Earlier today I was enjoying a good bit of fun in Battlefield 4, a game I had reviewed some time ago. I was blasting foes away, working with my squad, and generally dominating the battlefield. After setting up a new loadout, I decided to spawn on a squad member only to be met with a frozen screen, the image consumed by a black pixel filled death. I then have to control-alt-delete and bring up Task Manager application to end this error.
For this particular title, this issue has happened often, and when I reflect back, I thought of all the game-breaking bugs and glitches that slip into the finished products that gamers like you or I receive. With this previous console generation (7th gen), day one patches and constant updates are commonplace and generally well-received. Not too long ago, back in the Playstation 2, Gamecube, and original Xbox days, games that shipped out couldn’t be fixed once they were put on store shelves. Games with these bugs would be infamous and avoided, but most companies would be able to stamp out most of these problems. What has happened to this kind of quality?
Well our games today have gotten bigger, and with bigger games come more bugs. Online play and interaction is another factor that may account for this, but most games where that is an issue, will often hold a public beta to help test the product in the wild. Still, one only must take a peek at some releases this past year to see some horribly buggy releases: The aforementioned Battlefield 4, GTA V, Total War: Rome II, and Ride to Hell: Retribution. All of these releases are notorious for their various bugs and are some are still being patched, months after release.
Are game developers and publishers getting too comfortable publishing these obviously flawed experiences? After experiencing many of these buggy titles firsthand, I will say I feel burned by these particular companies. My online progress was lost in GTA:V, and I haven’t felt the urge to go back to it. It has killed my interest in continuing any further. If developers intend on making great experiences , then skimping out on their Q&A division should be the last thing on their agenda.Many developers do go through crunch time during the weeks leading up until release, but if the product obviously not ready, delaying the game is the better option. Like Shigero Miyamoto once said, “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.”