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Company Loyalty is Ruining Games

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Gaming is at an interesting place right now. We seem to have hit a technological plateau where gameplay innovation is beginning to become less common and graphical fidelity advances are beginning look become less noticeable. There are three games that come to mind when I was thinking about this editorial, two are 8th generation games, and one is a 7th generation. Destiny, Titanfall, and The Master Chief Collection are games that garnered massive amounts of praise despite being relatively poor in execution. The biggest crime that these games commit is the unfulfilled promise of a future. It’s the promise that a game will get better in time, and that is not how any AAA game should be sold.

I understand that gaming has had to evolve with other rising technologies. When broadband internet became mainstream, consoles had to adapt to accommodate an online multiplayer system. With the mainstream implementation of high speed internet, companies can now send patch updates and even extra content straight to the console. Want an expansion? You can buy it digitally and have it readily available next time you boot up the game. This is a huge advance in comparison to just a few years ago when in order to apply an expansion, you needed to install a new disc onto the computer.

These new advances have, for better and worse, changed gaming. Now you can release a game that is riddled with glitches and clunky controls. You can release a game that isn’t even finished, but later say that future patches and expansions will make the game better. This is the problem with gaming these days, and the three games I mentioned are just the beginning. You can’t market a game just on the promise of a future.

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Why is marketing a game with the promise of a future a bad thing? After all, you want a game like The Master Chief Collection, Destiny, or Titanfall to have a lasting impression. The problem is not wanting to keep the game going with new content; it is using the prospect of “things will get better eventually” that leaves a sour taste in gamers’ mouths. I find it interesting when people complain about how lame Early Access on Steam is. For those of you that do not know. Steam’s Early Access program allows developers to release a game onto Steam in it’s early development stages. Them gamers can buy the game and play it right then and there. The catch is that the game will most likely be barebones and lacking in content because what you are playing is a game in Alpha or Beta stage.

People seem to hate the idea of paying for an incomplete game with the promise of a full release, yet when a new game is released from a AAA Publisher that is riddled with glitches and instability (ACIII, AC:U, Every Bethesda Game Ever) or when a game is severely lacking in unique original content (Destiny and Titanfall) people seem to forget all of that and just chalk it up to “release day/week/month blues”. Releasing a game that simply doesn’t work, regardless of what developer/publisher has made is unacceptable. I understand that there are only so many problems someone can find and fix during development, but the amount of instability when you look at Master Chief Collection or Assassin’s Creed Unity you begin to wonder if developers even tried to make sure their game worked.

The same goes for Destiny. This is a game that has less than 20 hours of story content. The the “end-game” is useless grinding and disgusting mission repetition simply for gear that doesn’t even change your appearance. You can try to rationalize it all you want, but at least when you play a game like WoW, you can see the badass armor sets people worked for. In Destiny, all the armor for every class looks incredibly similar. Titanfall launched at the right time for the Xbox One, however the limited map choice and small loadout customization severely hindered the lasting playability a game like Call of Duty or Halo has.

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When it comes to a game like Destiny, everyone’s argument is “it is a MMO you are supposed to grind for gear.” This is true, but when I play games like Firefall or Neverwinter, there is one defining characteristic that Destiny severely lacks: level design. Destiny’s small maps make the game feel so much smaller because it takes no more than five minutes to explore the entire map (slight exaggeration but you get the point). The next line I always see is that “this game will get better with expansions and patch updates”. This is also the same defense nearly every gamer will use to justify their purchase. I hear it with Assassin’s Creed, MCC, Titanfall, ESO, Skyrim etc. But how are games like Master Chief Collection skating by in the eyes of gamers when the multiplayer hardly works, or the massive glitches in any new Bethesda game; yet when you mention Early Access on Steam people jump on the bandwagon of hate for paying for an incomplete game with the hopes of getting a full game in the future? The answer is easy: loyalty.

Publisher/Developer loyalty plays a massive role into what people think of a new game. Gamers are willing to overlook massive faults in a game’s final product if they are loyal to the game franchise or company. I won’t go too deep into this because this article is already getting rather long, but I will say that Dragon Age: Inquisition is nowhere near the masterpiece nearly every outlet is claiming it is. Objectivity is so hard to come by in terms of gamers and games journalists alike.

So how can we stop this spiral of incomplete game releases? You can start being objective, you can get rid of the mentality that a game doesn’t work just because it is “release week”. To be honest with you guys, this is why the prospect of an Early Access program is so great for PC gaming. Game development takes longer, but if you play the game off and on and report your problems, odds are the game will have fewer issues when it does release.

Saying a game will get better with expansions and patch updates when the core game is already terrible is like saying your 1972 Pinto Hatchback is the best car ever after you added a bunch of visual modifications like new rims, a spoiler and a different paint job. News flash, you would still have a car that is widely known for spontaneous combustion.

About Zach Martinez

Freelancer here at Armed Gamer, North American Video Game Correspondent for Following the Nerd, and a regular on Examiner.com, Zach has made somewhat of a name for himself at the age of 23. He has been writing professionally for just over 5 years now. He doesn't care about resolution or frames per second, he cares about what matters most, the games. You can reach reach him directly at zach.martinez09395@yahoo.com.

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  • Joshua Claassen

    I wish patch installation could be more user-friendly on Steam… Brand loyalty has little to nothing to do with it if you can’t play a game you’ve bought.

    • Trollsama

      more user friendly? it does it all for you >.>
      im not sure what more you were looking for in the user friendly area…. cooking dinner?

      • Joshua Claassen

        If “it does it all for you,” then why all the rigmarole about “Place the patch in X folder or it won’t work, etc., etc., etc.” that they had about three years ago? It didn’t always do what it does now. And that’s the context for my previous comment.

        • Trollsama

          3 years ago… You posted the comment 2 months ago. What relevence does the distant past have to do with now?

          “Its ok guys i have a steady income, i had a job 3 years ago.”

          (And i have been a steam user for well over 3 years. Had 0 issues to date.)

          • Joshua Claassen

            Mine works almost fine now, with an updated patch. I occasionally still have issues with renaming items, but I can live with this particular minor glitch.

  • Thomas Lee Howard

    If you looked on 343i’s forums then you’d see a LOOOOOOOOOOOOT of hate for it. Not to many fanboys were defending 343i or micrsoft on that one. Some people even organized a protest. The game even at launch had some shining moments such as the Halo 2 anniversary campaign look gorgeous (when it didn’t freeze that is) and the funny thing is that 343 didn’t even make that. Blur did. Certain affinity made the Halo 2 anniversary multiplayer which works very well when you can find a match. The funny thing is that the only thing that doesn’t work in the MCC is everything 343i built such as the UI and matchmaking servers. The other games however didn’t grab me with their hype machine and I don’t buy EA games anymore since that ME3 crap they put out.

  • Bret Wilson

    Lotta hate of Bethesda for some reason. As I recall, the only thing Bethesda released for Skyrim and Fallout: New Vegas were a handful of patches and some exemplary DLC packs- all of which the games are 100% playable without.

    • Dukkati .

      That’s not quite true though, is it? I had Skyrim on day 1, I even sprung for the legendary edition that came with a dragon wall and an Alduin statue and I don’t regret my purchase to this day, but day 1 Skyrim was a mess. Sure, you could play the game just fine, but you’d accrue more and more glitches in your save the more you played. For me I started collecting quests that had glitched in a way that meant I couldn’t complete them, some of them main quests that occasionally required I start a new save as reloading an old one didn’t solve it. The further into the game I got with more gear etc. the laggier the game became, outright freezing at times to the point where I got used to it freezing I would sit there waiting for a few minutes whilst it loaded itself up properly at least once an hour. I bought the latest edition as a christmas present for someone last year and got the chance to start over whilst I was house-sitting for them, guess what? None of the problems I had exist anymore, because they patched them. Bethesda is known for releasing games with huge worlds, and a whole host of glitches.