Grand Theft Auto V, Destiny, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, DriveCLUB. You’d be forgiven for thinking that I’m making a list of some of the biggest game releases, or a potential ‘GOTY’ list. What I’m actually listing though are games that have launched in the last twelve months or so and have been broken or hugely buggy.
I know that there has always been the odd game that releases with bugs or some broken mechanics, but is it just me, or is the number of games launching broken, actually increasing?
Since the launch of the new consoles in late 2013 there have been a plethora of games with multiple issues.
When Destiny launched I’d taken the day off of work so that I could get a good day’s worth of playing on it. But no, what I actually got were server errors for around 48 hours, and during that time I’d managed to only play for a couple of hours, not even getting passed what I’d already experienced during the beta. I get that servers are going to get a huge influx of players during the first few days. But surely Bungie had some sort of idea how many people that might be? There were huge numbers of pre-orders, and masses of people had taken part in the Beta. So why weren’t the servers set up to handle the influx correctly? Also I thought Betas were used to stress test servers amongst other things… I guess not.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection was another game to suffer from connection issues. So much so, that people (including me) just gave trying to play until a fair few major patches had come along to fix the problems.
Then there was GTA V, or more specifically GTA Online, it looked like it was going to be the ultimate online sandbox experience. But every single version of it has been fraught with issues. The Xbox 360 version was a mess, if you found yourself lucky enough to get in to an online lobby, you’d probably be stuck glitching in the ‘tutorial’ race. Then came the ‘next gen’ version, again there were online issues, albeit not quite as bad in my experience. Finally almost 2 and a half years after the first console release came the PC version. You’d have thought they might have things nailed down by now… You’d be wrong. Again, people couldn’t connect to online lobbies, some people weren’t, and still aren’t able to even get in to the game at all. For me, I had a bug which stopped me playing for almost 4 days, in the end I had to re-install the 60gb game for it to work, and with my internet connection that isn’t an enjoyable wait.
If so many games are getting overloaded servers why aren’t they putting in more that can handle the traffic? It seems like an obvious answer, and maybe there are a lot of reasons why they can’t or don’t do that, if there are, why aren’t they telling us?
Putting aside the server issues, we’re also seeing what feels like an increasing number of games with large amounts of bugs and glitches.
When Battlefield 4 launched I encountered a bug that completely wiped my single player progress, and I constantly encountered connection issues when trying to play online.
Assassin’s Creed Unity was another one of many games that had a long list of bugs. But what is causing this to happen?
Are the developers being pushed by publishers to make sure games go out on time, and therefore meaning that they know there are bugs, but taking the “We can just patch them later” mentality. Or is it the fact that we are in a new console cycle and the developers are still getting used to the new architecture?
If they’re taking the approach to just patch the game later, I really hope this trend stops. As we’ve seen with Driveclub, launching a game broken is just not a good idea. I’d much rather see the development team take an extra few months to iron out the kinks. Sure it means we have to wait a little longer, but from a publishers view it surely has to be a good thing, right? They’d be more likely to get a better review score, meaning you’d probably get more sales. The people who already want the game, whilst probably being a little annoyed initially, will most likely still buy it. They wouldn’t generate anywhere near as much negative press by delaying slightly instead of releasing the game broken.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity was one of those games where I was put off by all the negative press around it. At first I thought the game looked great, but then I would hear about all the problems people were having with it, and it completely put me off the game to the point where I don’t think I will be buying it all.
If it is that developers are still getting used to working with the new systems then I guess we should start to see the number of broken games reduce over time. What ever the cause is, something needs to change, I don’t think it’s fair that we’re paying for something that is, in some cases broken completely broken. To top it off, they then have the audacity to sell DLC before they’ve even fixed the majority of issues.
A lot of people are now taking the approach to stop pre-ordering games, and I’m within that category. What is the point in pre-ordering and getting a game day one if it’s not going to work properly. I used to love taking days off for the launches of new games, but now, with so many games having some sort of online need I’m wary of doing it, because I might waste an entire day like did with Destiny.
What do you make of all the broken games? Are you put off buying a game day one in case it’s got issues with it, or do you just go ahead and risk it?