With these days of modern gaming it’s common to hear the phrase “Day 1 Patch”, meaning that the retail game that was sent off to press is incomplete and requires another few hours of downloading a patch to correct some issue with the game. As we always do, we lazy humans excuse this unfinished product and just sit and download what needs to be done.
However, in the more recent months it has become more and more apparent that these practices are being taken for granted by big game publishers forcing development of games to be restricted to terribly short timetables that are to be followed… TO THE MINUTE! Not only does this cause the terrible “crunch time” in development where developers are abused with long days working overtime to meet the timetable, but also times where they are forced to release games that are nowhere close to complete, only to either rely on the “Day One Patch” to fix what they couldn’t get to press, but also having to create patches on the fly due to Quality Assurance being skipped to make release date.
The biggest example of this in recent months is WWE 2K20, which is so bad that people are still reporting that the game is unplayable even after a patch was released to start fixing the issues. WWE 2K20 was released in such a terrible state that places that reviewed it gave the game very low scores, while some outlets refused to review the game altogether till the game reaches a playable and stable state… Which is hasn’t at the time of writing.
The game is known for a variety of bugs, ranging from game breaking ones where some modes or screens refuse to load and crash the system, to graphical issues with players where created characters and even official ones look like something out of a Cronenberg film. The hashtag #FixWWE2K20 is still going strong with updates daily on frustrated customers voicing their problems with the game online as well as clips of things that are still broken even after 2K Games put out a tweet stating the game was getting fixes with Patch 1.02.
On a personal note, I actively told a random customer at JB Hifi (A local entertainment chain store) who was holding a copy of WWE 2K20 on Xbox One in his hand to put the game back and wait anywhere up to 6 months or till the game gets a complete edition release before buying it. I know some people actually don’t mind the game and play it without issue, but some of the game killing issues that are well documented by now are still available in the game doesn’t make it worth buying at this stage.
Now with this situation, it’s not all 2K Games fault. The major designer of the game engine and graphical engine, Yukes Interactive, left part way through development of WWE 2K20 and took all their assets with them. This left 2K Games scrambling to build a whole new graphics and gaming engine from scratch with less than a year to complete the game. Development for WWE games usually runs from February to September since they can reuse graphics and game play from previous years. A full redesign like this would need a full year to develop even the basics, if not 2 years to get to a full product.
— Vitor Benoliel (@vitorbenoliel) November 13, 2019
Another example of games being rushed out is the new Pokemon Sword/Shield.
This game is another example of Quality Assurance being skipped in order to make release date. Going from the tweet above, not only is there all the bullshit with the national dex (removing over 400 pokemon, lots of moves and other removals), but there are graphical issues that cause characters to disappear, not do anything or the main game having major issues with frame rates and graphical pop in (Pop in is when graphics load late). It’s been so bad that there is yet another hashtag #GameFreakLied which is trending upon release since a lot of things promised never appear or were removed without players being notified. Again, the company goes silent and might patch things in the future. This is not acceptable.
For those wondering, I'm playing the PC (Origin) version. And looks like I'm going to have to start over from the beginning. pic.twitter.com/rrV3aDggUr
— Shadowhaxor "I used to run that VGM website" (@Shadowhaxor) November 15, 2019
If there is one thing that we accept is that PC ports are going to be broken as fuck. Even in the last 24 hours (as of writing) we had the release of Star Wars: Jedi Order, a big release game that seems to be working (sorta) well on consoles, but has a game-breaking bug on the PC version that was discovered by our own EIC Keith Mitchell. This was so bad that Keith lost over two hours of playing just because one section glitched on him and fucked up his saved game too. When he tried to contact Respawn Entertainment, the developers of the game, about the issue through Twitter and also official reporting channels, he was met with nothing but silence. Apparently he’s not the only one either. After posting his video of the issue on YouTube, he was informed by numerous others that they too encountered game-breaking bugs.
Definitely not a good look for a game that people are calling a Game of the Year contender.
This brings me to the point of all this. Over the last 6 months, I have bought no games. I reviewed a Press/Media copy of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games on Switch but that’s because it was sent to me by Nintendo. Otherwise, I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for games that I want to play to be patched to a point where they can actually be played without something going wrong. Hell, I have a copy of Borderlands 3 on my PC which is still crashing 2 months after launch; and it’s not because my hardware is out of date. My system is powerful enough to handle the game without many (if any) problems, especially the Nvidia RTX 2080Ti that the company gave me. But every time I go to load the game up, after 3 minutes it will glitch out graphically, then I have t reset my whole system due to the game locking it up.
So explain to me where I HAVE to give these publishers my hard-earned money when they can’t allow the hard-working developers a decent chance to not only develop the game to a workable state but get the fucking thing QA checked so that it will run on day one without needing emergency patches only days after launch? I know everyone is wanting to support the industry and the hard-working developers, but there comes a time where we need to stand up to PUBLISHERS, the real evil in gaming, and say that we will not pay full price for a game that barely fucking works when released. I’ll continue to stand back, wait on reviews, wait on patches and will not be buying ANY major games till it can be proven that they are stable for play.
I will NOT accept unfinished video games in my life anymore just because society dictates we need the hot new thing as soon as it happens. It’s a game, it’ll be the same core thing in 6 months when it’s fixed and no longer an unfinished product.