Video Games: A Second Chance

“A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad” A pretty famous quote in the world of gaming. But in this day and age is it actually true?

The release date for No Man’s Sky’s NEXT expansion is just around the corner -24th July, and I personally think that NMS is a great example of that quote not being applicable in today’s world of gaming. I wrote about how I was disappointed by No Man’s Sky when it first released. There were lots of features missing from the game that we were led to believe would be in it – the main one being full multiplayer – something that is now coming with NEXT.

As soon as NMS was released players quickly found out that there were a lot of things not in the game and Hello Games basically went dark and said nothing for quite some time. But slowly and surely they’ve come back out of hiding and released some good updates to the game. If you’re one of the people who initially dismissed it but went back, you’re probably also one of the people who now feel positively about the game. The game has improved that’s for sure. Should it have been better and more complete at launch, absolutely! But that’s not why we’re here.

There is still some vagueness about the NEXT update, but full multiplayer has been promised, and honestly that is something that really excites me – although I think I might have a harder time convincing my friends. But multiplayer won’t be the only thing in this update and that also excites me a lot.

No Man’s Sky was an early access game wrapped up in a full release. I still think a lot of blame should fall on Sony for this as I believe they rushed Hello Games to get to get something out after a few delays already. But that’s by the by, the point is, is a rushed game can still turn out to be good.

The Division, another game that servery fell short of its expectations with one of the main complaints being around end game content or the lack thereof. The core of the game was fun, but players quickly got bored of the bullet sponge enemies and lack of things to do once they hit max level. The Dark Zone, whilst an interesting idea didn’t really seem to work out as well as it could have. But Massive plugged away, released updates across the whole game and once again perception of the game has turned around.

Destiny was Bungie’s next big thing a pseudo MMO RPG FPS, it was something that hadn’t really been done before and it showed. Again a lack of end game content, plus unrewarding grinds, issues with loot; purples turning blue (those who know will know what I mean) Bungie came under a lot of flak for what they had released. Some felt it could have done with more time behind closed doors – I certainly felt that. It wasn’t until The Taken King expansion released a year later that people really considered the game good and by year 3 of the games life, it was considered to be a great game, I would actually rank it amongst my favourite games ever now.

Where it all began!

I picked these three examples because they’re games I’ve played and I’ve seen the changes they went through. I’m sure there are plenty other games that have followed the same suit. ‘Modern’ gaming – especially multiplayer games, seems to be following this trend of releasing a game in a semi complete state and then updating it as we play. Whether that’s a conscious decision, a push from publishers or an entirely different reason we probably won’t ever know. But it certainly doesn’t look like it’s going to change.

I personally don’t mind this as long as it’s clear what is happening beforehand. With NMS, it wasn’t clear, but with a game like Sea of Thieves, I’ve always felt it was pretty clear what was expected from the game when it launched and I therefore didn’t mind that it was lacking in things to do.

Perceptions can change, even if slowly.

There is a question about whether this damages the games reputation and I think people would say that it does. But the reality seems to be that it doesn’t. In this day and age it can be tough to get refunds on games – especially if they’re digital. In a lot of cases if you’ve bought the game, you’re stuck with it. Which means people can and do come back to a game later on if there first thoughts were along the lines of “This doesn’t feel complete”. If they already own it, they may as well try it again at some point if they didn’t hate it the first time around, what’s the harm…

Of the four games I’ve mentioned I’ve gone back to play them time and time again when I know updates have come along, some I then played for multiple hours, others only here and there, but I was still willing to try it again, and that’s the important thing – people are willing to give games a second chance (in most cases).

Shigeru Miyamoto made that statement in 2012, but even if it were 6 years ago now I still don’t think I’d agree with that statement. Does a game stay bad simply if it was rushed to release? I don’t think it does, to me it always seems like there is a second chance, another shot for developers to say “Hey, we’ve made some changes, come take a look” and it works.

-Will

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