Titanic control scheme



  • I came upon an article couple of months ago talking about possibility of Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness coming to PC. As it is my favorite (and only) platform for gaming, I am of course fully on board for any game coming to PC and this game seemed interesting enough for me to try it. Still, the news went away quickly, as any other and I forgot about it until couple of days back, the special occasion being release of Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom. The game seemed nice and the anime Attack on Titan was a big thing back in 2014. Due to the steam refund policy, it is much safer to "demo" games, if they don't have demo version by themselves: A steam feature that enabled me to play more games than I actually liked. I engage the game and immediately there are two MAJOR problems with this game.
    First: alt text
    Your performance is degraded if you're using newer operating system? I see no logic in that, other then being another poorly optimised port. How many of these had we had in recent history? Too much. Even so, when I started up the game, I bravely chose the 'No' option and it ran completely fine. This lead me to believe that this warning was meant mostly towards older and worse performing PCs. As it had no effect on the game itself (None that I have noticed, at least), I quickly dismissed this annoyance for the time and looked forward to actually playing the game

    Second: This is the main reason I'm writing this. The controls simply suck! There is no nicer way of putting it. There is no mouse support! So everything is controlled via keyboard. However, while you can remap every control to your preferred key, I could not play this game if I had eight fingers on each hand. And so my usual though process on these types of game initiated: "Oh God, another console game badly optimised for PC. Sigh. Where is that refund button?"

    I said 'usual' response because this isn't the first time this had happened. However, this is the first time after couple of months that I was reminded of the Star Ocean 5 article. FFDream had a very interesting interview with the producer of the game, Shuichi Kobayashi, with a part that is directly connected with an issue I have. This is the part, if you cannot open the link to the article:

    FFDream: Are there any plans to port Star Ocean 5 to PC?

    Kobayashi: “Since the game is full of action, I wonder the ideal commands for PC might be… What’s the best way to play it, in your opinion?”

    FFWorld: “With a game pad?”

    Kobayashi: “Are people used to playing on PC with a game pad in Europe?”

    FFWorld and FFDream: “Yes.”

    Kobayashi: “I see. So if you have a game pad, you can play it without problems, but I wonder how those who don’t have one would play. That’s our main concern and why we’ve pushed to release a PC version later on, so that we could reflect on the controls for players without a game pad. The ASKA engine, which tri-Ace used to develop Star Ocean 5, allows us to easily bring the game to PC, so if we can find a solution to our problem with the controls on PC, porting it should be easy enough for us, although I can’t promise that it would be fast.”

    Uh... Excuse me?
    Kobayashi: “Are people used to playing on PC with a game pad in Europe?”
    FFWorld and FFDream: “Yes.”

    "Yes"? We are? Since when?! I am European and I know no one that would be "used to playing on PC with a game pad". And I sincerely doubt it that it's just an European thing. Aside of great performance, mouse and keyboard are the main reason for me to play games on PC. Whenever I see a controller, my first thought is "What the hell do you want from me?". The device is more alien to me than the eponymous movie by Ridley Scott.
    Now, I don't want to criticise consoles or controllers. I mean, the fact that there is an option to use a game pad on PC is a great one. It brings along that customisability that I respect so much. However if you make a PC port of a console game, YOU HAVE TO GIVE AN OPTION TO PLAY IT WITH KEYBOARD AND MOUSE. It is how the PC has been operating for a long time, and if the developers don't acknowledge it, they are simply lazy and making another game in an infinite long line of rubbish ports for PC. I'm not joking there are far too many games like that.
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    And I am sad to see this becoming a norm. The ability to connect basically any controller to a PC was initially a boon that made the platform even more accessible. But it has come to the point where game developers/publishers continuously abuse it. And what is most confusing is that people are OK with that. 80% of reviews for Attack on titan on steam were positive, making this game very well accepted. So I guess I'm in minority now, for thinking that I should play PC games with mouse and keyboard.
    Now let's come back to the beginning article with interview. After the copied interview, the article continues with:

    You hear that, PC gamers?! Take a break from WASD, and pick up a gamepad! We want Star Ocean on Steam, and you’re holding us back! Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness will be released for the PlayStation 4 next week on June 28.

    Most of all, that paragraph has no sense. Especially the part: "We want Star Ocean on Steam, and you’re holding us back!" Who is 'we' in this case? He is addressing PC gamers, but wants Star Ocean on steam, so I guess he doesn't have a PS4. And he appreciates the game pad, so I guess that means he plays primarily on Xbox. So, why wish for a game on Steam rather than on Xbox? This article is as bad as the Attack on Titan PC port.

    At the end, let me repeat that I have no problem with console games coming to PC. Really, I encourage it. Even that the game has game pad option on PC. However, If you make a PC port, make it work! Put some actual effort in it, because it seems to me that nobody does so anymore. Make support for mouse and keyboard, make sure that it doesn't stutter, that it controls well and frames are consistent. It's sad for me that more and more games are becoming console focused, in one way or another (Deus Ex being on of the last big games to become that. The game is more confused about its identity than a teenager, but this is discussion for another time). Some people like me simply can't, don't and/or won't use a controller. If I would, I would also buy a console already.

    L&R

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