DF Direct Weekly on the Resident Evil 4 situation and PS5 Pro rumours
Plus: if Counter-Strike is so good, how come there's no Counter-Strike 2?
Resident Evil 4's launch date is approaching soon and reviews are live, yet Digital Foundry's coverage isn't. The explanation for this curiosity - and our thoughts on how the launch version compares to the Chainsaw Demo - take centre stage this week's DF Direct Weekly.
John and Alex's RE4 impressions are well worth tuning in for - see the YouTube embed below or the podcast on your app of choice - but the launch coverage explanation is straightforward enough to convey here. In short, coverage restrictions meant that any video review of the game wouldn't be able to show much at all, including some of the most interesting areas in the game. It makes sense that Capcom wants to avoid story spoilers, but their requirements also meant that we couldn't really show much beyond what we already covered in in our analysis of the Chainsaw Demo.
With that in mind, we've decided that it makes sense to wait until the game launches on March 24th, when we'll be free to offer a much more complete picture of the game, its changes from the 2005 original, performance on different consoles and so on. We have multiple videos in the works, so stay tuned!
Further into the Direct, we also covered rumours surrounding the PS5 Pro and the recently-denied-by-Valve Steam Deck OLED. A potential PS5 Pro is an exciting prospect for many gamers, but as we discuss on the Direct, the realities of such a device make it less than likely in our estimation. Providing an additional platform for developers to target would require a lot of extra work for everyone involved, and the silicon available right now wouldn't provide a massive step up in performance either. It's impossible to rule out definitively, but generally we only see new consoles when it's economically viable for a new machine to deliver a genuinely impactful upgrade, and that doesn't seem to be the case here - something Rich wrote about last year.
An OLED Steam Deck is a similar story. Here, the advantage is clearer - OLED screens are great, and we appreciated them on the Switch OLED and some Ayaneo PC handhelds - but actually shipping an upgraded Steam Deck would require far more than swapping the panel from LCD to OLED, bumping up the price and calling it a day. Especially in space-constrained, thermal-constrained and power-constrained portable hardware, even small changes can require significant rearchitecting. We may see an OLED-equipped Steam Deck eventually, and I'm sure Valve are aware of the feedback, but this seems a more likely inclusion for a future Steam Deck 2 than any current-gen model.
- 00:00:00 Introduction
- 00:01:24 News 01: Resident Evil 4 impressions!
- 00:13:53 News 02: PS5 Pro - is it coming?
- 00:25:01 News 03: Valve says Steam Deck OLED refresh unlikely
- 00:32:02 News 04: New Counter-Strike imminent?
- 00:44:30 News 05: Hands-on with Viture XR AR glasses!
- 00:47:53 Supporter Q1: Could Xbox Series consoles get small internal improvements, even without an enhanced model?
- 00:51:20 Supporter Q2: Is the Xbox Series DirectML support just PR? Or is it actually going to be transformative for games?
- 00:55:21 Supporter Q3: How do you purchase and research older equipment, like CRTs?
- 00:59:23 Supporter Q4: Could current-gen enhanced consoles run UE5 games at 60fps with hardware RT?
- 01:03:31 Supporter Q5: Weird Al is “All About the Pentiums”, so what arguments would you say to get him to switch to Zen 4?
- 01:05:17 Supporter Q6: Alex, what do you think the Next Big Thing is for PC graphics?
- 01:06:49 Supporter Q7: What do you think about forced DLSS 3 in games, like the PC version of Sackboy: A Big Adventure?
- 01:09:48 Supporter Q8: Do you still use simple pixel edge counting for determining the resolution of games?
I'd also like to mention Counter-Strike 2, as it genuinely does look like it's happening - but I felt my explanation in the show was a bit too breathless in parts. The big idea here is that one of the most popular PC games in the world, with 1.4 million monthly players, would see a move from the the original Source engine, running the ancient DirectX 9 graphics API, to the Source 2 engine, running on modern Vulkan.
This should aid future development of the game by eliminating a lot of the cruft that's developed over the past 11 years, making it easier to implement new features - something that the current dev team has struggled with in recent times. It should also allow Valve more latitude to make the game look better, even if it doesn't bring about a massive visual upgrade right away. Finally, it's been rumoured that the update could also allow for gameplay and infrastructure improvements, like 128-tick (or tickless) matchmaking servers for improved responsiveness, fulfilling a long-standing community request.
DEVS ACTUALLY ADDED CS2.EXE TO @CSGO CONFIGS???https://t.co/xjHk8jXnn7 pic.twitter.com/hc77gU8mNy— Gabe Follower (@gabefollower) March 14, 2023
It's an exciting time, but of course this upgrade has to be accomplished without breaking the game for both casual players on low-end hardware and pro players that literally depend on the game for their livelihoods. It's an immensely challenging task then, but as someone that has put literally 2500+ hours in this version of the game, I'm incredibly upbeat about what the Source 2 upgrade could bring - and curious to learn more.
Elsewhere in the Direct, we also had some great community questions - including a prompt that resulted in me thinking it was a good idea to do a rap about AMD Ryzen processors. Otherwise, we covered how Xbox Series consoles could be upgraded, rules of thumb for buying CRTs and how we determine pixel counts for modern AAA games, amongst other topics.
I had a great time on the show, so I hope you find it entertaining viewing! And, as always, if you've read this far we'd encourage you to consider supporting the work that we do. We have a lovely Discord server filled with nice, interesting people for you to join, insight into the work we'll be doing each week, behind-the-scenes content, early access releases and much more. So: join us.