The remastered version of XIII, a cult FPS from 2003, launched earlier this month, and the reception has not been glowing. Right now it’s got an Overwhelmingly Negative rating on Steam, with only nine percent positive user reviews. Those reviews, as well as comments elsewhere on the internet, mention numerous issues with the AI, framerate, and audio, as well as non-functional multiplayer and general bugginess, but also focus on the art style. What was advertised as “A new artistic direction that respects the original work and its iconic cel-shading design” is instead being called “something that looks like Fortnite”.
Developer PlayMagic and publisher Microids have issued a joint statement, saying, “expectations have not been met by the launch version and we hear loud and clear the legitimate criticism and disappointment”. They apologize for the technical issues, going on to say, “In its present state, XIII does not meet our quality standards and we fully understand players’ frustrations.”
While fixes for many of XIII’s problems were apparently planned to be part of the day-one patch, the statement blames the COVID-19 pandemic for their absence, saying, “The pandemic has impacted the game’s production on many levels.”
A list of known issues to be addressed in upcoming patches includes problems with NPC AI, stability in certain areas, missing SFX and music, voice lines that end early, and plenty more. But the way the remastered visuals don’t lean as hard into comic-book art as the original seems like a deliberate creative choice, and not something a patch is likely to fix.
The joint statement ends by informing players that a road map of new content, including multiplayer, is on the way: “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.”