The video games industry - like many others - is still trying to figure itself out. There's no tried and true method to creating a great game, as players' interests change across generations and fun is always subjective. On the plus side, this means the next big game can come out of left field; PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds started off as a mod for the military simulator ARMA 2 but ended up establishing an entirely new genre of online multiplayer games. Unfortunately, it also means developers often opt to take the safe route by only creating games that are in line with what's currently hot.
One of the main reasons why developers make bad games is they stops taking risks to theoretically maximize profits. This is a leading cause of stale game franchises and some of the most annoying video game trends every big-budget release seems to glom onto.
What's most frustrating is many of modern gaming's worst trends simply weren't issues in generations past. Before early access and day one patches, new games had to be finished and playable before they shipped, and there was no chance the best parts of a story would be locked behind paid DLC. Hopefully the good developers will learn from the past before gamers end up with an industry built on hot garbage.
- Photo: BioWare
Bioware's been locking away their games' endings since Mass Effect 3 in 2012, but more recently Dragon Age: Inquisition put its satisfying conclusion in a bit of paid DLC. Players who didn't purchase the "Trespasser" expansion probably felt pretty confused when one of the main game's party members turns out to be a villain, since the turn is only vaguely hinted at in the primary campaign.
Older games like Fable: The Lost Chapters added more satisfying content to the base products, but they didn't do it at a cost of a satisfying finale for people who didn't invest in every piece of available DLC. Optional missions with new stories are great, but when the overall narrative is dependent on content that's not available day one, many players will undoubtedly feel cheated.
Months-Long Early Access Creates Months-Long Broken Games Like 'PUBG'Photo: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds / PUBG Corperation
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds released in Steam's early access program nine months before it's official release in December 2017. Soon after this, the game came out on mobile and Xbox One, although it was labeled a preview on consoles until September 2018.
As of December 2018 the game is still pretty glitchy, with frequent reports of game crashes. Of course, older games like Halo didn't have the option to release development builds early. Instead, they had to be 100% ready at launch. While it's nice to be able to fix problems after the fact, some modern games arguably exploit that luxury by selling consumers broken products.
- Photo: Overwatch / Blizzard Entertainment
DLC is great, as are optional skins. If you love a game, you'll definitely appreciate more content coming out after the main release. Having to gamble time and money to acquire them? Not so great.
Overwatch has many things going for it, so its heavy use of loot boxes is a noticeable blemish. Players can either unlock loot boxes by playing the game (which is free but takes forever) or pay a little money to get them more quickly. However, even if you spend real-life money on loot boxes, there's no way to tell what's inside, so you could end up with a bunch of unlockables you don't care about.
What consumer actually wants to be unable to choose the DLC they're purchasing? In games like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion at least you knew you were buying your horse useless cosmetic armor with real money.
- Photo: Fallout 76 / Bethesda
When Fallout 76 launched on November 14, 2018, the base game took up about 45 gigabytes of hard drive space. While that's pretty standard for Xbox One/PS4 games, the massive day one patches the game received were more out of the ordinary. Before players could launch the game, they needed to download both a 25gb patch and another 30gb patch (the latter of which came out during the beta). Collectively, these patches were larger than the game was in the first place.
While day one patches don't always correlate to subpar games, players should be skeptical of massive updates, as one would hope developers shipped the game in a competent, playable state. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case for Fallout 76, as users have reported numerous bugs, even after multiple patches. It almost makes you miss the days when games couldn't be patched; for better or worse, whatever shipped on the disc was the complete experience.