Unfinished games spell doom for developers


So far, 2019 has been a less than ideal year for gaming. The past three months alone have seen many AAA releases, all of which have sadly been riddled with one controversy after another. Overhyped and unfinished games with poor graphics and gameplay mechanics fill the shelves while big name companies continue to alienate their consumer bases. As companies take the trend further with bad PR and shady business practices, it’s clear that the gaming industry is in desperate need of a restart.

These days it feels like companies are not only determined to take our hard earned money, but also spit in our face and call us mindless consumer drones while they’re at it. But while the solution to all these gamer problems seems obvious, first it’s important to look over all the recent controversies and understand why people are so fed up these days, beginning with the recent trend of releasing unfinished games.

First up is all of these unfinished games that keep hitting store shelves, such as the already notorious looter-shooter, “Anthem,” from Bioware and Electronic Arts. Not only was its demo an absolute disaster, but the game itself succumbs to the common trend that all of EA’s games have gone through, known as “Games as a Service.” This idea that you can release an unfinished Triple A title and gradually add to it overtime has many people feeling frustrated and robbed of their money, since most of these don’t even feel like AAA games at launch.

Sure, games take a while to develop, but ask your typical gamer and they’ll always tell you they’d prefer a full game with a delayed release than an incomplete mess on a set date. This game apparently took six years to make, which doesn’t show in the slightest if you’ve played the actual game. With a lifeless world and enemies as well as downright terrible loot, EA and Bioware haven’t done much to sell people on their game, with its newfound flight mechanic being the only positive aspect in an otherwise repetitive and bare-bones shooter.

That overall sense of being unfinished brings us into the next big controversial trend: bad graphics. Anime fans were looking forward to Shonen Jump’s crossover fighter, “Jump Force,” but one of that game’s biggest criticisms revolved around its atrocious graphics, again looking like an unfinished product. While the gameplay is serviceable this time around, players took real issues with the game’s presentation, citing lifeless character models and cutscenes that made an already underutilized character roster and terrible story feel even more like an unimpressive anime cash grab. What looked so fun and polished at its E3 debut has become a laughingstock in the world of fighting games.

But “Jump Force” is far from being the only thing to be considered a laughingstock in the gaming world. That honor also belongs to companies like Bethesda and their recent online action role-player, “Fallout 76.”

While this game officially came out in 2018, it’s been making headlines again after the developers banned a player who logged in over 900 hours on their game, about 899 more than most people have by now. But instead of congratulating the player, Reddit user Glorf12, on his insane achievement, Bethesda responded by banning him from the game. The cause of the ban essentially boils down to the fact that the amount of rare loot and items Glorf12 acquired over his 900 hours was unheard of, so much so that Bethesda assumed he must have cheated and promptly suspended the only guy who was even playing their game anymore.

Essentially, Bethesda started a new company trend of banning players for being good at their games, something EA and Bioware recently continued in “Anthem.” But banning players for playing hasn’t been the only example of companies alienating their consumers. The gold medal of exclusivity goes to Deep Silver and 4A Games on their recent controversy surrounding PC player access to their newest title, “Metro Exodus.”

This one might be the most insulting to me personally, as Deep Silver and 4A announced that “Metro Exodus” would not be coming to Steam, despite the fact that it was already listed as an upcoming title on the service. The reason being that Epic Games wanted to launch its own game store and convinced the companies to make “Metro Exodus” an Epic store exclusive, taking it off Steam and only promising players that had already preordered the game on there future access.

Epic takes less of a share of profits than Steam, and while every company has a right to want more revenue from their product, Deep Silver and 4A have been less than understanding when it comes to handling their PC players. Almost every PC gamer uses Steam and they are less than enthused about going over to an entirely new platform.

What this means is the company not only alienates a considerably large percent of its potential player base, but there is absolutely no reason the game couldn’t just be on both services. Even if Epic promises more revenue, that adds up to nothing if nobody’s buying the game on their site. In an age where many systems and companies are trying to bridge the gaps and create unified player bases, this idea of game exclusivity is utterly ridiculous and a terrible business move above all else. But these days it sure seems like gaming companies have forgotten how successful business even works.

These companies are so focused on hyping us up, marketing these products and taking our money that they forget the most important part about selling a game: it has to be good. Right now everything feels so overhyped in the world of Triple-A titles that the more a game is advertised, the less I want to play it. These companies have created an atmosphere where the games with the most advertising tend to be the worst.

So clearly a restart is in order. Stop rushing developers, quit alienating player-bases and just make good games for your customers. Do that and we’ll happily empty our wallets, because that’s simple business. All these recent controversies prove that companies can’t hide behind excuses or sub-par products anymore. It’s high time to start putting quality over quantity once more.