Deadly Premonition 2 has just received its first (and very much-needed) post-launch patch on Switch, taking an initial pass at improving the game’s abysmal frame rate, while also making a range of tweaks designed to remedy its heavily criticised handling of a transgender character.
The long-awaited sequel to developer Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro’s cult classic mystery adventure came under fire at release for elements of its script – seemingly more naive than malicious, given the spirited anti-bigotry stance displayed elsewhere in the game – in which transgender character Lena Dauman is misgendered and deadnamed.
Following the outcry, Swery offered his apologies on Twitter, writing, “I realised by pointed out from friends, I might have hurt transgender people in my scenario. It wasn’t intentional. I am really sorry for that.” He also promised that the offending scenes would be “sanity checked by a team that included diversity” and amended as necessary.
The first fruits of that work has now arrived in the form of Deadly Premonition 2’s initial post-launch patch, which has reportedly edited out some of the dialogue most frequently highlighted as problematic. This predominantly seems to relate to York’s clumsily written lines (which sat awkwardly alongside his rebuffing of other characters’ intended transphobia elsewhere), although early reports suggest the edits are currently less-than-subtle.
“Kinda awkwardly handled but a future patch might smooth them out,” wrote one poster on the Deadly Premonition subreddit, “Nice to see it addressed this quick regardless.”
Elsewhere, today’s patch seeks to make some preliminary improvements to Deadly Premonition 2’s absolutely abysmal frame rate, which frequently sinks to single digits during exploratory open-world sections. “This patch is only partially fixing of frame rate,” explained Swery in a statement on Twitter, “but we are preparing the next patch after this, ASAP.”
— Hidetaka SWERY Skywalker (@Swery65) July 21, 2020
An extremely cursory glance at my copy of Deadly Premonition suggests its open-world segments have seen minor, if still far from ideal, frame rate improvements post-patch, but it’s unclear if any of the game’s other technical issues – from endless looping sounds and missing textures to complete crashes – have seen anything in the way of fixes.
It’s certainly gratifying to see Swery and co. move to address criticism and remedy Deadly Premonition 2’s more glaring faults so swiftly after launch, but it’s still rather shameful that publisher Rising Star was willingly selling a game in such a shoddy initial state. For what it’s worth though, I rather enjoyed (with considerable caveats) my time with Deadly Premonition 2 when I played it for review a few weeks back. If nothing else, Agent York is still one of gaming’s greatest protagonists, and it’s a pleasure to spent more time in his company.