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The Age of Broken AAA Videogames

The Age of Broken AAA Videogames

The process of making a videogame is one of the most complicated processes that a person or a team can endure. These things take so much coordination, communication, and money that it’s a miracle we even get them in the first place. That being said, throughout the majority of this year, we have seen several broken AAA videogames such as Redfall, STAR WARS Jedi: Survivor, and even The Last of Us Part I’s port to PC. All of these titles were released in varying states of brokenness, and The Last of Us Part I was mocked on sites like Twitter and YouTube for its abhorrent glitches and botched launch by developer Naughty Dog. These companies have, of course, apologised for their mistakes to varying degrees, but my point is that none of these issues should be happening at all.

We, as consumers, pay £60 or sometimes more for AAA videogames expecting to receive a finished and polished product, and most of the time, that isn’t the case. The consumer doesn’t deserve to be lied to or treated like an idiot when they’re already taking time out of their day to buy and play the game, too. That’s without even mentioning that there are families out there who can’t afford £70 videogames due to various economic issues forcing them to choose between making their kid’s day or buying food. This is completely unacceptable, and if companies like EA and Bethesda actually want to keep their fans, then they need to stop releasing broken games.

It’s just blatant false advertising, take something like Cyberpunk 2077, for example, it was advertised as this next-generation experience and launched in a horrible state, leading to the title being pulled from the PlayStation Store. Then there is STAR WARS Jedi: Survivor, a game that launched with several performance issues on PC and the Xbox Series X. Some players even experienced crashes, and in GameGrin’s review, we mentioned that it happened on Xbox, too. There used to be a time when games launched in a finished state, and that was it. But now, there is a laundry list of AAA videogame releases that have either come out unfinished or were nearly unplayable.

However, it’s not just the economic aspect that is disheartening about all of this. It’s also the massive expectations placed on developers by greedy publishers and investors who just want to make a quick buck at the expense of their employee's reputations. This could easily open up a conversation about the downsides of capitalism, but right now, can we at least treat our employees respectfully without treating them like machines? Is it really that hard? I don’t think so. To be honest, lying to your consumers, forcing your employees to crunch, and releasing unfinished products should be illegal. Or maybe it is illegal? I’m not a legal expert, but my point is that something needs to be done about the age of broken AAA games because I think we’re all getting tired of the same old thing. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a quick fix for any of these problems. But perhaps we can start by giving developers adequate time to finish a game, honestly advertising your product, and understanding what is required for a modern videogame to be released in a complete state so we can break the status quo.

This era has gone on for far too long, so it’s time for major publishers and executives to put their foot down and end the growing list of broken games. We, as consumers, should not have to be subjected to yet another catastrophe because some guy wants to make a quick buck by enforcing a strict deadline and fixing the problem with free updates that barely do anything. You can argue that as budgets balloon, creating a work of art that’s judged as such is extremely hard to do. But I’d argue right back and tell you to look at games that didn’t suffer from horrendous bugs and glitches, like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom on the Nintendo Switch and Resident Evil 4. These vast, big-budget games were released to critical acclaim and pushed the boundaries of gameplay and storytelling to their limits. There is no way in hell that a AAA videogame couldn’t be released in a similar state, and if you say otherwise, then maybe we need to think this whole thing over again. Or maybe we shouldn’t buy your products at all…

Jon Wilson

Jon Wilson

Staff Writer

Lover of dogs, video games, and Fall.

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