There's something invigorating about being caught up in the zeitgeist of a videogame. Being able to compare notes and impressions, swapping stories and sharing discoveries, is part of why videogame communities like this one are such vibrant and interesting places. Being included in a sub-community of enthusiasts during a launch window is what drives people to pre-order and rework their whole lives so they have as much time to play as possible. That's a potent factor surrounding the hype and enthusiasm for videogames in general; It's about inclusivity, and solidarity, and it's important.
It's also why I have so little sympathy for companies that push out rushed videogames and then apologetically attempt to make good with proposed patches and updates.
Aaryn Flynn, general manager of Bioware, has announced that, fair cop, the quality of Andromeda is somewhat lacking in certain areas of the game. Bioware acknowledges these issues and, now they have your money, they're committed to fixing those problems with a series of increasingly convoluted patches. One of which is Fixing Ryder’s movements when running in a zig zag pattern. Cool?
No, not really.
I didn't buy Andromeda, after being put off by multiple reviews, so I'm indifferent towards what exactly is being fixed. What irritates me more is that this is slowly becoming an acceptable form of doing business; games are swapped for money and then, if people complain loud enough, the developer grudgingly agrees to deliver the level of quality which was expected in the first place. In the case of some, such as Bioware, those expectations are the result of a company pedigree. Others seem a little more deceitful. I'm looking at you, No Man's Sky (though I wish I wasn't, because you look bad).
And this sucks, because the zeitgeist is important! People want to be caught up in the opening-weekend excitement, and by relying on a series of ongoing patches you deny them that experience. Not to mention the fact that most people, having struggled through your broken-ass game once already, will be reluctant to do so again in a month regardless of what you add in a patch.
Not to bang the same drum, but pre-orders deserve some of this blame once again. I'd like to think that no developer is deliberately trying to push out a shitty videogame, but they have little incentive to make improvements if hordes of fans are already locked in to buy it regardless of launch quality. But let's look at the silver linings here:
- Doing something is better than doing nothing. At the very least they're acknowledging the problems and trying to fix them. For the sake of people who brought the game, I hope those changes are meaningful.
- The review scores aren't going to be changed regardless of patches. A lot of studios measure their success in meta-critic ratings, so this fuckup is now on Biowares permanent record. Hopefully they learn from this and we see improvements next time.
- Maybe less people will buy into this preorder bullshit now they've been repeatedly burned. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...