PC gamers were more than happy to hear that the Gears of War franchise would be coming to Windows with the Gears of War Ultimate Edition. Unfortunately, it looks like that excitement has been shortlived as early reviewers noted severe graphics corruption and artifacts when running on AMD Radeon cards. Naturally, it has been discovered that Nvidia is behind the issue.
The issue only happens when users turn Ambient Occlusion on while running on a Radeon GPU. It turns out that this is because the type of Ambient Occlusion runs on Nvidias HBAO+ technology, which isn’t compatible with AMD’s cards. Of course, the options menu in Gears of War does not make this clear; which is what lead to the confusion in the first place.
Gears of War’s problems with AMD cards does not stop there either. It has also been discovered that the game is hardcoded to run on Nvidia’s PhysX Engine, with no way of turning it off. PhysX is Nvidia’s proprietary game physics engine, and can only be accelerated by the company’s own GPUs. In the event that it doesn’t find an Nvidia GPU, the game offloads the physics work to the CPU; which ultimately slows overall performance.
There is no way to turn the physics acceleration off in the options, which means that those running on AMD graphics will have to deal with a game that doesn’t quite run properly on their computers.
Naturally, it turns out that AMD had no idea that this was happening. The company was not even informed that review codes for the game were being sent to publications either. That being said, the chances the problem doesn’t lie with the microprocessor manufacturer. Instead, it lies with the Microsoft who decided to design a game that only works proper with hardware from a single manufacturer.