Originally Posted by jhaines
Bethesda's games have a reputation for being far buggier than most other games on the market, and that reputation has most certainly been earned. Yet people continue to buy their incredibly buggy games, and they continue to win game of the year awards for them, so what incentive do they have to ever change their ways?
Gamers buy Bethesda's games because they also have a reputation for making incredible games--despite the bugs.
It's true that the volume of bugs tends to scale proportionally with the amount of content in a software product, but bug injection and removal is driven by the quality of the overall development process. Improve the process and your quality will also improve proportionally.
Not true. The reality is that there are finite resources
within a given budget, a given employee pool, and a given timeframe. Bethesda chooses
to devote more of that resource pool into things other than bug correction--particularly given the scope of their games. The amount of time, money, and manpower it would take just to find the simplest of bugs becomes unreasonable. It's not about "improving the process." It's about allocating finite resources.
Unfortunately, now that their games have become more popular and that they've moved solidly away from a PC-centric development environment, their devotion to content and world-building (at the expense of thorough and resource-heavy bug passes) is now catching up with them.
This is the first Elder Scrolls game that they've made that didn't use PC as the lead platform. It's the first that was multiplatform at launch. Fallout 3 was intentionally limited in its scope and length in order to make console development much easier. Skyrim is an attempt to bring the scope of their PC RPGs to consoles. And I'd argue that it's largely a success.
This isn't a defense, but merely an explanation. And if it weren't for the ability of developers to patch games post-release, not only would we have more broken games, but developers wouldn't even be able to make
games like Skyrim (or Modern Warfare, or any big game). The current state of Skyrim on PS3 is unforgivable, but it also makes sense. Bethesda clearly bit off more than they could chew. But the alternative was to outsource it (like they did with the PS3 version of Oblivion and with Fallout New Vegas). They decided they wanted to do it themselves. It's a commendable attempt. But it blew up in their faces.
And I'll be the first to admit that I would never buy a Bethesda game on PS3. I've been playing Skyrim on the other HD console and I've run into only a handful of minor bugs in over 80hrs of play. In my experience, Skyrim is less buggy than any other Elder Scrolls game they've ever made (and I've played them all). And to be even more honest, if I didn't already own the other console, I would probably have been willing to shell out the extra cash for one just so I could play Skyrim. It's that good.
How many other products in your life would you tolerate this amount of bugginess from? If your TV or watch randomly didn't work for 1 hour out of every 70 that you tried to use it, would you stand for that? What if it was your car, or your phone? What if you owned a movie or CD that made your entertainment system puke on a regular basis?
Games can't be compared to other products. For many reasons, they can't
be bug-free at launch. They're too big. There are too many moving parts. There are too many unpredictable quirks. Either we gamers are okay with this fact of modern gaming, or we won't get any more large-scale AAA games.
Rather than thinking of games as complete "products" like television displays or cars or phones, it's more appropriate to think of them like services similar to public transit, internet service, or cable lines. They need to be maintained, improved, upgraded, and tweaked regularly (or at least during their biggest sales period within the first 3-6 mos). If you don't want regular long-to-download patches and updates, stick to smaller games.