A few years ago we’d announced we planned to bring Starbound to consoles, and dedicated a lot of our studio resources into re-designing the UI for consoles and optimizing the game resources to work on consoles – working closely with Blitworks, who did a fantastic job helping us with the porting.
Starbound was playable to the public at a number of Xbox events in 2018, and had very positive feedback – it played very well on Xbox One and we’d publically announced our intention to finish and release soon!
Late in development while evaluating the game we identified performance issues when playing with four or more players together, but still felt confident we could address them to have it release ready. We worked to optimize and redesign a number of systems specifically to optimize the performance in multiplayer, but ultimately after months of work it still wasn’t enough to get the game up to our standards. With four or more players together we’d still encounter some stuttering and frame drops.
We don’t want to limit the number of players or remove features to address the problem – that would mean releasing the game in a ‘less complete’ state and wasn’t a solution we were comfortable with.
So what’s the plan?
We’ve spent the past few months working with some new outside porting partners to try and further optimize the game performance. We’ve got some very experienced programmers who think it’s achievable and are working on it – but we don’t want to give any assurances until we’ve tested it. Outside that the game is ready, but it’s a make or break issue and we can’t introduce Starbound to consoles with current performance.
We’d hoped to have better news to share in this update – and we’re sorry we’d waited so long to deliver it. For right now a console version is delayed while we continue to work on technical solutions to optimize large groups in multiplayer, and we’ll keep supporting the PC version (1.4 is available to beta test right now on Steam).