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Callisto Protocol devs say “damn clerical error” caused PC frame rate issues

Enlarge / Artist’s conception of PC players getting hit with stuttering frame rates on the launch version of The Callisto Protocol.

In Ars’ review of The Callisto Protocol last week, our reviewer praised the 60 fps graphics of the game’s Performance mode on the tested PlayStation 5 version. Since the game’s release, though, online forums like Reddit and the game’s Steam reviews have seen widespread complaints of stuttering frame rates and other poor performance on the PC version.

The developers at Striking Distance Studios acknowledged those stuttering problems for “some” PC users Friday afternoon. Later that night, the team released a PC patch “to improve gameplay stuttering issues due to shader compilation.” Testing on the Ars gaming rig (currently sporting an Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Ti) suggests that the patch was successful and that the latest version of the game can achieve smooth frame rates above 60 frames per second, even on “Ultra” graphics settings.

“Responsible and accountable”

In a post on his personal Twitter account, Striking Distance founder and CEO Glen Schofield attributed those widespread stuttering problems to the wrong file being patched for the launch version of the game, a “freaking error by someone rushing.” In a separate tweet, he referred to the problem as a “damn clerical error.”

“I’ll figure out how this [stuttering] happened but right now my focus is fixing [it],” Schofield tweeted Sunday evening. “All our energy is on that. In the end I’m responsible and accountable.”

Separate from the widely reported PC issues, on Sunday afternoon the game’s official Twitter account announced new patches “for all consoles that should fix frame rate and crash issues that some of you have reported.” Issues with ray-traced reflection on the Xbox Series X remain, however, and the developers promise more information on that issue later in the week.

The Callisto Protocol is the first release for Striking Distance Studios, which originally formed in 2019 to develop games in the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds universe. Schofield, who helped create the Dead Space franchise at Electronic Arts, says that building a big-budget game in just a few years was a major challenge for the new team.

“We’ve stress tested everything but man this is complicated code,” Schofield tweeted. “We even had to build the publishing team so we’ve had our hands filled for 3.5 years. Please bare with me [sic].”

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