David Sirlin, as part of his massive interview with Videogamer, has been talking about the costs of patches. Talking about how difficult it was to get Puzzle Fighter patched, and the likelihood of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix getting its bugs sprayed, Sirlin reveals that patchin’ ain’t easy.
“It was very hard to get Puzzle Fighter patched at all,” Sirlin reveals. “There’s a lot of difficulty in patching console games. First of all you have to pay the console makers for each of these patches and second you have to do QA and bug testing on these patches. If you change one area of the game to fix a problem with it, as far as the publisher knows, they don’t know you didn’t make some mistake in some different part of the game, so they are pretty much obliged to do testing across the board.”
Sirlin stresses that this isn’t really Capcom’s fault: “This process I’ve explained, it has nothing to do with Capcom or Backbone or anything. It’s just the nature of the beast, that problem is so frustrating that if I were to do a completely new fighting game, I don’t think the way we did HD Remix makes a lot of sense. In HD Remix‘s case, we knew so much about Super Turbo that there was at least some shot of basing all our knowledge off that, changing a few things and having it come out better.
“But imagine if you were to make some new game where you don’t have 15 years of knowledge about it, and you release it to the wild and it’s hard to patch, it would be a disaster. So I think the only way to do it is to have online tests on PCs the entire development process. We didn’t have that. We had no way of balance testing it online ahead of time. I think that would be vitally important to make a new fighting game.”
Patches always felt like a “quick fix” to me, so this is quite illuminating. However, it makes rushed development cycles even more ridiculous. If you shove out a game like Two Worlds, only to lose money patching it later, you completely negate any benefit that getting the game out quicker might have entailed. This industry is stupid.