Thursday, November 20, 2014

Game Developers, Half-Assed Releases & What To Do About the Issue

Okay. So, this is going to be a slight rant. It's directed solely at game developers, and content creators ...

We all know as gamers that everything from video games to patches/updates have been being botched, and released regardless of their unsatisfactory condition. This has got to stop. What it all boils down to is pure laziness, a lack of commitment to the product, and a lack of willingness to supply the funds needed to make things right. If you are going to make a game set in an online environment, or even an offline game it is imperative that you get things right from the start, and that you work out all the kinks before it hits shelves. There's no if's, and's, or butt's (I typed it that way on purpose) about it. If you are not willing to fund a team who can get such a job done then you do not need to be releasing the game, or patch in the first place. While I could point fingers, and call names all day I'm going to go a different route, and offer up a viable suggestion that will help get the development process back on the right track, and no it does not require more money to do ...

It's a given that developers, and publishers are basically penny pinchers at heart looking to invest the least amount of cash into a project so that they can reap the biggest profit possible. This sort of mentality, and approach (as much as you want to deny it) leads to the cutting of corners, and a lackluster delivery that puts your gaming company's name to shame. Doing things in this manner will end up losing you your fanbase, and in turn will lose you a significant amount of sales. Eventually gamers do wisen up to a publisher/developer who continues to do them wrong whether you want to believe it, or not. How do I get around this Brad, you ask? It's simple. Hire the helping hands that are willing to better the industry that they love.

By "Hiring" I don't necessarily mean pay them like you would a team member working under your lead. I mean at least give them the game in question along with all the future DLC, so that they can properly test the game for bugs, and issues. I personally would be willing to take on such a job if there was at least some sort of worthwhile compensation for my time spent doing a job your team should have nailed in the first place. I, like so many others would like to see great games released without these redundant, and inexcusable flaws. To avoid this all you have to do is give the designated "Play Tester" a retail copy at least a week before release, have them dedicate a certain amount of hours to their playthrough each day, and give them a direct contact, so that they can report any problems that they should find.

I do understand that finding the perfect "Play Tester" could be problematic as everyone, and their grandmother would probably apply just for the freebies, but there is a way around it. My suggestion in that regard is to seek out journalists such as myself who are passionate about the industry, who know it inside and out, and who have the time to commit to such a tedious task. Check up on us. Read what we have written, and if you find that our critiques are on spot with reality don't hesitate to ask us for help. I know some other fellow journalists who give honest reviews, and who are also growing tired of the half-assery that is taking place. More than likely they too would be willing to lend a helping hand for some proper compensation. 

While I'm at it let's also talk about patch solutions. By designating a handful of gamers as "Play Testers", and issuing the patch for them ahead of the scheduled release date you can have them help you work out, and identify any issues that are occurring.  This will limit the issues that players experience once the final version of the patch is released to the public. It's honestly a rather simple solution seeing as you developers, and publishers get retail game copies for sending out to journalists. Just find you a proper "Play Tester" crew, and have them do the job you, and your team should be doing.

All I've gotta say is that I'm tired of wasting my money on promising game releases that end up being anything but that. Sadly gamers like me don't make games though, we simply play them. Please, just get your act together, and do what needs to be done. Either invest your all, or don't bother ripping us off with your unfinished products. It's gotta stop, or the industry will eventually collapse in on itself.

Your Last Samurai,
Brad Carver (OtakuDante)

5 comments:

  1. great article. this piece shows you're really concerned about the situations the gaming industry are in. and you are absolutely right. gaming companies obviously think they can sort things out with patches. which's why buying on launch day is ridiculous. prices are go down over time and games get better. there is no point.

    as to fighters things don't go that way. remember that fighter from capcom called STXT? it was supposed to the capcom's go-to fighter that would replace sf4. but it turned out to be a complete disaster. they came out with the game extremely half-assed. it was plagued with tons of defects such as easy infinites,terrible netcode,chars with insanely small hurtboxes and all that jazz. most sf players tried to take it seriously but those bugs put them off playing. capcom worked hard at it then most bugs are removed now. in fact SFXT is considered the best fighter from capcom in recent years but nobody plays now. i heard capcom took a big hit by this fiasco,leading to the huge setback the FGC is suffering from now. SF5 would be out by this time if the game had gotten off to a flying start.

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    1. I appreciate the compliment, and the comments regarding the article. I am definitely concerned about the path the game industry has taken. There's too many wrongs outweighing the rights. The games are being released unfinished, and are needing big patches day one. The added DLC, and micro-transactions only further hurt the industry. I've gotten to where I'll hold off on purchasing a game sometimes, and pick it up when it is fully patched, like you said.

      I do remember SFxT as I still own the game. It was definitely a disaster, and in my opinion still is to this day. Thankfully Capcom is not the only remaining fighting game provider though. Arc system Works, and Aksys Games are still churning out BlazBlue, and Guilty Gear games. In fact they also released 'Under Night In-Birth EXE Late' which was not that bad. I find that the main problem facing most fighting games these days is the lack of enthusiasm about them from the FGC. If they aren't in the spotlight like MKX is right now they fall to the wayside, and become forgotten. This coupled with the fact that the online portions of fighters are plagued by cheaters, trolls, and troublemakers really ruins the games' intended experience. No matter how great the offline is in a fighter most FGC members still look forward to that online experience as a crucial part of learning. If that said experience is not worth it then it hurts the FGC's opinion of it.

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  2. i'm with you there. fighters are all about online. if a company brings out a fighter without any online functions it'd get a lot of flak. i could go on all day about how internet has changed our way of life,god willing.

    to return to capcom,a little bird told me that the fighting game department within it has suffered a huge cutback in resources for development. it sees fighters a relic from the past. the monsterhunter series has been the flagship game over a decade.( i've never played the cheesy shit). it brings in huge revenue and is not as hard to make as fighters. capcom don't give a fuck about the FGC. and like i mentioned earlier it did the arcade dirt by unloading the pricy cabinet that can only be used for USF4,which means other cartridges are incompatible.

    as far as games in general you took the words out of my mouth. unfinished products with a big price tag. actually wiiu rodea is the only game i got on launch day in the last decade. luckily the game turned out to live up to my expectations.

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  3. What fighting game developers fail to see is that fighting games aren't as popular as they once were, because those companies are not creating fighters properly. They think of the online as a secondary importance, and do not put their all into making the game as completely fun, and attractive as it should be. I've also noticed that the rosters are usually one-sided with only a handful of characters worth playing as against people online. This unbalance is also a key component to the fighting game formula failure. I've even seen some fighting game developers reach out to the more casual gaming crowd in an attempt to make more sales with things like name tags that mirror the "Yolo", and "Thug Life" mindset. This in itself contributes to the degrading of the online experience.

    Unless fighting game developers get smart about what they are doing, and listen to gamers like you, and me who have been into fighters most of our lives they'll only continue to fail.

    As far as games in general go I've had to do some deep research lately before committing to a purchase, because developers are continuously releasing unfinished products. I can't remember the last time I bought a game that was finished, and not in need of a patch. It's really sad.

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  4. i totally agree to your roster view. regarding usf4,low tiers got nerfed with top tiers buffed. it's absolutely perplexing. this happened with the capcom's clear intention that the tiers must be as level as possible. i can't get over how incompetent they are. it has 45 chars at the moment and you never encounter half of them in the ranked.

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