2K Games and Hangar 13 Studios got off to a rough early start for the PC version of Mafia III. After YouTube star TotalBiscuit revealed the game had a 30fps hard-lock, 2K was put between a rock and a hard place, and decided to hunker down issue a hot fix over the weekend for Mafia III.
According to Gamespot, the newest patch makes some serious effort to fix some major problems with the PC version of the game, including removing the 30fps hard-lock in place of giving gamers the option to choose between 30fps, 60fps and unlimited fps.
The patch was worked on a few hours after 2K Games acknowledged the issue and made a post about it on their website after Reddit, Twitter and the rest of the YouTube and social media communities made their voices heard that a hard-lock cap on the PC version of Mafia III was not appreciated.
For those of you a bit confused, a frame-rate hard-lock forces the game to run at a specific frame-rate. Capping and hard-locking a game at 30fps is usually for the benefit of home consoles, which may have frame buffer fluctuations between 30 or 40 frames per second, or sometimes even go into the 50s. However, if a game's performance cannot stabilize at a consistent buffer, they lower it to something suitable and cap it there, also known as a hard-lock. This creates a fluid and consistent gameplay experience without judder or inconsistent frame-rate leaps between 20 to 30, or 30 to 50 and back again.
Many of you might be wondering why they would have a hard-lock on the PC versions of games if gamers can modify the options and settings? Well, usually that feature stays in place after a game is ported over from the home consoles. In some cases games like Borderlands there were soft-locks on the frame-rate that could be altered in the options menu or ini files.
Hard-locking removes any viable way for players to easily change the frame-rate options, which is what 2K did with Mafia III. A year ago, TotalBiscuit started up a Steam curator group known as The Framerate Police who spotted out and notified the general PC gaming public if a game was hard-locked at 30fps. They literally police games that don't have frame-rate options or give users the ability to remove the hard-locks. The Framerate Police also notify users if there are workarounds available for some games.
In the case of titles like Need For Speed: Rivals, EA had not only hard-locked the game to 30fps, but they also tied the frame-rate to game engine simulation time. This means that when modders attempted to boost the frame-rate by tweaking the engine settings it forced the entire game simulation to double in speed, creating a hilariously broken experience. That was forever used as a benchmark for developers to not tie frame-rates to engine simulation times. Modders, however, still managed to fix the frame-rate issues with Need For Speed: Rivals after further tinkering.
For Mafia III, 2K Games didn't want to wait so long as to force modders to have to step in. Instead they've worked on the patch themselves and opted to get it certified as quickly as possible so it would be available before the day is out.