AMD’s Mantle API is like a Unicorn at this point – we know that it’s out there somewhere, but its existence is still hotly debated, just like those Battlefield 4 patches that will supposedly make the game more stable and bug-free. Well, it looks like two birds will be killed with one stone before the end of this month if Johan Andersson’s team can stick to its promises. Andersson promised in December 2013 that the Mantle update was being held back until January 2014 to focus on bug fixes for the multiplayer military shooter extravaganza.
Responding to a tweet from a Battlefield 4 fan, Andersson responded rather precisely (perhaps he’s taking cues from Shuhei Yoshida?) that the update wasn’t delayed to February 2014. Battlefield 4‘s launch was riddled with bugs and glitches experienced by players across the world. In the aftermath of the launch controversy, Electronic Arts and DICE stated that all DLC development was to be halted in order to fix the game, bringing many gamers to the conclusion that the game was released in an unfinished state in order to ensure that Call of Duty: Ghosts wasn’t left with the market to itself.
AMD’s Mantle has been a hot topic for the graphics and processor manufacturer, creating what could be a very large performance gap between itself and its competitors in the framerate and image quality race. Mantle, however, isn’t a technology that AMD plans to keep proprietary – Nvidia and Intel will be able to benefit from the DirectX replacement and will even see similar performance jumps. The API will be supported on Windows for the moment, with Linux, Mac OS X and Android support coming in the future, enabling developers to target one API and remain confident that the game will run on almost any operating system.
Mantle itself has recently been seen in the wild in the form of a leaked driver by Toshiba. The beta version of Catalyst 13.35 mobile driver shows support for new mobile GPUs and has the Mantle API packed in, but getting it to run on anything beyond a Toshiba notebook is currently not possible. If the stars align in the proper order before the end of January, we could be seeing performance reviews and analyses of Mantle in Battlefield 4 as well as an indication of whether the technology works, as well as where it could take us gamers, AMD and the rest of the industry in the near future.