In games, and everything else really, making a good first impression is paramount. Succeed, and good things will follow. Fail and you’re suddenly faced with an uphill battle. It used to be that if a game bombed at launch, that was it. Its reputation would be mud, and nothing could change that. That doesn’t necessarily need to be the case anymore though. Modern games are continually patched and updated in response to consumer feedback. Often the changes are small, but sometimes the developers choose to make sweeping changes that alter the game entirely. We’ve seen this with The Division, No Man’s Sky, and even For Honor. They’ve all been changed for the better, and have even received praise in place of the near-universal scorn they earned at launch. They’re definitely better games now than they were before, but it’s still up in the air as to whether or not gamers at large are willing to overturn their first impressions. What’s more, would they really benefit if they did so?
The video game industry moves at a lightning pace these days. there are always more games to watch, more games to read up on, and of course more games to play. One has to keep moving if they want to stay up to date, so many gamers simply aren’t interested in giving up their time to games that already blew it at launch. No matter how positive the recent press around the game is, it’s still not seen as a worthwhile risk because it already burned its players once before. Why should they bother with it if there’s something potentially better on they in a few days or weeks? Well, because they just might be missing out on something that’s actually really fun.
Thanks to developers having the ability and willingness to support and change their game after launch, bad games no longer have to stay bad forever. No Man’s Sky launched in a state that could only be described as a shadow of what had been promised, and it was rightly (albeit rather extremely) criticized for it. To their credit though, Hello Games didn’t give up on the game and kept improving it throughout the veritable maelstrom of anger surrounding it on the internet. It’s “Atlas Rising” update, along with the changes preceding it, have practically transformed the game. It’s still not exactly what was promised, but it’s getting there. In fact, it’s even reached a point where it’s Steam reception has flipped from negative to positive and many players are now calling it a genuinely good game. Those who decided to move on from the game and never look back have every right to do so. However, if For Honor, The Division, and especially No Man’s Sky are any indication, then it may actually be worth it to stay open to returning after all.
When it comes to games, making a good first impression is still extremely important. Even though patches and updates have been around for years now, launching with an attitude of “get it out now and fix it later” still amounts to more or less setting up otherwise promising games for failure. Many gamers can only give a game one chance, and that’s it. They won’t give it so much as a second thought no matter how much better it gets later. For those who are willing to give such games that all-important second chance though, there just might be an incredibly fun payoff waiting for them. It’s still a shame that these eventually-good games aren’t good to begin with though. We’d all get to enjoy them that much more if that was the case.
What’s your take on game’s only getting good long after release? Do we as gamers owe it them a second chance? Do we owe it to ourselves?
Lede image captured by Hatmonster