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Bethesda Criticized Over Buggy Releases

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the and-don't-kill-off-patrick-stewart-at-the-beginning dept.

Bug 397

SSDNINJA writes "This editorial discusses the habit of Bethesda Softworks to release broken and buggy games with plans to just fix the problems later. Following a trend of similar issues coming up in their games, the author begs gamers to stop supporting buggy games and to spread the idea that games should be finished and quality controlled before release – not weeks after."

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Black Ops (2, Informative)

devbox (1919724) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171938)

It's not only Bethesda, the today-released Black Ops game is unplayable on multiplayer. Huge lag for every player and there's no point playing it until patch.

Re:Black Ops (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172296)

Don't buy games before 1 or 2 patches have been released. Buying shortly after release means, you're asking for it.

Re:Black Ops (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172582)

The problem therein is that all the publishers really give a crap about is first-month sales. Chances are, if everyone is waiting for the game to be patched, then the patch will never see the light of day because they will assume the game failed and that's the end of it.

There was a time that the main rallying cry of the console gamers who didn't want to play on PC was "it just works" when they put the disc into the console. But now, with the advent of online-enabled consoles, so much for that. Xbox and PS3 gamers are forced to sit through the old "ship now, patch later" setup, and woe to someone who has an offline console and simply has to suffer through the bugs - since none of the companies are interested in putting their fucking game patches in a USB-storage compatible file for offline updating.

I'd say that the Wii doesn't have so much of this, but then there was the game-breaking Metroid: Other M bug, as well as the 5-6 other bugged doors that wouldn't "break" the game but would prevent 100% completion. And of course, most of the 3rd-parties writing for the Wii these days aren't doing quality control since they're simply shovelware houses putting out crappy knockoffs.

Re:Black Ops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172744)

I know man, right? I remember buying Super Mario Bros. for the NES back in the day and the game always froze at the last castle just after killing King Koopa. I ended up waiting two whole months before they pushed the patch out for it, but man, it sure was sweet to finally rescue the princess.

Re:Black Ops (1)

calzakk (1455889) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172786)

But that's the point of TFA, the game should work from release without requiring a patch or two...

Re:Black Ops (1)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172794)

But, if everyone does that, nobody will buy the game, and the patch will never come out. That only works if a certain number of consumers are suckers, and we sacrifice them, so that the rest of us can have a game that works.

Instead of preordering games, gamers should invest in game companies, such as Bioware or Bethesda. That will give them cash to hire better skilled programmers (and more of them, too). Hopefully. Of course, it could end up just going into the pockets of upper management, but that's the risk you take.

Obsidian (1, Informative)

Eudial (590661) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171940)

It's funny because Obsidian is the developer of New Vegas, and not Bethesda (who are the publishers).

Re:Obsidian (5, Insightful)

devbox (1919724) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172010)

And what does that have to do with anything? It's usually the publisher that releases the game, and often also tries to hurry up the developer.

Re:Obsidian (2, Insightful)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172092)

It's funny because Obsidian is the developer of New Vegas

,,,using Bethesda's engine. Nice try, though.

Re:Obsidian (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172194)

So by that logic, the bugs in any of the dozens of games that use the Unreal engine are Epic's fault? Obsidian is the developer, they took the contract for the game and agreed to timeline, it's their responsibility to get the game out.

Re:Obsidian (2, Insightful)

am 2k (217885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172248)

It's the publisher's task to check the game for bugs before releasing it, though.

Re:Obsidian (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172306)

So how do you explain New Vegas being FAR more buggy than Fallout 3? In theory, New Vegas should be LESS buggy, since the Gamebryo engine [] has been given time to be perfected.

Re:Obsidian (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172556)

Lets use logic then.
If they just sat down and FIXED all the bugs, the engine would be less buggy.
But they keep on improving the engine, which means updates and not patches. Which is suppose to be done so we can get higher framerates and more stuff onscreen on the same hardware(which is a good thing), but it will produce bugs.
Along with the fact that Obsidian did like everyone else who gets a engine they make game on: They do their own modfications.
Modifications = bugs, ALWAYS
So..... its just beth who was lazy on the test phase.

Re:Obsidian (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172750)

Which is suppose to be done so we can get higher framerates and more stuff onscreen on the same hardware(which is a good thing).

If you played the game, you'd see there's a gigantic bug that happens when too many NPCs (more than 2) are on the screen at the same time, and gets exponentially worse with each additional NPC. They fucked up tons of previously working elements of the engine.

Re:Obsidian (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172692)

Answer: Obsidian tried to do a hell of a lot more inside the engine than Bethesda ever dreamed.

The landscape's more ambitious than the engine seems to be able to handle. Result? Constant clipping errors. Nothing is quite as annoying as having to go off to get a sandwich because my traveling companion has decided that a local radscorpion... who is stuck inside of a big rock thanks to a clipping error... must die and my companion isn't going to move until some lucky shot manages to clip the one tiny pixel that's clipping its way back outside the rock.

The companion engine - with "companions" and "followers" - is likewise buggy, especially when getting indoors, or triggering certain quests that try to "reset" or add to your companion's speech tree.

The inventory system has its limitations. In my apartment in Novac, I've basically assigned a different storage "locker" (dresser, fridge, wardrobe, suitcase, etc) for each different category of item and a couple of subcategories besides, just to keep up.

And then there are the myriad bugs with the faction system, where "on the fly" calculations had the Fiends suddenly turn on me for no apparent reason while I was exploring Vault 3. Going through companion-less worked just fine, no idea why the companion (who was just told to wait by the door anyways) would have caused that though.

The "cinematic kill" system I'm about to turn off. I've lost track of the number of times the game's frozen during a cinematic kill. That and the fact that the "cinematic kill" freezes the player, but changes nothing else going on, which has killed my companion a couple of times (couldn't get to them till the cinematic ended, meanwhile some asshole with an uzi is just pumping them full of lead while I'm forced to watch).

Now, was Fallout 3 perfect? Hell no. But New Vegas definitely stretches the engine to its limitations. I remain hopeful for the upcoming patch to make it more playable, but at the same time I really would prefer they had done the quality control work in the first place.

Re:Obsidian (1)

malakai (136531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172766)

I didn't find many ( any? ) bugs with the game engine in New Vegas. Where I found tons of bugs was in the "user code" ( or plot/quest scripting code ). Yeah sure there were places where path-finding would freak out, but the real bugs was when you couldn't complete a quest or couldn't talk to someone because the game scripted events had painted you into a corner or just failed to register that you had completed some leg of the quest.

I never had a graphics bug, and the three times the game crashed on me each time the Steam Updates window was setting on my desktop with a new update to download... so my guess is that was some NVIDIA driver + steam overlay issue.

Games like Fallout 3 / New Vegas really can't be fully tested because of the number of permutations that exist in paths to play the game. It's a shame that they release to console first because of piracy rates on PC. If they could pre-release to PC a release candidate quality game, they'd get tens of thousands fanboi eyes going through every quest permutation imaginable. Then, two months later, they press and release the console discs.

Re:Obsidian (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172384)

It's funny because Obsidian is the developer of New Vegas, and not Bethesda (who are the publishers).

So then Bethesda, the publisher, is the one who released the game. The headline of this /. article is Bethesda Criticized Over Buggy Releases. Do you think the publisher has no responsibility for what it releases?

Re:Obsidian (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172702)

But... This isn't the first bethesda game has been released that was very buggy.

Ever play ANY of the Elder Scrolls games?

Obsidian made NV (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171942)

Fallout NV was developed by Obsidian. Bethesda only published the game.

My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (3, Informative)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171944)

While the article summary doesn't mention Fallout: New Vegas, it's clear from both the context and TFA itself that this is really a New Vegas issue.

I stuck some of my early (and mostly positive) thoughts on New Vegas's PC version in my journal a few days ago. Being in Europe, I only got the game after the first PC patch had been released, so I never got to see the PC version at its worst. Having now finished a 35 hour playthrough of the game, I can offer a slightly more comprehensive run-down of the bugs I did hit. Obviously, this is just my experience; your mileage may vary depending on your hardware and luck-stat.

The most common of the bugs is the Nvidia slowdown issue. This is annoying, particularly because my PC is massively ahead of the recommended specs, and because it often seems to occur at random, rather than just at "busy" times (though a few particular busy scenes will consistently cause slowdown). However, it's not going to stop you from completing the game and only had a minor impact on my enjoyment.

I had a few crashes to desktop - maybe a dozen over the course of the 35 hour playthrough. These almost always seem to happen in specific areas. The killer area for me was the "outer" section of Freeside, particularly near the door to the Old Mormon Fort. At least half of my crashes happened while walking towards the Fort. After a while, I just got used to tapping quicksave before walking through that area. It was an irritation, but not a massive one.

Quest bugs are potentially extremely serious. There are plenty of reports of quests being rendered uncompletable. In some cases, this can apply to main-plot quests, which is potentially game-breaking. I had three quests glitch on me over the course of the game. In two cases, it was a case of an NPC getting stuck in the middle of a scripted sequence and loading a quicksave fixed the problem without losing me more than 60 seconds or so of progress. The third case was more serious; several NPCs involved in a major sidequest refused to acknowledge my existence. This one cost me 45 minutes, as I had to go back to a proper save from before I started the quest (plus factor in additional time for trying to fix things before reverting to an old save).

I had a fourth quest incident that may have been a bug or may have been sloppy script work. I pushed a quest towards a very specific resolution, but when I handed it in, the quest-giver seemed to be assuming that I'd engineered a slightly different set of outcomes. As I say, this might not be a bug, it might just be a (rare) incidence of bad writing.

Beyond that, I didn't hit any of the other big bugs that have been reported. My followers worked as advertised (and are much improved from those in Fallout 3) and, most importantly, I had no problems with loading savegames. I think that the initial PC patch fixed those issues. There were a few small problems; monsters that sunk half way into the ground and stuff, but I don't tend to sweat that too much so long as it's only rare occurences.

In short, the bugs are an irritation, but the game is very, very good. If even small bugs irritate you, then the game is probably best avoided for now. Otherwise, I would say that the PC version is playable enough right now to be worth your money and time. One of the advantages of the PC as a platform is that patches can be pushed much faster; if I was still waiting for the PS3 or 360 version patch, I'd probably be rather irritated by now.

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172000)

And so the game publishers have convinced you that bugs are not an issue. I hate to break it to you, but there are bugs reported on almost every quest (checkout the quests on and see). Performance issues with a major video card manufacturer are also not a minor issue. The worst is that every Bethesda game (Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3) has had issues like this which shouldn't have made it past quality control. This isn't a one time thing. I've played all of these games, they are great games, but I will not buy Bethedsa games anymore until they release the Gamne of the Year edition which has the final patch (and usually a community patch to fix what Bethesda hasn't)

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (2, Informative)

wildstoo (835450) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172088)

Check the Bethsoft forums for a fix for the slowdown issue [] . It involves dumping a DirectX9 dll in your game directory.

I was skeptical about the fix, and about running a random dll from the internet, but it really works.

In busy areas I went from 30fps in Medium settings to 60fps in Ultra settings.

The only side-effect I found was in alt-tabbing out of the game, the audio no longer continues playing, but rather it loops as if the game has stalled. I have no idea what happens if you alt-tab out for an extended period - perhaps the game crashes hard - but I was able to alt-tab out and in for short periods with no problems. There was some very minor audio skipping introduced as well, but you'd be hard pressed to notice it.

For me, this was a small price to pay for the massive performance increase. This makes me suspect that the slowdown issue is due to some horrible DX10/11 "optimization" of background tasks or something, or maybe a change in the way the engine's subsystems are threaded.

Either way, it's well worth a try.

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172180)

Personally, I think you're exactly the kind of person that lets them get away with that crap. Hell, you've put me off the game for life in a few short paragraphs. I've played PC games for decades - I've seen my share of weird bugs and had to manually debug / patch quite a few myself. I also program myself so I know the avenues that things can take and know it's not really possible to have a "bug-free" game. But what you describe is *disgusting* for a retail product. I can't remember the last time I had any of the 200+ games on my Steam account crash - possibly a weird issue with Zombie Driver not likely a "fake" joystick driver I installed that I had to debug with the programmers because they hadn't seen it before.

How you can then sum it up into a "mostly positive" review, I have no idea. To me, it reads:

- The game has issues with the majority manufacturer of PC gaming graphics cards. This causes even way over-specced machines to run the game noticeably slow to the user.
- The game crashes - a lot. Over 12 crashes in 35 hours is a crash every 2-3 hours. I don't accept that from buggy shell script glue, let alone a professional game. That stops any potential purchase for me dead in the water. Hell, I get annoyed if a game crashes 12 times in its LIFE on my machine that I can't attribute to something I did wrong (I can't name a single time that Half-life (any version) or the Doom series or the Quake series or the Unreal series has ever crashed on me and they all pushed the boundaries at the time - I can name some isolated incidents of crashes in L4D2 (when I run out of swap space and kept-Alt-Tabbing to try to fix it before something went wrong) and GTA3 (when it crashed twice on me and nearly got uninstalled for doing so).
- The game has obvious, easily worked around bugs in poorly scripted cut sequences that render the game unplayable unless you happen to have an earlier save. It takes a second to write check-scripts for uncompletable quests and "somehow" fix them (by respawing the items in question, or just letting the user continue). You experienced three quests which glitched to the point the game was unplayable in the single run through of the game. God knows how many a testing team should have caught on random hardware.
- You had display issues with sinking monsters that could easily make it possible for you to be attacked by invisible beings that the game is drawing in the wrong place.
- There are other reports besides yours that almost every aspect of the game has bugs - from display to AI to sound to loading games to just plain crashing at random.

And that's AFTER it's received a post-release patch! That's so bad that if I worked at the company, I'd be cringing and disassociating myself from it. When Frontier:Elite II was released, it had a reputation for being a very buggy game and that was nothing in comparison to what you describe.

"In short, the bugs are an irritation, but the game is very, very good."

The *gameplay* may be good, when it's not crashing, making you reload or just displaying everything in the wrong place. The game, however, sounds like shit. And those sorts of bugs are NOT an irritation - if I have to restart a program more than twice, I stop trusting it and start doing things like checking my hardware. I don't tolerate it from the operating system, I don't tolerate it for my firewall, or my office suite, why should I tolerate it from the one thing that I pick up and expect to work without me having to debug the damn machine? A crash a day is too much, for any single program. Hell, I get concerned about my machine if I get a crash each month and I run an XP image that's been following me around for the last 5 years without reinstallation on three different sets of hardware.

Stop buying and tolerating this buggy crap. If a game crashes, that means that it nearly wrote over memory it shouldn't have and could corrupt your data, your operating system, even your hardware. You were "saved" by things like DEP and similar but that doesn't mean it's acceptable.

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (-1, Troll)

Kvasio (127200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172276)

I've played PC games for decades

I dare to guess that the number of decades is less than 3.

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172422)

80s 90s 00s 10s is 4

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172542)

Calendar decades, then, not personal clock decades. You could just as well have said you've played for centuries :)

Otherwise, the IBM PC came out in 1981; 2010-1981=29=30.

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172372)

agree - stop giving them excuses to produce shoddy games ... I have been playing new vegas for a good 40 hours and it's much buggier than the original fallout 3, which I have spent a good 500 hours playing ( obsession ) ... they will only take notice when the bottom line is hit

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172412)

Personally, I think you're exactly the kind of person that lets them get away with that crap.

No, the people who let them get away with this crap, as you put it, are those who have a low tolerance for bugs but still buy the game on release, and think that they can compensate by waging a holy war on the internet.

Seriously people. Don't like bugs? Don't buy games until you know they work to your standards. People like you constantly moan that the "game shouldn't have been released in this condition" so you aren't losing anything, just pretend the game was released a few months after it actually was, and the initial release was just some sort of paid-for beta.

If you care about the issue, but still give them your money, then YOU are the problem. You think they read your online rants? You think you are advancing the cause of bug-free games by giving them your money and then clogging up every related internet forum with your complaints? No, the only people you annoy are those of us who want to use the same forums without a constant deluge of your whining.

Let those of us who are prepared to tolerate a few bugs get on with our shit. If you're not, do the only thing that will change the situation and don't buy games before they meet your standards, and in the meantime please shut the fuck up.

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (3, Insightful)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172644)

I have to agree with both parents. ledow is right in thinking that a finished product should not contain this many bugs, but being a fan of Bethesda games myself, I understand the point that RogeyWon is trying to make. Morrowind, Oblivion and Fallout are very good, and especially, huge games. After all the patches, Oblivion and Fallout 3 still crash randomly on me about every 3 hours on average, but I find the games so enjoyable, that I have learned to live with and forgive this nuisance, using the quicksave feature judiciously. While this may seem outrageous to some, I think it is unfair to compare an Oblivion/Fallout type game to Doom, Quake or Half-Life.

A Bethesda game is much more complex and much bigger than a first-person shooter such as Doom or Half-Life. A shooter has the core game mechanic of running around and shooting, with a few scripted sequences scattered about. In an Oblivion/Fallout type game you have shooting, close combat, inventory management, movable objects in the world, an RPG system, NPCs with scripts and dialog, a persistent world, followers, quest lines, complex world interactions and scripts controlling everything from the behavior of items and locations to quests and NPCs. And not only are Bethesda-RPGs much more complicated than an average shooter (or any other game), they are huge as well. I am sure that I have invested at least 150 hours playing Oblivion, and I still have not seen or completed some of the mayor side quests that are available (such as Arena and Fighters Guild).

So yes, buggy games are a nuisance. But I am willing to be more lenient towards Bethesdas RPGs because I know that they are much more complex than your average game and that I am getting a game package that will keep me occupied for years.

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (5, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172778)

Totally agreed. Try applying those low standards to any other product.

  • Would you accept a television that switched itself off 12 times in 35 hours?
  • Would you accept a CD player that switched itself off 12 times in 35 hours?
  • Would you accept a car that has an engine that cuts out 12 times in 35 hours?
  • Would you accept a light fitting that switched the light off 12 times in 35 hours?

Any other product category, you'd consider the product to be broken and return it.

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172782)

> Hell, I get concerned about my machine if I get a crash each month.

I get a hang-up every three to six months and it's annoying me to no end. Debian Sid turned stable turned Sid that followed me for years.

So yah, GP seems to be a tad delusional/masochistic in his review.

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (1)

Mystiq (101361) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172788)

To be fair, when an application crashes it doesn't always have to be that it tried to write over other memory. A lot of things can cause crashes, such as trying to divide by zero or trying to use a variable that hasn't been initialized. There was a divide by zero error in Diablo 2 when you clicked on your character's feet. It was funny.

Any error that occurs that isn't explicitly handled by _something_ is going to cause Windows (or other OS) to stop the application and show you a "this program has crashed" dialog.

Well, gotta take the good with the bad (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172810)

Well, I consider it more of a question of being able to think in more than one dimension. It's not like the bugs are the only things to consider about a game.

Yes, the game is buggy.

On the other hand, even with the crashes and slowdowns, it's _still_ more fun to play than <insert brainless shooter du jour> or <insert brainless RTS where you just need to click X times on 'build zerg' and rush> (presumably named that way because there is no actual strategy involved, and the troops can't even follow basic tactics, much less strategy.) It's just that simple.

And then comes such icing on the cake as that it's superbly modable.

Even as voting with my money goes, between Fallout 3 with the bugs and the average brainless click-fest without bugs, I'll vote for the former every single time.

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172494)

In short, the bugs are an irritation, but the game is very, very good.

A dozen crashes in 35 hours and you call that an irritation? I'd call it really effing annoying. I loved Morrowind, I loved Fallout 3, I loved Oblivion.. but they are all really, really damn buggy. I mean, there's bugs all over the damn place, ranging from simple glitches to complete crashers, and I've even had corrupted savegames in all 3 games after such a crash and had to start all over again. I've come to associate Bethesda with great storylines, but also bugs, bugs, and more bugs.

I wonder, is that really the kind of image Bethesda wants their audience to associate them with?

Re:My experiences of Fallout: New Vegas bugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172604)

the real problem is that this shoddiness of new Vegas release was widely expected by those who knows the gaming industry. Obsidian as a very long track of releasing buggy expansion without properly supporting them.

Except it's not even a nVidia issue (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172694)

he most common of the bugs is the Nvidia slowdown issue. This is annoying, particularly because my PC is massively ahead of the recommended specs, and because it often seems to occur at random, rather than just at "busy" times (though a few particular busy scenes will consistently cause slowdown). However, it's not going to stop you from completing the game and only had a minor impact on my enjoyment.

Except if you look at the complaints, ATI cards are hit too and hit worse. In fact the unofficial dx9 patch has been called an ATI fix.

The game plain old has problems with the facial animations, and craps on any hardware when you enter a zone with lots of human NPCs. E.g., the outer Freeside that you mention.

And I really mean on any hardware. I actually have a GTX 480, which is the top end graphics card you can buy at the moment, short of going SLI. I'm not saying that to brag, but just to say even on that I've seen plenty of times when the game turns into a slideshow. (Not that it'll stop some fanboy out there from going, "OMG, buy a real computer. If you don't have quad-SLI, you shouldn't play games.")

That said, heh, I'm probably one of the most guilty of supporting that buggy release, seein' as I've been making weapons and suits for it since launch on the Nexus. I guess it's just more fun to mod than to play :p

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171946)

It's so fun to see NPC's heads spin around!

Probably a console user :) (1)

rekrowyalp (797421) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171962)

It doesn't matter so much on the PC where it can be patched by the community (in the case of Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout3 anyway) but I'd be gutted if I'd bought any of those games for a console. I don't know how you go about convincing publishers that games need to be released only when they're ready - I'm not going to boycott them, I'm glad I bought Oblivion et al. Maybe some kind of US class action suit would work - not fit for purpose because the quests are so buggy I can't complete them :D

Re:Probably a console user :) (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172034)

It does matter on the PC too. PC users pay for their games too, and they deserve a functioning product for their money. With releases like these, users should demand their money back.

Sure it can be fixed later, but that takes time. How about I pay my money later too?

Re:Probably a console user :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172150)

How about I pay my money later too?

If you used your credit card to buy it, you are.

Re:Probably a console user :) (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172304)

No, the developer still got their money. Now you're just paying back the CC co

Re:Probably a console user :) (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172102)

Oblivion works fine on PS3. Of course, I got the Game of the Year Edition a couple of years after it came out, so most issues would have been patched by then.

I don't remember Fallout having any major issues either, though I only played it for a couple of days after it came out before I got bored of the wasteland atmosphere.

Re:Probably a console user :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172458)

Oblivion works fine on PS3. Of course, I got the Game of the Year Edition a couple of years after it came out, so most issues would have been patched by then.

Only if by "most issues" you mean "MAJOR issues". The last patch for Oblivion still leaves about a billion bugs in the game unpatched.

Re:Probably a console user :) (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172446)

Nowadays patching is common on consoles, too.

BTW: My XBox-Menus look like the Wii since the last Firmware update. Thank you, kinect. :-(

Re:Probably a console user :) (1)

AltairDusk (1757788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172524)

It shouldn't be necessary for the community to patch problems in a game though. Obviously little things can sometimes slip through no matter how well it was tested but when you have multiple issues that have to be fixed by the community that shows poor quality control on the part of the developer. I would also expect the developer to have patches available for the issues before the community has to take it upon themselves to fix it.

Doesn't everybody do that? (3, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171966)

I thought most major game developers nowadays released beta versions, only to patch it after release (if you're lucky).

Re:Doesn't everybody do that? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172286)

Because they don't care. Sales are still good, and users expect to download the patch. It makes development cheaper when users are your guinea pigs.
(more serious companies like Blizzard find volunteers for beta testing before it's released)

Re:Doesn't everybody do that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172538)

Blizzard beta tests, but there's still problems with their releases. Their prelude to Cataclysm has been... interesting at times.

Re:Doesn't everybody do that? (1)

Khenke (710763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172322)

But thankfully not all, there are a few that stands out. Blizzard for one.
But then people complain that they don't release a game even if it is complete, they just don't understand that polish a game can take almost as long as 20% of the time completing (if you call Fallout: New Vegas complete) it.

But then I pre-ordered Starcraft II, and I will wait to pick up Fallout: New Vegas when it hit $10 bin or so. Guess if that 20% extra development time pays off...
Ofc even Blizzard must make patches after the game is released, but it is just because they get bigger testing samples "in the wild" that you cant predict in small beta tests. I also will know (ok, it is a guess based on history...) that Startcraft II will receive patches (if needed) 10 years from now. My guess is that Bethesda will stop producing patched the minute the game has sold for 90% of the totally sales (a year from now?).

It ALL boils down to how you treat your customers, like an one time ATM or like returning customers. Or even worse if you treat your customers like thief's like Ubisoft that make me miss good games because I refuse to buy games that I can only "borrow" on their terms.

Re:Doesn't everybody do that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172748)

But thankfully not all, there are a few that stands out. Blizzard for one.

Only Blizzard and Valve seem to do this right. Everyone else is more pot luck, take EA: Bioware seem to be quite good but some other subsidiaries aren't.

Unfortunately, Valve and Blizzard are also the 2 most prominent 'get handcuffed to a DRM server' companies so you end up being screwed either way.

This is only in the realm of Triple-A or whatever titles though, smaller games tend to be much less broken as well as cheaper.

Re:Doesn't everybody do that? (3, Interesting)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172410)

"Nowadays"? Penny Arcade was mocking this back in 1998 [] . Hell, anyone remember Pac-Man for the Atari 2600? Game developers have been putting out buggy releases since time immaterial, I'm a little surprised that everyone angry at Bethesda thinks this is some emergent phenomenon.

Re:Doesn't everybody do that? (2, Interesting)

anUnhandledException (1900222) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172642)

While bugs have been around as long as software. Bethesda gets the ire because they bring it to new levels of crap. I mean 4 of their latest (and largest) releases have been essentially unplayable at launch.

Oblivion after a dozen patches and years still has hundreds (not an exaggeration) in the latest version.

So all software has bugs however you have some companies like Blizzard which at least make a token effort to release quality software and on the other extreme you have Bethesda who must have a sign hanging that says "if it compiles it ships".

Eventually they will release game partially completed w/ stubs for the portions that wouldn't compile and you need to download them if/when they ever get that portion working. "sorry you can't enter this area yet. Bethesda regrets to inform you that components necessary for this gameplay area were not ready at launch time".

Re:Doesn't everybody do that? (2, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172430)

Bethesda is exceptionally bad about it. See Oblivion, where the user-made patch to fix things has a changelist several dozen pages long, and that's just what can be fixed with the public SDK. There's an entire wiki full of workarounds for the other bugs. Some of the bugs are minor - subtitles not matching the dialog, objects out of place - but some are game-breaking - there's dozens of ways to make the game "unwinnable" - and some are just program-breaking - there's a long-standing bug that makes interior cells pitch-black on nVidia cards. At least other companies would have the decency to eventually fix the bugs.

Re:Doesn't everybody do that? (2, Informative)

Kalroth (696782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172444)

When game developers can see that people are willing to pay for beta access to games, what is their incentive to ship a polished game? Most consoles have online connectivity as well, so patching up later is usually not a problem either. I don't see this changing anytime soon, with quarterly budgets being more important than quality.

As for Fallout: New Vegas; the bugs were totally expected from anyone that played Fallout 3, which was also full of bugs. And it is not just gameplay bugs, the entire engine is extremely buggy and the game was neigh unplayable for a lot of PC players, but thankfully a very clever developer at [] made a custom D3D9.dll which corrects some of the engine bugs (like NOP all debug calls, ignore some buggy shaders, etc.): [] for the nVidia version. [] for the ATI version.
(The custom dll was made for Fallout 3 and not Fallout: New Vegas. Yet it fixes the same issues in both games.)

Note: the game is very, very good -- without the bugs. Too bad that it is the community that has to fix the bugs.

Not a new problem for them (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171974)

Specifically, Daggerfall had a bunch of notorious bugs, including instadeaths for no obvious reason, and "falling into the void", where there was a hole in the walls that would drop your character into the spaces between the walls with no way out.

Re:Not a new problem for them (1)

Swarley (1795754) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172246)

The "entering a new area" insta-death was my personal favorite.

Standard (-1, Redundant)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171976)

I thought Microsoft made this an industry standard?

duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172016)

theyve been doing that since daggerfall in 1994(?) he is just realizing that now?

Tip: (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172048)

Never, ever buy a game without the chance to test it first. I've lost count of the number of game demos that I've installed only for them to not work, be incredibly slow, to have fatal bugs, to be so dull as to be unplayable, or just be annoying/crap in their execution. I don't go on to buy the games and save myself a lot of money.

Download demos first. Play your friend's copy. Don't be the guinea pig, because in a few weeks everyone will KNOW if there are problems with the game anyway. It's really not that important or practical to have the game for the first week - the servers will be overloaded, the software will need to be patched, and other gamers won't get an "advantage" over you in the space of a week or two. Plus, the price will come down and you'll be able to get second-hand copies (if the activation system even allow you to do that).

Stop pre-ordering. Stop buying games that you can't try out first. Stop buying games from companies that screw you over. Stop listening to the hype and paid reviewers. Start being an intelligent consumer who actually makes informed purchases. It's very simple. When something is in the "under £10" category, then it can be worth a punt even if you can't find any reviews, but a full-price game? I want a demo, or at least play on a friend's machine.

Such techniques mean that I've avoided many of the big-name flops and saved myself an awful lot of wasted money. The last big disappointment for me was Black & White and then I learned not to waste money on things without waiting for others to find the problems. Now I buy my games a year or two after they come out - the initial period of zero games is hard (but with the current indie scene, that's made much easier, and a recession helped) but after that you get the best games, on hardware capable of getting their full value, avoiding all the known flops, fully patched, with still-active servers (if the servers empty within the first year, it's hard to call a game a big success) and you don't have to pay full-price.

Stop pissing your money away on crap.

Re:Tip: (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172152)

I do a mix of both. With games like Gran Turismo 5 and LittleBigPlanet 2 I know they're going to be high quality and enjoyable. Even if any bugs are found they should be patched up quickly, so I'm happy to pre-order.

I don't bother to look at gaming magazines and websites these days, so I'm generally unaware of all the new titles coming out. I hear about the really good ones through word of mouth from friends or here on Slashdot for example. Occasionally I browse the PS Store and try out some demos. I would never have bought Just Cause 2 if they didn't have a demo up there, I'd never even heard of it before.

You should definitely get Red Dead Redemption as soon as it comes down into your acceptable price range, it's among the best games I've ever played - certainly my favourite game so far this year :)

Re:Tip: (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172266)

Metacritic is worth looking at for opinions on games, if you don't mind filtering the garbage out. At least it is a blend of all the reviews plus user comments, so it isn't that hard to filter out the 10% haters and 10% fanbouys.

Re:Tip: (1)

wildstoo (835450) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172162)

First of all, anyone with any experience of Bethesda's games will know that they are:

1. Huge.
2. Incredibly complex.
3. Buggy as hell on release, probably as a result of 1. and 2.

All this doesn't really matter though, because they're also generally:

4. Really, really good.

I bought Fallout: New Vegas on release day and I've put about 30-40 hours into it so far. I'm level 25 or something and I haven't set foot on The Strip yet.

I love the game, as I loved Fallout 3 and Oblivion and Morrowind and Daggerfall before them.

The bugs I've encountered I'd place in the category of "minor irritations" rather than "game-breaking issues". Perhaps I'm lucky or I'm just used to Bethesda's release quality, but even with the slowdowns, the occasional CTDs and some quest logic weirdness, I still think it's probably the best game I've played this year... if not, it's definitely in my top 3.

Would I prefer it without the bugs? Sure. But I'm confident they'll get there, or at least most of the way there, and the community will do the rest... so my second playthrough will probably be even smoother.

Even in its release condition, I don't regret paying full price for this game.

Re:Tip: (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172320)

I'm about 45 hours into it and found the ended, before I was really done. I will say that there are some serious bugs, questions that won't finish, that force fail for no reason, and companions that get stuck in rocks from time to time. Fortunately, almost all of those can be worked around until a fix is issued. [] is a pretty good source.

While everyone can quickly say "Don't support them if they release software with bugs!!!1", it overlooks the issue that 1. These games are incredibly huge and complex. 2. It would mean much longer release cycles and more expensive games, or smaller games. As long as they fix it within a reasonable amount of time. Basically, we become the bug testers, but people have to be a bit reasonable and understand that an open ended game is virtually impossible to completely debug under all circumstances, on all computers. Fallout: New Vegas has less serious bugs than even Fallout 3 does now. (Yes, I still crash about every 4 hours, save early and often) but the game is very, very good, flaws and all. I would rather have the game NOW with bug than in a year with fewer bugs. And no matter how much testing they do, it will STILL have bugs when it is released, as again, there is NO WAY to make it 100% bork-proof. If anything, it gets fixed faster because millions of "testers" are pushing the game in ways that you just can't in the design studio.

Re:Tip: (1)

anUnhandledException (1900222) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172734)

The problem is most of the bugs THEY NEVER FIX. Period.

They get the money up front from people who believe a "crash to the desktop every 4 hours " = "less serious than fallout 3".

Community mods fixed over 380 bugs that Bethesda never fixed in Oblivion (years after game release) and there are documented over 800 more bugs that can't be fixed because the community SDK simply doesn't have access to the resource that is bugged.

Fallout 3: NV uses game game engine as Fallout: 3 and there are STILL ORIGINAL FALLOUT 3 bugs in Fallout 3: NV. I am not talking abuot custom scripting issues but unresolved (after millions of hours of combined "beta" testing). Hell the best fix for Fallout 3 & Fallout 3 NV is a custom dll which strips out/ignores bogus shader calls. Thats right nearly 2 years after release the engine is making shader calls which are simply impossible and it crashes the DirectX runtime.

So if your theory works one should see games be buggy but after years be nearly flawless.
The reality is that is utter fantasy land BS
1) companies gets cash up front hence have no vested interest to solve anything
2) Many bugs never get fixed. Ever.
3) They don't even fix the game engine because using it on another game.

Re:Tip: (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172334)

Thing is, this is almost exactly the same engine that was used by Fallout 3, and it contains many of the same bugs. They've had plenty of time to squash them, but they just didn't.

Re:Tip: (1)

Akare (554350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172174)

what game has a demo these days?

Re:Tip: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172268)

The thing is that there are so many different system configurations out there, one game may run perfectly fine for Guy1, while Guy2 has constant CTDs.

Except for a few random CTDs, e.g. FO3 runs very good on my rig, even with many mods.
Others seem to have less luck with that game, though.
So while I would indeed wish that a game is free of major bugs when it comes out, I just wonder whether this is always possible, as the total number of systems it can be tested on prior to launch is somewhat limited.

Re:Tip: (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172460)

I have to agree.. I never buy just released games. Ill take a year old game that I can get for 10 or 20 dollars over the 50 or 60 dollar new game. I enjoyed the GOTY Fallout 3 that I paid 20 for. Im sure Ill probably enjoy the Las Vegas version sometime next year. Not only does it save some cash, but by the time I purchase the game most of the bugs have been worked out. (Not all, Fallout 3 seems to have a weird freeze the PS3 bug in it.)

Re:Tip: (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172812)

Man I hear you on B&W. I bought B&W1 near the end of its life cycle, and loved it. The final patch was released about a month after I got it. I had heard the bugs were horrible at first, but dismissed that as hyperbole. After playing B&W2 I believed every word of it. The game was for the most part only half finished. They didn't even put in an enemy AI. They just spawn waves of soldiers, and send them at you. When instead of fixing it they started trying to sell an expansion pack, I vowed never to buy a Lionhead game again.

Oh, so Bethesda is improving? (5, Informative)

MSojka (83577) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172068)

So, they are improving from their old practice of releasing broken and buggy games with no plans at all to fix any but the most glaring problems later?

See the glitches list [] for Oblivion on the UESP wiki for a start; continue to the Unofficial Oblivion Patch [] where the modding community fixed over a thousand bugs left by Bethesda to rot; and that's not even including still unpatched bugs in the engine, for which you need some additional software made by modders ...

Bethesda fixes bugs? (4, Informative)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172148)

What is this nonsense? Bethesda fixes bugs? As far as I know, they never released a single update for neither Oblivion nor Fallout 3 for PS3 ever, only a few expensive DLCs.

Some pretty damn serious bugs too. Oblivion: Game of the year edition is almost incompletable on the PS3 when using English unless you have the EU release. To cure vampirism, at one point you have to save your game, exit, change the OS language settings to German or French, start the game again, fumble through the buggy (now working) dialog, save again, exit, change back to English and restart the game again. If you have the US release you are out of luck. They never released a patch for this...

Re:Bethesda fixes bugs? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172440)

The PS3 version of Oblivion WAS the patched version. The PC/XBox ones were even worse, until they patched it.

Re:Bethesda fixes bugs? (0, Troll)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172606)

Not being able to do the "remove vampirism" quest doesn't make the PS3 version un-winnable since the vampire quest is an optional one.

Bugs are a staple of vast, open ended RPGs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172158)

Every time I buy a new huge open ended RPG, I expect bugs.

Whenever you have a game with hundreds of characters, open ended quests and areas to explore, theres bound to be bugs. I Imagine its pretty hard to properly test all possible situations players will create.
As long as the game is involving and fun, I don't mind a bug here and there. Practice shows that eventually all the kinks are worked out, If not by the developer,
than by the community. Personally, I'd rather developers focus more of their resources towards content than extensive polish. Just my two cents.

Every black isle/ troika / obsidian game came out with a prety impressive list of bugs, and all of those games are among my favourites.

Also, GJ Obsidian on New Vegas. Great game, the minor bugs I encountered were more of the 'hah, funny glitch' kind than gamebreaking.

Pre-ordered. (3, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172170)

I pre-ordered New Vegas because I knew it would be an amazing game in spite of the bugs. It uses the same engine as Fallout 3 and Oblivion, and they were riddled with bugs, too. And a lot of the bugs in New Vegas existed in those 2, also. I don't blame Obsidian for those bugs.

However, the new bugs... I totally blame Obsidian for those. I experienced a lot of bugs relating to quests and story line, and that's all on Obsidian.

I definitely think I got my money's worth. Most $60 games aren't nearly this good, even if they have fewer bugs.

So how can Bethesda/Obsidian prevent these bugs in the future? It seems obvious that their internal testing didn't catch them, as the bugs are just too serious. Maybe they should sell pre-release 'beta' copies and let players test it. Anyone that doesn't want a beta-quality game can wait until the proper release, and everyone that buys the beta can just deal with the bugs. And help fix them.

One of my favorite MMOs did this like 15 years ago. Sierra's The Realm had an alpha that was free, then sold the beta client and charged monthly. When it was ready, they released the full version, and the beta testers didn't have to buy another copy, since they had already paid for one.

A lot of people won't like that, but the don't -have- to buy the beta. They can just wait for the release.

Re:Pre-ordered. (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172316)

So how can Bethesda/Obsidian prevent these bugs in the future?

You can help prevent it, by not buying buggy games. You are voting for bugs.

Re:Pre-ordered. (5, Insightful)

anUnhandledException (1900222) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172826)

Why would they?

You (and million others) just proved yet again they don't have to. Hell they don't need to EVER fix the bugs.
You likely will buy the new fallout title prerelease and it will be bug ridden as well.

Companies don't write good software to get karma points. They write software to get paid. If you are willing to pay for bug ridden software why should they take extra time/resources/money to produce better code.

I mean if I told you that I would pay you $10,000 in advance to build an addition on my home and you could do a good job for $5,000 in material and 2 weeks of labor or a half ass job for $2,000 in material and 4 days in labor which would you do?

What if I sweetened the pot by:
a) giving up right to sue for faulty product
b) promise to keep using your services no matter how bad it is.
c) tell you and other people it is routine to accepts bugs in large construction. I mean there are thousands of nails, hundreds of feet of wiring, and all that lumber which needs to be cut exactly right. It is simply impossible to have a bug free wall on the first try.

You would be a fool to take twice as long for less profit under those conditions. Those are the EXACT conditions you are giving game developers. They would be idiots to spend more time, offer beta copies, offer discounted tester copies, etc. You will pay 100% full price on launch day for bug ridden code.

Why should they provide you anything more than what you want at the price you want it?

But you don't know... (3, Insightful)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172198)

You don't know its buggy until you've bought and played it.

Re:But you don't know... (3, Informative)

risinganger (586395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172236)

Which is why the author of the linked article also asked people to "Stop giving quality reviews to broken games".

Re:But you don't know... (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172336)

Oh fair enough. But then quite often it's really buggy on one configuration and perfectly fine on another. I'm talking PC games here of course.

Re:But you don't know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172618)

FNV has an 85% average review on PC according to Game Rankings. Isn't that the problem - the reviews should penalize bug ridden games more strongly?

Gamebryo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172208)

I would suspect that a large portion of these bugs can be squarely blamed on gamebryo and bethesdas stubborn insistence on continuing to use it well past it's sell by date. Slowdown, crashes and clipping issues could all presumably be the fault of the engine rather than any code of their own (not to meantion the whole "looking like ass" and "pre-baked terrain shadows"), scripting bugs however are a different issue, but I like to think that they are just giving a nod to th original fallout games, both of which were (and still are) riddled with them.

Game Company Criticized Over Buggy Games (-1, Troll)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172234)

In other news: water is now considered by a majority of experts to, in fact, be wet.

And it's not just this fallout game... (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172278)

The entire Fallout series has been plagued by serious game breaking bugs. Even back in the days of Interplay and the first Fallout games, there was everything from constant crashes, to quest destroying glitches. To complete the mutant base in Fallout 1 took me something like 50 game loads, and probably only 5 or so of those were from actual gameplay related choices. The thing would crash if you dared to even move your character. And then there is the buggy as hell final boss encounter from Fallout 2, where the computer console would either randomly forget to show the turret option, or if it even showed it the other half the time it didn't work right.

Fallout 3, once again constant game crashes seemed to be back again at least in the PC version. A friend of mine had a completely broken series of saves where anytime the water facility building was entered the game would instantly crash. Any machine that loaded the save would experience the crash. This essentially requires a complete game restart, as his furthest back save still had the glitch present.

I like the whole world / scenario idea behind Fallout, but the execution in the games has always been a bug filled disaster. This is exactly why I didn't run out and pick up New Vegas. I've enjoyed playing the Fallout games when they work, but the bugs are so annoying it can seem like a chore to even finish a game.

Because there's no need to change (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172352)

When 75% of your sales come in the first week,and most of that comes from moron fanboys who pre-order and buy it on day 1, why would the company change?

People keep buying the same buggy crap over and over again. Hell, people KNOW it's going to be buggy and go buy it anyway. Internet complaints mean exactly nothing. It's money that talks.

This is an entirely market driven behavior. Gamers are a lot like crack addicted morons: they complain a lot, but they do it while forking money over to get their latest fix, so nobody gives a rats ass what they're saying.

As soon as people en-masse say "we refuse to buy the next Bethesda game until after it's been proven to be relatively bug free on release" this nonsense will continue.

Re:Because there's no need to change (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172416)

"this nonsense will continue"... by which of course I mean "this nonsense will stop."

That's what I get for commenting in the morning. :P

Obsidian in the land of complex software (2)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172358)

Obsidian make buggy or uncomplete games, but is about the only company that write decent characters and story. The people that know anything about gaming know this, so wen you buy a obsidian game, you know you will see a lot of bugs, but also a excellent game. "Ugly, but the sex is fantastic".

I have played New Vegas for about 45 hours, and I have loved it. It works any cents I have invested in it.

Internet connected devices and faster internet.... (1)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172374)

Internet connected devices and faster internet speeds have made developers extremely lazy. In the days of the SNES for example, if you released a game with game breaking bugs and glitches, there was no way to patch them out and fix the game. You had to release games without game breaking bugs and glitches in them no matter what...unless you wanted a major recall on your hands. Games were tested overly and thoroughly to ensure that every single problem possible was discovered and dealt with before the game shipped to retail. How many game breaking errors are found on the best SNES games that people still play today? Does Super Mario suffer from any major issues that crash the game? Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Mega Man X? How many game saves have been corrupted in Chrono Trigger on the SNES? I've never seen it happen and CT has been out for a long time. Look at the best and more popular PS2 games that were released not that many years ago. Did Grand Theft Auto or Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy or Virtua Fighter on the PS2 suffer from game breaking glitches or bugs on the PS2? I've played thousands of hours of all of those games individually and never once did I have to hard reset my console because the game froze my hardware.

How many AAA titles on the SNES or PS2 were as horribly built as the games we play today that are designed for the current generation of consoles (and even current PC games)?

Why are so many titles not tested now? Easy. Developers can rush games out to market, without checking for bugs or glitches, and then patch them in later. Hell, think of the money and time they save on testing the product. Instead of having to test the games themselves, or hire specialists or outsource to a testing company, they let the masses discover the bugs and glitches on their own. It's turned into free labor essentially, game testing has. Instead of having to make sure that a game works before it ships out, the companies can release a broken game, and then patch it later. But only if enough people complain.

Anyone remember the Fallout 3 'The Pitt' DLC on the 360? When it first came out it was literally unplayable. You would reach the entrance to the area surrounding the steel plant and the game would crash no matter what. Bethesda had to pull the DLC from the marketplace and try again to release a working version. They didn't test the DLC before they released it. And a year later when they put the same DLC on the PS3 it was just as bug and glitch ridden. And yes I'm singling out the Fallout series for this example but it's not just the Fallout series that is guilty here.

And of course the gaming media won't say anything because they are slaves to the almighty advertising dollar. Look at scores for Fallout New Vegas and read the reviews where many reviewers simply mention the bugs and glitches in passing, as if they are nothing noticeable, and simply try to wash them away with phrases like "this is a MUST HAVE title".

I feel bad for the person who buys Fallout 3, an entirely single player game, for their console, because they like single player games, and they don't play online. Imagine spending the money on Fallout 3 and not being online connected and never getting the patch to fix this game. You basically can't game in this day and age without being connected to the internet so that you can patch your incomplete and bug filled retail games.

I can't wait to buy Fallout New Vega GOTY Edition in a few years. Hopefully Bethesda fixes the bugs by then.

The easier it is to update the game the more missi (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172376)

The easier it is to update the game the more missing stuff there is.

Re:The easier it is to update the game the more mi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172768)

wtf does that even mean?

Bethesda game enjoyment recipe (1)

Torp (199297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172550)

It's simple.
When New Vegas was launched i bought Fallout 3 Game of the Year edition with all the DLC and patched, and cheaper than the launch price for just Fallout 3.
2 years from now i'll buy New Vegas with all the DLC and patched, and cheaper than the launch price for just New Vegas.
End of story.

Wait until the patches come out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172594)

Don't buy the game until some months have gone by and a couple of patches have come out. For that matter, don't buy any moderately expensive piece of software until it's been patched thoroughly.

If only a small amount of people do this, then those people will benefit from the early-adopters' experiences. If a lot of people do this, then perhaps developers will get a clue and invest more in QA, and we will all benefit.

TIP: there's absolutely no game, or indeed any piece of software/media, that you need to buy the day it comes out. If it's good today, it will also be good a year from now. If it won't be good in the future (e.g. online games that only work with official servers that might get disconnected), then you're wasting your money anyways. And finally, no matter how much of a fan you are, I promise there are enough classics you haven't played yet lying around for you to sink time in until the latest game becomes bug-free.

PROTIP: you will save a lot of money like this, specially if you wait until sales season. I buy a lot of games on Steam, GOG and the like, and average about $2.5 on games of the caliber of Mass Effect or Half-Life. Then I use [part of] the money I saved to support indie game development.

Fallout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172622)

I stopped purchasing their shit when Fallout 3 had issues with my 3D sound card and they still have not been able to fix it ... by now they will never get around to it.
So this was really a case of "every game under the sun plays fine except their shit". The argument of an infected machine does not fly with me either since I use Linux as my main OS and re-image Windows every so often to fix broken shit (reimage solved my Elder Scrolls issues for example).

DVD Print Booking Problem (1)

flnca (1022891) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172656)

Booking space for DVD printing is scarce, and when the game isn't ready to ship at this point, then boom, lots of bugs in the shipped product, b/c the booking slot had to be used. Happens to many game publishers.

Pro Tip: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172668)

Obsidian made New Vegas, not Bethesda. While yes, it is on a Bethesda game engine, the game was not made by them.

It's certainly fine to call Bethesda on making buggy games, but it is not fine to not have your facts straight before posting a story.

Then again, this is video game journalism we are discussing here.

Several reasons for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172670)

This isn't so much a Bethesda game as it is an Obsidian game. One of the Obsidian developers posts regularly at Somethingawful and took the time to explain some of the bugs. As expected, a lot of it was "we had to release the game on time". The rest is my own conjecture. Some of the fault lies with the Gamebryo engine, which is a piece of junk - yet they're required to use it for a certain number of games. Another problem is the nature of the game itself. Sandbox type games are fun because they let the player do whatever they want, and yet this makes testing much more complex. It is a buggy game right now, and yet it's still the best game I've played in at least a year. I would rather be playing it right now than arguing about a lack of good, bug-less games on /.

Some of the posters above seem to think that software needs to ship with a certain guarantee, and yet the users of that software and capitalism prove them wrong over and over.

Re:Several reasons for this (1)

cluke (30394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172772)

Quest bugs can be forgiven I think. A complex quest will have lots of scripting and all it takes is for a dev to miss a trigger or a player to do something unexpected and the quest is broken.

Less forgivable are the engine crashes. These really need to be caught, especially in an RPG where you can lose many hours of gameplay.

And to pour a little cold water on the "at least they will patch it" argument - patches and DLC for Fallout 3 seemed to add as many bugs as they fixed. Certainly on the PS3 the GOTY edition was extremely bugged, and with bugs not common to the original.

And yet they never completely fix them. (3, Interesting)

X3J11 (791922) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172706)

And yet Bethesda never completely fixes their games. Ever.

Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3 and now New Vegas (not to mention their old DOS TES games). They receive a handful of patches that mostly fix issues with scripts, leaving the game engine seemingly untouched. I remember being disappointed with FO3 when one of the patches was released where, according to the patch notes, all they did was add a few achievements!

They are great story tellers, and quite adept at crafting expansive and interesting worlds that draw you in, but their programmers certainly leave much to be desired.

I wonder how much blame can be placed upon the engine they license. I also wish that someone like Carmack offered some sort of consultation service to whip cappy code, and coders, into shape.

Business as usual for Bethesda (1)

Zaphod-AVA (471116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172774)

Bethesda has a long and storied history of releasing games that are very ambitious, and very unstable. The original release of Daggerfall would crash hourly.

Now that the majority of games are for consoles, how about letting us return defective products? If a companies initial release was awful, they would lose a lot of day one sales in returns if we had that simple bit of consumer protection.

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