The Revolution Is Here, The Internet Is Not Ready

It’s been some time since I ranted about something. So I’ll talk about an old topic.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity came out a couple months ago. Note that they didn’t call it AC 5, even though it is probably more worthy of the number than AC 4 was. I haven’t played the game, so keep that in mind that I can’t speak much to whether or not the game is fun (although it received good review scores, yet lower than any AC game). A part of me laughs when I hear how it’s the first new-generation AC game and how it uses new advanced AI, which really only means larger crowds and means nothing for actual AI. Anyway…

The reason the game had so much attention was for the bugs it had on release. They were horrific bugs, from stuck NPCs and weird physics, and more disturbing was the failed loading of textures, resulting in characters with no skin, their skeletons and teeth grinning at you as they speak. That the game was released with these as bugs as common as they were is disappointing.

Nearly everyone has spoken ill of Ubisoft because of AC Unity. Again, I laughed at the ignorance people had over it’s PC system requirements. Most readers compared it directly to Far Cry 4 and how AC’s minimum requirements were so much more. Remember that Far Cry was still available on last-gen hardware, so of course next-gen improvements would be minor and it’s requirements less. Far Cry also does well to only load enemies and wildlife within a certain radius of the player, and might have a few dozen at most at any time. AC Unity advertises its ability to have over 1,000, and has significantly better lighting and effects. So please, stop complaining about Unity’s requirements from that front. I already predicted and observed how PC gaming requirements changed as new-gen consoles were finally released, if you want to game on a PC today, you WILL need to upgrade, that’s no debate.

Again, most of the attention of ill-will is for the bugs. Ubisoft tried to make good, even offering a free download of another game in their catalogue as an apology. I find this strange, since more broken games have existed with less complaints. Ubisoft has also tried to put out update patches to fix it, although some of them only seem to make the game worse, showing even they don’t know exactly what they are doing. The most recent patch is over 6GB large, replacing entire portions of the models (in comparison, the game alone is roughly 40GB).

This is what annoys me. I know Steam won’t let you play the game without downloading all updates first, so buying a disc is practically worthless, as people will still spend days waiting to play it. I don’t know if these updates are required for the PS4 or XBONE, but if they are I’d never buy the consoles. To release a game that poor and to release patches that are larger than most games is frustrating. I’m a bit of a hypocrite, my own games used patches that should have been fixed on release. But still…

And the thing is, I don’t blame Ubisoft for all of this. I blame you, the gamer. As the gaming industry started to rely more on the Internet for patches and gameplay, most of you just accepted it without a fuss. Not long ago everyone hated DRM, and today most love Steam despite it being the most intrusive use of DRM I’ve ever seen. The XBONE originally wanted to be “always connected” to allow for new gameplay and full control over everything gamers did with it. Enough backlash ensured this requirement was removed, but not long after people wanted them to bring it back.

The vast majority of PC users rely on the Internet, but that doesn’t mean it is always available. Even today, it’s still far too unreliable to be a requirement for everyday entertainment. With the fastest Internet available in my city, friends still have trouble with Netflix and HD streaming. And yet, game companies have forgotten their old ways, getting lazy, using the Internet to fix their problems and leaving much of their audience unable to take part. I still have friends who were dedicated PC gamers until a few years ago because of this. AND MOST OF YOU STILL COULDN’T CARE LESS.

Not to mention, more recently North Korea is holding Sony Entertainment ransom over a buddy comedy that happens to make fun of their dictator. This is just another sign that they Internet has serious problems, and many experts state it needs to be completely remodeled for speed and security, and the infrastructure updated throughout the world. Yes, purpose must drive innovation, but such reliance on it when it is so flawed is a mistake.

This is only another observation and lesson for developers, and will likely go ignored…