There are very few downsides to a game dropping Games for Windows Live, and definitely one upside—a lack of Games for Windows Live. Still, not everything about the process is a guaranteed happily-ever-after fairy tale. Take Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, a release that bought the co-op focused sequel to Steamworks.
The problem is splitscreen—a feature Resi 5 PC has never officially supported. A mod for the Games for Windows Live version enabled the functionality, but code missing from the new Steamworks version means that the same mod no longer works. As discovered by NeoGAF, the release notes for the new version contain the line: “Ripped out the Split Screen code and Motion Controller code.”
On GAF, Capcom’s ‘wbacon’ explains. “The release note left in there was an unfortunate oversight,” he writes. “To clarify though, the split screen code that was ripped out from the PC build is from the console version.”
“The crux of the issue is that the PC code base has no concept of multiple controllers,” he writes. “In other words, if you plugged in two Xbox controllers, RE5 has no way of figuring out which gamepad controls which character—or what happens if one player uses a KB+M versus a gamepad. It’s a difficult problem to solve since the original game’s logic wasn’t designed with multiple controller devices in mind.”
GAF user ‘TheBlade’—one of the people responsible for the original mod—disagrees with that assessment. “As I was one of the key people who worked on the split-screen mod that enabled it on the GFWL initial release version for PCs,” ‘TheBlade’ wrote, “I can confirm that all the code is FULLY functional and it worked flawlessly for the GFWL version. We did not add anything extra to the game at all, it was simply enabled. The only problem was that the keyboard would control both characters so it was forcibly disabled. The game has no problem at all distinguishing between two controllers.”
In a statement to Eurogamer, Capcom responded officially:
“As the original Resident Evil 5 release on GFWL didn’t officially include local co-op, the mode is therefore not supported by the recent Steam release.”
“Some game code from the original GFWL release did have to be changed in the porting process so both Resident Evil 5 and the new Untold Stories Bundle add-on content worked seamlessly together. Unfortunately this has meant the latest release currently does not work with the previous local co-op mod.”
This isn’t Capcom’s only taste of anger over Resident Evil’s co-op capabilities on PC. Resident Evil Revelations 2 was originally missing local co-op on release. A mod was created to add the option, before an update officially added splitscreen to the game.