dauntless, embermane

Dauntless Interview: Dev Discusses Switch Performance, Avoiding Launch Problems, & More

Dauntless has had kind of a strange trajectory. It launched on PC to moderate success via its own launcher. It then partnered with Epic Games and transitioned completely to the Epic Games Store platform. After that, it launched on console and the popularity of the free-to-play monster hunting game shot up dramatically.

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The next step is the Switch, and considering Monster Hunter: World is unlikely to ever make it over to Nintendo’s hybrid console, Dauntless has a very strong chance of replicating that same success.

We played an early build of Dauntless on Switch and what I thought was going to happen was flipped. Visually, things looked a bit rough, which is surprising considering the cartoonish art style of Dauntless.

While the frame rate wasn’t perfect, combat performed a lot better than I thought it would at this stage. It felt a bit off from the other platforms, but more or less I was able to play Dauntless just fine.

Afterwards, I spoke with Chris Fox of Phoenix Labs and we spoke about the game’s performance (spoiler: all the above are still in development and being worked on) and the port in general.

Ed McGlone: Obviously the Switch is a new platform for Dauntless. Have there been any challenges in bringing Dauntless to Switch?

Chris Fox of Phoenix Labs: Any time you’re bringing a game to a new piece of hardware I think there are challenges inherent to that process.

We’ve been really fortunate to be working with Iron Galaxy to bring it to the Switch and like, they really know what they’re doing when it comes to that hardware.

Honestly, we are not the biggest studio in the world. So, what we choose to work on means there’s something else that we can’t do or that you know, has to wait for a little bit later.

So it’s just it’s really about prioritization and making sure we’re making the right decisions. We’re super pleased with how this build has already shaped up and we’ve got a bunch of time before it releases in winter.

Ed: Why is the Switch such a priority? 

Chris Fox: I mean we want to be on as many platforms as we can and Switch is the next one. We want to be on mobile as well. That’s in the plans too but Switch just seems like the logical next step for us.

Ed: Has the enthusiasm for the console release caused any unforeseen problems?

Chris Fox: We had a little bit of service interruption for the first few days but I mean that’s typical stuff I think you would expect with a launch that goes well. If anything, it renews our energy, our drive, and motivation to do these things.

We were pretty sure we’re doing the right thing before and just to have, not just the number of people, but the sentiment and all the positive vibes that people are sending our way. It’s super gratifying and humbling and it’s been awesome around the studio.

Ed: What is the plan for making sure that these challenges, like the server outages, are ironed out for the Switch port?

Chris Fox: I think a lot of the work that we’re doing right now, in terms of like serviceability, capacity, and all that… I’m going to get in trouble I’m not an engineer [laughs], but the way they’re working on it is that we’ll scale as we grow.

We’ve got a crazy talented dedicated engineering team solving that problem all the time.

Ed: You mentioned the Switch build earlier, is there anything specifically that you’re still working on to make sure Dauntless is as good as it can be heading into its release?

Chris Fox: I mean, it [the Switch build] is just not done. Nothing worth like calling out specifically. It’s just like the same process that you would have when you’re bringing a game to any piece of hardware.

Performance is a thing, but that’s true everywhere. One of the cool things though is that we can look at like, you know our target frame rates and making sure that everything runs the way we want, we can take that and write it back into the other versions of the game as well. So everything runs better, everything plays better as you go down this path.

Ed: Will there be any differences in features between the Switch and the other platforms?

No. Our vision of one Dauntless is the thing that’s really important to this process.

We envision you playing this on the train on the way to work and getting into work and playing at lunch on your PC, then coming home playing on your console with the same account, same game modes, cross-party, cross save, all that stuff.

Like that’s the core of what we want our experience to be. Right now [cross-play] is between PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and that’s the plan for Switch as well.

Ed: If in the future, Nintendo wanted to do a crossover like how there are Mario/Luigi themed cars in Rocket League, is that something that would be possible? Or would it be difficult because of how integrated it is with other platforms?

Chris Fox: I’m not sure honestly. That sounds awesome. That’s a discussion that is yet to happen but that’d be cool!

Ed: Has any conversations about Stadia come up at all yet?

Chris Fox: Not with me personally. Specifics aside, we want to be everywhere –we want to be on every piece of hardware we can.

Ed: In theory though, you wouldn’t rule it [Stadia] out once everything else is all good?

Chris Fox: It really is a prioritization…

Ed: So right now Switch, then mobile and then see what happens after that basically…?

Chris Fox: Pretty much, yeah!

Dauntless is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PCs via the Epic Games Store. The Switch version is due to release later this year.

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Ed McGlone
Ed McGlone was with Twinfinite from 2014 to 2022. Playing games since 1991, Ed loved writing about RPGs, MMOs, sports games and shooters.