July 27, 2021

Resident Evil Village PC is fixed - but players still deserve better

"Adjustments have been made to optimise the anti-piracy technology." It took Capcom 74 days from launch to release a patch to address the performance issues of the PC version of Resident Evil Village - an update Capcom had to deliver in the face of revelations that the pirated/cracked version of the game ran nigh-on flawlessly. And yet that single line is all the explanation those who bought and paid for the game received. We can confirm that the PC version of the game is now fixed, but the lack of explanation or indeed apology from Capcom still leaves us some way short of closure.

I reported on this story once a pirate outfit known as 'Empress' had managed to bypass the Denuvo anti-piracy layer, fingering Capcom's additional DRM contained within the Denuvo-encrypted code as the cause of the issues. The problems boiled down to two key issues: firstly, combat animations such as zombies lunging at you, or recoiling from fire would cause the game to freeze for a split-second (anything up to 130ms in our tests), impacting the flow of combat. Far more noticeable were encounters with Lady Dimitrescu's daughters within the castle, where multiple, sustained stutters could bring a game running in excess of 100fps on an RTX 3080 down to just over 30fps.

I've lined up performance data from the unpatched game, the cracked version and the newly released title update and essentially, the patched rendition of Resident Evil Village now runs identically to the cracked version - Capcom's adjustments to "optimise the anti-piracy technology" do work. However, it's still unclear as to why the issues were never addressed before the DRM fiasco was brought to light. The patch notes confirm that the anti-piracy technology is to blame, but does not explain how the problems made their way into user-facing code when they are so obvious and plain to see. Not only that, even in the face of user feedback and reviews, still nothing was done about it. Those who bought and paid for the game deserve some kind of explanation and apology.

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