In fairness, the quality of From Software’s PC ports had been improving over time. The original Dark Souls was a disaster, but from its sequel up to Sekiro, PC users received the best versions of those games. Unfortunately, this welcome upward trajectory nose-dives with the release of Elden Ring. Its issues are numerous, but most egregious of all is a persistent stuttering that ruins the flow of the game – it’s a genuinely poor presentation that needs to be addressed urgently.
Quite how the game reached consumers in this state isn’t clear, but the ‘why’ does have some level of explanation. Elden Ring is the first title that sees the From Software engine transition to DirectX 12. As we’ve discussed previously (most recently with the disappointing PC port of Final Fantasy 7 Remake), DX12 gives developers much more control of the GPU: elements such as memory management and threading are no longer handled by the driver, meaning that many responsibilities move across directly to the developer. The stuttering issues suggest that shader compilation management is poorly handled, with shader code compiled the first time it’s needed in-game, generating split-second delays throughout the experience.