It’s new, but broken?

I think this one topic, even above the DLC problems that gets people up in arms, drives them even crazier.

Day. One. Patches.

They will forever live in infamy, and yet oh so prevalent in the current gaming market. This is the worst. So, you’re an AAA development studio. You’re releasing major IPs annually. But, instead of say, figuring out if the game is actually 100% functional, you just release and cross your fingers?

The Assassin’s Creed series is a great example. Ubisoft has turned the brand into one of the top-rated IPs currently on the market. I’ve been a staunch supporter and admirer of the AC titles from the get-go. So, when Unity came out, and after going online to see what everyone was complaining about…

I left it on my shelf for about two months without opening it. Frankly, if I came across that dude, he’d be haunting my dreams until today and then some. So, I have to ask:

Is this really what’s considered acceptable for a major release. Hell, if I were the CEO or lead-designer at any game studio, I’d be ashamed to produce something this bad. And, I don’t embarrass easily.

I know putting out a quality game is extremely difficult, and sometimes when you’re doing pushing for a deadline, stuff can get overlooked or put on the back-burner. The issue, really, is:

Why release something that isn’t finished? If I were still in school, and I turned in a paper or presented a seminar, but told the professor that it isn’t a big deal that the first two pages are the only parts that I got done, because I plan on finishing the last five pages later that day and I will get it all in – I’ll be honest, even the profs that liked me, I can guarantee that they would just laugh at me and drop a super low grade on my work.

And this is a major publisher/developer. If anything, what should be happening is for these companies to just say:

“Sorry, games are delayed in order to fix X amount of crippling bugs before we actually launch this title”. Now, I get that it’s going to be an inconvenience to the excited (read over eager) fans who expect to walk out of a store that day with the items. In my opinion, they will more than likely be happy to wait if it means getting something that is playable out of the box.

I know sometimes there are a few bugs here and there that testers weren’t sharp enough to catch (sometimes it happens) or that the studio just can’t warrant the extra labour to finish. But the sizes of the patches that are coming out are unreal. 10’s of gigabytes. Which shouldn’t be a big deal, but considering that the  installs for games are anywhere from 25-50 GB, HDD space is already at a premium.

And, I haven’t even touched on the inconvenience that it causes the players when they get home, coveted game in hand and ready to break the cellophane seal a get down to business, only to find out that the patch to actually be able to go forth into the virtual world is delayed by a patch that is going to take at least an hour to download (which, at least, runs concurrently with the install of the game disc), I digress.

So, am I happy? Yes and no. Happy that the studios are making an effort to fix the issues they find or are reported to them. But no, at the same time, because there is nothing worse than seeing the only hour you’re going to have to actually try out that new game get spoiled by waiting on a massive download.

Just push it back. Batman: Arkham Knight did it – and they still ended up with a major issues on PC. Push that much harder for a proper release, and just delay if need be. It’s definitely more forgivable.

– The Ego

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