Sequels, patches, updates?

Ok, so the question of how to provide ongoing content in FGs is still an open one. We’re in a different age now where even arcades are patchable. This is a poll to see what model people prefer.

  • Full sequels: Think KOF series, where gameplay, cast, and balance dramatically changes with each release. Or SF2 > SF3, etc.

  • Incremental sequel: A sequel that differs only in balance changes, minor tweaks, and maybe additional characters. The various versions of SF2, or BBCS, UMVC3, etc.

  • Patches: Game is patched regularly (for free) to fix bugs, adjust balance, etc. No new content is provided. PC games might be a good example of this, like Starcraft receiving patches over 10+ years, etc.

  • Updates: A large download that adds some content, and also does bugfixing and balance changes. Sort of a mini-expansion pack. BBCS > BBCS2, SSF4 > SSF4:AE, etc.

  • Nothing: They make a game, and leave it alone. Then they go and make a completely different game. Not sure how viable this is for a competitive game. Maybe if it had a really long open beta?

The poll is for your most preferred single option. If you like hybrid models then you can say so in your post. (eg. The SF series as a whole can be considered a mix of incremental and total sequels.)

Constant updates and patches make me hate this generation of games. Full sequels. Give me a complete game.

Personally I prefer updates, which would be sequels back in the day, but now are easier for the consumer to get and companies to give.

Ya’ll are a bunch of lying assholes.
Bitch about every dollar spent and you want full sequal’s.

I don’t mind what sf4 did from vanilla to super as long as they let the game develop and grow. I don’t mind patches for gamebreaking things but buffs and nerfs should be few and far in-between

The only time I bitched about money was with MvC3… I bought a PS3 for that game specifically, and it was shit.

I think people get angry when full priced sequels are too close together in time and features/gameplay.

They’ll bitch when a sequel is released full price within less than a year, and only features tweaks and some new characters.

So I guess a question for the audience is, how often would you prefer to buy a sequel? One year? Two? Three?

Personally I prefer incremental sequels, maybe every year. I want each sequel to be just some tweaks and fixes, and maybe new non-gameplay features and better graphics/sound/netcode/technology. I want the series to be polished until its perfect, then the game is left alone (and ported to every platform under the sun) and the developers move on to a different series altogether, maybe even a completely different genre.

I dont like how patches and updates make my disc incomplete, and I dont like how full sequels tend to mess everything up and force you to forget what you’ve learned before and start from scratch again.

Patches are great if used properly.

Incremental sequels and updates are the same thing.

None of these “1” things are a model. All together they are how fighting games have functioned.

You come out with the base game and milk that (they would add something to the name: see SF2->SF2CE->etc, Tekken 5 -> Tekken 5 DR, VF5 -> VF5R -> VF5FS, GGXX -> GGXX#R -> GGXXSlash ->GGXXAC). Some games were even patched (3S had unblockables fixed and no one played that version of the game, VF gets version A, B, C).

In a more modern example SF4 SSF4 SSF4AE are all updates. AE 2012 is a patch.

They usually keep doing this until it stops being profitable doing the above or they feel they maxed out and then they drop the new sequel.

In my categorisation, the difference between an incremental sequel and update is the delivery method - one is a fully priced disc, the other is a paid DLC. I’ve decided to label them with those arbitrary terms for clarity, so don’t bother arguing semantics with me :slight_smile:

SSF4AE was available both as an incremental sequel (you could buy it standalone) or an update (you could buy it as a DLC to your SSF4).

Yes, almost all FGs in the past had a hybrid model where they mix incremental sequels (SF2 > SF2 CE etc) and full sequels (SF2 > SF3). But I break those things down into seperate categories, because they are seperate things. For example, we could ditch incremental sequels altogether if we wanted to - instead we could get the same effect by combining full sequels and updates. (ie. they never release a disc except for full sequels, and possibly a compilation disc at the end of a sub-series. Instead, everything is DLC updates.)

Or we could have KOF’s model, where even though 96>97>98 where pretty similar, almost enough to be incremental sequel, they were still very different. So you could say that KOF only ever had full sequels.

Or maybe people hate getting nickel-and-dimed from DLC, but still want balance and bug fixes. So we could combine full sequels and patches.

Or heck, you could imagine an MMO-style model. You buy the disc, and pay a small subscription fee, and everything afterwards is a “free” patch, even with new content.

So this poll is designed to measure how much people like these individual components. Like I said, people who like hybrids can say so in a post.

updates and incrementals, unless the engine needs to be revamped, then i would prefer a sequel

I’m heavily pro balance patch, but those need to be considered entirely differently than updates/etc.

It’s the difference between fixing an existing product and releasing a new product.

As far as actual updates go, probably ~yearly incremental sequels (on the AE hybrid model). A full sequel should be a really big deal but also widely spaced.

I think this is my current favorite model. I think patches are fine, but ONLY to address glaring problems (infinites, etc). So base game at full price + ~yearly updates with new content/moves/etc for minor price w/ option to buy-in at any point for late-comers or collectors.

EDIT: One more thing, the current XBL model doesn’t allow for this, but in the future I’d love to see alpha/beta tests of new versions available online. So instead of Loc Tests at 2 arcades in Japan, people that own the game could try it out for a small period and give feedback, etc.

I feel like pretty much every method could either turn out well or poorly. In many ways I like Vanilla SF4 more than the more recent versions of the series. Both Alpha 2 and HF have had many reputable players express more favor for than the more later versions in their respective series’.

I’m very wary of balance patches because I feel like their relative ease of distribution has made some developers a little trigger happy. There’s also a question of what level of play developers wish to target with balance patches. The strength of a character can really vary between mid and high level play.

Yeah, although I personally like incremental sequels and would buy the disc, having it available as an update is probably the best of both worlds. I wonder how the economics would work out? I get the feeling retailers are hesitant to stock discs when they know they are competing with downloads. Maybe the disc could be released a month earlier or something, since most sales are during the first few weeks.

This is a point of view I’ve expressed in the forums of other genres (MMO, RTS), but I wish developers would take a more structured approach to balance changes.

Usually the model I advocate is this:

  • At the start of the project, reserve enough funds for 3 or 4 large balance/bugfix patches.
  • After release, patches occur on a yearly basis.
  • The year is broken up into phases. The first 4 months purely for data collection, tournaments, etc. Then data collection continues, but the next 6 months will focus on development. Then 2 months for open beta testing and further fixes, then release.
  • This continues for the next 3 or 4 years as an iterative process. However, the devs should not be afraid to rollback or revert changes that didnt work out.
  • The final patch does not do anything too new, it is just a sum of all the lessons learned in the previous patches, as a final polish to the product.

Still, I wonder if the publishers/devs are cynical enough to realise that making a perfect product is counterproductive. They probably know that making something good but just flawed enough to leave you hoping that the next game will be better, is the way to ensure repeat sales. And like battered wives, we keep buying in the hopes that this time things will work out :stuck_out_tongue: