Developer's/Publisher's Lack of Transparency Disturbing

I've played lots of MMOs in the past decade. This experience has given me a certain attitude towards developers, and how they communicate with us. MMO developers, as well as veteran players, expect MMOs to be full of bugs and other issues, and that is something to be open about.

We know what we think is wrong with the game. The developers know that there's lots wrong with the game. We know they're working on it. And there's patches and patchnotes all the time. There's official forums and official developer forum posters. Community managers and official twitterfeeds giving substantive realtime information on what's going on.

Some developers, like DICE for Battlefield 3, have adopted a similar standard of communication. It was an extremely buggy game when it was first released, but through transparency and relatively open communication, it's been a similar journey like with your average MMO - I can deal with that.

What I can't deal with, is not knowing. Being kept in the dark. Like EA/Criterion keeps me in the dark, on what's going on with Need for Speed Most Wanted. I've grown to love the game, but the more I played the game, the more unstable my client became - to the point where it crashes on start-up. I can get it to start-up with some trickery, but it will crash sooner, rather than later.

It's been a month, and there's literally no word from the developers on what's going on. Are they aware? What are they doing about it? Will there be a patch? When will there be a patch?

What makes it even worse - their game's pretty much my favorite of 2012, and I want to play more, really badly.

What I'm saying is, I expect all gamedevelopers to act like MMO-developers. Open channels of communication. Official forums with actual developer feedback. Community managers actually engaging the community. A live twitterfeed informing about onlines woes and maintenance and such. More kander.

2 Comments
3 Comments
Edited by Seppli

I've played lots of MMOs in the past decade. This experience has given me a certain attitude towards developers, and how they communicate with us. MMO developers, as well as veteran players, expect MMOs to be full of bugs and other issues, and that is something to be open about.

We know what we think is wrong with the game. The developers know that there's lots wrong with the game. We know they're working on it. And there's patches and patchnotes all the time. There's official forums and official developer forum posters. Community managers and official twitterfeeds giving substantive realtime information on what's going on.

Some developers, like DICE for Battlefield 3, have adopted a similar standard of communication. It was an extremely buggy game when it was first released, but through transparency and relatively open communication, it's been a similar journey like with your average MMO - I can deal with that.

What I can't deal with, is not knowing. Being kept in the dark. Like EA/Criterion keeps me in the dark, on what's going on with Need for Speed Most Wanted. I've grown to love the game, but the more I played the game, the more unstable my client became - to the point where it crashes on start-up. I can get it to start-up with some trickery, but it will crash sooner, rather than later.

It's been a month, and there's literally no word from the developers on what's going on. Are they aware? What are they doing about it? Will there be a patch? When will there be a patch?

What makes it even worse - their game's pretty much my favorite of 2012, and I want to play more, really badly.

What I'm saying is, I expect all gamedevelopers to act like MMO-developers. Open channels of communication. Official forums with actual developer feedback. Community managers actually engaging the community. A live twitterfeed informing about onlines woes and maintenance and such. More kander.

Posted by Animasta

Difference in developer styles. an MMO developer has to keep you informed because they want you to keep up in their system and maybe buy things or maybe continue your subscription.

Likewise, a smaller game developer can more easily say things like what you're implying because each of them KNOWS a lot more, by virtue of their team being smaller. If a team is 4 people, than each of those people should know what the others are working on; less so for a team of 50 or even 20.

Criterion is a big developer but they don't necessarily have to engage you like a MMO developer does; also because the PC isn't their lead platform in this case, which isn't the case with MMO developers.

Edited by Seppli

@Animasta:

I am aware of the differences. Doesn't matter though. It's a matter of building an infrastructure capable of such a thing. I think all serious developers being serious about making games should communicate with their community/customers somewhat openly, but most importantly timely, about the issues with their product. I can live with the fact that games are complicated and complex products, and that there always will be issues big and small, especially when played on an open platform like the PC.

Currently, the best source for feedback for Need for Speed Most Wanted is EA Answer HQ, and that's mostly community-driven. The official Need for Speed stuff is all corporate noise, and zero direct communications with/from Criterion. EA/Criterion is not very forthcoming on how their post-launch process works. Holidays - I guess? For all I know, they've moved on, and left me with a gamebreakingly unstable game. I'm not cool with being treated that way.

I expect developers to iterate on their client builds quicker. It's on PC, and on Origin. It's their environment. A month without any clientside fixing efforts? That's ludicrous.

Battlelog should be the blueprint of how to handle non-MMO games on the PC platform. Frontload the game with an interactive social environment and one-stop-destination for everything about the game. It's pretty much perfect.