These last few weeks there has been a ton of news surrounding the newest co-op looter shooter Outriders and the insane amount of issues players are experiencing. Seeing the amount of complaints surrounding the launch has helped me realize that there is a crazy trend going on with bigger developers putting out semi-polished or unfinished games but are expecting the public to pay full price. There seems to be a disconnect between the marketing for games and the information the players are getting before launch. Once they do come out, there are just unacceptable mistakes and issues with the games that simply should not be there. These AAA games are being created and published by experienced and well established companies and regardless of the pandemic which has affected many development teams last year, each of those developers should have delayed their projects and informed the public properly that they were simply not going to be ready by the secondary release date.
Outriders is just the most latest example of this trend. It seems that Outriders was launched in state that was unpolished or at the very least untested before it shipped, and the result is a somewhat broken game that has major performance issues. The developers immediately got backlash and complaints from the fans and community who actually like the game. The biggest disappointment is that a games like Outriders and Cyberpunk 2077 are loved by fans and they become hyped by the marketing and game play trailers, but when they get their hands on the final game they find that it is not exactly what was advertised. Issues like server disconnects, bugs, glitches, and game crashes, are issues that quite frankly shouldn’t exist at this point for premium games. These developers have access to support to stress test their game, their server performance, and overall stability but it seems they are not using that support. Honestly astounding that there are free to play games with more optimization and less server issues than some of these newer AAA games. It’s embarrassing and more importantly is hurting the industry overall due to the loss of trust from players and fans when a game does not deliver a solid base experience.
I have written about the issues with Cyberpunk in the past and how CD Projekt Red was working on the game to make it what it should have been to begin with, however, I had faith in the game because I had already been playing on PC which provided the most stable version of the game. Had it been on consoles, I would have been truly disappointed and probably would not have considered playing the game again. With Outriders, I have actually decided to not purchase the game until there have been more stability updates released. The ridiculous amount of issues I’ve been reading about has really concerned me. Players have reported crashing, server disconnects, not being able to log into the game, character builds getting deleted, losing loot, rubber banding, general lag issues, and finally memory leaks. At this state the game shouldn’t have been released. Personally I would rather developer People Can Fly have told the fans and players that the game needed to be pushed another month or two just to make sure the game was running with more stability on its servers.
As well I am fully aware that the global pandemic has affected game development across the board. Again, I find that this is still no excuse for a AAA developer to not be transparent about where things are. If a game is simply not ready to be launched, there should be NO communication released to the public suggesting a new release date, or talks about being completed or near completed if it truly isn’t ready. In addition, both developers and publishers need to stop apologizing for making these public mistakes. This industry is not new to criticism from fans or players but I think they need to end the mistake of rushing a launch just because fans are desperate and make sure that their game is running smoothly across the board first regardless of what people want. Again the HONESTY and TRANSPARENCY is really what I am asking from developers here, that’s all. If the project is not fully complete within the original time frame the company has anticipated, relay that info to everyone, the publishers, department heads, everyone who needs to know, and express that information to the fans.
Again I think many of us would rather have delays and get a fully polished experience instead of an earlier release date for a broken game. Especially because once a buggy game comes out and players lose interest, it’s not likely they will return to that game again. Finally I want express that I am also aware that sometimes these decisions to release the game at a specific time are not always decided by the actual development teams, but instead they’re decided by marketing teams or publishers to push a specific deadline to meet the demands of investors or company heads. In these cases my sympathy really goes out to the developers because any major video game is a true labor of love, even if it isn’t successful, and the worst part is that fans attack the creators and developers first, even when it may be out of their control. Moving forward, I truly hope developers are taking notice of the state of the industry and the crazy amount of wonky launches that are leading to disappointment and mixed perceptions from fans.