Final Fantasy 7 Remake On PC Has A Major Stuttering Issue But This Setting Could Help

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Final Fantasy 7 ranks as one of the biggest game releases of all time. Originally conceived for Nintendo's MSU-1 CD-ROM add-on for the SNES, it was moved to the PlayStation when Nintendo canceled that product at the last second. One can argue that it was the top killer app for the PlayStation and that it ultimately helped Sony, a late-comer in a crowded market, get enough of a foothold to push Sega out of the field.

It was such a media sensation that it's hard to overstate its impact, so it shouldn't be surprising that the Final Fantasy VII Remake was a huge seller when it landed in April of last year. It was a PlayStation 4 exclusive at that time, though it saw an upgraded re-release on the PlayStation 5 earlier this year. Surprisingly, just 6 months later, that version (subtitled "Intergrade") has now landed on the PC's Epic Games Store, but before you run off to throw money at Epic, let's talk about the quality of the port.

Now, we haven't done our own performance testing, admittedly. Still, if there's anyone off-site that we'd trust to talk about a PC game's performance problems, it's Digital Foundry. DF's Alex Battaglia has been pooh-poohing the game on Twitter, and his "friend and colleague" John Linneman agrees. The problems are manyfold, but the biggest one seems to be that Final Fantasy VII Remake has major frame-pacing issues.

That means that your game will be visibly stuttering despite your FPS counter still reading "60" or higher—even if using PresentMon or other utilities that rely on the same metrics, like RTSS or OCAT. The problem is so bad that, even playing at a 1920×1080 resolution, Battaglia says his "RTX 3090 and 10900K" are struggling to produce playable performance at times.

Checking in with the user-edited PC Gaming Wiki, it seems like some folks have gotten relief from a combination of mods for the game. Indeed, given that this is a PC game, we don't have to wait for a patch; we can try to fix up the game ourselves. The most popular change seems to be to force the game to run in DirectX 11 mode rather than its default DirectX 12 renderer. You can do this by simply adding "-dx11" as a launch option. Do note that doing this will break HDR support completely, and may have other unintended effects on the game's presentation.

Still, this may not help, especially if you have a GPU with 8GB or less of video memory (as most of the people attempting to play it likely do.) Some folks report that changing the in-game texture settings from "high" to "low" and back restores performance when it drops after a level change, although, again, we have not tested this for ourselves. Regardless, it's preposterous that we should have to resort to clunky fixes like this.

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Final Fantasy VIII Remake Intergrade is $70 on the Epic Store. (click to enlarge)

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is $70, and regional pricing has it even higher in some places. That cost stings on its own, but it's even worse when the 100GB-plus game is lacking simple features that we expect from PC games. We expect toggles for depth of field, motion blur, and dynamic resolution; all of these controls are absent from the game, and enabled by default. FF7R is based on Unreal Engine 4, and there are the usual tweaks for all of this, but sadly the game doesn't expose its configuration files the way most Unreal Engine games do.

Thankfully, a dedicated modder has already released pak files to disable certain effects that people find disagreeable. Head over to Reddit if you simply can't deal with motion blur, TAA, dynamic resolution scaling, or depth of field, where /u/Scorpwind has your fixes. (Mind a naughty word in the subreddit name.)

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(click to enlarge)

We're currently not planning to do our own FF7R performance testing, and given the problems with the game it's unlikely we'll be using it for benchmarking unless there's a big patch. Digital Foundry will likely be doing a video that puts the game through its paces, though. It might be an amusing watch, but Battaglia has already spoiled the ending for us.

Speaking on gaming forum ResetEra, he said "This is literally the worst AAA release I have seen on PC in a good long time. I humbly submit that no one should buy it." For folks who already did, hopefully the mods can get you moving. The rest of us will hope for a patch (or at least a lower-cost Steam release.)