Remember the days of console game glitches? I’m aware that games still contain glitches and bugs but with recent consoles being able to patch games it’s hard to take any game glitch seriously. With patches comes other perks like downloadable content and ending game breaking bugs but does that make games better or just take away from the game you purchase at the release date? I’m going to take this time to talk about the use of patching and downloadable content within modern games, I am going to pose a simple question: Does patching and DLC make games better? Now before I even start I will state that I will absolutely positively under no circumstance use the term lazy in this article, and if anyone wishes to comment I ask that you refrain from calling any hard-working game studio lazy.
First let’s look at the pros of the ability to patch games. Ever since this generation launch console games have had a perk that was once only able to be given to PC gamers, that is UPGRADES!! In the past console games had to be very careful what was included since once the game was released then that was it; that was the final project so if it didn’t work then they were screwed. Games like Castlevania 64 got the screw job when it was forced to be released earlier then it was supposed to, would it have been better if the “sequel” Legacy of Darkness was just DLC and not a separate game altogether? Games back in the day had copious amounts of problems due to the fact that you cannot catch everything in development, in Mario 64 it is impossible to get every coin thanks to a glitch and Mortal Kombat Gold had to be released twice because of some horrible game altering glitches! These are problems that couldn’t be solved back then but now would be childs play in patch work. Patching also allows fighting games to become rebalanced if the previous balance work wasn’t done up to par with tournament standards. The other big pro to being able to alter a game after its release is of course the Downloadable content that most games are now given months after its initial release; DLC is a great way to add more to a game and keep a gamer playing much after beating the campaign or clearing the game at 100%. With the ability to add-on extra content developers are able to expand on a story or add new promotional tools like letting new characters wear the costumes of characters from other games, on the same note fans of the older games can wear older costumes.
Now for the cons, and this is where things get rather complicated. I have no idea when or at what point but somewhere down the line something happened and it wasn’t something good; now I understand that games, though people delude themselves to think differently, are owned by companies so the little guy who created the characters have very little to do with the final product. I understand making a game is hard and I also understand making deadlines is even more difficult, the fear of taking too long to complete a game is valid since the game could get cancelled, changed or moved to a new team. Games are one of the most difficult things to make in the entertainment industry and it doesn’t help that gamers are a fickle bunch; now on to the actual point and that is I understand why games get rushed out in production. I understand its difficult but, unlike in the past, game developers more than a couple of times release a game that is far from polished and gamers tend to just put it off until the first patch. I think the idea of patches biggest con is that it allows the major companies to rush games out and this is something I cannot ever blame the developing team but the company backing it! Patching has given these companies a reason to rush games out knowing that, even if it is flawed with glitches, the first patch will fix everything and the weirdest part is game players and game reviewers actually seem to be ok with this! People complain online all the time but Skyrim, which had dozens of game ending glitches the first few months, made game of the year! It is like the people are saying that it’s ok to rush the creative team since in the end we won’t care as long as its fixed eventually but isn’t that insane!? DC comics recently went in their back issues and changed stuff for the Trades and fans got royally pissed off but isn’t that the same as a patch? In recent years George Lucas went back in Star Wars, again mind you, and made Yoda 3d but this was received horribly by fans and yet that isn’t that the same as a patch? Why is it that gamers are ok with going back in a released game and tweaking it but if other forms of entertainment does it people get upset? Why is it we can go back in the Street Fighter games and change power levels and everyone is ok with that?!
This was a shorter article then most of my other ones and I apologize for that. In the end I actually am all for patching since I like the idea of a product that can get fixed even after its released, I like the idea that we are in an age where game ending bugs are a temporary problem but I do understand that with every good has to come some bad. I wish we could find a middle ground where games are being released with less bugs but still going back and fixing what they have to; it’s a conversation I enjoy starting since everyone has a different opinion on the subject. I think we shouldn’t let companies rush creative teams, like we have choice, and allow patching to fix things like texture streaking and slow graphics while still fixing the occasional bug. I think it’s insane that an Assassins Creed comes out every year and we wonder why games are plagued with bugs and glitches but in the end I think we are better for the patches since it helps give us the best game experience possible. Now before I start to sound more like a PSA promoting patching I’ll end it so remember change isn’t a scary thing so maybe we should just be happy that they are trying to go back and fix mistakes.