from the neverending-story dept
Video games have always had bugs at the time of their release, though there has been a trend coinciding with the uptick in digital game sales in which games seem to be published in broken states far too often and are then “fixed” with a day-one patch or something of the like. Some of these bugs are on the more minor side, while some involve game releases that were very clearly pushed for way too early.
And then there is the Nintendo Switch port of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, which came out a few weeks back and, well…
Er, whoops. Aspyr, the developer/porter behind the recent release of Knights Of The Old Republic II on Nintendo Switch, has tweeted that it’s aware the game is currently impossible to finish. After some pressing from a customer, the studio acknowledged it’s aware the game is presently bugged such that it cannot be completed on Nintendo’s handheld.
Aspyr’s Twitter account replied with a, “Yup, we know, we’ll get you a patch, thanks for all your patience.” Now, a couple of things on this. First, releasing a game that simply can’t be finished on a platform probably deserves a stronger mea culpa than Aspyr offered up. Buying a game and being unable to complete it is probably worse than paying money for no product at all. The point of video games, in large part, is to play and complete them. Imagine a release of Mike Tyson’s Punchout that just shut down every time you managed to get to the fight against Mike Tyson. That’s a bit like lying on the couch while someone sits at a piano and plays every single note on a major scale except the last one. It would absolutely drive you insane.
And I’ll admit to being a bit surprised that this would happen on a Nintendo console. Nintendo isn’t the developer here. It isn’t the one that worked on the game. Still, I have long criticized Nintendo’s practice of absurdly strict control over its consoles, IP, and platforms. One of the common responses to that criticism is that such strict control gives Nintendo the ability to do great quality control on anything that touches its systems. Whatever the process was for QC testing in this case, it appears to have completely failed.
It raises some rather significant questions about the QA on the game, that it could be certified and released in a form impossible to finish. There’s also the question of for how long Aspyr has been aware its product has a game-breaking bug that affects all players, but haven’t communicated this to potential and current customers. We’ve contacted Aspyr to ask these questions.
You have to think the refund requests are arriving in droves at the moment. And this is one of things that you probably can only do once, at most. Imagine Aspyr or Nintendo announcing that the bug has been patched and then asking the public to buy the game once more.