Note: WriOps is the intersection of writing and opinions on controversial topics in the gaming industry. The opinion of this article does not necessarily reflect the official opinions of NextLevel Gaming Online as an organization.
“A delayed game will eventually be good, but a bad game is bad forever”
Let’s hypothesize a work situation like this: you get a project from your boss that is wanted in a few weeks that needs to meet a certain standard. You begin working on the project but as it goes you slow down on your work or you forget to touch up on some parts that are lacking. Finally the due date arrives and you give it to your boss instead of asking for an extension of a week or so, which your boss would happily allow if it results in a better presentation, but you decide to push it out early. They look over it and tell you that it will do, but it could be much much better.
Granted this is a hypothetical situation, this has happened numerous occasions. One thing I can specifically recall was the launch of Battlefield 4 back in October 2013. Battlefield 4 was the first Battlefield game that had an Open Beta, a Beta that happened less than a month before the release of the game. During the Beta the servers experienced problems such as rubber banding and frequent crashes.
On release these issues were fixed.
However, other issues were overly apparent. And not just for a week after launch, they were there for over a month.
A big issue on release was a bug that caused players to die after vaulting over small barriers due to a miscalculation of their velocity (basically the game thought they landed at hundreds of miles per hour). This bug could occur about twice or three times per match, which would result in many irreversible deaths and a lot of hair pulling for players.
Another big issue that was frequent in the previous game: getting shot around the corner, or more getting killed when you shouldn’t have. The way this would happen was the server would update at such a frequency that it would think you weren’t behind cover when you saw you were and bullets would still damage you. Similar to this there was a bug dubbed the “1-shot bug” that, as it sounds, would get you killed in one shot no matter the weapon. This was overly frustrating because you would be in a firefight or just running and would get instantly killed by a gun that cannot kill in a single shot. Sometimes the 1-shot bug and killed around a corner bug would occur at the same time and would lead me to almost stop playing. This was a bug that was fully patched and addressed over six months after the game was released and attributed the most to me taking a hiatus from the game due to it being unplayable in some circumstances.
The next Battlefield game and following Battlefront game had Open Betas prior to their release, and more than two weeks before the games hit. Battlefront was less fraught with bugs and moreso had a lack of content in that it released with so few maps and game modes for the price (an article about DICE’s Battlefront and their announcement can be found here ). To summarize and expand off that article, Battlefront was lacking so much content and was pushed out to not only compete with the new Call of Duty game, but to also coincide with the release of Star Wars Episode 7 (despite Battlefront hitting shelves a month before Episode 7 was in theaters). If EA/DICE would have waited to release the game and put in even a loose campaign mode it would have made the game that much more complete and could have even persuaded me to purchase it.
What I’m trying to say is that if a company is producing a game that is broken in some regard or is lacking content, they should forgo releasing the game early and instead release their game a month or two later, fix bugs, address issues to the community, and add content to make the wait worth it or some other reason.
Sadly I feel the gaming market has, in some regards, come down to a battle of a few companies to see who can make the biggest game as opposed to who can make the most polished game, or the one with the best story, or get the most 10/10 reviews. If anything it would take a protest of gamers not playing these broken games to reinforce to the companies that we don’t want your buggy games, we want a well made, quality game and only that. Or maybe, people could realize how great Indie games are and take to those en masse.