There’s an issue in gaming, and it’s been magnified recently. Previously, getting patches and updates to games once they were already released just wasn’t feasbable on consoles. Things could be fixed in a re-released or a GoTY edition, but it wasn’t as common of a practice for most games.
Now that consoles have hard drives and internet connections, it’s easy for developers to fix issues, improve performance, and offer updates to players. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it means that glitches and bugs can be fixed, but on the other hand it means games don’t have to be as polished before release, and it provides a bit of a crutch to the publishers who put unrealistic deadlines on their teams and rush games out the door before they’re ready.
Sometimes, the post-release edits are major things, like changing the ending of a game due to backlash from fans. This starts to create a really blurry line. If games are art, it is okay to change that due to demands from the consumers? Lucas from CheatCC points out that gamers are becoming too entitled, and bullying developers into making changes due to unrealistic expectations.
“If we want games to be elevated, to be taken as seriously as film and literature, we need to let the creators be creators and let them fail or succeed on their own terms.” Lucas White, contributing writer at CheatCC.
In a lot of cases, that argument makes sense. The tough part can be making the distinction between which problems in a game are due to artists taking a chance and misfiring, and which problems are due to publishers putting unrealistic deadlines and expectations on studios to rush things out before they’re ready. It’s also a slippery slope to try to please everyone, and there’s a certain point where gamers have to sit back and realize that it’s very rare for a game to be in the realm of perfection, and if we get too spoiled due to social media outrage being able to re-write the history of games that are already released, we risk developers being unable to take chances with their creations and facing a watered-down industry that focuses even more on sequels to proven best-sellers and less on innovation.
Pre-ordering games that ship filled with bugs with the intention of patching things up down the road isn’t something that’s going to change until it stops being a viable business model. Glitches, bugs, and glaring issues should be fixed, but when you start re-writing the endings of games or making overhauls to parts of the story that aren’t as well received, it starts to raise some interesting questions.