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Firewatch dev assures a PS4 framerate fix is on the way

"We're working actually, literally, around-the-clock on it."

Several folks have complained that Firewatch's PS4 build suffers from framerate hitches and developer Campo Santo has addressed the matter, assuring players that a fix is on the way.

Is complaining about Firewatch's framerate missing the forest for the trees?

"We're currently talking with both Sony and Unity (the creators of the engine the game is built in) to continue to optimise performance of the game on console," Campo Santo's Sean Vanaman explained in a Reddit thread on the issue. "Unfortunately, it's a process that requires all three parties to be involved unlike a typical bug that we can quickly fix on our own (we're pretty good at that)."

"We'll definitely be patching all platforms with every little content and performance fix we can find so folks can rest assured we're doing everything we can (and WILL for a long time. We want the game that's on Steam/PS4/anywhere to be the best possible version even after we're out out of the excitement of the launch window)."

So how did the game get released in the current state? There are a couple of reasons. One is that test kits and retail units are slightly different, so it's possible that these issues can crop up in one and not the other.

"I've played the game for hundreds and hundreds of hours on PS4, and maybe because it's on test-kits and some retail boxes are different I personally didn't experience these things," Vanaman explained. "That doesn't mean they don't exist, but I want to unequivocally say it wasn't like we sat in a room, saw this stuff and went 'eh, screw it, sell it anyway.' We're super f***ing bummed that this is happening for some people and we're working actually, literally, around-the-clock on it."

Firewatch on PS4.Watch on YouTube

The other explanation is more subjective: that the performance issues were considered a mild concession for the game's impressive scope. It juggles a lot in terms of draw distance, weather effects, and does it all on the relatively rare for consoles Unity5. So maybe some folks are simply more sensitive to framerate drops than others. "We could've built a significantly DIFFERENT game (a game with levels that load all over the place) but we chose to build what we did, instead", Vanaman said.

The developer pointed readers to a GameTrailers stream (above) of the PS4 game which was allegedly played on retail code. That should give prospective players a solid idea of how Firewatch's PlayStation build looks in action.

Having played through the entire retail code of Firewatch on PS4 last night, I can say that I noticed some framerate drops here and there, but nothing that bothered me to any significant degree. I did, however, experience a couple of freezes during load times where the game would hang for well over a minute, forcing me to exit, close, and re-open the title.

Are you playing Firewatch on PS4? If so, how's its performance treating you? Are you liking the game as much as Chris Donlan?

Ian playing a spoiler-free build of Firewatch on PC.Watch on YouTube

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