jrod2510

Does Quality Assurance No Longer Exist?

48 posts in this topic

Hi. I think it depends on publisher's greed. That's quite lazy answer but I'll try to explain. 

 

First. EA, Ubisoft and some other are not really interested in quality of game neither their profit. Just change game somehow and add +1 to the name. They don't allow really cool developers make something

 specific. But there is another plus. Sometimes allowing game directors do whatever they want, makes games even worse. As an example Death Stranding. It's has a cool plot but the gameplay isn't so good(as for me). It's repeatarive and don't give any emotions to gamers. Publisher that tries to limit them, also interested that the game must entertain gamer.  They just think that entertainment = money. 

 

Second. Some developers are not really interested in some projects(like Rockstar and GTA Trilogy). They have more cool things to do(I hope). As an example GTA 6 or something else. If someone in the office/company don't want to work on it they just change studio(that's why staff turnover. Yeal there are sometimes some other reason like toxicity). 

 

Final. Publisher thinks that doing remake or remaster of a game will give a lot of profit because of nostalgia. 

 

Sorry for ma English but I hope you understand me.

 

 

 

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Tbh because it works. Invest 1 one year of work and then earn money or earn money now that you can put into other projects take also make you money.

it’s simply better to earn money every 3 years instead of every 4. atm we are just in a phase we’re they went a little too far with how early the game can be released already. They will learn from this do better for a few years and then again try to find the edge of what’s possible. And it doesn’t even seem to hurt the sales that much

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QA depends on overhead costs.

 

If it's cheaper (ie - they still sell loads of copies regardless of flaws) to publish a game as-is, then QA takes a back seat. Smaller projects that rely on word of mouth generally require more overall polish to secure revenue, since they can't rely on branding and nostalgia. Those "AAA" franchises prey on impulsive buyers with poor control.

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It's less a matter of QA not being present and more games being rushed out the door to meet a certain quarter. We already knew GTA trilogy was intended to help fill the gap between larger releases like GTAVI, but that doesn't excuse the total lack of polish on show here. Up until now Rockstar had had a perfect track record for well over a decade, so it's very disappointing to see them treat their previous work like this.

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With most companies it seems it doesn't exist anymore, if people buy the games (which they do) and they make money, why put in the extra effort to make something good?

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Seems like a classic case of companies trying to book quick profits while investing as least as they can afford to do so.

 

They know that those products sell regardless of quality.

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1 hour ago, jrod2510 said:

 Why are we paying so much for games that we're basically testing for them and have to bitch and moan and email and tweet to get fixed?!   

Don't pay... It's because people are buying them anyway and afterwards wonder why did they even buy a broken product in the first place. Maybe I'm an idealist, but if people actually voted with their wallet and stopped buying (especially pre ordering) buggy games, things would probably change. I'm not sure, but wasn't it known that the company behind the GTA remasters already had one shitty GTA port under their belt? Kind of a huge red flag. People still bought it and I suppose some of them were surprised. 

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For every shit show like gta trilogy remastered there's more than several games that release in good state. Only difference is that one of em will get widespread attention for all the wrong reasons while the others will likely be ignored. 

Edited by BrandedBerserk
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This is normal now.

Early access on Steam is a clear winner, if people like a game, or a concept they will pay money even if it's known to have bugs/ not be finished. Games that are perfectly working on Day 1 and never need patching is incredibly rare now whereas before it used to be essential.

Publishers want money rolling through the door as they can, as they do release stuff early, QA is now free and in many cases customers are doing the work.

Bug and glitches are all part of the fun now, and I think that is how things will stay.

 

If people will buy and play absolutely shit games that are poor by design just because they have trophies in them, of course many people buy games on Day 1 knowing full well they are a bit broken but will eventually get patched later. Standards are going down but unusually customers just want to play the games now, out of a choice of waiting a few months or playing them a bit buggy, most people will prefer playing it now and not having to wait. I'm starting to wonder if bad publicity is good publicity though. As for GTA, Rockstar can just blame the other dev, in time Rockstar will not be remembered as it being their fault. Seems a bit shady, but that's just how it is.

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It's not the quality of the product that's the problem it's people preordering games, paying $100 for 4 days of early access and defending absolute shit that publishers put out.
Blows my mind how fallout 76/anthem/fifa/cyberpunk/stadia/NFL/bethesda/battlefield etc have thousands of people defending the games.

 

People need to watch reviews before dropping money, and when something shit happens in a game request a refund.
You really don't have to buy these broken pieces of garbage, but until that happens the publishers get your money then just abandon the game to work on the next years version.

Gaming doesn't have to be this way, but a fool and their money is easily parted.

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The worst/typical offenders seem to be the large publisher releasing across multiple platforms simultaneously, which leads me to believe it’s an over-reliance on their software tools. There are software suites for game development that tout a program-once, execute-everywhere sales pitch. They’ll produce code that executes and probably catch some errors, but need to be paired with proper coding practices and ultimately, a team that reviews code for glitches, aka Quality Assurance. 
Pure speculation on my part: the release schedule for these games is pretty tight and if any parts get behind schedule, they rely on patches post-release to address the worst glitches. It’s a poor experience for paying customers, but there are so many that either have the lowest of expectations or none at all, that there will be no real penalty for doing it. 
 

The prices for these games drops pretty quickly so that anyone who doesn’t want to pay as much for the buggy mess these are doesn’t have to wait long to pay half price or less. But there will never be enough of a movement to stop it from happening unless the platform holders start implementing penalties for publishing broken games, and that’s not going to happen either.

 

Luckily, it takes less than an hour of research online to identify the worst culprits and completely avoid them. 

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Steam popularized shovelware, there’s endless amounts of crap that I would never play because my standards are.... I just want to play games that have quality. 
 

Every generation had its share of shit games, but I’m inclined to think in this digital age there are several developers who are supposedly hacks that are cranking out terrible, forgettable games that were just made for a quick buck. 
 

Just as the AAA industry has turned to monetization, microtransactions and multiple season passes, single developers with the skills of computer interns can make a horrifically bad game. The indie market has just as much crap as the AAA industry. 
 

That’s why I never preorder and just buy a game blind anymore. Especially now that both PC and console games are practically unfinished at launch which makes the Day 1 patch absolutely necessary. 
 

I care about indie and AA/AAA developers who put their vision and love into their games rather than just making a buck. Unfortunately I feel these publishers are doing more harm than good since they only care for the short term. I’m preaching to the choir here, but you can just read the countless articles out there detailing the multiple Season Passes and microtransactions that reveal the industry has changed with the times.

 

Steam nowadays looks like an embarrassment, yet it’s still the ideal platform for PC gamers.
 

I wish more people out there voted with their wallet. That’s what they need to do with the PS5 version of GTA V. I’m afraid the brainless imbeciles and whales that spend money on crap will just make these publishers continue the trend. Which is shameful.

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Some developers seem content to release what amounts to an "early access" game. They leave it to us to be the testers.

 

One game I expected a lot more from at its launch was the remake of XIII. I liked the Unreal Engine 2 original on the first Xbox. Sadly, the remake was plagued with frequent crashes, and bugs including some flagrant graphic glitches in its initial state. Models would glitch out and look like an abomination from a horror movie (the first 25 seconds of the below video). You might see someone stuck in a wall. When you put down a certain NPC, he would get cloned. A particularly maddening bug would leave you stuck on the grenade and unable to switch weapons.

 

This is an example of a game that should've been delayed even longer. I'd rather have seen it not show until June 2021 for the sake of getting it into a more proper condition. This one may well have killed the franchise, with talks regarding a potential sequel from PlayMagic having been cut off. I'd still like to see a sequel if it were done by the right team. Microids should get another developer to fix anything that may still be wrong with the XIII remake. That's what NIS America did with their PC port of Ys VIII. It was pretty rough at first, but then they had Durante and the PH3 Games team update it, and now it's fine. I'm not sure Microids gives a damn though.

 

Platform holders like Sony and Microsoft need to do something about broken builds of games, like refusing approval or yanking a game post-release. A released game shouldn't have major bugs in it.

 

 

Edited by RadiantFlamberge
Typo in last sentence: "need to" changed to "need to do"
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QA definitely exists, but also keep in mind that games are also getting bigger and bigger every year.  Back when I was a kid and playing on the NES and later SNES games were a few MB and even those had some bugs here and there.  Those games also weren't as long as far as gameplay went.  Now many games are well over 50 GB which means far more lines of code to be debugging.  On top of that, most games get multiplatform releases, which means more configurations to work with.  PC especially is a pain to do QA for because there are an infinite possibility of potential system and software configurations.  Even consoles have more potential configurations than they did in the past.

 

So it's not so much that QA has vanished, but more that devs and publishers are trying to do QA for massive and long games using the same size QA teams they did back in previous gens when code was less massive and there were fewer configurations to test with.  One of the biggest issues is the pressure devs have to release within a timeframe that is honestly too short for how massive games are now, but it is pretty much required to make games profitable.  That results in very little time to test when the job is growing bigger and bigger.  On top of that, since it's easy to update games now, there is little reason to get the QA done upon release too.

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The point I'm trying to make is up until the late PS3/early PS4 era, most big budget AAA games were more or less complete at launch. I still remember Mass Effect 3 and Dead Space 3 being a big deal, despite a mass amount of people bitching about the Mass Effect 3 ending and Dead Space 3 resembling more of a co-op shooter that removed most of the horror elements the previous games had. Those games were more or less complete, as you just needed a couple patches for them to be fully playable.

 

Nowadays it's like every other big release is bugged to hell and back unless you have the Day 1 patch installed, which is basically mandatory in this day and age. It's not uncommon for AAA games to be vastly different when fully patched as opposed to when they aren't. Even No Man's Sky, which was developed by a small company, has gone thru at least two or three complete overhauls. It is now a completely different game from what it was back in 2016, when so many people were complaining about the game crashing and having repetitive gameplay. The damage was done, but everyone I've talked to has told me No Man's Sky is actually decent now.

 

Playtesters are basically a thing of the past, as it's simply cheaper to put these games on early access and let the gaming community play test them to report any bugs and glitches. I can't just blame the developers, I also blame the publishers because they expect a deadline for when these gaming projects have to get done.

 

I remember God of War 3 coming out back in early 2010 with a file size that was massive. The game was basically complete at launch, I played it with friends and I don't recall any notable bugs or glitches that affected gameplay. Sony Santa Monica put effort into their product. Ubisoft on the other hand is mostly cranking out games by the numbers. You release a half assed product like the recent Tom Clancy Ghost Recon games and then you slowly start patching out the bugs.

 

We're seeing a lot more of this now than we did in the past. That's why I stopped preordering and I generally get my games around six months after they're released. I've been burned before by buying games at launch only to see them be utter piles of shit.

 

Thank Christ for indie games and AA budget level games, because otherwise I would of given up on the gaming industry years ago.

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I tend to favor companies like Falcom, Flying Wild Hog, and Croteam. They're a godsend. Games from these companies don't suffer from executive meddling seen in triple-A titles, and I appreciate their quality before quantity approach. AAA publishers like Activision, EA, and Ubi I don't trust so much anymore. These three are game mills and they put too much pressure on their devs. Today's Ubi is definitely NOT the same as in the early 2000's when they put out games like Far Cry 1 (Crytek) and the classic XIII. Ghost Recon was actually a pretty respectable franchise during the 360 and PS3 generation. GR Advanced Warfighter is decent. Activision effectively killed Raven Software... you won't get any new games from this once great studio. It's sad that they do nothing more than Call of Duty support.

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6 hours ago, RadiantFlamberge said:

I tend to favor companies like Falcom, Flying Wild Hog, and Croteam. They're a godsend. Games from these companies don't suffer from executive meddling seen in triple-A titles, and I appreciate their quality before quantity approach. AAA publishers like Activision, EA, and Ubi I don't trust so much anymore. These three are game mills and they put too much pressure on their devs. Today's Ubi is definitely NOT the same as in the early 2000's when they put out games like Far Cry 1 (Crytek) and the classic XIII. Ghost Recon was actually a pretty respectable franchise during the 360 and PS3 generation. GR Advanced Warfighter is decent. Activision effectively killed Raven Software... you won't get any new games from this once great studio. It's sad that they do nothing more than Call of Duty support.


I think what’s also changed is the fact that these AAA publishers have become more closet minded. 
 

I’ve gone and watched old interviews with developers who worked on the original God of War, World of Warcraft, Uncharted,  Ratchet & Clank, etc etc. Thank you YouTube for allowing me to rewatch these. Anyway, you can plainly tell those developers expressed a passion for their products. 
 

I cannot imagine Neil Druckmann of Naughty Dog coming out and taking part in a lighthearted interview where he talks about his company and his passion. He’s too much of a closet minded prick to ever do anything like that. Sure, he was attacked relentlessly by the Twitter mob, but I honestly think he isn’t much better. 
 

Ubisoft is completely closed off nowadays. I go on their forums occasionally and I see people having great difficulty getting one of their staff members to address an issue, let alone care enough to report a bug in a game. 
 

I know from experience it was a lot easier to contact them in the PS2 days. I remember in the game manuals they always had a customer support line and their website URL. Now their website mostly advertises their latest games, in the format that all giant corporations have copied. Their web designers can’t make a decent website with good accessibility, but they can sure make a webpage that is flashy and has massive graphics. 
 

Activision is now killing Blizzard Entertainment. If it wasn’t for their classic games I wouldn’t even care for the sexual harassment issues they’ve been getting. 

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Funny that ActiBlizz was brought up, they were who I normally point to as an example as to why devs/publishers might not see fleshed out QA as something to worry about out the door. The community for WoW is vast enough that pretty much everything is mapped out before content is officially released. No need to fix every major bug or make every encounter not balls complicated, the free QA they get from paying users will cover that. I can see other devs/publishers doing the same. If it's projected to be a big seller, just ship it working, anything else we'll find when people complain about it and come up with their own fixes. If it's not projected to be a big seller, to hell with whatever happens after the big green 'publish' button is pressed.

 

Davi's point stands pretty hard too, particularly so in todays world. Specifically, the game maker studio version I have comes with a 'systems publication' button. Meaning, it'll walk me through how to make a program compatible with Steamworks (as an example), pointing out in simple terms what is needed, where and why. The real purpose of the function is to show the tool where I have everything, so I can push the publication button again, but this time select PSN and it'll switch all the compatibility bits for me, no need for me to understand any of it. Other users have shared that in 90% of cases this is good enough, unless the game I'm building is complicated on the level of a super polished AAA studio game or something that requires constant/regular online authentication to run.

Edited by Jelly Soup
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For once, I have to say you bring up a lot of good points @Jelly Soup.

 

Daiv basically confirmed it. I was pretty impressed with God of War 2018 on a technical level, as that game came out polished and ready on release. This seems to be getting more and more rare as time moves on.

 

It's getting to the point where these massive corporations are basically taking what WoW started. You release a new update with new content and then it's up to the player community to find the bugs so the devs/publishers can sort them out. In the old days it was commonplace to hire playtesters to look for problems. They weren't developers, they were just people hired to test out a game. That is mostly a thing of the past.

 

It's infuriating that a number of AAA games still get released with a host of bugs and glitches even with the Day 1 patch installed. I mean I get it. Games in 2021 are utterly massive, and it's basically next to impossible to find all the bugs with just a small team of people. But I'm inclined to think Ubisoft for example is just shipping their games, because the publisher holds power on when a game actually gets released. The recent Tom Clancy Ghost Recon games are a good example of games that were released half assed. It's just lazy effort from a massive company that is more than able to afford actual QA.

 

There's a good reason why I no longer preorder and pay full price for AAA games. Both you and Daiv covered it.

Edited by AJ_Radio
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No, the early adopters are essentially beta testers. They do that because they can.

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On 11/27/2021 at 5:00 PM, AJ_Radio said:

The point I'm trying to make is up until the late PS3/early PS4 era, most big budget AAA games were more or less complete at launch. I still remember Mass Effect 3 and Dead Space 3 being a big deal, despite a mass amount of people bitching about the Mass Effect 3 ending and Dead Space 3 resembling more of a co-op shooter that removed most of the horror elements the previous games had. Those games were more or less complete, as you just needed a couple patches for them to be fully playable.

 

Nowadays it's like every other big release is bugged to hell and back unless you have the Day 1 patch installed, which is basically mandatory in this day and age. It's not uncommon for AAA games to be vastly different when fully patched as opposed to when they aren't. Even No Man's Sky, which was developed by a small company, has gone thru at least two or three complete overhauls. It is now a completely different game from what it was back in 2016, when so many people were complaining about the game crashing and having repetitive gameplay. The damage was done, but everyone I've talked to has told me No Man's Sky is actually decent now.

 

Playtesters are basically a thing of the past, as it's simply cheaper to put these games on early access and let the gaming community play test them to report any bugs and glitches. I can't just blame the developers, I also blame the publishers because they expect a deadline for when these gaming projects have to get done.

 

I remember God of War 3 coming out back in early 2010 with a file size that was massive. The game was basically complete at launch, I played it with friends and I don't recall any notable bugs or glitches that affected gameplay. Sony Santa Monica put effort into their product. Ubisoft on the other hand is mostly cranking out games by the numbers. You release a half assed product like the recent Tom Clancy Ghost Recon games and then you slowly start patching out the bugs.

 

We're seeing a lot more of this now than we did in the past. That's why I stopped preordering and I generally get my games around six months after they're released. I've been burned before by buying games at launch only to see them be utter piles of shit.

 

Thank Christ for indie games and AA budget level games, because otherwise I would of given up on the gaming industry years ago.

Back in the old days (God that sounds cliche but I have to use it here) games had to be complete and mostly bug free before being shipped out, as it's not feasible to track everyone who bought the games and send everyone patches and updates to games already released.

 

Now with the advent of internet and the ability to download updates and patches for games, developers no longer feel the need to put out complete games at launch. Why keep pushing deadlines when you can just release an incomplete game and take the money when these games sell anyways?

 

The whole "gaming as a service" (i.e. microtransactions, season passes) trend has just exacerbated this problem because they can just bake in bug fixes to "new" content.

 

Despite the listed reasons there's no credible excuse as to why QA is not a thing any more, but companies getting lazy, cutting costs, and urge to meet deadlines combined to form this mess that modern AAA gaming is in right now.

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3 hours ago, MidnightDragon said:

No, the early adopters are essentially beta testers. They do that because they can.

 

I don't see the point. Every other game at this point has 'early access' or is released during its 'beta stage' so having proper QA is greatly lacking.

 

24 minutes ago, jaehyun1009 said:

Back in the old days (God that sounds cliche but I have to use it here) games had to be complete and mostly bug free before being shipped out, as it's not feasible to track everyone who bought the games and send everyone patches and updates to games already released.

 

Now with the advent of internet and the ability to download updates and patches for games, developers no longer feel the need to put out complete games at launch. Why keep pushing deadlines when you can just release an incomplete game and take the money when these games sell anyways?

 

The whole "gaming as a service" (i.e. microtransactions, season passes) trend has just exacerbated this problem because they can just bake in bug fixes to "new" content.

 

Despite the listed reasons there's no credible excuse as to why QA is not a thing any more, but companies getting lazy, cutting costs, and urge to meet deadlines combined to form this mess that modern AAA gaming is in right now.

 

You can write a short novel on this subject, but my posts are already long enough and I generally ramble anyway.

 

I listed God of War 2018 as a good example of a game that was complete at launch. It was fully playable, it ran well, and it did well by the critics. Still, that was subject to delays, but I don't criticize a game for being delayed as long as it comes out ready and polished. I didn't like the story and the relationship between Kratos and his son, but the game overall was enjoyable for me.

 

No DLC either for God of War, yet every other AAA game automatically has DLC. That's another big problem. Ubisoft is nothing more than a cash cow. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Rayman are dead because Ubisoft probably couldn't come up with a way to monetize them. Rayman is a very old franchise and I don't really see how you can make a platforming series into a "service". Assassin's Creed Valhalla is most definitely a service because Ubisoft is going to release second year DLC for it. That probably won't cover the Season Pass. So essentially, you're likely paying $120 for all of what the game has, and if Ubisoft decides to come out with another Season Pass that's even more money you have to spend. That's not even taking into question the price hike for PS5 games, as they're now $70.

 

I'm broke. I'm currently in a situation where my job isn't giving me the hours I need, but it doesn't mind throwing me hours when I'm busy doing other things. For these companies to continue this trend is why I'm gradually falling off away from the AAA gaming scene.

 

They're taking the cheapest methods they can find and are maximizing profits for them. They're not concerned about the long term. They're concerned about the here and now. That is why I will no longer support R*. That horrible GTA Remastered Trilogy and the upcoming PS5 release of GTA V are nothing more than cash grabs. The video trailer for GTA V already revealed graphical glitches that are supposedly for a current gen console. Yet the GTA V modding community that has been prominent for nearly a decade can make superior looking content and they actually listen to their fanbase.

 

Having a bunch of faceless executives with endless pockets take over the industry was one of the worst things that could of happened.

Edited by AJ_Radio
added some input
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No, QA still exists.

 

I think you would be very hard pressed to find a game out there that doesn’t list either a quality assurance department or subcontractor in their game credit scroll - or at a minimum a list of Play-Testers.  (That will generally be for smaller Indie games, though those who get picked up and published by a bigger publisher will often list that publisher’s QA team in their credits, as they will go through an additional round of QA from the publisher side.)

 

QA are responsible for reporting errors they find - what the developer does with that info is up to them, of course - but I can’t personally recall a game where no kind of QA or Play-Testing personnel was listed in their end-game credits.

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