Alan Wake 2 works just fine on unsupported Nvidia and AMD graphics cards, but not as good as you might’ve hoped for.
You may have stumbled upon a tweet from an Alan Wake 2 developer talking about the game requiring Mesh Shaders, causing players to think it won’t launch at all on old GPUs. The post was quickly deleted following the uproar. It’s an understandable reaction, though, since Alan Wake 2’s high PC requirements don’t include Nvidia’s GTX 10 series and AMD’s RX 5000 graphics cards.
To clarify this confusion, YouTube’s Daniel Owen tested the game on his GTX 1070. Using a card outside of sanctioned specs presents a warning message at launch stating that the GPU does not support all recommended features. Beyond that, however, it runs without visible issues or crashes, assuming the abysmal fps is acceptable.
Our friends at Techpowerup have also verified this. GPUs with Mesh Shaders support, such as the GTX 1660 Ti, delivered higher performance than much more powerful yet incompatible GPUs.
Lastly, Tim from Hardware Unboxed also did some testing. Using the RX 5700 XT at 1080p low settings delivered around 30fps with frequent dips into the 20fps territory. Using an RTX 2060, the minimum GPU listed on the specs, the game reached 40fps on average, with occasional dips into the 30fps range. Of course, this was nothing compared to Daniel’s GTX 1070, which sat below 20fps – bad even by console standards.
On one hand, a supported GPU doesn’t matter much if they don’t offer a smooth experience. On the other, we have seen many demanding games become playable on very old hardware – also called potato PCs – thanks to the modding community, be it at ultra-low graphics quality. Games such as Fallout 4, Skyrim, and even Cyberpunk 2077 got transformed from slideshows to actually playable.
If you are in for the story, graphics are just a small part of the journey. At least you’ll now have a clearer idea whether your gaming PC can run Alan Wake 2 before you pop it in the basket.