Well, we finally have our answer as to why Alan Wake 2’s PC port is both laughably bad and extremely demanding.

Remedy Entertainment shared system specification recommendations for their upcoming release, Alan Wake 2 that saw upscaling technologies such as NVIDIA DLSS / AMD FSR being pushed across the board, even as far down as to use upscaling technology at 1920×1080 resolution targeting 30 fps at the lowest graphical preset on an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 and AMD Radeon RX 6600.

It’s truly horrible, pushing the utilization of upscaling technologies even across the highest end of graphics card offerings, essentially recommending the likes of NVIDIA’s $1200 RTX 4080 for effectively 1080p with Ray Tracing on High and path tracing enabled.

Or if you wished to excuse the gimmick of Ray Tracing, you’d only need the likes of an RTX 4070 / RX 7800 XT for a render resolution of 1080p, targeting 60 fps on the High graphical preset.

Speaking purely on graphics alone, Alan Wake 2 looks absolutely phenomenal. And I genuinely do mean that, though I’m still iffy on the actual gameplay portion given how Alan Wake plays second fiddle to a young black FBI agent named Saga Anderson in the sequel.

Remedy Entertainment have certainly outdone themselves in the graphical department for Alan Wake 2, and now we finally have an answer as to why the bare minimum specifications for delightful 720p gaming on Low revolves around the GeForce RTX 2000 series and Radeon RX 6000 series.

According to an employee at Remedy Entertainment from a now deleted tweet, Alan Wake 2 is one of the most cutting edge and advanced games to release on PC given how it warrants the utilization of DirectX 12 Ultimate’s “Mesh Shaders” of which both NVIDIA’s GTX 1000 series and AMD’s RX 5000 series and prior do not support Mesh Shaders at all.

Making it one of if not the very first game to properly take advantage of DirectX 12 Ultimate.

The advancements of graphical fidelity directly corresponding with unfathomable performance and the requirement of brand new high-end graphics cards, it’s a touchy subject but even still I still don’t believe that the graphics dictate the requirement of owning a GPU with DirectX 12_2 feature level support, let alone the substandard 540p, 720p and 1080p render resolutions either.

Reinventing the Geometry Pipeline: Mesh Shaders in DirectX 12 | Shawn Hargreaves | DirectX Dev Day

Mesh Shaders represent a notable advancement in the realm of real-time computer graphics. They empower a more efficient and adaptable handling of 3D models, leading to enhanced performance and graphical quality in video games and other 3D applications.

These shaders have the capability to dynamically adapt the level of detail and culling for 3D models, focusing on what’s currently in view on the screen. This, in turn, trims unnecessary processing and facilitates the creation of intricate, detailed scenes.

The inclusion of DirectX 12’s Mesh Shaders reminds me so very much of AMD’s “Primitive Shaders” which premiered with its RX Vega series of GCN graphics cards, yet another AMD technological innovation that was squandered by the market leader and failed to be adopted by game developers.

The primarily focus of AMD’s “Primitive Shaders” were to enhance geometry processing within the GPU. Excessive geometry processing was a notorious bottleneck for the GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture, particularly when dealing with complex scenes that involve a large number of triangles and vertices Primitive Shaders aimed to alleviate such a bottleneck.

Within a scene, many triangles are frequently obscured by others or positioned outside the view frustum, rendering them non-visible. Conventional rendering procedures may persist in processing these concealed triangles, resulting in the wasteful consumption of computational resources. Primitive Shaders are designed to promptly cull these unseen triangles at the outset of the pipeline, thereby enhancing the overall efficiency of the rendering process.

Primitive Shaders introduce dynamic parallelism to the graphics pipeline, enabling the GPU to flexibly tailor the processing intensity for distinct sections of the scene. It has the capacity to allocate increased processing capabilities to intricate or highly detailed objects, all the while alleviating the computational load for simpler elements.

By offloading some of the geometry processing tasks and reducing redundant work, Primitive Shaders had the potential to enhance graphics performance, particularly in situations involving intricate scenes and high levels of detail. This, in turn, can yield higher frame rates, smoother gameplay in video games, and enhanced performance in professional applications reliant on GPU rendering.

Notably, this technology was primarily designed to function in tandem with other features such as Asynchronous Compute, another long forgotten innovative technology that had been squandered due to the market leader, further optimizing the GPU’s workload.

Primitive Shaders never truly made it into video games, like most other AMD developed features it was simply developed at great expensive, never to be utilized as it required developer adoption in a market that is utterly dominated by NVIDIA it was prompted shelved and forgotten.

ASync Computing managed to land its way into the video game industry albeit in limited forms, namely with DOOM 2016, Wolfenstein 2 and Youngblood, Strange Brigade and Sniper Elite 4.

But ASync failed to be truly adopted given how it was birthed into the world before NVIDIA could introduce its compute focused RTX Turing architecture, ASync on older generation GeForce GTX hardware either didn’t change performance at all, introduced stutters or graphical glitches if not outright negatively impacting performance, while boosting AMD GCN hardware.

Remedy Entertainment are focusing entirely on graphical fidelity over “optimization” and system performance, no doubt Alan Wake 2 will probably be a rather “meh” title, much like how previous release such as Control and Quantum Break were before it.

Alan Wake 2 however is certainly graphically advanced and requires extremely modern graphics solutions to effectively take advantage of, akin to how Cyberpunk 2077 is a glorified benchmark, it’ll be several years at least before consumers will be able to actually obtain capable enough GPUs to run Alan Wake 2 at 4K native resolution.

I don’t really believe that majority of consumers are thrilled to pay actual money for horribly optimized slop, but I could be wrong about that, Alan Wake Remastered was a financial bomb and the sequel will more than likely be as well.

Alan Wake 2 is leading the charge when it comes to the so called “next generation” of gaming, look forward to woeful PC performance figures and lots of low resolution upscaling come October 27th.