Abyssal Pixels: Gaming Is Caught In Rush Hour
No, not the movie starring Jackie Chan with lots of explosions. I’m talking about games these days that feel like most of my high school projects. Done at the last minute while woefully regretting that I didn’t do it sooner. Almost every game that has recently released felt to me like it was bum rushing some deadline made by some piece of cartilage that has an executive position at a publisher. We’ve all experienced these instances of games being rushed and I fear that it will become a growing trend once we enter the next-gen arena.
Let’s first look at multiplayer components. Battlefield 4 has had its fair share of gigantic fuck ups because the netcode is an entangled mess, people have been struggling for hours just to get into a game, servers randomly crash and there are more freeze ups than an Irish family in the North Pole. This should not be an issue. DICE know that there would be millions of people playing the game so why did they not make sufficient preparations? Why does this all stink of negligence and plain old rush job? People are then expected to wait for a patch that fixes things weeks after they have paid their hard earned money on the game. It’s just disgraceful.
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We’ve seen it so many times before with games that require you to be connected to some thing or another. Diablo 3, SimCity, GTA Online and various MMOs. People that have given their money to be able to play a game are being shafted because of some stupid business people that can’t understand the concept of preparation. It just infuriates me more than anything else.
On to single-player games. One recent good example of rush job I’ve seen was with Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag. While I make it no secret that I enjoyed the game immensely, I could still see that Ubisoft have dropped the ball when it came to their QA testing. Bugs and technical glitches have become almost a staple of the franchise, but now it was just getting too obvious. I experienced so many technical problems, glitches, geometry fuck ups, pop-ins, visual problems and just a whole host of shit that should not be there in the first place.
Strangely, it only ever happened when I was on land and almost never when I was on the Jackdaw. You can see that they spent more time with the naval system and just left the land sections as an afterthought. This does not make for a good experience. I would have been so much happier with the game if a beaver didn’t glitch into a tree and forced me to restart a checkpoint because I couldn’t kill the bloody thing. Or if some soldiers didn’t randomly fall through the game world. Or a treasure chest wasn’t hovering 10 meters from the ground. They should have fixed this.
Another big one is Arkham Origins with its game breaking bugs, freeze ups and general shittiness from a technical standpoint. This was the game where I expected the least amount of problems because I was under the assumption that Rocksteady would take good care if their flagship franchise. Apparently not. Game breaking bugs? That’s something I thought we were done with in this day and age of gaming, but it looks like it’s not.
I’m actually one of the few that was glad that Watchdogs was delayed. Not because I didn’t care for the game, but I was glad that they are taking some time to perfect the game and make sure that there are as little bugs as possible. At least, I hope that’s what they are doing and not just waiting for GTA V and Ghosts to stop selling millions of copies. I would rather wait those extra few months for them to make sure that their game is as polished as possible so that I can have the best experience possible and not some rush job.
The gaming industry is moving at a frightening pace and I think we’re at that point where developers and publishers need to take some time and make sure that their games are up to standard and as perfect as possible. I’m fearing for the Xbox One and PS4 launch line up because I fear that those games will be very rushed because of the strict deadline that was set. Hopefully Microsoft and Sony have provided these individual developers with enough time to make their games like they intended to make them.
I’m a defender of games most of the time, but I find it progressively more difficult to do because of how rushed and lackluster our games are becoming. It’s always a race of trying to get your game out as soon as possible and then immediately working on a sequel if you have not already done so. I understand budget constraints and release windows, but if you rush your game and give players a shitty experience, more people will be avoiding your game. I’m not even remotely interested in Arkham Origins anymore because of people saying it copy-pasted a lot of Arkham City’s environments and mechanics as well as all the game breaking bugs and glitches.
I sincerely hope that the gaming industry realises that if it continued giving us rushed and incomplete products riddled with problems, it will only be worse off for it. An incomplete game is as pointless as a sheep counter with sleep apnea.