This is quite a surprise! Early yesterday we were notified that Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, which Feral Interactive ported to Linux in 2015 has gained a Vulkan Beta.
Since companies rarely make much money from older ports like this, it's quite fantastic to see it being given some love. Especially like this, giving it a big boost with a much newer graphics API. This is not long after Feral Interactive confirmed the Linux release date for Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition and also announced Total War Saga: TROY for Linux too.
Without any further rambling, let's take a look at what kind of difference it makes for Shadow of Mordor. Tested on Manjaro Linux with an Intel i7-5960X and an NVIDIA 2080 Ti with the 430.40 driver. All these tests were done at 1080p and the Steam Play Proton version was 4.11-7:
Now let's take a look and see what happens when you do the same tests, with the resolution set to to 200% (4K):
That just goes to show how Linux really can perform well for gaming. The performance difference is absolutely insane when compared with their original OpenGL port. Even next to Steam Play, it seems to show that an optimised Linux release can be highly competitive and worth doing. Absolutely fantastic work from Feral Interactive.
Update: Since it was pointed out in our comments that the Linux version's Ambient Occlusion seems to be lower quality/resolution (apparently it shouldn't be noticeable) than the Windows version, here's some additional 1080p/4K testing with AO off to see what difference it makes between them:
As an additional quick look, here's the same test as done above with AO off with Windows 10 thrown into the mix:
If you wish to try it out, it's available without a password in the "linux_vulkan_beta" branch on Steam. To access it, right click on the game in Steam, go to Properties and the Beta tab and then select it from the dropdown box. As shown below:
Keep in mind this is a Beta and issues are to be expected. It may even gain more improvements over time, we will just have to wait and see on that.
Nowadays, all Feral Interactive ports to Linux are done with Vulkan. They seem to be doing the same as they did previously with Mad Max, giving it a Vulkan beta and gathering some feedback while not promoting it to the main supported release. Fair enough, this is a good way to do it to see how it goes.
A couple of their older titles using OpenGL could certainly use this upgrade too. The one that really needs it is the Linux port of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. I would love to play through that one fully again with a Vulkanized performance boost.
Hat tip to dubigrasu.