In the editorial on Grand Theft Auto IV's Digital Rights Management (DRM), I had praised the company for being open about its usage, but well, slammed them for using it. This one, I predict, will run similarly, in light of the company's recent interview with IGN about all the technical issues users are having with the game on the PC, which have been posted all over online, including our own forums.
First, note that a patch is in the works, as expected, though no timeframe is given. As for that texture problem Steam users are having, it has "since been addressed", though it's not made clear how. In any case, Steam is nice enough to offer refunds on the game for those unsatisfied (details here). Some more helpful links will be posted at the bottom of this article.
Three guys from the GTA IV team sat down for the interview, the first part of which is particularly interesting...
IGN: Just to start out could you give us a sense of how widespread the problem actually is because it's difficult to tell from looking at message boards.
Kevin Hoare: I guess that's really hard to determine. The only thing we really have to go on in that regard is support calls we've been getting which have been quite low or as expected, which I think is roughly around one percent…It seems like maybe these forum posters are the more outspoken percentage of the players. That's really the only thing we have to go on as far as numbers go.
That's funny, since our reader Daniel King pointed out the other day they were blocked:
"We are aware that a small number of fans are having problems running GTA IV on their PCs"
Are they serious? These guys are becoming politicians. When will people accept their responsibilities. The game runs like utter crap on even the newest PCs. I have the PS3 version, but still went out and purchased the PC version. My PC is a few months old and can be considered "high spec". Even on the lowest settings, the best FPS I get is 17. I cannot log into the social network and windows live crashes every time I try to log in, which means I cannot save any progress even if I wanted to play the game. I have spent days trying to resolve the problems. This is a complete waste of time of the game was released too early. I opened a trouble ticket with 2K Games and the poor support engineer told me they are overwhelmed with GTA IV PC customer problems.
Sounds like doublespeak on Rockstar's part, to me.
As for the matter of settings, the company's Kevin Hoare confirms users shouldn't let themselves be bent on playing the game with the highest settings, as when they were designing it, "it was with the intent of having future growth with the game." Perhaps they should have told users this before releasing it, though? I guess that would have lowered sales, at least in the short-term...
In any case, I like team member Jeronimo Barrera's style:
"Let's not beat around the bush here. There's a lot of noise like this game doesn't run at all or there's missing textures and everything else. From what we've gathered a lot of those problems are either out of date drivers or we don't support that type of card or you're underspecced or whatever, it's always a combination of one of those things, it's not necessarily that we don't know what we're doing because obviously we put in hundreds and hundreds of hours of test into this. From what we did and from going through certification with Microsoft and our external QA process we didn't run into the amount of problems that the boards seemed to be saying there are."
Anyhow, they do feel the majority of users will be happy once the "growing pains" are gone, and the majority of users are happy. IGN, bless them for it, ends off the interview like this:
IGN: In the meantime you've got these people online who are pretty angry at you, to say the least. Is there anything you'd like to say to them?
Jeronimo Barrera: We stand behind our product and we'll get you help and it's easy to reach us. We do find the forums to be a very useful resource for us to identify problems that everyone's having…The game has been out less than a week and we are trying to address everything. In the long run we're going to keep supporting the title. It's not a one-shot deal. As much as people don't like to hear the word future-proofed but it is future-proofed and there's a lot in store for gamers.
New NVIDIA drivers for GTA IV (ATI drivers coming Wednesday)