Square Enix, What Is Going On With The Nier PC Ports?

Imagine you ask me for an authentic print from an incredible work of art. “Sure, coming right up,” I say, taking whatever payment was agreed upon. Then, instead of giving you that print in any reasonable condition, I xerox a copy off on a decades-old copier and drop it in a puddle, then I hand it off to you and promise to fix it later. You’re probably pissed, and growing more irritated every second I drag out this fictional comparison. What I’m trying to say is, I’m sick of crappy PC ports – does that make sense? More specifically, I’m pretty ill over how Square Enix has treated the Nier: Automata PC releases – and I want to know what on earth is going on here.

First of all, let’s make this bit clear, game dev is hard. I don’t make games – I consume, critique, and report on them for a living. I can’t pretend to know how hard it is to port anything – I’m sure that’s a nightmare – but I do think it’s fair for me to expect something to work that I’ve paid for. I can be reasonable, too. Games are often a messy process; players find a bug, report the bug, the bug is fixed. Rinse and repeat. Nier: Automata’s list of PC bugs on Steam is a long one, and while I initially thought the Game Pass release was better, it sounds broken too.

So really, what gives, Square Enix? I played Automata originally on my PlayStation 4 and adored it, definitely a masterpiece deserving of care and perfect presentation. Since I’m a bit more of a PC gamer, I usually always have an enthusiast build going, so naturally, I bought the game on Steam. Big oops.

It’s busted. My ultrawide is more of a hindrance than help, the framerate is locked, action sequences turn into a stuttering mess, and it feels damn-near impossible to play sometimes with a keyboard and mouse. And you know who fixed it? Not Square Enix, but fans. I had to rely on a fan mod to patch Nier: Automata, and four years later, Square Enix has released another PC version with Microsoft on the Windows Store that fixes most issues. I say most because there’s definitely still some stuttering, but it’s an upgrade.

It looks like Microsoft may have arranged Automata’s improved version, so kudos to them for not offering a platform to a messy product, but I’m still ill over it. In all honesty, with a PC port that’s actually functional available now, I think the Steam SKU should just be pulled. I realize that’s never happening, but for folks more casually browsing PC games, I don’t think they’ll know Automata’s messy Steam version lags behind what you can get on the Windows Store.

At the end of the day, I think what bothers me the most about the Automata port isn’t even that there’s a better version available, but that this just seems to be a port trend I’m supposed to accept. I’ve had bad experiences with Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 9, and Final Fantasy 13 now – some of those got fixed, some didn’t, and some I’ll never know because I’m not going back. Square Enix now has two ports of the same game available on PC and is, for some reason, still allowing the more broken one to exist. Nevermind fixing it for those of us who bought it; just stop other folks from doing the same.

Next: I’m Convinced That Horizon Zero Dawn Was Meant To Be Played In Super Ultrawide

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Andrea Shearon is a news editor at TheGamer who loves RPGs and anything horror related. Find her on Twitter via @Maajora.

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