I love the gaming industry. Video gaming is one of my favorite hobbies and something that brings me tons of glee. What I feel is what I want other gamers to feel when they play their games. But there is a destructive habit in the gaming industry that came about when publishers gained the ability to patch games after launch. This isn’t something that all publishers are guilty of, but it seems as if some of gaming’s biggest publishers are relying on that fact as their excuse to release games in a terrible state. They reason that it can just be patched. Releasing highly anticipated games that are riddled with bugs and flaws has become normalized and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. The latest victim was the recent release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy Definitive Edition two days ago.
Many photos and videos are being posted by social media users as they have a field day with Rockstar Games’ latest release for all the wrong reasons. Look at the character’s arms in the photo above. Video game media websites such as Den of Geek have chronicled the embarrassing bugs that gamers have been posting on the internet. The PC version of the GTA remastered trilogy was taken down from the Rockstar Games store. My heart goes out to the people who pre-ordered the game in good faith in hopes that the final product would be a reward for their investment. But that wasn’t the case here and it isn’t the case in too many instances. How did we get to the place in the gaming industry where this is acceptable? And if the terrible launch of Cyberpunk 2077 wasn’t enough for other publishers to make sure their games receive the proper quality assurance, then what will make them accountable?
I understand the excitement of pre-ordering a game and believing that the development and publishing process will justify the investment. Many gamers go in with the notion that the gaming companies will do right by them, particularly when they are willing to pay early. But we as consumers in the gaming community must utilize a bit more caution. After being a part of the Cyberpunk 2077 debacle last year, I’ve opted to be much more selective in pre-ordering games. I will do so only if the developers and publishers involved with the game have shown a track record of putting out quality products at launch, are willing to have consistent and transparent communication with their customers, and show off their game like something they are proud of. A good example of this is Bandai Namco with their releases of Scarlet Nexus and Tales of Arise this year. The company showcased the games openly throughout development and even allowed players to download free demos of both games to play well before the game was released. These were two games I pre-ordered this year. The final products more than delivered.
With the remastered GTA trilogy, there was little to no information on the game. All that existed was a short trailer that showcased some of the graphical differences. There was nothing featuring actual gameplay or a discussion of the differences between the remastered trilogy and the original games. This type of marketing where it seems like developers and publishers are hiding something is always a red flag to me. Sure enough, the game came out and was infested with bugs while missing a lot of the content from the original games. Beloved music tracks were missing. Missions were broken to the point where they had to be restarted. This was a game sold for full-price and allowed to reach the market when it should have been delayed.
It is unfortunate, but we have to put these gaming companies to the test as consumers. They will put out their products, but we must not be quick to open our wallets until we have seen the product for ourselves and know that it is good. It’s like the movies when there is an exchange between two criminal groups and one side opens the briefcase to make sure all the money is there and accounted for while the other side opens the other briefcase to make sure the product is legit. When both sides are satisfied, they then walk away back to their respective vehicles and drive away from the scene. When it comes to the exchange of goods and services, we should have the same approach so we ensure we get what we want out of the deal as well.
Things like this are very disappointing because it shows a lack of regard for the consumers. And it’s way too commonplace in gaming today. But the only way it is going to change is if we speak loudest with our wallets and deny them the benefit of our patronage until they have consistently shown us, as their customers, that they care enough to release the best products possible. Otherwise, it will just be business as usual for them.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ROCKSTAR GAMES’ RECENT GTA LAUNCH? DO YOU THINK THAT GAMES, IN GENERAL, NEED BETTER QUALITY ASSURANCE?