There comes a time in every gamer’s life when he or she will purchase a game, start it up and then, after the first 10 minutes, realize that he/she has completely wasted money on something that is broken, unplayable and disappointing.
This happened to me a couple of times; once a few years ago when I purchased a game by the name of “Quake Wars: Enemy Territory” on Xbox 360, and more recently with a game called “Takedown: Red Sabre” on PC. Everything I had seen or heard about Quake Wars and Takedown were largely positive and the gameplay footage looked tight and responsive. However, the final products I played were absolutely terrible games, receiving a 6.5 and a 2.0 respectively from the popular gaming news outlet, Gamespot.
The animation was shoddy, unfulfilling and slow, lacking depth and force. Both games felt as if you were fighting with the controls. The games’ textures would pop in and out while playing the game, further taking you away from the experience. It’s doubtful that the game developers would release their game like this unknowingly, so what I really struggle with is why they would release something in an unplayable and broken state.
Takedown released some patches and some fixes just a few day after its release but not before suffering great ire from its customers and popular Youtubers, who then warned their hundreds of thousands of viewers to simply not buy the game. At present, Takedown remains a broken and unplayable mess, despite the developer’s attempts to fix it. It released far too early, and it is now paying the full price for the mistake.
Occam’s razor leads me to believe that Takedown’s state may be a result of a rushed game due to limited funding provided by the crowd-funding site Kickstarter; the game’s release was perhaps an attempt to gather some more funds so they could continue to improve the game. Quake Wars’ downfall may have been the result of the developers focusing their resources on the PC version, which received great critical acclaim, though the Xbox360 version paled in comparison.
Broken games may not always be because the game’s gameplay mechanics are broken but by constraints that the developer decided to put on the game. For example, when the SimCity expansion pack was released in March, it featured a component where you must always be connected to the game’s online servers in order to play — even when playing single player. This was intended to combat piracy. When the game’s release date came to pass and the floodgates opened, SimCity’s game servers were completely overwhelmed, and users were unable to actually play the game even up to a week after its original release. This created a massive public relations nightmare, featuring rants from the game’s customers on social media like Reddit and Twitter.
SimCity repeated the same mistakes that another hugely popular game, Diablo III, had made, even though Diablo III had released nearly a year earlier. In these instances, it’s baffling that developers would rather risk the destruction of their brand and a massive public relation nightmare with their legitimate customers because they were trying to solve the currently unsolvable issue of piracy. Despite SimCity’s best efforts, pirates still found a way to fool SimCity into thinking that it was connected to the game’s servers so that the game could be played without an internet connection or connecting to the game’s actual servers.
Pirates had not only defeated the developers’ plan but they now offered a better product than the developers.
These four games that I’ve spoken about are only a few examples of games that have been released broken and unplayable. Despite these failures, flops continue to get released. It certainly feels like they could be prevented, but the necessary steps aren’t being taken to ensure that doesn’t happen.
As a parting suggesting to fellow consumers: It’s best to wait until after the game is released and read reviews of the desired game to ensure that you’re not about to get robbed.
Entertainment Writer Diego Carrera can be reached at email@example.com.