Naughty Dog: “We’d Rather Ship a Polished Game That is Just Done and Doesn’t Require a Patch”

January 29, 2015 Written by Jason Dunning

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Winding down their month of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End coverage that gave us the timeline, news that it’s running at over 30fps right now, and more, Game Informer posted an interview with Naughty Dog Co-Presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra, which took place after the PlayStation Experience gameplay demo was shown to the world.

After Evan mentioned that Uncharted 4 development started with a team of about 20 people, Christophe said full production on a Naughty Dog game usually happens “right after the first big demo or trailer that we put together.” Asked if the PSX reveal qualifies, he continued:

Yeah, after we show the game publicly for the first time we say, ‘Okay, it’s real now.’ We have to make sure we make the right decisions with [the demo] because it’s going to be out there forever. That’s really when it begins.

With Naughty Dog and Sony aiming for a 2015 release on A Thief’s End, Wells discussed a bit about how they go about setting a target date:

We always try to put something out there with Sony where we think we can hit it. Everyone knows that the process of making a game is very fluid and really unpredictable. Even if there is a date out there, it’s with the huge caveat of, ‘Well, if it’s not ready, we’d rather ship a game that’s late than a game that’s not done.’ If you ship a game that’s late, people will forget the delay. But if you ship a crappy game, that’s going to be there forever.

When it comes to actually knowing a release date for a title, Evan added that “we really don’t until close to the end” and “you aren’t sure you have something great until really the last month or two.”

Turning to the multiplayer component of Uncharted 4, Wells says they work on multiplayer in a Naughty Dog game “from the beginning.” Specifically asked about the status of A Thief’s End multiplayer, he replied:

We’re saying it’s in there, but we’ve been experimenting with stuff and are still in that phase. We don’t have it nailed down yet. We have lots of ideas. Good ones. A lot of really strong ideas. We’re trying to figure out what makes the cut.

To finish up the interview, the topic of games being released with lots of bugs was brought up, with Balestra answering whether that conversation is different with patches becoming the norm:

No. It is really hard because people are giving so much and they know when we are going to be done. If you tell them to keep going after that, they’ll be like, “Really? I told my wife we were done. I haven’t been home for a while.” I think emotionally it is tough. They finished their work. It would be really hard to keep going after that. We’d rather ship a polished game that is just done and doesn’t require a patch.

Wells added, “Patches are only for major issues. We’re not going to start patching the little things like that.”

Possibly referencing the 20GB day one patch for the Halo Master Chief Collection, Balestra continued by saying, “Is it a good experience when people get their disc and have to wait for a patch to download? Like 20 gigs or something like that? That would suck. That’s not the best experience.”

[Source: Game Informer]