XCOM2 is Out. With Performance Issues.

Yup, there’s no way to pretend the game is just fine performance wise – while it appears to be an excellent sequel overall (from what I have read around, I have not played enough yet to have any definitive opinion). XCOM2 was released on the same day on all platforms, including Linux (see the requirements, AMD and Intel are not supported at this time), and somehow the good news is that the performance issues do not concern only Linux this time, but the Windows version as well.

If you want to know more details, well…

  • The overall framerate is very low compared to what the hardware should be capable of. Folks using GTI980Ti cards have reported being only able to run the game in between 40 to 60 fps at Max settings. Needless to say, for all other hardware, the framerates are so bad you’ll probably need to lower the settings to stay at something correct.
  • Cutscenes are freezing when they load. This seems to be a Linux issue, but don’t quote me on that.
  • Stuttering occurs more and more the higher settings you play with.
  • Framerate is apparently not always stable with “dips” during missions.

To get a clearer idea of real-world performance, PenguinRecordings did the following video on i7 at 3.4 Ghz with a GTX680 from nVidia. He had to turn the settings back to Medium in order to maintain a framerate between 20 and 30 fps. I can’t say that the game looks great then, but at least it’s certainly playable.

It’s hard to understand why the game performs so badly. After all it uses a well known Engine (Unreal Engine 3, while it has probably been tweaked further after the original XCOM), and graphically it does not look like a game out of this world either. So I wonder where the GPU and CPU cycles are going. This is even more surprising since Firaxis is a known PC Developer – did they actually test and profile their game before releasing it ?

In any case, the only thing we can hope for is a well needed patch to address the performance issues, and fast. It’s just not there in terms of polish. It’s worth noting that Feral managed to bring cross-platform multiplayer with their Mac and Linux port, so that you can play with your friends no matter what OS they use – this is a very nice feature and it would be great if it becomes the standard for same-day release ports in the future.

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