As we wrote last night, Rime is another example of a game that’s struggled to be shrunk down from PlayStation 4 and Xbox One to the less powerful Nintendo Switch. It wasn’t even perfect on those platforms, and the Switch port accentuates the loading stutters that the game had elsewhere, while also dramatically reducing the image quality in order to reach an acceptable level of performance.
Replying in an Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit, the team said:
RiME runs at 30 FPS in 720p throughout most of the game while docked. This is a considerable improvement from where the game was at earlier this year when we announced the first delay.
While we have done an excellent job at bringing the standard frame rate up, the one problem we were unable to address completely were loading hitches. RiME uses a technique called streaming which allows us to have portions of the level loaded and unloaded in order to save on memory utilization.
With RiME being very open in many locations, it’s incredibly difficult to get these level segments small enough to not cause a hiccup in performance. We were faced with the choice of adding loading screens throughout the stages, rebuilding the game completely to be more closed in (undermining the product vision in the process), or living with these small hiccups to preserve what the game was intended to be. We chose the latter.
It’s worth noting that these hiccups do occur on the other platforms as well, though slightly less pronounced.
It should be noted that this doesn’t address all the concerns around performance. The game runs below 720p when in handheld mode and still has an uneven frame rate and stutters when loading, and the quality of assets has had to be cut quite noticeably at times in order to run. Our own spot checks indicate that the game actually has an uncapped frame rate, much like the other console versions, so personally, it would be great if they could simply cap this for a more consistent feel.
You can see our comparison video here: