Broken video games at launch are fast becoming the norm of late, just last week Tony Hawks Pro Skater 5 became the latest victim in a long and worrying line of big name games to be launched while still visibly incomplete. Consumers are paying their hard earned money to pre-order games, be it through online stores or from a high street retailer, in order to ensure they are at the front of the queue come launch day, only to be greeted with a huge update when starting the game up or in game issues.
Whether the blame lies with the Developer for rushing a game out to meet a deadline or the Publishers, who hire testers specifically to check the games thoroughly for bugs and glitches – clearly someone’s to blame.
Should there be more clarity from Developers and Publishers, as to the condition of their game pre launch? surely as the paying customer, we have the right to know what we are paying for. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t pay for a big screen TV and expect it to be delivered broken would you?, nor would you except that kind of service and willingly pay for it.
Have we reached the point where gamers no longer want to pre-order games through fear of the game being released unfinished, instead opting to wait for the games condition to become more clear before making a purchase.
We take a look back at 10 badly broken games that were launched, despite their very poor condition.
10. Fallout New Vegas
Fallout New Vegas had barely been released a few hours in October 2010 before problems began to occur. Players began reporting a whole variety of issues with the game which included Saved Games becoming corrupted, random game freezes and players becoming trapped within the games terrain. Bethesda stated after the games release that they, in conjunction with Obsidian, were actively working on an update for release “as soon as possible” to address in-game issues. They also urged customers to keep their copies of New Vegas rather than return them to stores, stating that providing the best possible experience to their users was a priority.
When Skyrim launched in November 2011 it had a multitude of technical issues which varied from small to large in scale. Examples of faults found within the game included a texture down-scaling issue on the Xbox 360 version when the game was run from the hard drive while the Playstation 3 suffered frame rate issues, random crashes when save files exceeded 6 MB, although most of those found were due to extended game play times, the PC version also had it’s problems with slowdown and crashes.
Since Skyrims release several patches have been published in order to address technical issues and improve overall gameplay within the game. Patch 1.2 was released on November 29, 2011 in hopes of fixing some of the game’s issues, however, some players reported new bugs in the game following the patch, including more frequent game crashes.
8. Sonic The Hedgehog (2006)
The 2006 version of Sonic the Hedgehog is widely regarded as one of the worst video games in history to ever be made, upon it’s release reviewers heavily criticized the game’s camera system, extensive loading times, poor controls, and several gameplay glitches. Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot labelled Sonic the Hedgehog as “a mess from top to bottom”, while Juan Castro of IGN said that the game suffered from “a catastrophic loss in control,” others described the game as “flat-out unfinished, unfairly difficult, and most importantly, just isn’t much fun.”
7. Grand Theft Auto V Online
When Grand Theft Auto Online launched on 1 October 2013, a mere two weeks after the initial release of Grand Theft Auto V. A lot of players begun reporting that they had difficulties connecting to the game’s servers and the Social Club web service. Some would be left standing in the Car Park during the games Introduction, to never leave while others further reported that the game would often freeze while loading the Online Modes earlier missions. Rockstar did release a technical patch on 5 October in an effort to resolve the issues, they also suspended the micro-transaction system, which allows players to purchase game content using real money as an extra precaution.
The technical patch however did not work with problems still apparent the second week following launch, some players reported their player-character progress as having completely disappeared as well as all in game money. Rockstar released another patch on 10 October combating the issues, and players experiencing issues were told not to recreate their multiplayer avatars. To atone for the awful start to GTA V Online, Rockstar offered $500,000 (in-game currency) to the accounts of all players connected to Online since it’s launch.
6. Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing
Developers, Stellar Stone were massively criticized for the release of their racing game Big Rigs: Over The Road Racing in 2003, its release received largely negative reviews with some reviewers calling it “only good as a joke” as well as “completely broken and blatantly unfinished in nearly every way”. Over The Road Racing was largely slated for it’s lack of collision detection, AI so bad that the opponent didn’t move at all never mind participate in any race.
5. Halo The Maser Chief Collection
At the games launch, many players experienced problems with Halo The Master Chief Collections Online Matchmaking. 343 released numerous updates to address the issues. Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries offered a public apology at the time noting issues “that have resulted in a frustrating experience, including long matchmaking times and low session success rates”. In December 19, 2014, Microsoft announced that as an apology for the issues, it would give a free month of Xbox Live Gold, a special avatar and nameplate, and a free downloadable copy of the Halo 3: ODST campaign to those who played the game between its launch and December 19, 2014.
4. Batman Arkham Knight (PC Version)
Warner Bros and Rocksteady’s launch of the PC port for Batman Arkham Knight’s was a complete and utter disaster from the get go. Despite the hype surrounding the PC version, it was actually ported to the PC by third-party developer Iron Galaxy, instead of being developed by Rocksteady themselves. Kotaku reported at the time that Warner Bros. knew all about the PC version’s problems “for months” but dedicated their resources to working on the console version of the game, instead of the PC port. These claims from internal QA testers also said that Warner Bros. were using a 720p resolution as the benchmark for testing, and that “literally thousands of bugs that were specific to the PC version” were reported, but ignored.
STEAM User Shadownet had the following to say regarding the game “where to start. It’s 2015, why is a game of this caliber being locked at 30fps? While the frame rate cap is editable, you have to go into the config to do it instead of the main menu. But that doesn’t matter, the game is terribly optimized. Whether it’s capped at 30 or 60fps, you’ll get major framerate drops. A single GTX 970 isn’t even enough to keep it at a stable 30fps, which is completely ludicrous. Warner Brothers should be ashamed of releasing a game like this.”
Warner Bros. responded by removing Batman Arkham Knight from the STEAM Store until the problems with the game had been resolved.
3. Battlefield 4
After it’s launch in November 2013, Battlefield 4 suffered from a lot of major technical bugs, glitches and crashes across all available platforms. Players would experience a loss of save point after quitting out during Campaign Mode, which left most to have to complete the game within one sitting or risk being back at the start. It didn’t take EA and DICE long to begin releasing patches for the game on all systems with DICE later revealing that work on all of its future games, including Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Star Wars: Battlefront and future DLC for Battlefield 4 would be halted until the game was working properly. In December 2013, more than a month after the game’s initial release, an EA representative said, “We know we still have a ways to go with fixing the game, it is absolutely our #1 priority. The team at DICE is working non-stop to update the game.”
With the bugs and glitches overwhelmingly obvious at the time, EA became the target of multiple law firms. Holzer Holzer & Fistel, LLC launched an investigation into EA’s public statements made between July 24 and December 4, 2013 to determine if the company intentionally misled its investors with information pertaining to, “the development and sales of the Company’s Battlefield 4 video game and the game’s impact on EA’s revenue and projects moving forward”. Law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP filed a similar class action lawsuit against EA shortly afterwards for releasing false or misleading statements about the quality of Battlefield 4.
2. Drive Club
Driveclub was intended to be the flagship game for the Playstation 4 when it was released in 2014 but the hype quickly made way for major embarrassment. The Racing game flattered to deceive on numerous levels but most importantly, it failed to deliver Online.
PlayStation stated at Driveclubs launch “DriveClub has been in development for years and the PlayStation 4 allowed for the dream to finally be realized”
That was a statement made by PlayStation, which was full of intent at the games launch, sadly the horrific server problems turned what should have been a great racing game into one of gaming industries biggest farces. Sony started dealing with the aftermath by postponing the PS Plus edition quickly after the multiplayer server connection problems, then came the limitations put on the amount of people allowed to play online at once.
After the disastrous launch Playstation UK Boss Fergal Gara told IGN “We apologise to any players affected and are doing our damndest to make things right. So that’s what we’ve been doing and the game is pretty near-complete now. We don’t want to introduce the PS Plus Edition until we’re confident the servers can take the load.
Unleashing it on the millions of PS Plus users is the next step, but we want confidence in the capacity and concurrency figures. I’ll say again: we apologise and are trying to sort it, and we’ll hopefully learn from it so we see it less in future.”
1. Assassins Creed Unity
Launched in November of 2014, Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed Unity was the first Co-Op driven Assassins Creed title to make it onto the Xbox One. This should have been a proud moment for the development team of Ubisoft Montreal but there was one slight issue, Unity was unbelievably broken. The issues within Unity ranged from the games protagonist ‘Arno’ glitching through the ground, not to mention his strange ability to become stuck within the games various Hay-carts. Assassins Creed Unity was so badly broken upon launch that players could not experience the game in single player because of the random glitches, they couldn’t even really experience the games co-op due to the game crashing on loading up.
Unity’s issues didn’t just stop with Arno disappearing through the floor like “Harry Houdini”, players experienced serious drops in frame-rate as well as in game collision issues. Much of the hype surrounding Unity was based off of an enthralling co-op experience, advertised everywhere including at E3 and in cinematic trailers. Unity should have been a great co-op experience and a first for the series, but players simply could not connect to others let alone play by themselves.
After the disaster that was Assassins Creed Unity, Ubisoft Shares dropped 12.8 percent, the game hurt Ubisoft badly and left a lot of buyers very angry. Do Ubisoft have to release a new game every single year, maybe they should have taken a couple years off to fully develop Unity. Time will tell as to whether or not they’ve learnt from their mistakes, with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate due for release in October this year.
Have you ever experienced a badly broken game at launch?, let us know in the comment section below.