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Hellblade could be an interesting test case

Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Hellblade could be an interesting test case

While there have been several current-gen games brought from PS4/Xbone to Switch so far, perhaps most notably Doom 2016 and Wolfenstein II, I think it's fair to say there haven't yet been any quite like Hellblade, namely a high-end 30fps game with a realistic art style.

There's always the possibility it may be a poorly handled conversion along the lines of, say, WWE 2K18, but if it's manages to make the transition in a respectable state, it will redefine the parameters of what kind of games can be ported to Switch. The doors will be open to all kinds of titles that have previously been regarded as impossible.

Of course, that's not to say that third parties will suddenly throw themselves behind bringing their more demanding games to Switch.

But a lot of the conventional wisdom as to what is and isn't doable as far as porting to Switch will be turned on its head if Hellblade turns out to be good, and that's an exciting thought.



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Was Hellblade a visually-demanding game?



KLAMarine said:
Was Hellblade a visually-demanding game?

More so than any other game yet brought to the Switch.



curl-6 said:
KLAMarine said:
Was Hellblade a visually-demanding game?

More so than any other game yet brought to the Switch.

It does look visually impressive, but realistic graphics are a huge sacrifice over much more imaginative art styles. It's like paintings, I'd rather stare at impressionism than Da Vinci's self portrait any day.



I think we need to keep in mind that Hellblade is a *really* linear game. Like, exceptionally so. That's why, for example, it looks like "one of the best games of the generation" despite having a small team (and I'm not sure I'd even agree with that, lol). It's hard to use Hellblade, for example, as justification for high octane action games or huge graphically intensive open-world games coming to Switch. And that's already a very big part of the third party support that isn't coming to the Switch, so it's hard to know how much could really change.

I think what's more important is the sales. Yes, a ton of third party games have already sold well on the Switch. But adding one more to that list, especially one as technologically advanced as Hellblade, could only mean positive things for third party relations. I have a feeling that most companies who are interested in the system already know what the Switch is capable of. They just don't know if porting advanced games over to the system - as opposed to something like Skyrim or Diablo III - is worth it. This should be a nice indicator, though honestly, I have a feeling more are on the way and are just currently in development. 

I always knew the Switch could do it. I remember when people were saying stuff like "Doom on the Switch looks like a PS3 version of the game". Maybe that's a negative, sure, but as long as games are targeting something between 7th gen and 8th gen, and as long as the games aren't too big, the Switch can absolutely handle it. Probably takes a bit more time and care than it should, but still. 



 

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Not really. There isn't that many things happening on screen. The game is more puzzle oriented.



Angelv577 said:
Not really. There isn't that many things happening on screen. The game is more puzzle oriented.

Still doesn't change the fact that it's the first time a technically high end 30fps PS4/Xbone game has been brought over to Switch. Less happens on screen, but that simply means more processing power is budgeted towards asset quality, lighting, shaders, and post-processing.



curl-6 said:
Angelv577 said:
Not really. There isn't that many things happening on screen. The game is more puzzle oriented.

Still doesn't change the fact that it's the first time a technically high end 30fps PS4/Xbone game has been brought over to Switch. Less happens on screen, but that simply means more processing power is budgeted towards asset quality, lighting, shaders, and post-processing.

I'm just guessing and am in no way a graphical expert, but maybe that's why this port is even happening? Game is very linear, not a lot of enemies on screen, and I imagine the parts where the graphics really excel over other games (the parts I bolded) are going to be cut down significantly, if not removed. If I recall correctly, there's been a few Switch games which had to change the lighting system to compensate for the lack of power, for example.

I also have to wonder if the version shown at the direct is even the Switch version, or just what a Switch version could/will theoretically look like. 



 

AngryLittleAlchemist said:
curl-6 said:

Still doesn't change the fact that it's the first time a technically high end 30fps PS4/Xbone game has been brought over to Switch. Less happens on screen, but that simply means more processing power is budgeted towards asset quality, lighting, shaders, and post-processing.

I'm just guessing and am in no way a graphical expert, but maybe that's why this port is even happening? Game is very linear, not a lot of enemies on screen, and I imagine the parts where the graphics really excel over other games (the parts I bolded) are going to be cut down significantly, if not removed. If I recall correctly, there's been a few Switch games which had to change the lighting system to compensate for the lack of power, for example.

I also have to wonder if the version shown at the direct is even the Switch version, or just what a Switch version could/will theoretically look like. 

It becomes tricky though when a lot of your game's core rendering tech is entwined closely with the design of the graphics; to the point where it's not as easy as just switching off effects as in a lot of cases you'd have to rebuilt all or most of your assets to prevent the art design being fundamentally compromised.

I think what we saw in the Direct was work-in-progress Switch footage; it definitely looks softer than the existing console versions and in the scene with fire you can see its using low resolution alpha with a reduced fresh rate, which is a common cutback in Switch ports like Doom due to the system's lower bandwidth.



curl-6 said:
AngryLittleAlchemist said:

I'm just guessing and am in no way a graphical expert, but maybe that's why this port is even happening? Game is very linear, not a lot of enemies on screen, and I imagine the parts where the graphics really excel over other games (the parts I bolded) are going to be cut down significantly, if not removed. If I recall correctly, there's been a few Switch games which had to change the lighting system to compensate for the lack of power, for example.

I also have to wonder if the version shown at the direct is even the Switch version, or just what a Switch version could/will theoretically look like. 

It becomes tricky though when a lot of your game's core rendering tech is entwined closely with the design of the graphics; to the point where it's not as easy as just switching off effects as in a lot of cases you'd have to rebuilt all or most of your assets to prevent the art design being fundamentally compromised.

I think what we saw in the Direct was work-in-progress Switch footage; it definitely looks softer than the existing console versions and in the scene with fire you can see its using low resolution alpha with a reduced fresh rate, which is a common cutback in Switch ports like Doom due to the system's lower bandwidth.

That's true but I think it's very likely that either the engine is more adjustable than we think, or they are making stuff to compensate for the limitations. The port has been in development since early 2018. Which means that when the game launches, it could have been in development anywhere from a year, to a year and a half. That's a long time for a port, even if the team is small. So I do think it's somewhat likely that, even if your scenario was true and it would be hard to just adjust parts of the games assets, it's possible they did in fact make new lighting/effects for the game. And by "new" I just mean "worse", lol. 

That's funny, I was just going to mention the fire sequence