On time vs. No defects...

I was playing DE2, when it came to me that the Europe people are fortunate the game was delayed; it has more stability problems than anyone can imagine. People needed a patch just to keep the game from crashing on the title screen, and even then, the game is buggy as hell, and can create serious problems on your comp (just like Morrowind). Not only that, but even people with Radeon 9800 XT cards can barely get the game running over 25-30 fps without turning all the video options down. In other words, the game was not ready for release.

And yet, it came out in its unfinished form. Why? Because Eidos wanted it out by Christmas, the busiest shopping time of the year. That also happened to be their projected time for releasing the game. From the looks of it, they rushed the game so they could meet the artificial deadline, even though there were many, many, MANY issues left to work out.

Also, many games (especially sequels) are being churned out simply to feed off the popularity of other games of said genre, and they don’t match the original’s ability at all. Case in point: Max Payne 2. The original Max Payne was an awesome game, but was also very short. Max Payne 2 was nearly half as long as the first game, when it was quite obvious that the game could have been longer if more time and effort had been put into it. Also, Rockstar, Grand Theft Auto sucks. Stop making GTA games.

Ports are another problem. Depending on the system the original game was on, and the system the game is being ported to, the situation could be beneficial or disasterous. For example, when Halo was finally ported to PC, the game’s popularity was wearing old, better games had been produced, and since XBox had everything the PC had (online play, advanced graphics, etc.), there was no point (not to say Halo is a bad game). When the original Deus Ex was ported to PS2, though, Eidos went through many changes, creating a much easier inventory and gameplay system and redrawing maps for easier PS2 play, thus making it a much better port.

The point is, games are better when a good deal of time and effort is put into their development. However, developers have a need to cash in when the market for a particular genre is hot, and thus release games that are not completely through the testing phase. Anyway, what would you rather have: a high-quality game that takes longer to get to market, or an average game that is out on time?

I’d have to say on time, since they keep doing it. Thus it makes the most money, and they can just release a patch later.

If it had no defects they would have to plan on kids buying it with their christmas money, and thats a pretty small target audience.

For me though, I would rather have a bug free game. I usualy wait a while before I get a new game to see if was any good.

I like DE2 and MP2 ;_;

Originally posted by Merlin
I like DE2 and MP2 ;_;

Same here ;_;

Hug me.

DE2 was good, although I needed to modify default.ini to make it playable, or at least better.

I wouldn’t really use Halo as an example if I were you, Microsoft never wanted to release it on the PC, it was one of their best selling X-box exclusive titles, so why port it to PC? They only did it because they had to, it was a clause it the contract they signed when they took over Halo’s producer, the game was always designed for PC and the company insisted that it be released on Pc or no deal. Well they eventually did release it (after delaying it as long as they could) and like many gamers I feel that Microsoft deliberately sabotaged the release of the PC version of Halo to make their X-box version seem better.

But I digress; PC games have had a reputation for the rush now/patch later business model since the mid 90s. It’s understandable really, unlike consol games where the retail product is all the consumer will ever get and if it doesn’t run or has tons of bugs then there’s nothing you can do about it except set your PR teams out on damage control. PC games have the potential for endless patching to help improve their stability. So companies have to wonder, why pay 5 programmers to find and remove a X number of bugs in a week then release when you can release now, make money, and then pay one programmer to fix bugs as they are reported by tech support. Sure, in the second scenario you have many unhappy customers, but most people seem to have short memories and they soon forget a bad experience with tech support if the game is good.

Unlike the early 90s when the idea of releasing a game once it was nice and stable was the way to do it, the late 90s had a totally different approach. What some don’t realize is that Windows 95 was probably one of the best things to happen to gaming in years (because of the new technology and accessibility), but it was also one of the worst. Programmers now had to deal with possible conflict with any number of programs that might also be running at the same time on a system, unlike dos where you could only run a single program at once. This hodge-podge of programs is every coder’s worst nightmare and makes the once relatively simple process of bug hunting much harder.

The late 90s were also a period where many of the great institutions of computer gaming went under or were bought off. Some companies such as Microprose still believed in the old model of releasing a game when it was done, the problem was that the cost of producing games had suddenly gone up, and for smaller companies the development costs and the delays meant that they either had to finally release a game that wasn’t ready or go under and see the game never released. Some went ahead and released buggy or incomplete games that flopped on the market; others refused to compromise and went under. At the same time you had games like X-treme Paint Brawl, one of the worst games ever made, it was barely playable, cost nothing to develop, but people still bought it. Arguably it wasn’t expensive and a lot of people just picked it up thinking they made a good deal, but for the company it was a cash cow, a small one, but still.

So you had companies trying to release good games going under like Microprose and at the same time you had companies releasing junk making money. I think it seems obvious why the idea of release now and patch later came about, it was the only way many companies felt they could survive, they can make a little money now and still remain fairly true to the artistic vision of the game, all be it only eventually.

You also have to consider the examples we saw in the late 90s when technology in PC gaming was going in leaps and bounds, many companies pumped millions into developing games only to flop at retail because the attention to detail and debugging had delayed the game so long the technology was obsolete when it hit the shelves. Perhaps today it’s not as bad, there hasn’t really been a breakthrough in PC gaming in a while, and there’s a limit to just how much nicer you can make a game look before people don’t see a difference anymore, and we’re getting close to it.

Anyway, the whole concept of release now/patch later is here to stay, maybe the PC gaming industry is weaker for it, then again maybe not. Who can say what might have been, but short of a major change in design philosophy that’s the business model the PC gamer has to deal with.

Uh … What does DE stand for?

I think he’s talking about Deus Ex

Originally posted by Merlin
I like DE2 and MP2 ;_;

Did I say ANYWHERE that I didn’t like those games? I simply said that they could have been better if more time had been spent on them.

Originally posted by d Galloway
Also, Rockstar, Grand Theft Auto sucks. Stop making GTA games.

You wash out your mouth with soap and go to your room young man!!! Right now!!!

As for the question at hand, quality is always worth waiting for. You rush a product out there, and people buy it and discover it’s all flawed and buggy, you’ll piss 'em off and risk losing them as customers. You have to go for quality first.

Preferably no defects, but just because it takes forever doesn’t mean it won’t be buggy. Daikatana, anyone?

Originally posted by d Galloway
Also, Rockstar, Grand Theft Auto sucks. Stop making GTA games.

GTA always sucked. Its never been a good game. But since number 3 got every non-gamer/jock’s attention, it sold like hotcakes and now it’s doomed to many, many sequels until interest dies and it rots away.

Like tomb raider i suppose.

Eh, there are some games that you know that suck. (Like GTA, or MK.), but sometimes, you can’t help liking them, that happened to me with GTA 2, and with MK:T, and I guess it happened to some otehr people too :3