I understand the benefit of being able to fix, adjust and add onto games after they're released.

Anybody who says there's no benefit to this is voluntarily blind. Imagine all the broken games from yesteryear that had great concepts but shipped with a lot of problems. How many times did we say, during the often-times comical 8-bit and 16-bit days, "awesome idea; they just need to fix it"?

Yes, the benefits are obvious. However, the dangers should also be obvious. The more developers understand that they can continue to manipulate – and let's face it, continue the development process – after the game is on store shelves, the more it's going to happen. Sure, there's always some backlash but it never seems to be a serious enough backlash. In other words, I'm not sure there are many instances where an initially unimpressive game (that needed multiple patches) caused the publisher to lose a lot of money in the long run. Essentially, we're telling developers with every passing day that it's okay to release an unrefined product.

But maybe they're learning. If there's one takeaway from 2014, it's that I'm tired of games that needed a bit more polish before they ever released. We're all tired. A new generation of hardware is bound to cause some problems, but maybe not to this scale. We've had new hardware before; I don't recall seeing such continuous, repeated disappointments on the stability side of things. Too many games simply haven't run the way they were supposed to. If this keeps up, consumers might finally hold off on buying games day one, because there's no guarantee the game is even finished. That's when developers and publishers will start to feel the sting.

While it's great that they can fix a few issues after the game comes out, can we please attempt to produce more finished titles? That's all I ask.

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Corvo
Corvo
5 years ago

That'd be nice eh? Good thing I only enjoyed finished games this year.

Temjin001
Temjin001
5 years ago

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cVMx0Ux3Nk
Here's the AC Unity bug I ran into the other night. Yes, this is patch 1.4
This required me to quit out of the game.
I also ran into another one last night where the game forgot I was in combat mode and wouldn't let me draw my weapon. It happened during the last wave of attackers while protecting Napolean as he was unlocking his secret exit. So all I could do was die and start back from the beginning of the sequence.

It's always better to delay a game than to release unfinished games.

Jawknee
Jawknee
5 years ago

I've run into that combat bug in AC Black Flag before.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
5 years ago

There's a weird bug where if you perform a ledge assassination, he can't climb up to the ledge immediately after performing. He has to move left or right first. And if the last save point is on a viewpoint and you close the game, the next time you start, you HAVE to synchronize before doing the leap of faith.

I also think there's a bug in one of the missions. In the progress tracker, it says I need to perform some cover kills for a mission to get 100% but that goal doesn't ever show up during the mission. Annoying.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
5 years ago

I've already started to hold off on games. I held off on AC, which worked out well and is still paying off considering the unreasonably sized patch. I held off on CoD to see if servers and joining friends was an issue. I held off on GTA mainly because I knew it would release for PS4 eventually. But also because of the GTAO issues.

I'm also enjoying my game time much more because of this. I can enjoy it the WY I should be able to when I buy a product.

Jawknee
Jawknee
5 years ago

Small patches I'm fine with but 6 to 10gb patches are pushing it. The day I bought GT6 had to spend what little time I had to play that day patching it.

fatelementality
fatelementality
5 years ago

That's really the only game I don't mind patches on. You can actually see improvements & additional features. Other companies consider this DLC. GT6 was never broken or even that bugged. GT uses patches to evolve as well. I'm ok with that.

daus26
daus26
5 years ago

Yeah second that. GT6 patches only fixes minor bugs/glitches 99% of the time. Most of the time it's also to add additional features to the game. We can't put it I the same category as these ridiculous major/game breaking bugs.

Jawknee
Jawknee
5 years ago

Speaking of games that work, cars I've obtained in GTA5's story mode keep disappearing. Anyone know how to fix this or possibly what I am doing wrong? I park them at the safe house but they're gone the next day or after I use a different car.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
5 years ago

Park them inside the house garage of which ever character you want too keep that car for. Or you have to park the car inside the separate garage each character is given and will be displayed orange, green, or blue in your map.

Jawknee
Jawknee
5 years ago

Yes I do that but they still disapear at random.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
5 years ago

Ha! I said the exact same thing about Assassin's Creed Unity just 2 days ago.

Got the message saying Unity required a 40GB update (I think it was redownloading and reinstalling the game from scratch) which is a huge blow to my 100GB per month broadband limit. I swore that I would never buy another Assassin's Creed day one again, and just wait for a GOTY or complete edition to be released on disc at a cheaper price.

I was actually quite glad to hear about many of the delays for games such as Battlefield Hardline, Batman Arkham Knight and the Witcher 3. Battlefield's delay was the most surprising considering EA's track record with deadlines and buggy AAA products at launch.

Anyways, I would gladly accept an 18 month cycle with a leniency to extend to 24 months for AAA titles. Hopefully Battlefield Hardline will be the catalyst that starts this positive trend of allowing developers more time to complete their games and ship a more complete version of their game on the disc.

While I do appreciate small patches and improvements, a 40GB update for what was an excellent but slightly broken in places game is inexcusable. The game clearly hadn't been optimized or completed to the best of the developers ability, and so a buggy and nearly finished product was released on the deadline, rather than extending the deadline and extra 2 or 3 months.

I'll take the 3-6 month delay for a better gaming experience any day.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
5 years ago

The 40GB patch is for the Xbox One version. The Ps4 version is only 6GB I think.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
5 years ago

Only?

FAREEZ
FAREEZ
5 years ago

Yeah Sony please give us games that really work not just hype like Driveclub…

Aranha
Aranha
5 years ago

Definitely agree with the article Ben, ESPECIALLY since Sony has claimed that the PS4 is easier to develop for. Normally you'd think easier to develop for translates to more polished and refined games, not incomplete.
Anything above a handful of GBs in patches is not a patch. Granted, I understand games of the current generation are much larger, but you guys get my drift.

I mean, PS1 and even some early PS2 games were only in the hundreds of MBs, so for a patch to be larger than what entire games used to be shows that there's definitely something wrong in the development cycle. It almost looks like these games have gaping holes and are then being covered up. 4GB sounds like the size of a small village.

I mean honestly, and I love me some PlayStation, but this is why I've held out on the PS4 (along with the lack of compelling/system-selling titles), and actually have my eyes set on the Wii U. I mean, when was the last time anyone thought a Mario title was broken? Or most of Nintendo's first-party lineup? Granted, most of the 'broken' and glitchy games this year are third party, but again, you guys catch my drift.

Btw, feels great to comment here again. I usually just read the articles, and by the time I want to comment, some one has already stated what I wanted to say, but it feels great to contribute.


Last edited by Aranha on 12/20/2014 9:42:10 AM

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
5 years ago

Easier to develop for and not spending enough time on a game are completely different. I think what's happening in the industry is the latter. Developers are relying on patches to get games out quicker.

Aranha
Aranha
5 years ago

In that case, what is the standard development cycle for a game? Is it perhaps that the cycle has gotten longer for this generation because games are larger, and they're trying to finish them within previous generations' cycles?

Perhaps that is an issue as well. Do you think developers feel pressured to churn out games within certain time frames, and therefore try to get a 'basic' game out to the masses in hopes of patching the 'minor' things later on, hoping that perhaps the majority of gamers won't take notice? Obviously, gamers are noticing, hence the backlash.

Honestly, I don't think it'd be such a bad thing to wait 2-3 years for a sequel, or whatever creation developers have up their sleeve. I think they've turned game making into a habit, and despite the current/new generation of gamers that exist now, and the constant need to a have a new game out every year and making profits, etc, they fail to see that most of the old-school gamers are still gaming today, and that even though we may be slightly spoiled by how quickly we receive content, we know what it's like to wait a few years for a game. I mean, I remember when only 5 games were coming out for a system, back in the late 80s/early 90s, and I was just fine. Yes, the industry was in a more primitive state back then, but those 5 games kept us busy all year long. Now, I can't keep up with what comes out in a month.

But I get it; many more companies out there, and they all want a piece of the pie. Does this mean that the industry it too top-heavy, developer-wise? Perhaps we need a re-balancing of the industry, especially since it seems many companies are reporting losses, despite selling 500k+ at times.

daus26
daus26
5 years ago

This shouldn't have anything to do with ease of development. Console may be easy to develop for, but in turn games have also become more advanced and complicated so development time doesn't really have any noticeable decrease. If say the console was easy to develop for but games are still simple ps2 games, or indie games for that matter, then development time should be noticeably faster.

So yeah, it's simply because these developers just rush it. With all these patches releasing a month or two after release, they could easily postpone release for around the amount of that, but 1-5 months can be crucial for publishers due to either holiday rush or the competition releasing in the same window.

Aranha
Aranha
5 years ago

@Daus26:
Ah yes, I forgot how companies try to be holiday-ready, hence the rush.

And yeah, there seems to be a trade-off on ease of development and game size, so yeah, development cycles may've not changed at all.


Last edited by Aranha on 12/20/2014 11:23:50 AM

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
5 years ago

I think you nailed it in regards to getting games out in a rush for instance to get on on the holidays. That's where in the issue lies.

Take Unity for example. It may have been in development for three years. However, Ubisoft trying to release them yearly hindered it, and nobody can argue it need more polishing. So two things: one it should have missed the annual release schedule and it would have gotten more attention; and two instead of being in development for 3 years maybe it need 3 years and 4-6 months.

I guess all I'm saying is this is becoming a trend and I think it has little to do with how easy games are to develop on current consoles.

And as far as development cycles go… well that varies each game. Obviously Ubisoft thought AC Unity would take 3 years. Apparently that's not true, while for AC3 and Black Flag I think that is what it took. AC:U was a little more ambitious and they should have taken that into consideration. I hate using AC Unity as an example all the time because it's not the only game that suffered, but it's by far the best example right now.

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

It makes sense to me that with the ability to make greater numbers of computations for greater detail and physics, that there's more room for error. I highly doubt it's due to system architecture.

Of course, you guys are definitely right about patches. Why would they -need- to wait to release something if they can patch it later? Almost every single game does this. The big difference is that Unity, and some others, had massive amounts of fixes that needed to occur. There's a threshold, I think, that gamers are willing to accept in exchange for getting a game on time, if we assume developers can tighten things up for another month before we actually get the game. But lately, there's been a couple games where that threshold was impeached, and gamers are letting them know.

RICHIECOQUI
RICHIECOQUI
5 years ago

They need to take their time and don't rush the games BUT then these same people who are complaining about "broken" games will start crying about the games delay you just can't win with these people!

Aranha
Aranha
5 years ago

You're right man, it's almost a 'catch-22', although I think there's less complaining about the actual time frame in which a game is developed, than when a game is delayed after a developer announces a release date.

In that sense I think developers are rushing for a release date or showing games off too early. Games have become much more complex and it almost seems developers aren't accounting for that.

On the gamer side of things, too much self-entitlement has been going on, due to pretty much being spoiled by so much instant gratification in the industry, so now gamers have come to expect short release cycles.

Can't please everyone though. I think developers should overshoot their cycle by at least 10%, and gamers should be a bit more content. There are too many games coming out to be upset over one game at times.

daus26
daus26
5 years ago

Simple. Announce a release date that's accurate to the finished, unbroken version, not the publishers desirable date. Publishers simply need to understand the development progress and process better of their development team. Problem is publisher give deadlines to the developers no matter what and it seems most of the time, those deadlines are just too fast for the development team.

With the new age of patches, publishers would probably only allow delay of the game if it's broken to the point of not booting up or something. Apparently a game can still be broken at point of release. The big thing is really competition. Publishers look at the business side of things and they know the best times to release their games, so they push the devs to finish by that time. Trust me, if they're given more time they'd gladly take it.

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

That's consumerism for you.

Rachet_JC_FTW
Rachet_JC_FTW
5 years ago

i'm already not ready to buy games very early on as much i would have in the past i think i'm already starting to hold off on buying games as early as i was games i dn't might so much is shadow of modor was fine but i feel that was a needle in a hay stack of broken games

happy gaming