It appears that as of late, a lot of video games have been released in states that I can think we can all agree seem to be far from complete. While this topic has been trending quite a lot lately, we at Destructive World Gaming
haven’t quite tackled it so I felt as though I should give my two cents on the matter. Primarily I’ll be focusing on Halo: The Master Chief Collect, Assassins Creed: Unity and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare which are just some of the more prominent titles. Obviously I’m not expert but in the first two cases I can’t help but feel like there wasn’t enough testing or perhaps the testing wasn’t all where it should have been while the latter case I’m more concerned with a particular response the company chose to take. Anyway, let’s jump into it.
Now in the case of both The Chief Collection and Unity, obviously I can’t give a completely precise timeline but I can say that it has taken roughly a month for both games to come to an acceptable game state and what I mean by that is basically, it’s taken a month for them to function as you would expect a game to upon release. Halo to me is a personal passion; I’ve been playing it since roughly the release of the Combat Evolved so when I finally got my hands on The Chief Collection I was expecting to play for days non-stop. Unfortunately that was not the case, I blasted through the remastered Halo 2 campaign with a friend (on legendary just of be reminded of why that game is in fact hell taking video game form, I’m looking at you Jackal Snipers)
and went on to multiplayer just to find that it would take twenty minutes to find a single match. As we all know this went on and on, some players were lucky and seemed to be well off after the first update or two but I myself as well as many others are only just beginning to be able to play this game’s competitive multiplayer. Were these server issues not apparent when the game was tested? I mean, almost nobody could really play the game’s multiplayer so it’s nothing that I can imagine would have been easily overlooked? Were the servers not tested properly? They had to have known that there’d be thousands upon thousands of players jumping on in a relatively short time so was this something that really couldn’t have been foreseen and accounted for? Obviously we all know the issues behind these games but stick with me here as I run through the others.
Assassins Creed: Unity I personally seemed to luck out on as I didn’t run into the faceless glitch at all and only had a few instances of major framerate drops, my game did completely freeze up at least three times though which was pretty annoying. Still, there’s all too many players running into these drastic frame drops making the game extremely difficult to manage and moreover their reward is cinematics that are more comical than tone setting due to the skin on these poor character’s faces…. not being there.
While none of these things will clearly stop you from progressing over the long term it’s quite a nuisance when you shell out your $60 to $120 (sometimes more) for a clearly incomplete experience. Top that with the pretty large updates to fix the issues on what could very well be a quite limited hard drive and it’s easy to see the severity of the situation. I mean, again, I won’t say that there wasn’t testing done because all games require countless hours of testing but I can’t help but speculate on how such a widespread issue was missed. The framerate drop seems to be prevalent among the majority of players and the faceless issue, while apparently less common, has still been encountered by a decent majority of players.
Now Call of Duty is a more unique case as the problems are things you’d find in most multiplayer games including out of map glitches and the likes so I won’t go on and on here but I do want to mention something that adds and that is the way Activision reacts to
the problem. I know they’ve been working to remove those very glitches but we know for a fact that they have targeted some videos on YouTube to be taken down for showing these glitches off. Admittedly they claim that they’re really only going after the more extreme issues but if they can start with those, where is the point at which they must stop? Is there a clear line on what can be taken down and what can’t? I mean, while these videos allow players to find out how execute these glitches it also brings them to light for others to either counter or at least prepare for. Finally, there is my actual gripe which is, how much resources go into scouring the internet for these type of videos? Wouldn’t it just be more prudent to simply dedicate those resources to fixing these issues as opposed to hiding them? If a player wants something bad enough, they’ll find it so would it not be for the better to put more effort into ridding the game of something it shouldn’t have existed to begin with? Again, not exactly the same as our two previous cases but I think the Publisher’s reaction was noteworthy. In any case I can see what their objective was but I feel as though it’d be more effective dedicate the same time and effort to tackling the root of the problem which is of course the actual glitches.
None of these issues are new to us by now, like I said from the start, I just wanted to look at the issues and give a few thoughts on each game’s case. Of course, it isn’t like I was in the room with the developers as they worked on these titles, I’m sure they were quite dedicated to getting out a quality product but one can’t help but speculate how games, that were so obviously flawed, could be released without the developers not knowing what was going to happen. Both Halo: MMC and AC: Unity had monumental problems that the majority of players were facing, are we to believe that none of this was seen in testing? When it comes to Game Design I only studied it for about a year and didn’t even make a full game so obviously my design perspective is less than ideal but it doesn’t take a full-fledged designer to know that testing is done almost every step of development so again, I question how these widespread issues weren’t apparent in a testing environment? The only other scenario I can imagine offhand is that they were seen but due to time constraints, couldn’t be fixed on time and were therefore the games were released in these incomplete states. Contrary to the picture that might be painted here, for the most part I trust developers since usually it’s a deep passion for video games that drives them but knowing that there is a deadline, I imagine, can create an atmosphere where an incomplete but playable game is acceptable and therefore released. Again, that leaves me with two scenarios in mind, either the testing was inadequate and in turn really needs to be worked on by the company (more testing sessions, more qualified testers, etc...) or these problems were known about the whole time which means either the developers didn’t make the publishers aware of these faults or the publishers simply didn’t care and refused to push back the release date.
No matter the scenario it’s clear that something needs to be done because if these large companies with massive amount of resources can’t release a complete and quality title then what does that say about what’s to come? Sure there are plenty of smaller companies that have released successful, complete games but when large AAA titles can’t make the cut that’s a problem for the industry overall. I’m not asking for a perfect product, no game really comes without some bugs and glitches but usually these are things that we aren’t even aware of and even the ones we do see aren’t quite as widespread or so problematic that they stop players from truly experiencing the game. A few problems is acceptable but failures on this level is just too much to overlook and we can’t allow this to become the standard. Hopefully this is just the result of massive undertakings being made by these companies now that they’re working with the next generation technology which means things should be better come “round 2” of their title releases but regardless, the experience thus far has left a bad taste in my mouth as well as the rest of here at Destructive World Gaming. For now all we can do is wait and see but I just think that while we should maintain a level of optimism, let’s be ready to put out a clear message that “this is not acceptable” should games continue to release in such a incomplete state. Basically, let’s not allow this trend to become the standard. In any case, I didn’t mean for this to drag on for so long but we felt that this topic in particular deserved to be really looked over and these were my thoughts on the matter. See ya guys next time!