We’re back with yet another instalment of Respawning’s Let’s Talk series, where every Friday we get every one of our charismatic writers together to discuss a new topic! Earlier this week saw the failed launch of Destiny 2 expansion – Shadowkeep, with servers having to be taken down for maintenance on the first day of release.

It’s not just Bungie having these sorts of issues, however; FIFA 20 launched a week ago with a brand new Career Mode, which to some people is unplayable due to some game breaking bugs, all of which has led to EA having to put out statements about patching ASAP due to #FixCareerMode trending worldwide. Now it’s obvious how we all feel about games launching unfinished, but that isn’t going to stop us having a big old moan anyway! So Let’s Talk – Games That Launch Unfinished!

It’s fair to say, the anticipation and excitement I had for Shadowkeep was HUGE. It’s an expansion we’ve been waiting a while for now, even being delayed by a month. It promised fixes, major changes, new locations and new story. I was fully on board and had alarms set for when the servers were set to go online. The time had come, I was ready. Bungie, however, were not. First I was presented with a screen informing me that due to servers being overpopulated, I was in a queue. This I could overlook, with the new free to play Destiny: New Light, also going live at the same time, it’s understandable that there was going to be a larger than normal player base. Then, after five minutes of anticipation, I was in! And it was glorious! I saddled up on my sparrow and set off to play the campaign on the moon. This is where the issues began. Almost immediately I was having messages popping up, informing me that the game was having trouble contacting servers, not a good sign. I persevered nevertheless. Then, the glitches set in. Missions would not complete, item pick ups were suffering from agonising delays. Then, it happend. I was booted from the game. Presented, once again with an overpopulation warning. This annoyed me, and that is an understatement. Why was I booted and THEN told the server was full? Nine, infuriating minutes later I was told I was in a queue, 10250 was my placement in said queue. At this point, the game was exited and Anthem was booted up. I was done. Bungies’ Twitter feed informed everyone the servers were being taken offline for emergency maintenance.

Once again, this proved Bungies’ servers are still made of sponge cake and custard. We’ve had serious server issues with Destiny in the past. I thought we were over this. I was wrong. I understand that Bungie have parted with Activision, but I, and many other players, had assumed they were ready for Shadowkeep to go live. To not take into account the player base increase due to releasing a new free to play mode, the same day as a huge expansion is launched, is just dumb. I will try again, I will always admit to being a Destiny fanboy. But this has left a bitter taste and a dark mark on what was set to be an awesome launch.

Grrrrrrr I say! This is one of those pet hates I have that I never really talk about. I understand it may not always be the dev’s fault because they have tight turnarounds on these games however if I pay £50 for a new game I expect it to be bloody ready! Not ready one month later when it’s been patched… Now to be fair a lot of the games I play don’t suffer from this but knowing that there will be a patch a couple weeks down the line (or a year after for Ubisoft) to make the game complete really does make me think what’s the point in release day.

However one huge plus side to the whole not ready on launch thing is that you can wait a year for a game to be good, pick it up for a tenner because it bombed and end up with a great game as the games spent a year improving their pile of burning… Find out exactly what that’s like here:

This is very much a problem of the 10’s. Whilst you had the occasional unfinished title come out back when, the accessibility of the internet and rotation towards continual transactions has made many companies lazy. Something isn’t finished? Who cares, ship it, we can patch it in later! Heck, start development on the patch later – Maybe after a round or two of DLC. They’ve probably pre-ordered already, so they won’t know they aren’t getting a complete experience anyway.

With some companies turning to the newest idiocy on the block, the ‘live service’, we sometimes see major issues not even patched at all if the game isn’t ‘doing well enough’. Fallout 76, Anthem, still have Day One bugs. It’s disgraceful, and done only out of greed – Companies want more from your wallet, and you’ve already paid for the base game, so who gives a shit if you enjoy it or not? Some guy out there will, and he’ll dump a few grand on microtransactions.

I think most gamers would prefer a game to take its time to iron out its flaws so it can be enjoyed right off the bat. Thankfully there are some in the industry who still understand that, like Nintendo with Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Hopefully more companies realise that half-baked products won’t sell nearly as well as polished classics.

Sooooo, unfinished games. There has been a lot of them lately haven’t there? I personally can’t pick out any names as I’m broke af this month and haven’t been able to get my hands on anything new at the moment… But I must express my disappointment for this sorta stuff. Why… Just why? That’s all I can say.

Several games have launched unfinished and totally pissed me off, but none have stung so much as the Xbox One port of Bioshock Infinite. I’m told the PlayStation 4 version of it had no issues, though I’m fairly sure it did and people are just mocking my choice of console. I loved Infinite when I played it on PS3, and it was a day one purchase for me when it made the long anticipated jump to current gen…

Almost immediately I was beset with enemies glitching through walls so I couldn’t kill them to continue the story, save files corrupting and a couple of moments when the marker to progress refused to appear, seemingly out of a combination of stage fright and a joy of winding me up.

Eventually I gave up after yet another progress marker declined to make an appearance, and the game has been shelved ever since. Even though years have passed and it is still sat there, I can’t bring myself to give it another shot after its shameful betrayal. A pity, but not enough to mar the memory of what was an absolute gem to play on the PS3.

Having grown up with the PS2 era, it makes me upset to reflect on the modern gaming sphere, seeing all of the cancelled ‘live services’, online titles, and unfinished single player experiences – The first game to really burn me in this regard was the infamous No Man’s Sky; releasing with an intentionally inflated image, No Man’s Sky nearly made me set my copy on fire out of frustration… But then, on reflection, No Man’s Sky have done a hell of a lot of work to try and redeem themselves with their latest BEYOND update.

…Does this mean that games should release unfinished as long as they eventually fulfill their promise? No. Hell no. If anything, with the current climate of the gaming community, games should be endeavouring to be fully finished for launch… But we all know that won’t happen. Ever.

What a shame.

If we’re talking games that turned out half baked then look no further than Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. One of my most anticipated games of all time and one that I really can’t stop moaning about. Such a perfect series ruined by a game where the most interesting story that takes place is about Kaz’s burger business and the actual story is only made good by the Truth Tapes!

I could go on but it just depresses me too much to talk about. Maybe I’ll write an article about it one day… Wink

I made the mistake of buying before they’d had the chance of ruining it last year – Big mistake!

Yep, spurred on by hype around the improved multiplayer and the promise of more Zombies content, I was one of the suckers who fell for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Shame, really.

For those unaware, Black Ops 4 launched in an already fairly sorry state – Lacking in a proper solo campaign despite being a part of the Black Ops series (which is probably the best Call of Duty series in terms of story content and action setpieces), and I took this into account when I bought it, thinking that at least the product was sold honestly and I had every right to not buy it if I didn’t find the product offered worth the money.

What a fool I was, as post-launch was when the shit passed by the fan entirely and managed to get into the food supply. Loot-box content, selling DLC only via a season pass, and even that time they tried to release a system to shame people into buying premium content, only for it to backfire and the community to begin bullying those who had, prove to me that activision has no goodwill or respect for its customers.

As such, I’ve put down my controller for good as far as CoD is concerned. We had some good times, but it’s time for us to move onto a series that will treat us better.

I think the main problem here is no matter how much we all rightfully complain, we’re part of the problem because we’ve accepted it. If we all stood together and boycotted a developer for pulling this sort of shit then they wouldn’t be releasing these half finished games again anytime soon. Though that’s not realistic as we want our games and we want them now and I’ll admit to being a major part of the problem! I got FIFA 20 this year knowing full well that I’d have to wait until November for half the player faces to be patched in… We did this to ourselves. (At least I did).

Personally I think this one’s a tough one to talk about. I think the responsibility of unfinished games lies solely on the publisher – They push hard deadlines which the developing team spend hours and hours of extra time trying to meet. It results in consumers getting annoyed and ultimately having a poor opinion of the developers who have most likely sacrificed sleep and mental health to get a game out. I’m a physical buyer, with poor internet, so big day one patches usually means that I don’t get the chance to even start the game for a day or so.

I don’t really mind day one patches though if they are a total fix of whatever is unfinished. I think that what needs to happen is a realistic examination of team size and ability needs to be accessed and the deadlines calculated around that instead of “we need a game, any game by November” . Take we happy few for instance, a game that had so much hype around it, that was released completely broken at a AAA price (which the publisher sets) and left the developers abilities in question. The games fixed now and I believe if that was the version that was released then it would have had a much greater reception.

I’m sure most people would see this title and assume its ALL about No Man’s Sky, but come on there are plenty of games that aren’t ready to be on shelves that get a pass! However, I’m going to talk about a game that has been eating up my time this month but on its release wasn’t really prepared to see the light of day. Batman: Arkham Knight, I’m sure if you cast your mind back to 2015, a world before Trump’s America and Brexit (ah what a time) you’ll remember Arkham Knight released with a plethora of bugs and glitches on PC.

It actually dominated the messages boards of the internet and players across the world were livid, there was even talk of legal action! I understand deadlines for developers are often tight and we should be thankful sometimes to even get a game at all but as a gamer, sometimes that doesn’t matter and I just want a perfectly polished and ready to go game! It’s not that I’m a greedy or demanding person, I just wouldn’t pay for a movie that still had green screens and make up chairs in it… Would you?

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