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A while back I wrote a piece about the general feeling I had that some devs had become lazy; mostly because of shipping an a complete and functional game to shelves, they shipped it half-assed (and sometimes broken as fuck) and tried to fix it whilst raping our internet bandwidth with small to massive updates. Obviously, I wanted to give the benefit of the doubt to developers and figured it might be because publishers are piling on the pressure and wanting to release their games promptly, consequently leading to rushed products. A few months later, I find myself leaning towards the fact that devs are lazy but publishers aren’t better. Decision makers are doing things ass backwards.
To prove my point, I have 3 games I want to outline since the last time I released my piece in October. Yes, there are probably others, but I want to exhibit the 3 biggest blunders in my opinion. Without further ado, here we go!
The first game I need to mention is the recently released Saints Row IV Re-Elected along with its expansion Gat out of Hell. When I popped it in my Xbox One, the first thing I’m being told is that the games required a 9.9GB update. Yep. 10 fucking Gigs. So I’m guessing that the 18 Gigs installed is just for looks? Think about it. Saints Row IV is almost 2 years old. When it initially released, if my memory serves me right, there weren’t any Day 1 updates required and throughout all the times I’ve played, I can’t recall being asked to update. Now, you simply “port” this game on a more powerful machine and *update* the visuals, and it requires part of a 10 Gig update, along with a 12Gig install? Are you kidding me? I’m guessing when they say that all the DLC content is included, this means I need to re-download it (just a hypothesis). The sickening thing about this is that the game was originally scheduled to release 1 week later than its release. It was scheduled to release during the week of January 25th, but they moved it forward. Why not leave the same release date and ACTUALLY FIX your game? Ditto with Gat out of Hell. This content must have failed QA because even with the update patch, I’ve experienced quite a few bugs in my 6hrs gameplay…including a glitch that doesn’t track gameplay time accurately. So what? They just stuffed the Xbox 360/PS3 code on a current-gen Blu-Ray and the patch is the “visual upgrade”? Give me a break…
And then we have Microsoft’s little baby: Halo. Back in November, Microsoft released half a game with Halo Master Chief Collection. Why am I saying half a game? Well when leaving the store, you had half the game in your hand as Microsoft released a Day-One 15GB patch for the Multiplayer content to avoid spending more money on the game to bundle it on 2 discs. Some might say this was ‘cheap’ from Microsoft. Let’s be honest: a second disc for a game can’t make that much of a dent in Microsoft’s wallet. We’re a few months past the release and the matchmaking STILL does not work. That’s somewhat ridiculous AND pathetic. Might I suggest that if the house that built Windows had spent the additional dough for a second disc, they may not have had this problem? And you want to know the best part? They want to use players as Beta testers as they will release an update that gamers can download and participate in a Beta to help 343 Industries fix their issues. Uh…Microsoft…Beta comes BEFORE a game releases, not after your broken game has pissed off a bunch of gamers. And who’s to say that I’m not the only who avoided spending money on it. I’ll say it: I refused to buy it due to Microsoft refusing to put the game on 2 discs. I don’t want to have an Xbox One full of updates, I want them full of GAMES.
And now…exhibit number 3. Ubisoft’s yearly copy paste game: Assassin’s Creed Unity. Need I say more? I don’t even know where to begin honestly. The game was plagued with glitches such as the main character falling through the floor, game crashing when try to play co-op, frame rate issues, detection issues…just plain pathetic. We have to wonder who does the QA at Ubisoft, which brings me to a quick side note.
A few years ago, on 2 different occasions, I was contacted by Ubisoft Montreal do to 1 day QA for their games. It was actually an enjoyable experience and the feedback between the test subjects (us) and the QA department was spot on. Quite frankly, I managed to play both titles that I’ve been a part of this QA process and they never had issues that were as catastrophic as the car crash known as Assassin’s Creed Unity. To my recollection, there were NONE. Which makes me wonder: What happened to Ubisoft’s QA departement?
Side note done, let’s get back to the matter at hand. Instead of pulling the game from the shelves and trying to fix the issue to re-release the game (from the customer stand point, it would be the right thing to do: refund or re-do), they let out a 40GB patch to fix the plethora of issues. By today’s standards, isn’t 40 Gig basically the whole game over? The problem here is that Ubisoft (and Microsoft) are burning bridges. Sure, the die hard fans will keep buying the games, but the casual player who gets enthralled in the hype will most likely never buy an Assassin’s Creed game again…unless Ubisoft steps up and gets a better handle on making games. This is somewhat sad, as most of their titles don’t suffer game breaking bugs. It does feel that they don’t give a crap about their Assassin’s Creed franchise and instead of meticulously working on a title for a few years, they shove it out every year. True, it was their first try on the new generation of consoles, but that’s not an excuse. They’ve had dev kits for a few years now, this type of horrible game shouldn’t happen.
My point in all this? We speak with our wallets. So if gamers stop buying broken games, maybe developers and publishers such as Ubisoft will take a long hard look at things and maybe, just maybe, lighten up and polish up their products before using consumers as a QA department. We need to stop buying their rushed product in order to make companies understand that consumers cannot be treated as test subjects. If they want to do so, let them release Beta versions of their games. Simple.