Patches: A Dev’s Xanax Habit
By Chandler Preston Rice
“I slipped myself some pink Xannies, and danced around the house in all-over print panties.” - Tyler, the Creator.
Earlier in the week I covered how Brand Recognition breeds laziness and mediocrity in the gaming industry, how it is a clear detriment to a community we all love. This week I’m going to focus on one clear section of that article: Patches.
Originally I was going to write, “It seems as though every game that is released nowadays has a day one patch” but then I realized that it seemed that way because it is that way. Day One Patches have become such a facet in video gaming that on the extremely rare occasion that one is not released, I become a bit scared that the developers forgot to release one. Now patches are not inherently flawed, a series of patches can turn what used to be an unplayable game into a stable project with a cult following; Tom Clancy’s The Division, for example. The main issue is using patches as a crutch to release an unfinished product. Now there are a menagerie of reasons why a game may be released unfinished: the publisher may rush the dev team to release at a deadline they cannot make, the dev team could rush the QA testers because the publisher is rushing the dev team to make a deadline they can’t make, or a dev team being unprepared for the magnitude of the game.
Now, the biggest concern I have is that instead of focusing on the art and playability of a project, the main concern for developers are the profits. It’s difficult to form a true piece of art, gaming is definitely an art form by now, when all you can think about is the money. That kind of thinking leads to unnecessary dlc and the loot crate dilemma we are facing right now. Look to The Last of Us, the game I regularly masturbate to. The story and feelings invoked by Joel and Ellie’s adventure across the country to find the Fireflies, their relationship growing from begrudging companions to a true father-daughter bond is a miracle to behold. Naughty Dog truly created a masterpiece fit to become the mold that every developer should adhere to. Another example would be the Hotline Miami Series by Dennaton Games. The pure blend of 80s culture and modern Vaporwave a e s t h e t i c forms a brilliant story through Jacket’s seemingly unending murder spree. By the way, I did have the letterman jacket that Jacket wears when I went to school, but someone degenerate stole it. Another should be in the mail, I should get it on the 27th. I think I lost the plot.
I spoke before about the constant release of updates combined with the lack of plentiful internet connection and have found the biggest offender I’ve seen this year: Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Now i played the alpha, and it was buggy as hell and they literally did not update it in order to pay attention to the main release. Apparently they shouldn’t have spent time and resources releasing the alpha. As of the 15th, there have been two patches released in the first week of launch, totaling in a combined 39 GB on PS4. Now, I did not buy the game initially for unrelated reasons, but I know someone with lackluster connection who did. He received the game on launch and has not yet been able to play it due to the updates taking literal days to download, not to mention a large update going to consoles to fix, “quest bugs and other issues like frame drops”. I am instantly reminded of the AC: Unity launch. Now most Steam reviews mark the game as mostly positive, but nearly all of the negative reviews concern the issues that Warhorse is attempting to fix. Obviously, this will leave a mark.
You’ll notice that I tend to ramble and get off topic rather easily. ADD is a hell of a thing, but the main point I am trying to make is that game developers and publishers often rush out unfinished games to try to maximize profits while promising to fix the sometimes uncountable errors that could have been fixed due to a simple delay of release. I know many people seethe at the very mention of delays, but we all must realize that a delay means that the company knows that the product is unfinished and unfit for release. Just be patient, Red Dead will come out soon.
Thanks for reading, and wait for a sale.