Excitement for the latest release should always conclude with two things. Firstly, if you’re lucky, a great game that was worth the anticipation. Secondly, a complete experience on day one. As a consumer, you’ve waited months or perhaps even years for a product, paid full price and should expect to be able to dive right into the culmination of all the developers’ efforts. Right?
Unfortunately, that era of gaming seems to be over.
As the games industry, like the rest of the world, relies more and more on the internet, it’s all too easy for teams to be able to be lax in their final tweaks. Now that games can be fixed “in post”, it’s become increasingly common – to the point of near standardization – that the biggest games release with a long list of things that will get patched in the following weeks.
These days it’s all too common to hear the mantra of “stop pre-ordering games”. After all, you can only be burned by terrible launch states so many times before you become jaded.
This list will look at games that did get better eventually but were best avoided when they were first released.
Starting with the most recent example and the one that inspired this list, many thought for just a moment that The Callisto Protocol might be where the line is drawn on games released in an unfinished state.
Ironically, the argument and the issue are far from done.
Helmed by Glen Schofield, famed Dead Space co-creator, The Callisto Protocol seemed like it might be a worthy spiritual successor. Views were mixed on release, with some loving the retro survival horror clunk feeling of the title’s mechanics and others calling the game outdated and slow.
The PlayStation 5 version of The Callisto Protocol ran perfectly fine, with a steady and locked 60fps. However, the Xbox version seemed to be a much lesser affair, with unstable performance and even missing certain graphical elements like reflections. The PC version fared even worse, riddled with stuttering on top of all the other problems.
With Schofield’s team at Striking Distance Studios being assisted by Sony staff and signing a deal for PlayStation marketing exclusivity, it was either a horrible coincidence or a damning indictment of favouritism.
Within the first couple of weeks, the game received an update that not only alleviated bugs but also sped up the gameplay, making it already better than it was if you struggled through it at launch.