Published On: Tue, May 26th, 2020

Feature: XCOM 2 Collection Port Specialists Virtuos On Bringing The Series To Switch

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Virtuos has finished a name for itself with Switch gamers as one of a premier developers of peculiarity ports on a platform. With considerable Switch versions of L.A. Noire, a purchase of Final Fantasy remasters, Starlink: Battle for Atlas and Dark Souls: Remastered underneath a belt, we were gratified to hear that a Spingapore-based developer was in assign of porting arriving titles The Outer Worlds, BioShock: The Collection and XCOM 2 Collection to Switch.

Focusing on Firaxis Games’ XCOM 2–a diversion initial expelled on other platforms in 2016–we recently spoke to Senior Producer Zhang Chengwei and VP of Games Studio Elijah Freeman about a hurdles of bringing Firaxis’ turn-based strategy to Nintendo’s height total and on time.


Nintendo Life: How did Virtuos get concerned with porting XCOM 2 to Switch?

Zhang Chengwei: The organisation during Virtuos were unequivocally vehement when we found out we were bringing XCOM2 to a Switch, though as many people will know, it’s not a elementary box of dragging-and-dropping a diversion to a new platform. In this case, a work concerned bringing a finish XCOM2 diversion to Switch. That means a bottom game, DLC and a War of a Chosen expansion.

We afterwards grown a crafty general-purpose digest library that allows XCOM2 to be rendered directly on a Switch though changing a strange digest procedure from Unreal Engine 3. And of course, there was also a certain volume of QA contrast that’s required.

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But arguably a many critical thing is all a work finished to optimise a diversion to make certain it can run uniformly on a Switch. Take memory capacity, for example. The XCOM2 PC diversion uses some-more than 7GB memory, since a memory use of a Switch is usually 4GB (only 3.2GB are substituted to diversion itself). This takes some genuine ability from a organisation to repurpose a diversion so we still get a same XCOM2 believe regulating half a memory.

It has been settled in a past that you’re usually meddlesome in charity a best ports possible. What’s your analysis routine when it comes to porting software? Have we ever had to contend “no, contemptible – that’s usually not going to be possible”?

Zhang Chengwei: When we plead any Switch devise with a partners, a initial step is to figure out what their expectations are for a game. How do they prognosticate a finished product? It’s not usually about timelines or budgets, though some-more about achieving a diversion peculiarity they wish for a diversion they know and love. So, we start by holding them by all a areas they need to cruise for a good Switch game. How do they make a many of a best Switch features?

The subsequent step is what we call formulating “Virtuos’ Solution”. We introduce a best solutions for how to entirely use a Switch’s best facilities and unequivocally make a diversion shine, not usually as a game, though privately as a Switch game. Off a behind of a work on Starlink: Battle for Atlas, Dark Souls: Remastered, The Outer Worlds and a entrance XCOM2, we now have no doubt that Switch adaptations can be worked for games on any of a stream era of consoles (PS4/XB1).

We have a possess peculiarity standards and apparently we don’t emanate low-quality products that competence harm a Switch library or a wider games industry.

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From start to finish, how prolonged did it take to pier XCOM 2?

Zhang Chengwei: We kicked off a devise in Jun 2019 and finished in a initial few months of 2020. All in all, it took around 10 months of work.

What aspect of a strange diversion was many severe to get right on Switch?

Zhang Chengwei: The biggest plea we find is memory optimisation. The XCOM2 PC diversion uses some-more than 7GB memory though on Switch we can utilize usually 3.2GB of memory usage. You need to invariably form a game, make decisions, exercise and test, afterwards form again. I’d contend that we spent half a year usually to optimise a memory, and we used many methods via this period, including regulating some-more fit formats for files, stealing unnecessary memory usage, and even modifying and optimising a strange console’s memory system. This routine is like squeezing H2O from a sponge. As some-more H2O is squeezed from a sponge, a harder a routine becomes!

I’d contend that we spent half a year usually to optimise a memory […] This routine is like squeezing H2O from a sponge. As some-more H2O is squeezed from a sponge, a harder a routine becomes!

Considering UI, content scaling and that arrange of thing, have we finished any changes to a believe that players from other platforms competence notice when personification on Switch? Will there be any Switch disdainful enhancements or features?

Zhang Chengwei: We didn’t privately demeanour to supplement new facilities on XCOM2 for Switch. Instead, we unequivocally focused in on what we could do to make XCOM2 a good unstable experience. In a past, XCOM2 was always played on a PC or console, and in possibly box a demeanour of a diversion came down to a peculiarity of a TV or guard we owned. We know all about how a diversion will demeanour on a Switch’s built-in screen, so we took time to make certain a diversion was optimised to demeanour good on a handheld shade when in unstable mode.

With several high-profile and unequivocally successful Switch ports now underneath your belt, did any lessons schooled from prior projects assistance with this project?

Zhang Chengwei: In many ways we cruise a XCOM2 devise is now an instance of best use here during Virtuos. The some-more games we rise for Switch, a improved we get and a some-more we can fist out of a hardware. We are now unequivocally transparent about what a Switch’s hardware energy is compared to a stream (and next) era of consoles, so we know what is and isn’t probable before starting a new project. It’s also engaging to note that XCOM2 for Switch was grown in together together with BioShock: The Collection for Switch, so when we were formulating a strategies during a beginning, one of a pillars was pity believe so that these projects could both get a many optimisation and advantages in terms of cost and timeline. These dual games have some-more in common than many people competence think.

XCOM2 for Switch was grown in together together with BioShock: The Collection […] These dual games have some-more in common than many people competence think.

How tighten was your hit with Firaxis on this devise and what privately was any organisation obliged for?

Zhang Chengwei: During a devise we had unchanging weekly meetings, and we also used Slack for present messaging. Virtuos and 2K have been operative together for decades now, so a teams know any other unequivocally well. When it came to these specific games, Virtuos was obliged for all diversion development, and 2K was obliged for all Publisher’s registration materials, localisation materials, and final QA pointer off.

The tellurian COVID-19 pestilence has influenced many developers and companies, including Virtuos. Tell us a small about a effects on day-to-day work for a team. Is there anything that has quite astounded we about a conditions (from a work perspective) – certain or negative?

Zhang Chengwei: As your readers will substantially already know, when COVID-19 pennyless out in China, it coincided with a Chinese New Year. The Spring Festival is one of a many critical festivals for a teams in China. Similar to Christmas in a West, people from all over a nation will lapse to their hometowns and reunite with their families. At a same time, XCOM2 reached a miracle of submitting to a Nintendo lot-check. So, we can suppose a highlight caused by organisation members not means to get behind to a office, and many could not even lapse to Shanghai.

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At that time, Virtuos hold a high-level assembly immediately (virtually, of course). Firstly, we evaluated a stream conditions and many importantly how to strengthen a health of a employees. We afterwards evaluated a intensity impacts on a project-by-project basis. Fortunately, all of Virtuos’ staff were good and accounted for, with no signs of infection reported. In general, everybody in China was stressed by a restrictions imposed to delayed down a widespread of a infection, though we were protected during home. Once we had a transparent pattern about a impact on a project, we started to pronounce with a partners, brief a conditions and told them a slackening devise on a project. we was unequivocally overwhelmed that a partners could also know a conditions and gave a biggest supports and encouragement. Looking behind now, all a actions were unequivocally successful and forward of a curve.

Virtuos is one of a name organisation of developers putting out unequivocally high-quality Switch ports. Are there any examples of other Switch games or companies whose outlay has quite tender we recently?

Elijah Freeman: We always demeanour to first-party games as superb examples of good gameplay built for a platform. Interestingly, a multiplayer shooter genre is one we keep an eye on as a games combined there are impressive. They conduct to say good support rates and a gentle experience. What is many appealing about these shooters is that they feel ideal on a height and are a covenant to diversion centric design. The diversion sessions enclose all we need and are ideal for a pick-up-and-go Switch. Get in, get out, get on your way.

the multiplayer shooter genre is one we keep an eye on as a games combined there are impressive.

Developers starting projects these days are given to cruise scalability from a beginning, though with subsequent gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft on a setting and Nintendo’s console over 3 years aged now, how prolonged do we cruise Switch will be means to hoop peculiarity ports of new releases though significantly compromising a experience? What upgrades would a new Switch need to ‘stay in a game’, so to speak?

Elijah Freeman: We always pronounce of a game-centric trend in development, where developers concentration essentially on what creates a good game, rather than what height they’re building it on. This approach a diversion can be fun, and a believe will accommodate a expectancy of a platform. In my opinion, a believe of personification a diversion depends most some-more on a design, rather than a platforms. That said, it is unequivocally sparkling to see a extensive leaps in record and we adore saying how we can pull games serve on a latest hardware. When it comes to formulating extraordinary diversion experiences, we am certain that a Switch will keep pace.

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Our interjection to Zhang and Elijah for their time. XCOM 2 Collection is out for Switch on 29th May.

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