Update on May 29 at 7:00 p.m. PDT: NIS America has clarified that the Dolphin emulator footage was used by mistake. Here’s a statement from a NIS spokesperson:
“Thank you for reaching out. The emulator footage came from internal reference materials, which were mistakenly used in the creation of this trailer. No emulators have or will be used in porting killer7 to PC. We sincerely apologize for the confusion this has caused.”
Killer 7 is coming to PC on the Steam platform thanks to NIS America. The publisher released a trailer over the weekend to announce that it is working with studio Engine Software to port the psychedelic action game to Windows. This version of the classic from developer Grasshopper Manufacture launches in the fall, and fans are excited. But they are also paying such close attention to the trailer that they’ve noticed a few subtle details that suggest that Engine Software is using the popular GameCube emulator Dolphin to run the game on PC, which — if true — is a testament to the work the volunteer developers have done to preserve the GameCube (and Wii’s) legacy.
The evidence that Killer 7 is running on Dolphin appears at around 52 seconds into the trailer. In the shot with the silhouetted man, you can see a framerate counter in the top left that looks a lot like the one that Dolphin uses. The characters hand is also clipped at the point where the 4:3 ratio of the original GameCube version would have cut it off.
“The silhouetted hand shows that the actual rendering space for the model is clipped, which is kind of odd,” Dolphin overseer Mat Lioncache explained in a message to GamesBeat. “Considering the debris or petals or whatever that’s blowing around in the background actually travels across that clipping seam quite fine, It doesn’t really make sense to clip the model itself there.”
But Lioncache admits that he doesn’t know for sure that the game is running on Dolphin, and he doesn’t want to jump to conclusions. He points out that Engine Software could have just used the emulator for this trailer, and that it may do something else for the final product. NIS did confirm that this is a port of the GameCube version, and I’ve reached out to the publisher and to Engine software to ask for more details about the use of Dolphin in the video.
— 『らせん』 Ｓｃｒｅｗｙ (@Screvvy) May 27, 2018
But even if Engine doesn’t use Dolphin for the final version of the game, it seems likely that it did use it in the process of making the trailer. And in either case, that’s rare and something that Lioncache says he’s really proud of (on the condition that Engine confirms it is actually using Dolphin). As far as he’s aware, this is the first time a developer has used Dolphin as part of the process to bring a game to Steam.
“It’s definitely kickass to see that sort of thing — assuming it turns out to be the case,” said Lioncache. “It means that we receive more of that sweet, sweet validation for the work all of us have put into it. It also means that the preservation aspect of the emulator is working as intended.”
Lioncache also pointed out that, as far as he’s concerned, Engine Software and NIS America have permission to use Dolphin for a commercial work as long as they follow a few basic licensing steps.
“If they do use Dolphin, they’d need to follow the GNU General Public License V2,” he explained. “But that’s as much as I know from the licensing side of things.”
That GNU license enables individuals and corporations to use, modify, and distribute Dolphin code for commercial use as long as they track changes to the code with timestamps and make that info publicly available along with full instructions for use.