Bethesda Game Studios’ juggernaut RPG Starfield will likely not include DLSS reconstruction in its PC release. Due to a recently announced partnership with AMD, Starfield DLSS will more than likely be implemented by modders in the near future.
In a recent video released on the official AMD YouTube channel, Starfield director Todd Howard revealed that the studio is partnering with AMD for the new RPG. However, this has fans worried for the game’s graphical options on PC.
“We’ve built all new technology for [Starfield] with Creation Engine 2 and working with AMD on that to make it look great and run great has been really really special, “ Howard explains in the video. “We have AMD engineers in our codebase working on FSR2 upscaling and image processing and it looks incredible.”
However, many fans have taken this to mean that Starfield DLSS support will be completely absent from the new sci-fi game. Over the past couple of years, games with AMD partnerships have been forced to use only FSR reconstruction, a worse image enhancement tool than Nvidia’s DLSS or even Intel’s XeSS software.
DLSS, or Deep Learning Super Sampling, is a machine learning technology that enhances the resolution of games while they’re running, introducing massive performance gains. While FSR 2 is a decent technology, and the only good option on console, it is leagues less effective than Nvdiia’s technology.
FSR does have the advantage of being available on every form of GPU whereas DLSS requires the use of tensor cores on Nvidia graphics cards. However, games with Nvidia partnerships don’t force developers to leave out FSR or even XeSS options, another sign that gamers would rather use DLSS anyways.
AMD’s anti-consumer deals have harmed a number of games over the past year. Massive AAA titles with FSR partnerships including Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, The Last of Us Part 1 and more have not included DLSS and currently do not plan to.
With Bethesda Game Studios pushing for Starfield mods to be in the game on day one, there is hope that a Starfield DLSS mod will come to the game. After all, numerous fans have added the technology into games themselves for games such as Resident Evil 4.
Fans on the Starfield subreddit have expressed upset at the lack of the technology in the game’s PC port, and so have numerous voices in the game’s industry.
John Linneman, a video game tech analyst for Digital Foundry, said on Twitter: “AMD is tricking you. You think they're the 'friendly company' as a result of open sourcing FSR2..but then they're out here spending money to block superior options.”
At the end of the day, the lack of Starfield DLSS support is bad news for gamers. AMD’s FSR tech is far from an awful option for reconstruction, but compared to its contemporaries it is years behind the curve, and for a market where gamers expect the best options, blocking gamers from having them will only cause unrest. It’s hardly going to sell more AMD cards, that’s for sure.
Starfield releases on Xbox Series consoles and PC on September 6th. Buying the game’s expensive Constellation Edition will get you access five days early on September 1st. The game will also be available on Xbox Cloud Gaming via Game Pass on PC, mobile and Xbox One.