58 megabytes isn’t enormous in an age where game console hard drives weigh in at hundreds of gigabytes. That’s the size of a patch waiting for those purchasing the Xbox 360 version of Medal of Honor: Warfighter today (PS3 and PC owners are getting patched up, too). When you consider that complete Xbox Live Arcade games had to be smaller than 50MB when the console first launched (as I was recently reminded by my friend and colleague Scott Burress), the significance and magnitude of this update starts to come into focus.
Console gamers are no strangers to the need for patches, even on Day 1, but some of the inclusions in this one are absurd. It’s a wonder this game ever made it through QA and out the door.
Here are just a few of the fixes to problems that plague the content that’s on the disc:
•Made the start button responsive as soon as the player enters the first menu screen.
•Fixed an issue where controls would become unresponsive under certain conditions.
•VOIP team channel no longer includes players from the other team.
•Fixed an issue where a player’s class was changing without their input. (Xbox 360-specific)
While a great many things on the list, which can be read in full here, are quite reasonable (preventing players from going out of bounds in some spots on some multiplayer maps, weapon tweaks and improved text size and scrolling, for instance), the issues I’ve called out should never have made it onto the gold master. Hearing the other team in a multiplayer match should have been caught immediately. Controls becoming unresponsive and the start button not working on menus are pretty major concerns. Randomly switching classes without player input? That’s just silly.
The sum total of all of these changes lead to only one conclusion: hitting the release date was more important than publishing a finished product. It’s not that I don’t understand why, because I certainly do. Medal of Honor: Warfighter is the underdog. Call of Duty: Black Ops II is out in three weeks, and that lead time is absolutely critical for EA. However, gamers should demand more from publishers.
This is the future console owners dreaded when the first patches appeared last generation. The temptation to ship unpolished software is simply too great. Our review, which will be live later this week, will focus on the experience at the time of review, but we have to wonder. If this is the list of things that was caught between the time the game went gold and now, what slipped through the cracks?