E3 2014: EA, AMD Announces Mantle Support For Multiple Upcoming Titles

One of the ongoing questions around AMD's Mantle API is how much support it would garner in actual shipping titles. True, EA had committed to adding support to the Frostbite engine, but that's the kind of announcement that can be quietly swept under the rug or might be integrated into the engine but with a minimal number of titles actually using it. So far this year, only Thief and BF4 have shipped with Mantle support -- the former is a minimally regarded game, while the latter has been dogged by play issues that have nothing to do with AMD's API but have distracted from its quality. Three other games (Sniper Elite 3, Star Citizen, and Civilization: Beyond Earth) will include support for Mantle but haven't shipped.

We now know that the stable of confirmed Mantle titles has risen to eight with three new (though expected) additions:  Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Battlefield Hardline. We covered the BFH open beta yesterday; PvZ: GW has picked up moderate accolades on consoles, but Dragon Age: Inquisition is, to my way of thinking, the real chance for Mantle to shine. This is partly because I admit, I care 10-20x more about killing dragons in Fereldan than I do about shooting robbers in LA or fighting zombies as a plant.


Alright, putting my fanboyism back in the closet for now, winning different types of games is actually critical to AMD's plan of pushing broad Mantle adoption across the PC ecosystem. The number of BF4 players who will also play Battlefield Hardline is fairly high -- but the gamers that buy Civilization: Beyond Earth or Dragon Age: Inquisition may never touch a Battlefield title. Driving Mantle adoption in non-FPS games is the best way to ensure it sweeps across a variety of market segments.

It also indirectly highlights the importance of good games to AMD's nascent API. This is a problem that Nvidia ran into with PhysX -- many games used software PhysX, a several dozen incorporated hardware PhysX, and only a handful of those latter titles were actually great in their own right. Expectations are high for all of the upcoming Mantle titles -- hopefully they'll collectively deliver a great experience for all gamers, including those armed with AMD's GCN.

AMD has also announced that Mantle is supported in upcoming versions of CryEngine, but no titles that incorporate the API have been announced yet, and it's not clear if every CryEngine game will use Mantle or if it remains an optional feature.