Be very very quiet, I’m hunting bugs
What do fans of Call of Duty: Black Ops and Mass Effect 2 have in common? One group of fans spends its time playing a pop-a-mole shooter set in outer space, while the other group of fans spends its time playing a pop-a-mole shooter set on earth. Oh, and both groups of fans have been fighting game-breaking bugs for some time now. One such bug, gone unpatched for more than two weeks now, corrupts save files in the PS3 version of Mass Effect 2, while Call of Duty: Black Ops has had any number of annoying bugs since its release last November. The game’s so buggy that a UK consumer group reported the game to the mighty Office of Fair Trading for being, in essence, a hunk of junk. What does Treyarch, the Black Ops developer, have to say for itself? In essence, “Pobody’s nerfect.”
The company’s community manager, Josh Olin, said that while it’s “unfortunate” that these bugs have to exist at all, the simple fact of the matter is that pretty much impossible to release a bug-free game.
In an ideal would we would love to ship a completely bug-proof game. I can’t think of a single developer in the world, though, that could achieve that… When [bugs] pop up, though, it’s really important that we are well equipped to quickly address them and quickly patch them.
One such bug, apparently, deleted movies made in the game’s theater mode. That’s mighty inconvenient, no?
Treyarch also said that when you have a game as popular as Call of Duty is, you’re bound to have more and more complaints and reports of bugs than a game that had no buys. ¡Ay, bendito!
Mass Effect 2’s bugs are also worth mentioning, because not only is there the new save file corruption bug—who honestly wants to sit there and obsessively back-up their save files to a USB drive?—but many of the bugs that were present in the Xbox 360 and PC version are still present. Nice.
(In BioWare’s defense, it says it’s submitted a patch to Sony for approval, but that was two weeks ago. Two weeks with nigh zero communication on the issue is a long time to wait for what was supposed to be the “definitive” edition of the game.)
Is a bug-free game possible? Probably not, no. But there are ways to go about patching them, ways to keep the community up-to-date without making your customers (your fans!) feel like a bunch of jerks.