Dishonored 2 has launched into early release for those folks who pre-ordered the game and the response has not been positive. There have been a number of reports with various issues on the PC: mouse stuttering, audio stuttering, sporadic control sensitivity, crashes, and poor framerates. Worse, there seem to be heavy optimization issues, with Dishonored 2 requiring a strong rig just to keep performance steady. The Steam page for the game has "mixed" reviews currently.
"We're aware some PC players are having problems. We're investigating. Send details to Bethesda support," said Arkane Studios co-creative director Harvey Smith on Twitter.
So, Arkane Studios is looking into the issue, but there's no schedule for a forthcoming fix. The developer did release a new update to its launch FAQ for Dishonored 2 today, asking players to turn down graphical options to alleviate certain issues. It tells prospective players to lower their resolution and avoid Alt-Tabbing when playing.
"We are aware that some of you may be encountering issues with Dishonored 2 on PC. Please take a moment to review our recommendations to help better your experience," says the FAQ.
All of the players digging into Dishonored 2 today pre-ordered the title. Given the prevalence of these issues, it's hard to say that Bethesda didn't know that game had significant problems on PC. This goes on the pile of multiplatform titles that have launched with issues on PC. That pile includes Mafia 3, No Man's Sky, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Fallout 4, Quantum Break, Tales of Symphonia, and Batman: Arkham Knight. It's becoming a depressingly normal thing.
One thing that makes this release stand out is Bethesda recently stated that it would not allow early review copies of its titles. A lack of early reviews means a lack of early information on potential bugs and issues. Instead, the only indication that players will get of a broken release is when they boot up the title on their own PCs.
Currently hype and pre-ordering means there's little reason for publishers and developers to not operate this way. It's easier to fix a title after you have players' money than it is to delay a game. Publishers are not harmed by releasing broken games right now, with the exception of the Steam refund process. Even then, it's more likely that players will wait for an upcoming patch to fix a title. There's always a patch. Always. The situation surrounding Dishonored 2 may be the new normal.
And that's a goddamn shame.