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In brief: Like many people of a certain age, I have fond memories of playing XIII on the PlayStation 2 back in 2003, so a modern remake was an enticing prospect. Sadly, 2020's version of the first-person shooter has been panned over both its technical problems and art style, leading to its creators apologizing and placing much of the blame on the pandemic.
Since its launch on November 10, XIII has gained an 'Overwhelmingly Negative' rating on Steam. The extensive list of complaints includes terrible AI, audio issues, horrible frame rates, animation problems, a broken multiplayer mode, and much more.
In addition to the bugs, many players' vitriol is being directed at the game's art style. The original XIII is well-remembered for its distinctive cel-shaded graphics, but the "new artistic direction that respects the original work" has been compared to Fortnite by several reviewers.
Developer PlayMagic and publisher Microids have acknowledged the complaints. In a joint statement, the companies wrote: "Unfortunately, players' expectations have not been met by the launch version and we hear loud and clear the legitimate criticism and disappointment."
"In its present state, XIII does not meet our quality standards and we fully understand players' frustrations."
The pandemic has adversely affected many industries this year, leading to, amongst other things, product postponements. PlayMagic and Microids write that XIII's development was hit hard by Covid-19 restrictions, which also delayed the release of a day-one patch.
So the remake of XIII came out today...— Ben (@SirCrackerBulb) November 10, 2020
From the first trailer I didn't think it would be that good, I wasn't far off pic.twitter.com/SFEBRE2ubM
"The pandemic has impacted the game's production on many levels. Pivoting to home working for the teams has added unexpected delays in the development schedule and the QA process. We hoped we would be able to provide a Day One patch fixing all the issues but the development of this update is taking more time than expected."
Patches will be arriving in the next few days and weeks to address the most urgent issues, including the controls, frame rate, collisions, rendering, and sound. But it doesn't seem as if there are plans for a graphical overhaul. The firms are also working on a road map detailing the free content coming to the game. "Finally, know that we are working on a detailed road map highlighting the upcoming free additions to the game content like new levels, weapons, skins and modes for the local multiplayer," they wrote.