Humankind, one of my most anticipated games of 2021, was going to have Denuvo acting as its digital rights management (DRM). But after its developers found that it was impacting performance, they took it straight out.
The strategy game, which is shaping up to be Civilization’s first real competition in years, has been playable by fans and testers for a while, and those players have been giving feedback to developers Amplitude Studios during a closed beta. And part of that feedback involved some issues with Denuvo, and how it was impacting game performance, something that critics of the DRM/enjoyers of smooth video games have been saying for a while.
As a result, Amplitude have made the decision to remove Denuvo from the game before it’s even out on August 17. Studio head Romain de Waubert detailed the decision in a forum post, which reads (emphasis mine):
Thank you for all your feedback on this, we have been following along and having internal discussions before getting back to you. Based on data from our trial during the Closed Beta, we have decided not to include Denuvo in Humankind at launch.
First, let me explain the reasoning behind our initial decision including Denuvo – We work really hard and pour our hearts into these games we make, and pirating really does affect our ability to keep creating games with you guys.
We’ve been working on this game for more than 4 years now and personally it’s been my dream project for 25 years. We’ve been one of the most wishlisted games on Steam this year, so we know we’re going to be targeted by pirates, more so than any of our previous games. If Denuvo can hold off a cracked version, even just for a few days, that can already really help us to protect our launch.
That being said, our priority is always the best possible experience for the players who buy our games and support us. Denuvo should never impact player performance, and we don’t want to sacrifice quality for you guys.
We believe that it’s possible with the right integration, which is what we wanted to test during the Closed Beta. However, we found that the way it was currently integrated was not good enough, and it’s not something we can fix before release. So, we are taking it out.
I hope this answers your questions. Thank you as always for your support, and we can’t wait to see you all at launch (and beyond!)
– Romain, CCO & Studio Head
Wouldn’t it be lovely if more studios could work this out before a game is released instead of afterwards. Course, this doesn’t mean the game will never have DRM, but it at least suggests that if they do replace Denuvo with something else, it’ll be something that doesn’t have as great an impact on player experience.