Square Enix's mistakes with the original PC release of Nier Automata are coming back to haunt it.
Last week, Nier Automata - alongside an assortment of games - came to PC Game Pass. Shortly after the game went live, players discovered something very curious: this isn't the same PC port on sale on Steam.
Usually, that just means the Windows Store version is limited in some ways, but this is one of the rare occasions where the Game Pass version is actually superior to one on Steam. It turns out, this is a completely different port.
Reports of improved performance, proper windowed full screen support and more began popping up shortly after Automata's release on Game Pass. The original Steam release, however, was infamous for intermittent stuttering, lack of proper windowed full screen support and a few other issues that required the use of Kaldaien's FAR mod to resolve.
Square Enix did not release a single patch for the original Steam release, despite fans' many requests at the time, so everyone just moved on. It turns out, a better PC version of Nier Automata does exist, and it's found on the Windows Store.
QLOC, the developer behind the Game Pass version (and many other PC ports), confirmed that this is indeed a new version, based on the Become As Gods Edition (2018), not the Game of the Yorha Edition (2017) of Nier Automata, apparently created on a special request by creator Platinum Games. Among a few other improvements, this version also includes support for FidelityFX, HDR, and 4K upscaled UI and textures.
This has all lead to a massive Steam review-bombing campaign, which managed to take the game from Very Positive, to Mixed, after nearly 900 negative reviews began flooding in, beginning March 18.
This is fairly unusual in the word of PC ports, as publishers are usually happy to continue improving existing code, particularly if a better version does exist. In general, Square Enix's PC ports have been uneven, from decent efforts like those of the Final Fantasy 15 PC release, to disasters such as 2018's Chrono Trigger's port.