Fallout: New Vegas released in North America on October 19. That was not very long ago.
On November 5 an entry on Bethesda Blog reported that they were giving a “heads-up” to users regarding some of the minor problems New Vegas users are having.
Minor problems like not being able to load a saved game for instance, you know, nothing too drastic.
Good for us that Bethesda is also being thoughtful enough to look into fixing “a number of other issues” as well. Console users experiencing save issues will enjoy what Bethesda calls a “comprehensive patch” in the coming weeks.
Weeks? Really, weeks? Let me check the text of the blog entry again…
Yes, it in fact says weeks. After purchasing a game that may not let you save your progress, Bethesda promises to assuage your problems in just a few weeks. PC users have it great, getting an “incremental patch” early next week (which means early this week).
They report that the patches are in final testing, so I trust that the crack team of QA testers and other staffers at Bethesda will do their job well. It’s not like they miss things like critical graphics flaws in the intro of the game.
It’s things like this that make me categorically accept allegations that Bethesda forced unfavorable reviews of New Vegas to be taken down. It’s no wonder considering how they just care about selling the game during the critical first week, leaving purchasers in the lurch for weeks until they decide to fix it.
These flaws are inherent to a broken game engine that has had crippling errors since Oblivion. Remember that fun bug in Shivering Isles that would kick in after 50 hours of gameplay and cause the game to be completely unplayable? Ah, the memories.
Of course Fallout 3 had the same issues as well. I wrote about my experiences in experiencing a game-breaking glitch while exploring the 'Mothership Zeta' DLC in my old blog on The South Bend Tribune.
Bethesda continues to use this engine because people have no problem purchasing their games over and over again. USA Today reports that New Vegas has shipped over five million copies, generating over $300 million in revenue since release.
Gamers need to stop supporting games that are not released properly for sale in the marketplace. Just as you should not support a series of movies that release with severe video artifacts in every release, you should not support games with broken animations and an infrastructure that does not support intended usage.
But just because gamers may be overly eager to be shoveled games that will only be finalized weeks or months after release does not exonerate game developers and publishers from the fact they are ones releasing these games. You are doing a disservice to your industry and insulting the good work of your colleagues. You are exercising the worst parts of big-studio game production - develop, develop, develop and deal with the problems with patches after it goes gold.
As a gamer you should expect a completed game when you purchase it. A final, working product is not something to be created with patching. There is no excuse for this pattern of disrespect to gamers.
Here's an analogy. As a reader of this article, you expect several things: to be able to read it, to find the sources I provide to be functional, and an argument that is well-reasoned, even if you do not find it agreeable. Here's what I should not do as a writer to accomplish those three goals: have no respect for syntax or language rules, give you broken links or improperly linked media, and give readers a poor argument and belittle them for not accepting it.
Maybe I'll do all of these things, but to be kind to you gentle readers I'll give you a heads-up and plan to fix my broken and unreadable article in a few weeks. Just hold tight and you'll get the experience you expected upon first visiting the site. Oh, and keep coming back.
If games are so complex as to take much longer than older games to test effectively, then by all means, take the time to test them effectively. As gamers we need to be respectful of deadlines and understand that sometimes we have to wait for an experience to be delivered properly. Developers need to respect their audience and not release broken software because they know they can get away with it. Taking advantage of complacency is no different than taking advantage of active dissent.
I realize that Bethesda is not the sole perpetrator of these kinds of acts. But Bethesda also shows a repeated history of abuse with no plans as far as I can tell to change the course of their development process. They stand as a testament to the broken game release -> patch -> repatch cycle.
Stop releasing broken games. Stop giving quality reviews to broken games. Stop supporting broken games.
Disclaimer: This article is the work of one writer, and does not necessarily reflect the views of gamrFeed or VGChartz.