DF Direct Weekly on the Half-Life 2 Switch mod and Sony’s new PC hardware
It’s Monday, it’s DF Direct Weekly – which as the name heavily implies – is Digital Foundry’s weekly show, where team members take a break from their current projects to discuss the latest gaming and technology news. What’s excited us the most this week is the ‘shadow drop’ of Valve’s Portal and Portal 2 for Nintendo Switch. These games are timeless: brilliant examples of excellent design that don’t actually require immense hardware to look and play wonderfully. Nevertheless, it’s great to see 720p60 and 1080p60 gameplay from the Switch in mobile and docked permutations respectively – and we’ll be covering the package in more depth in more extended form this week.
For the purposes of the Direct discussion though, John shares his first-hand knowledge of port before the team move onto the emergence within 24 hours of a modded version of the game that injects Half-Life 2 assets to remarkable effect. It turns out that Portal was written around the Source Engine and Half-Life 2 specifically, meaning that a semi-working ‘port’ of the classic title could be realised very quickly. It’s a great story, but more than that, the possibility of an actual official Switch port of the game and its subsequent episodes is mouthwatering. Fingers crossed that Valve takes heed.
Beyond discussion of Nier Automata coming to Switch – not to mention the bizarre pronounciation of the game’s name in its official trailer – we also spend some time talking about Sony’s InZone collection of headsets and monitors. The stylings of the devices are PS5 in nature, yet with support for 1080p240 and 4K144 monitors, these are products clearly aimed at the PC audience. And yet, how come there’s no high refresh rate 1440p option? We’re looking to cover these displays and headsets, so hopefully Sony can come through with review samples. As for me? I’ll be sticking to my 48-inch LG CX OLED – an amazing TV that also doubles up as a brilliant PC monitor.
But there’s so much more in this episode! If you’ve not already read our interview with the modder who injected FSR 2.0 into Cyberpunk 2077, well, I’d suggest reading that – but in this week’s Direct, the team discuss the implications of mods like this and the apparent emergence of an input protocol for ‘smart upscaling’ that works with all the major technologies – FSR 2.0, DLSS and possibly Intel’s upcoming XeSS.
Questions put forward from backers of the Digital Foundry Supporter Program continue to throw up some interesting – and indeed amusing – topics. What if Alex Battaglia came back from 2024 to tell us that the next-gen Switch had more RT performance than Series X and PS5? On the one hand, the idea that this would happen beggars belief but on the other hand, if it was actually Alex that was saying this and believing it, well… might it actually be true? And if he had mastered time travel, why travel back to talk to us about the next-gen Switch rather than, say, offering up next week’s lottery numbers?
Then there’s the discussion surrounding some of Nintendo’s investment disclosures, where it has been revealed that the platform holder has stockpiled ‘raw materials’, so does this mean that the firm is gearing up to release a new console? I think at this point, the existence of a new Switch is beyond doubt, despite the usual denials. The first Switch debuted in 2017, so a 2023 launch would be entirely plausible – especially as the supply constraints seem to be easing off. A six-year gap between console launches also seems feasible – and of course, the original Switch would still continue to be supported for several years to come. The real question is how Nintendo plans to handle the transition and whether full back-compat is on the table.
There’s so much more going on in this week’s episode of DF Direct Weekly, so give it a watch – or alternatively add it to your podcasting feed of choice. And of course, do check out the Digital Foundry Supporter Program. We have built an amazing community, we offer a ton of early access opportunities and bonus material, plus every Monday we share updates on what projects each team member is embarking on – and you can help shape our content line-up. Join us!