During the development of Starlink: Battle for Atlas on Nintendo Switch, Ubisoft Toronto collaborated closely with the Shanghai-based studio Virtuos. Founded in 2004, the developer is previously known for its work on the Switch iterations of Dark Souls: Remastered and L.A. Noire.
Although we've already heard about how Virtuos helped raise the overall quality of Starlink on Switch to new heights, Game Industry recently sat down with the company's technical director Jonathan Boldiga to discuss Ubisoft's high standards throughout the development:
"It was extremely technically challenging... Ubisoft had very high standards in terms of what they wanted on the Switch platform. Basically the mandate for us was, 'We need parity between all three consoles'.
"Obviously, the Switch is a great machine but we had to do a lot of work to make sure we could keep visual parity between Switch, Xbox One and PS4. We did a lot of work on rendering optimisations, multi-threading, and trying to squeeze the most that we could out of the CPU. Lots and lots of data compression to fit into memory - you name every trick, we tried it."
Boldiga went on to explain how the Switch handheld mode worked to their advantage:
"Some of those post-processing passes for Xbox One and PS4 aren't really necessary on Switch when you're in handheld mode because the fidelity isn't going to come through. There are tricks you can do there to avoid certain things. Plus, on a smaller screen you don't have to worry about anti-aliasing as much because it's not as noticeable, but when you're on a big, high-def, 1080p screen, obviously it's a lot more noticeable. So you can sort of use different anti-aliasing techniques to speed things up as opposed to some of the more expensive routines.
"It was definitely a challenge. There was a lot of late nights and hair pulling, but at the end I think what we were able to deliver is probably one of the best-looking Switch titles out there."
What do you think about the visuals in Starlink: Battle for Atlas on the Switch? Is this one of best-looking titles available? Have you played this game yet? Tell us below.