Hype Has Deflated: The Effect of Broken AAA Releases

When publishers release broken games, players become less likely to make day-one purchases. Why is this happening?

Article by Mike Williams, .

Two days ago, I wrote about the state of day-one launch events in an age of digital distribution. The responses came in three different flavors:

  1. I'm older and can't justify that anymore.
  2. I don't live near a large metro area (or in a primary release country) so I welcome digital availability.
  3. I don't trust publishers to release non-broken games anymore, so I'm skipping launch day anyways.

It's the latter thought that I want to dig into. Like I wrote in another article, broken releases aren't a new thing, but it does seem like we've had a number of them in the past few months. Games released with missing features or severe game-breaking issues that prevent people from enjoying the product they've purchased.

DriveClub still has some issues.

The issues have been spread across a number of anticipated releases this Fall. DriveClub for PlayStation 4 has had consistent login and online connectivity issues, to the point that Sony has indefinitely delayed the free PlayStation Plus Edition of the title. Players of LittleBigPlanet 3 have reported significant issues with importing their LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2 downloadable content, despite Media Molecule's insistence that it should work.

Grand Theft Auto V had problems with GTA Online character transfers from PS3 to PS4 and Xbox 360 to Xbox One, but Rockstar quickly patched the problem. Halo: The Master Chief Collection shares Driveclub's situation with online connectivity and matchmaking issues, though developer 343 Industries has attempted to address a number of issues in a recent patch. Assassin's Creed Unity has performance issues and a number of graphical glitches that Ubisoft has been slowly fixing. Far Cry 4 had multiplayer issues at launch that have been fixed and PlayStation 3 players are still having issues just playing the game due to Far Cry 3 save data on the same console. World of Warcraft had insanely high queue times when its Warlords of Draenor expansion went live, leading Blizzard to compensate players with free game time.

And that's all before I even get to Sonic Boom.

Bought It, Can't Play It

There have been a number of major releases that valid owners simply couldn't play at launch. Glitches can be overlooked here and there. I acknowledge the launch rush can put online infrastructure under a heavy strain. Even heavy troubleshooting will let some bugs through; millions of passionate players tearing into a game will always find more issues than a dedicated team of Q&A employees working around the clock or reviewers playing under pre-launch conditions.

The problem is all of these faulty launches, one after the other, has caused people to actually be afraid of a day-one purchase. They can't be sure that they'll be able to play a game without issues. Maybe their focus was online play - I'm sure that's true of many Halo: MCC players - so severe online connectivity problems means they paid $60 just to wait. If you're a stickler for graphical performance, Assassin's Creed Unity's below-30fps drops may be a game-breaker for you.

Waiting a few weeks can save you the trouble of seeing this nightmare fuel.

This is compounded by the fact that most major releases can see discounts of $15 to $20 in only a week or two. Why pay the early adopter's tax for the game to sit on your system's hard drive doing nothing? If you can wait even a month, you get to enjoy a cheaper game that hopefully has had all of its issues patched out.

What's The Problem?

Why are there so many issues with these releases? Some say it's because developers are just lazy or they don't care, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Many devs work long hours over the course of many years to get these releases out the door. No one wants to spend that much time on a project only to see it panned because of performance issues, glitches, or online problems. Of all the theories, this is the one that just doesn't hold any water with me.

Is it lack of time? Many of these games have launch deadlines. Assassin's Creed hits the holiday season every single year, so it's possible that Ubisoft Montreal felt it needed another month or so in development, but there was no place to squeeze it in. Hitting the holiday shopping season is key for publishers, but some have started to realize that players can only buy so many games during the fourth quarter. Dragon Age Inquisition was delayed a month (after its first year-long delay) to "polish the experience" and Battlefield: Hardline was pushed back to 2015. That's before getting into the business realities of ongoing development. You have to pay people to work on unfinished games; at some point you need to either cut your losses or release something.

Delays have seemingly done Dragon Age Inquisition a world of good.

In addition to the general lack of time due to deadlines, there's the growing reliance on patching. Most of the issues I illustrated above have been fixed with post-launch patches and fixes. It's a good thing that developers have the ability to fix released games after the fact, but many fans wonder if it's not being used as a crutch. They wonder if developers are letting games out the door with major issues, in the hopes that they'll be fixed in the first few weeks. I admit, it's been an issue for PC games for a long time now and it's only grown on consoles as online has allowed for patching.

Honestly, the truth seems to be a mix of issues. Games are far more complex than they used to be, deadlines are looming, and yes, it's easy to go back after the fact and patch a game. Making games is hard and AAA games are productions made with hundreds working in tandem on a single vision. The cracks in that model are appearing.

"Issues in major AAA games shipping lately [equal] leaks in the bubble that is traditional AAA development. Gears of War designer and Boss Key Production founder Cliff Bleszinski tweeted recently. "You could put 10,000 QA folks on a game and when you release it to millions the crowd will always find things you couldn't before ship. You get next-gen feature expectations and multiple huge teams making a game and it's nearly impossible to ship flawlessly."

No major launch issues in Sunset Overdrive.

There Are Still Good Launches

Despite that, all is not lost. Amid all the poor launches, people tend to forget the games that have great launches. Halo: MCC may have problems, but Microsoft also published Sunset Overdrive and Forza Horizon 2 around the same time, two games without any problems. The extra month given to Dragon Age Inquisition seems to be a positive, as the biggest problem I currently have with the game is making a good-looking black guy in the game's character creator. Nintendo's releases have always been solid and Super Smash Bros is no exception to that rule. Alien: Isolation, The Evil Within, Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition, Bayonetta 2, and Shadow of Mordor all count as major releases with few issues. AAA isn't without hope.

Publishers and developers just need to be wary. A good number of corporations rely on pre-orders, first week sales, and good reviews to keep their games afloat and these games don't exist in a bubble. Broken release after broken release erodes faith in all games at launch. It makes fans hold off on those pre-orders (something I think they should do for other reasons) or skip a game until weeks down the line. You can't catch everything in development, but you do need to catch the major issues. A disappearing NPC I can overlook, but completely broken matchmaking is a serious issue.

Give players what they pay their $60 for - a working product - and they'll be all the marketing you need. Give them a working complete product and they'll sometimes overlook smaller issues. They'll buy the DLC and microtransactions crammed into your game. Give them a working product and they'll be good customers, not the angry mob at your gates.

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Comments 24

  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene #1 UnskippableCutscene 3 years ago
    My question is, how many of these games are just broken on day one and later solved, and how many of them are permanently broken?

    I always skip launch day, as launches for new third-party games were never really a big deal in the 8/16-bit eras of my hometown (or anyone's hometown? Video games were a really niche thing back then.) Unfortunately, people being paid to cover games like the staff on this site and it's contemporaries basically play games in a permanent launch window, unable to stick with a game for too long because there's newer ones to cover. This might be one of those issues where a generation of players uploading video to Twitch, YouTube, etc will effectively work as the watchmen on launch day issues.

    In the meantime, people's opinions of Ubi are probably about to take a falter in the same way that EA and Activision have in the past. These releases just stack on top of the disappointment of Watch-Dogs, which is kind of sad for a company that did such a great job with FarCry 3 and Assassins Creed IV in the past two years. Perhaps Assassins Creed needs to be moved to a two year cycle, or making Unity and Rogue at the same time was an error.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #2 Roto13 3 years ago
    Ubisoft has a history of growing pains, and that's one of the reasons I wasn't super hyped for Unity in the first place. The late review embargo sealed it, and I wasn't at all surprised to read that it's buggy and runs poorly. Combine the fact that many modern games from big publishers have rough launches with the fact that games are overpriced here in Canada anyway, and it's enough to turn me off buying games on day 1. Except Nintendo games. Bayonetta 2 (and 1, for that matter) and Smash Bros. 3DS worked fine at launch and I'm confident enough in Smash U to run out and buy it tomorrow.

    "the biggest problem I currently have with the game is making a good-looking black guy in the game's character creator."

    Really? My black Shepard in Mass Effect (another Bioware game) was a total stud. Is the Dragon Age character creator not as good?
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  • Avatar for Dastuun #3 Dastuun 3 years ago
    It seems we live in an era where "day-one patches" are the norm—though some major ones (discussed widely) have pushed that barrier even further. Makes me wonder what "certification" means these days...

    As someone who develops multi-year long project schedules for software releases, I can tell you that project time estimates get less accurate the farther out they go. I can schedule a two month development cycle pretty closely. If a project goes to six months, that last month is guesswork. A project that's looking like a year? Let's aim for a quarter, and ask me again in six months. Three years? You're scheduling based on rough milestones.

    Plus, factor in the currently fashionable "agile" development methodology, in which development is an iterative, adaptive process, and scheduling gets very difficult.

    I'd imagine that the publisher is looking to target one of the core "release windows" (by mid-November, for example). So the developer says something like "three years." The publisher says "that takes us to November 2017. We'll target that."

    Two years in, maybe they're on-track, maybe they aren't. They revise, and maybe the developer now says "well... it's looking more like December..."

    You can imagine how those conversations go.

    This is an important holiday season—more so, I think, than last years, for the New Gen. There's now a solid installed base, and system prices are already coming down. Someone must have made the calculation that being in the marketplace was more important than the potential backlash.

    It's inconceivable, for example, that 343 didn't know matchmaking was broken in Halo: MCC. Maybe they thought they'd have it fixed in time for a day-one patch—but maybe they just wanted to be on the shelves before Black Friday. Especially since Destiny is already out and the two are "destined" to confuse moms and dads everywhere.

    This is a side of the business I wish I knew more about, frankly. I think I'd like to be a part of that piece of the business. The art and science of game development and release schedules.
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  • Avatar for Ralek #4 Ralek 3 years ago
    Drive Club is just an embarrassment at this point. The game got delayed a year and it's still not that great (according to reviews) as well as riddled with technical issues, to the point that Sony had to delay the free PS+ version even further - no ETA. BF4 was also pretty bad, maybe it still is, I don't know, I gave up on it a long while back.

    As for the rest, some of it gets blown way out of proportion. I can't speak to AC: Unity, as I can't bring myself to muster any interest for it, and there seem to be some conflicting reports about the scale of the issues, but as for Halo, no doubt the MP is very troubled for many players, but from what I can tell the campaign and co-op work pretty well out-of the box.

    I'm annoyed that checkpoints don't carry over between co-op session (anyone knows if this is intentional or not?^^), but aside from that I didn't notice any issues. Considering the scale of the project, this ain't so bad.

    If the patch announced for today alleviates or fixes the issues, than it was really much ado about nothing. It shouldn't have happened, but games are getting more complex and larger in scale, so does the supporting infrastructure, and so do the problems that come with it. Over a 100 maps, 4 games in one package, one completely remastered game and a s***load of user on Day1 ... They need to fix it, and if they do so in a timely manner, people should be able to keep their cool.

    Outrage were outrage is really due, but as a general response to any issue, a lot of the current response is totally inappropriate. Compared to most MMO launches of the past I took part in, all of this seems rather smooth :-P
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #5 MHWilliams 3 years ago
    @UnskippableCutscene "People being paid to cover games like the staff on this site and it's contemporaries basically play games in a permanent launch window, unable to stick with a game for too long because there's newer ones to cover." This is quite true, but this month is almost over. Dec/Jan/Feb is a big lull, giving us time to dig deeper into 2014 stuff or older titles.
    @Roto13 I feel like I'm having a harder time of it here. The lighting in the character creator is different from the game world and you can't simulate facial expressions until you're in-game.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #6 cldmstrsn 3 years ago
    Insomniac is a damn good developer. I have played all their games (except SO) and they have always been great with either no or little bugs that never break the game.
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  • Avatar for docexe #7 docexe 3 years ago
    All of this is symptomatic of the AAA model and the multiple unhealthy trends in that sector. I understand the why of some of the factors that play into it, but as time passes and the cracks in the model continue to grow, I think publishers really need to rethink their approach. Looking for ways to stop relying on annualized franchises, not releasing everything on the holiday period and being willing to delay games when needed (even if that means not hitting financial targets for the quarter) would probably help, but all those approaches seem daunting given the nature of the beast.
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  • Avatar for pdubb #8 pdubb 3 years ago
    I foolishly thought all the backlash over how broken BF4 was at launch last year would have made more of a difference, but we are probably a couple years from the backlash completely hitting.

    I know many gamer friends who are not only refusing to buy games on launch day, but also refusing to buy season pass DLC. At some point developers are going to start noticing this. Sadly, its going to take a Call of Duty game to bomb for real changes to this structure to happen.
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  • Avatar for ShadowTheSecond #9 ShadowTheSecond 3 years ago
    Not that it justifies Master Chief Collections's issues, but at least the solo campaigns all worked fine (and most co-op campaigns, with Halo 1 seeming to have the most issues that I've heard of).

    However, when something like Destiny goes down (either randomly or through a new patch that knocks off some players for a day or two), there is no ability to play the "story" missions. I'm not saying that Destiny never works, but it's annoying to be locked away from a game's potentially offline components due to connection issues.Edited November 2014 by ShadowTheSecond
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  • Avatar for Matt-Liparota #10 Matt-Liparota 3 years ago
    @cldmstrsn I picked up SO as part of Target's buy-two-get-one a couple weeks back - it's legitimately great. Crazy fun.
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  • Avatar for #11 3 years ago
    All the online related problems are unavoidable. Something techies have known was in danger for years and everyone might have heard but just buried their head in the sand and pretend it doesn't exist is the internet isn't infinite and with computers and connections becoming cheap enough for more people than ever to afford access, along with businesses making more and more connecting products because they live in fantasy land more than even the regular people about bandwidth and there's simply too much.
    Within the world of videogames, everyone is connected even when they don't need to be. Most people playing single player games stay connected online. There's simply too many people using and the internet is collapsing. So it'll slow and/or crash.
    The only way games will run smooth and as little lag as possible is if less people are playing. Which isn't the reality developers or gamers are going to acknowledge. Where I live in Texas it's pointless to play multi from around 3PM through about 10PM. That's when the lag is it's worst.
    Me and the wife actually game around 11PM through about 2 or 3 AM just to have less lag. We have a good connection, but live in an area where everyone is online connected so it gets clogged, whether I'm gaming, kids are off texting and mobile gaming and others are watching Netflix. Everyone suffers not from any one thing anyone is doing. It's all of it combined.
    But I suppose it's easier to enforce denial to the situation to just think your game isn't staying in a room or super laggy because the developers didn't magically make it better and it's their fault.

    But bugs in games that are fixed by patches later is another topic. That's just wrong. I was just mentioning to the wife how it's funny that publishers are so concerned with coming out at Xmas when gamers don't wait.
    I'm not saying there are no Xmas gift sales, but it seems most who want the game get it either on day one or as soon as possible. Like Assassin's Creed and Call Of Duty. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems most buy them as they drop, not wait till December 25th.
    And I think that if a game like Call Of Duty came out in July, popular as it is the same amount of people who were broke would still ask for it for xmas, while the main hardcore will buy it as it comes out no matter what time of the year it is.

    Only reason that matters is, if true, these publishers could realize that instead making that so-called christmas release date, they can come out when the game is ready. Games seem to an unpredictable beast, there's some many factors, that you can't just put a rigid, unbending release schedule like you can a movie. Or you can, but that means rushing it.
    And they're only going to make more money and get loyal gamers who snatch up sequels if their games come out running smooth.

    This is the one medium where coming out at the holidays doesn't matter. And it feels like every gamer knows that, but none of the publishers do.
    It actually hurts them. When people buy music, they can buy as much as they can afford, you can listen to music whenever you want and the average song is only 3-5 minutes long.
    You buy movies, the average one is only an hour and half to two hour time commitment.
    But games are (usually) long. And when you put out 4 or 5 one hundred hour length games all at the same time, even the people who want them all won't buy any more than one. Because why buy more and have it just sit there? Most will finish that one game and then get another if they can afford it.
    And in that spirit, Shadow Of Mordor deserves a nod there. It had it's flaws, but not on a technical level. It was open world and had that Nemesis program which could have very easily been a mess and there are very few glitches. In fact, I don't recall any AI glitches or dumb AI walking into walls in my entire game. The quality of the story or copy and paste environment are debatable in quality, but on a technical level, what's there is polished.
    Something Ubisoft could learn from. They seem happy with the sales they get now, imagine how many they would get if they hadn't lost so many with past buggy releases they patched later?

    When you take pride in your work, people notice and gravitate towards it no matter what month it is.
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  • Avatar for Stevegasm #12 Stevegasm 3 years ago
    For me, #3 is a big part of it. But I would expand that to DLC now as well. $70 game (I have to get used to typing that), along with a $40 season pass? What it ends up feeling like is $110 for a game. Granted, companies like gearbox do DLC right, it's still hard to shake that feeling. Either way, I feel more incentive to wait for various reasons, which generally lead from one to the next:

    1. The game needs to be fixed. This takes time. Enough time that...
    2. I may as well wait for the Steam sale. This can end up being near the time that...
    3. A GOTY edition that packs in all the DLC comes out that is worth waiting for. This usually happens near...
    4. The big seasonal Steam sales.

    I have about 260 games on Steam (granted a fair number were throw ins), and nearly 100 console games. I have plenty to keep me busy that rushing out for the latest game isn't a big deal to me anymore. I can wait a few months for a $30 to $40 price drop, especially with a fair number of games these days starting at a higher price point.

    The only type of game that I will buy on release is something with an online component that will give me a lot of fun. MMOs are the obvious one here. But games like Diablo 3, Battlefield, Call of Duty, Halo, etc, I want to play during the main rush so I always have friends online playing, or a very active community to play with. I also pick up Nintendo games day one because they make great couch multiplayer games, and they take years to drop in price anyway.
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  • Avatar for airbagfin51 #13 airbagfin51 3 years ago
    @Dastuun If agile processes start to confuse scheduling, then the project is probably not doing agile too well. Agile development isn't just fashionable, it is a reaction/response to years of people developing software in bad ways. I'm glad you brought it up, though, as this leads me to my first point about what I feel are some problems (I have a few, so forgive me in advance for the loooong post).

    1. Game development (at least AAA) is years behind every other type of software development in terms of embracing agile processes.@Dastuun mentioned that agile processes may be causing issues, but I contend that it is the fact that AAA games are NEVER developed in an agile way that introduces this embarrasment.

    They aren't, literally. And maybe they can't be?

    A big saying in agile dev is to 'release early, release often'. Typically this means showing customers working software (no matter how crude or early in development) within a couple of months, at most. What AAA game has ever done this, or could ever do this (besides, I think those guys doing that new Unreal, was it?)?

    'Release early, release often' is not just some magical, cool sounding mantra. The reason for it is that historically, software was developed following something called the 'waterfall method'. Like a river, development would continue for years. Long ass functional specs would be written, rewritten, passed around, rewritten, and then coding would begin. QA personell would be hired. After everyone's beard (probably including women) was sufficiently white, the river suddenly turns into a waterfall, and crashes down. This is 'Launch Day', basically.

    Finally the actual users of the software begin to use it, and surprise, surprise, they find all kinds of wrong shit in it. If you're *lucky*, they find bugs, which can be fixed ('patched'). If you're unlucky, the users basically find that the fundamental game/software design itself is totally broken--for example, not really fun to play.

    That is after 3-5 years of development. That kind of release model is *expensive*, man. And it's a real downer for all stakeholders--devs, gamers, and publishers (well, often publishers get away pretty easily).

    So 'release early, release often'. Be agile. Why aren't they doing it?

    1A. Game industry is unable to break out of its own trappings.

    As described in the waterfall metaphor above, the notion of a 'Launch Day', at least as practiced now, is anathema to good ways of developing software. The closest thing to it in agile development is a 'major release', for example, a 'big number' release, like 1.0 or a 2.0.

    So why can't we move to those kinds of releases? Because pretty much every stakeholder is still living in the 1990's. There is this idea of 'spectacle' and 'wow' of Launch Day. Publishers need it to fill their coffers, media needs it to get pagehits, and *even* the gamers need it because...err...why? Because that's how it's always been.

    Sadly the developers are the only ones who probably really hate it, and who often are literally threatened by it.

    It will take a monumental effort by everyone to get out of this rut. Developers will have to feel comfortable with not being such 'auteurs' and releasing software that may be crude, but works. Publishers will have to know how to channel this to customers. And gamers will need to stop expecting some crazy 'beautiful world of Launch Day' and get more intimate with the ongoing development of games.

    In fact, it is almost as if the game industry is trapped in this strange world, where they *want* to be agile, but they have no choice but to do it by releasing *after the waterfall* and then patching. It's a truly twisted outcome that can do nothing but infuriate gamers, and the main antagonist here appears to be overwhelming business/fiscal processes instigated by lazy publishers.

    1B. There are other aspects of agile dev that are scarce in gaming development. An example is automated testing. So often we hear about 'We had 1000 QA personell, but still there was a bug'. I feel that functional testing by humans (where a human has to try to find issues) is the *only* type of testing typically conducted. I don't think there are a lot of examples of unit or integration testing in game development--possibly because the tooling is not very rampant. They have really sophisticated software to model the shit out of a human head, but no proper ways to test this software.

    2. Networking like it's Quake over LANs in the 90s

    This was almost #1 for me. If you look at all of the failed launches, the majority of them are because of online connectivity issues. Sure, there's your Assassin's Creed, but those graphical issues are often overshadowed by failed networking implementations like Driveclub, Halo MMC, Battlefield...the list goes on.

    To me, it looks like AAA game developers are way behind on network development, testing and claims that "online related problems are unavoidable", but I think he's being pessimistic. This isn't the 1990s or 2000s anymore, where you have put your little server out there and hope it will bear the load. There are tools to perform load and stress testing in automated ways that replicate real user interactions, and there are tools to dynamically increase and decrease your infrastructure according to needs. They're not easy to implement, but they are there.

    If you're saying you're an AAA title, I would think that you would invest significant resources to implementing these to make sure you're protecting your overall investment.

    3. Layers of 'certification' and process across platforms

    Finally, and this will be short :), I think the process of going through so many platforms and so much red-tape to just get all versions of software out at the same time adds an unnecessary environment of fear to game releases. Things should be 'released' when ready.

    And often.

    And it will take all of us to make it so.Edited November 2014 by airbagfin51
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  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #14 Monkey-Tamer 3 years ago
    A game breaking bug through the main playthrough is flat out unacceptable. Little bugs I can have some sympathy for, but main quest game breakers scream incompetence or lack of respect for the consumer, which is why I wait several months to get a game. I'd love to see some hard data on the amount of QA today compared to the 90s and early 2000s before these patches became standard. I get that they take more people to develop, but the time it takes to play a game hasn't exponentially increased. Some single player campaigns are shockingly short.
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  • Avatar for airbagfin51 #15 airbagfin51 3 years ago
    @Monkey-Tamer Pretty sure the number of QA guys (on AAA games) is much higher these days.

    "I get that they take more people to develop, but the time it takes to play a game hasn't exponentially increased."

    The number of people developing isn't the issue (and sometimes the number can be detrimental). It is the complexity of the software, and the complexity involved in development of the software that has risen, and without capacity to manage it in most cases.

    Not sure what the time it takes to play the game has anything to do with all this.Edited November 2014 by airbagfin51
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  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #16 Monkey-Tamer 3 years ago
    @airbagfin51 I was referring to play time to find the bugs. If the game is small then there is less to check. My comment is directed at a game stopping bug in the PC version of the new Borderlands game. Granted my understanding of programming is limited since it is not my profession. You'd figure sitting someone down and actually playing the game would have detected a problem like that. I'm amazed that huge games like the older Final Fantasies didn't have more bugs given all the nooks and crannies in those games. I read through my "product," like my court filings before it is submitted. While minor things can be amended some screw ups can tank an entire case. Buying new games has become buying the first year a new model car is available. Having been a mechanic I know better than to get something that will likely have numerous recalls. Maybe the problem is with the project manager not making all the departments jive.
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  • Avatar for hal9k #17 hal9k 3 years ago
    @airbagfin51 Great post! This is the first I've heard of agile development (not being involved in the field), so this has been an educational thread. "Release early, release often" reminds me a bit of something that came up in the Half Life 2 discussion - episodic content. Not add-on DLC, but games entirely designed to be released as episodic chunks. Other than some Telltale games, that trend seemed to die out about a decade ago, but I always thought it was a cool idea. Something like that model might give developers a little more feedback from players as a game progresses, while still providing smaller, but still polished experiences (as opposed to a lot of unfinished early access stuff out there).

    As you mentioned, I was also struck by how many of the recent problems Mike listed had to do with multiplayer/connectivity issues. Whether due to a lack of infrastructure or testing, that does seem to be a weak point. People bashed Nintendo for years for being behind in that area, but maybe improved stability was an unexpected benefit of their hesitance to commit to online.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #18 VotesForCows 3 years ago
    I avoid launch day software and hardware now, due to both cost and reliability. I'd make an exception for Metal Gear, but that's about it.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #19 VotesForCows 3 years ago
    I'm interested in what you've said about character creation. I'm Irish and very pale-skinned, but when I make characters that are pale they just look like evil freaks! I tend to roll a completely different character, and role play as them.

    Professionally, I work as a researcher on equality issues. Games aren't my area, but I'm interested in how people from non-dominant groups (ethnic minorities, women, LGBT) deal with character creation. Do you feel it makes a difference to your experience of a game if you can get a character that you feel represents you?
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  • Avatar for nilcam #20 nilcam 3 years ago
    Thanks to my taste in games, I've avoided all of this. Of the "big" publishers, the only company I rely on for quality is Nintendo. I haven't loved anyhting published by Ubisoft, Activision or EA in the last decade.Edited November 2014 by nilcam
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #21 MHWilliams 3 years ago
    @VotesForCows Depends on the person. I always play a character that looks like me in games with a character creator. I feel it makes a difference in my experience, but I understand if others feel otherwise.
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  • Avatar for docexe #22 docexe 3 years ago
    @airbagfin51 So, based on your post, a possible solution would be for AAA publishers to start adopting something akin to the Early Access model?
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  • Avatar for airbagfin51 #23 airbagfin51 3 years ago
    @docexe I know it makes everybody sad, but yes.

    But for AAA games, where the stakes are huge. It shouldn't be a barrier for smaller guys that can do a game in a few iterations.

    Edit: And the model really requires the end user to become intimate with the development.Edited 3 times. Last edited November 2014 by airbagfin51
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  • Avatar for goatwack #24 goatwack 3 years ago
    Having briefly worked in QA for Square Enix, I can categorically state that even when bugs are found and reported that not all are addressed in the current code and often ignored altogether.

    Timelines have to be adhered to and release dates met, so these take priority at the larger companies, often at the cost of shipping an incomplete code but being fully aware that the game is still actively being worked on.

    Player's expectations have also been raised with the last two gens and an inevitable consequence of this is the huge scale of development as well as the multiplayer aspect found in most AAA projects.

    Personally, I don't mind the game being patched quickly but have refrained from recent day- one purchasing.

    And let's face it, we all expect The Last Guardian to be possibly the most flawless gaming experience ever!
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