Gaming on Linux
Although Warner Brothers has abandoned plans for a Linux port of Batman: Arkham Knight, there’s lots of excitement over last week’s day-one release of XCOM 2.
Seemingly out of the blue, Batman: Arkham Knight’s planned Linux and OS X release has been cancelled. In all likelihood, this cancellation stems from the litany of problems with the game’s Windows port, which has been panned by critics and players as glitch plagued and often almost unplayable.
The sudden cancellation has led to speculation that Warner Brothers might be looking into pulling support for PC titles as another of their PC posted titles, Mortal Kombat, will not be receiving the upcoming DLC content titled Kombat Pack 2, which will be made available only for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with no explanation why.
With Batman: Arkham Knight’s string of delays and rampant errors with the Windows’ port, players had been preparing for the worst for a while, or expecting a very delayed Linux version.
While the loss of Arkham Knight is bad, it definitely isn’t the only game around — pun intended.
The community is abuzz with talk about the highly anticipated day-one Linux release of XCOM 2 on Friday. XCOM 2 is a turn based action adventure shower by developers Firaxis and 2K and sequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a 2012 reboot to the series. Enemy Unknown received a 10/10 rating on Steam when first introduced to Linux back in 2014, so there’s no wonder the community is extremely excited about this sequel. In the few days since its release, the game has received overwhelmingly positive reviews. The game can be played cross platform against Windows and Mac counterparts and supports modding. Feral Interactive has even released it’s own day-one mods.
Although it shipped with the expectation that it would only support Nvidia graphics, most initial signs show that Radeon and AMD Drivers should work. The game will run all right on medium graphic settings, but there are those still advising putting off buying the game until after a driver update, unless you’re adept enough to work through graphics testing. While the game is playable enough as is, there’s talk of frame rate drops and anti-aliasing issues at the moment, and for open source driver users not using Mesa’s latest there may be problems.
There is no benchmark mode for any of the ports at the moment, but some gamers are showing their play results on YouTube, which can serve as guides for what setup will work to get your game working well.
A fan favorite game of the early 2000s, RuneScape, will be receiving a newer, updated look and engine in RuneScape NXT. The project has been a work in progress for years, but will be seeing it’s first beta February 19th. NXT is promising to be very Linux friendly. It’s brand new engine is OpenGL based and supports as low as Open GL 2.0, which was released 12 years ago, while still maintaining a fresh look. The game has plans to support Vulkan rendering APIs in the future, plays nice with AMD graphics cards and more, all of which can be read about on the RuneScape Dev Blog. The game is also free to play, so for those longing for an MMO experience again they’ll be active in a week, or practice with their current client available on site.
Lastly, Steam’s Lunar New Year Sale has started, with many Linux games on sale until February 12. There are hundreds of Linux games to chose from — at a discount. Show support for Linux gaming with your wallet. You can also help by contributing any benchmark data to Open Games Benchmarks. The site is fairly new and was started by Linux gamers to show benchmark data and to urge developers for a comparable experience to playing on Windows.
More gaming news sure to come: We’re nearing IGC which is only a month away and news on a Rocket League release date is coming soon.
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Hunter Banks has been a part of the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) Family for the past 13 years. When not writing about open source gaming, he’s working on creating his own games. Follow him on Twitter @SilvrChariot