Nier: Automata was critically acclaimed when it was released this time last year. Its PC version had a tougher time, though, suffering multiple problems that persisted for months. Dragon Quest XI's team is well aware of these problems, says assistant producer Hikari Kubota, and is keen to avoid them.
Indeed, Kubota says he knows the Nier: Automata team well. "We're in close contact with one another on a daily basis, and so everything that the Nier experienced has been shared with our team. I've been informed of the struggles that Nier had with deploying some of the updates. Right now we are aware of certain points that we should look for when we do release Dragon Quest XI for Steam."
Nier: Automata's issues on PC were well-cataloged. Cutscenes were distractingly jerky, and it had a tendency to crash to a white screen. Support was sparse, and it took a fan patch to fix an error in the resolution setting and general performance problems.
Kubota hinted that some of these problems were due to the PC version of Nier: Automata being developed roughly in tandem with the console version. He noted that Dragon Quest XI's PC version will be a port of a finished console version.
"In case some type issue arises, we're making sure we have some kind of backup plan in plan to remedy that," Kubota said. "And the development team will still be working on this project for some time, so no worries on that front."
As for what the PC version will ultimately offer, Kubota says it won't be a straight port. It will include "additional settings and options to appease players," and will run in native 4K. The team is currently evaluating what settings they can add.
Asked whether it will live up to the high standard set by Final Fantasy XV's PC port, Kubota said, "We're not specifically aiming to meet the benchmark of a specific title. We're looking at various titles, such as Nier Automata, and we're looking at the type of graphical support they provide and using it as a frame of reference. We're looking into what we can support and what we can achieve."
Dragon Quest XI set a high bar on PS4 Pro according to our sister site Digital Foundry, demonstrating the flexibility of Unreal Engine 4. The PC version seems like it has a good chance to be more of the same.
Dragon Quest XI was announced for a western release last week, and will attempt to broaden Dragon Quest's base in North America. Nadia got a glimpse of Dragon Quest XI's localization, and also got to meet creator Yuji Horii for the first time. Alas, the Switch version of Dragon Quest XI won't be out for a while yet. It will be out on PC and PS4 on September 4.