By Tyler Lubben / April 7th, 2015
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been having a fantastic time with From Software’s newest gothic action/RPG/horror title, Bloodborne. Also, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been dying… a lot. Now, in a game with as brutal a learning curve as Bloodborne, dying isn’t exactly an uncommon occurrence, but, to add insult to injury, players who are mercilessly slaughtered by the game’s many grimdark horrors must wait upwards of 30 to 40 seconds for the game to load them back to their last checkpoint. Needless to say, while the game is a mostly enjoyable and challenging experience, having to stare at that stark black-and-white logo every time you die is a pretty tall order. That said, what exactly is going on in the background that is forcing players to wait so long? GamesRadar’s Leon Hurley sought out a few anonymous game developers to explain what the freakin’ holdup is!
It seems that From Soft’s unique game mechanics of completely resetting the game world every time a character dies has a lot to do with it. According to one dev, “because the initial load and reload into Cathedral Ward are the same, that indicates they’re completely dumping all loaded data (textures + geometry).” Rather than simply putting back the things that players kill and break, the game appears to be wiping the entire world and starting from scratch. Because the game must repopulate the world with enemies and objects (all with their own physics, no less), it can be quite the task to get things ready for subsequent runs. A second source agreed with this assessment:
“My guess is that yes, it’s not particularly efficient, and that it is just dumping everything and doing a clean reload.”
A third source also notes that there’s no difference between how long it takes to load the new session regardless of whether you die immediately after spawning or go on for an extended period of time. This same source goes on to explain that, in doing a complete reload of the game space, “you’re certain everything works should something have bugged out on you. You begin with a clean memory slate, since you don’t need to play it safe. Basically, it’s the easy and safe way.” This source goes on:
“I can’t imagine reloading enemies alone taking that long, but piles of books, barrels and such, are all back in their original state too [when you restart]. These all have physics, but [are] probably ‘sleeping’ until you get near.” […] “I’m not sure how much environment they’ve got in memory at one time, you can look pretty far ahead, but looking at the textures there’s (of course) a degree of [level of detail] in place.”
All three sources seemed to agree that the highly-detailed textures are largely to blame for the long loading screens, one developer stating that “huge hi-res textures are the biggest memory / disk factor by far.” Bloodborne certainly is a beautiful game, with its breathtaking urban scenes, fantastic, if foreboding, dungeons and even the monsters, in all their terrible glory, look absolutely gorgeous, in their own way. It’s just a shame that players must wait so long to get back to experience more of it every time they’re caught off guard. However, don’t lose heart. Even if you find the load times nigh unbearable, one source does note that it isn’t hopeless:
“There are almost certainly ways to optimise this. I suspect that since games are always developed up to the wire, that ‘a lot of loading’ was the best of a bad bunch of limitations to ship with (better than bugs such as Assassin’s Creed Unity had). It can easily be improved in an update later on […].”
So, the short answer seems to be that Bloodborne’s highly-detailed textures and the many objects and enemies that must be respawned in the game’s huge environments, all while being dismantled and rebuilt every time one revives from death, makes for quite a bit that the system has to deal with before players set out once again. Personally, if the choice is scores of potentially game-breaking bugs or a longer wait between deaths, I’ll take the latter. Hopefully, though, From Soft will be able to come up with a fix for this problem in the near future.
Bloodborne is available on Amazon:
BloodborneFrom Softwareloading screensPS4