quality modes and 60fps performance modes? And do you expect some games to drop their performance modes all together?
  • 01:15:08 DF Supporter Q7: What do you think is responsible for the lack of four- and even two-player split-screen multiplayer on modern consoles?
  • 01:19:27 DF Supporter Q8: How do you decide which platform to buy a game on?

Beyond that, we also spend time offering up our reactions to the reaction to Horizon Forbidden West, while answering a bunch of questions about the game posed by members of the DF Supporter Program. One of these questions concerns whether AMD's FSR upscaling technology may have produced a better result than the checkerboarding implemented by Guerrilla Games for the PS5 performance mode. We get a fair few questions about FSR where users believe it's a DLSS-type technology that can work on consoles. The truth is that FSR is a standard screen upscaler with an additional edge detect/enhancement pass. To get Horizon Forbidden West running at 1800p checkerboard, we are effectively looking at one third of the quality mode's resolution required to run the game at 2x frame-rate. With that stat in mind, FSR would fare poorly based on prior high-detail games we've tested. Ultimately, upscaling is all about extrapolating out from a set range of data and the more data you have, typically the better the result: FSR can only access the current screen data, while temporal solutions such as TSSAA and checkerboarding reconstruct from more than one frame and generally produce superior results.

Other discussion points include Nintendo's closure of its 3DS and Wii U storefronts, effectively making piracy the only way to access a certain amount of these systems' libraries and we also spend some time talking about Elden Ring's recommended specs for PC... which make little sense whatsoever. What is the target resolution, frame-rate and settings associated with these specs? How can the difference between minimum specs and recommended specs amount to the difference between a GTX 1060 and a GTX 1070? Is this - as John suggests - merely a way for publisher support teams to bat away requests for support from people who may have generally lower specs than in this list? In releasing this barebones tweet, we're left none the wiser about how this game runs on PC or what's really required. It's been a bugbear of ours for years and the industry must do better.

Moving on, there are some good questions from the DF Supporter Program this week. There's interest in us looking at how game franchises compare from the beginning and end of the same console generation (think Call of Duty: Ghosts vs Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 from Infinity Ward) and also in gen-on-gen comparisons. Moving on, another supporter wonders why 30fps games look worse on his OLED than they do on his older Nanocell screen. Meanwhile, just where do we stand on AMD graphics cards in a world where RT is gaining support and where decent upscaling solutions are required to enjoy those effects with good performance levels? Plus, whatever happened to split-screen options in console games?

I've possibly mentioned this before, but the DF Supporter Program has been built up over the last year into a vibrant, welcoming and positive community and that's in addition to the direct team access and various various bonuses, benefits and early access we offer. Join us!

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About the Author

Richard Leadbetter avatar

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

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