The Crew Getting Day 1 Patch, Fixes – Er – Crews

As an act of hubris, it was a pretty bold one. The Crew‘s lead designer, Serkan Hasan, told The Metropolist that he was “confident in the stability of the game and its performance,” and that his team “have what it takes to make [this] a successful launch.” These are words I don’t expect we’ll hear uttered again from anyone for a good long while. What a silly thing. The online racer launched with many – including me – unable to see any other players, let alone actually form crews.

Ubisoft aren’t having a smooth time of it of late. Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s launch a couple of weeks back was a clusterfuck of issues, so notable that it somehow made it onto BBC News, and resulted in Ubisoft issuing apologies and offering free games to affected customers. This was rather unfortunately coupled with their having ridiculously attempted to impose review embargoes on gaming sites fixed hours after the release of the game. (We didn’t even manage to get working code in time to break such a daft limitation.) Far Cry 4 had its own bundle of troubles, not least many players being treated to nothing but a black screen on launch day. So they were perhaps hoping for something slightly more successful with The Crew.

Yes.

In the day one patch notes come the immortal words:

“Fixed an issue where players couldn’t join a session or a crew.”

It’s hard to know how many this affected. It definitely meant I was unable to team up with other players in my first day of playing, and so was Jim when he attempted to play. Looking on Ubisoft and Steam forums, we certainly weren’t alone. And troublingly, the game still won’t let me see other players, despite the patch supposedly having been added now. It’s hard to know, at this point, if it’s a continued fault with the game, or a specific issue for me.

The list of fixes is quite a long one, suggesting that things really weren’t quite ready in time for release. Obviously all games can expect to face all manner of problems when they hit the infinite variety of people’s gaming set-ups, and that’s always to be expected. And further obviously, no one with their head firmly attached expects an online-only game to have a smooth first day, because no game ever has. It’s just, when your lead developer declares it will, that rather resets the expectation bar.

35 Comments

  1. padger says:

    It must be extraordinarily tricky to actually launch a big multiplayery thing without these issues. Does any company do it consistently well?

    If even Blizzard snarl up on it, you have to wonder…

    • jezcentral says:

      I seem to remember The Old Republic launching quite well.

      • Artificial says:

        Didn’t they just limit the amount of players that could actually play it on release to a ridiculously small number?

    • Belsameth says:

      It goes wrong *all the time* which makes those dev statements particularly daft.

      Do note that I did have mostly smooth sailing with my crew. A number of disconnects were the only real issues we faced.

  2. lanelor says:

    This is Ubisoft. Different IPs, same gameplay, performance and QA problems.

    • All is Well says:

      I wonder if all these problems and criticism in such a short time will make Ubisoft reconsider their QA/release strategies? Or are the problems not big enough? I seem to remember that Paradox only really changed their approach after Sword of the Stars II.

      • laijka says:

        But unlike Paradox Ubisoft can afford to just ride this out. People are still buying their games in big numbers and getting hyped up over the next installments.

        Any change will most likely come when this practice starts to hurt them financially and I don’t think we are quite there yet.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          And they are delusional enough that even if their finances will get a big hit, they’ll probably find the cause in something stupid that has no bearing with the truth, like when they came up with the 99% piracy figures.

          Really, if Unity didn’t get to BBC, they’d still wrap it up as gamers being too noisy and too prone to complain about “imaginary problems”.

      • KenTWOu says:

        Even ‘the worst company in America’ (a.k.a. new EA) title, which they already deserved, won’t help them.

  3. iainl says:

    Day One patches are a common occurrence now on the consoles. Disc pressing plant lead times and the ongoing nightmare that is comapnies getting their games just-working-enough to pass Sony/Microsoft certification hurdles and then fix up the rest as a patch mean they happen all the time for those people.

    But when you sell the game through your own store front, as a download that the user can only make on release day, why the hell wasn’t most of this code already in the final release? Is it genuinely all fixes made since the release version hit users yesterday? That sounds like a lot of stuff to fix in under 24 hours.

  4. trjp says:

    It strikes me that banging-on about teething problems in games is just going to make publishers/developers MORE keen to impose review embargoes – it gives them an actual reason to do it (avoiding reviews being of the launch period problems rather than the game itself)

    It’s near-impossible to launch a AAA game with “always on” multiplayer without some issues (if Blizzard can’t do it – no-one can do it(

    Even lengthy beta testing (which The Crew and WoW did – unlike, say, Driveclub which was a MUCH bigger disaster) doesn’t remove the issues – it’s just a function of games making more use of online, people having more access to it and even expecting it.

    • webs1 says:

      1. Launch problems ARE a part of the game. Even more so in a game that is tailored around a multiplayer-core.
      2. I agree that there seem to be unrealistic expectations regarding the smooth implementation of online features in large parts of the gaming community. But these are fed predominantly by companies focusing on (and advertising) a game mechanic that they know is far from fully developed.

      • Blackcompany says:

        I’m sorry, but when you advertise your product as finished and ready for public consumption – ie, working – then it needs to be working. Otherwise, your claim was blatant false advertising, and should suffer the consequences inherent therefrom.

        If it isn’t ready, dont release it. Take the time and finish it.

        • webs1 says:

          That’s basically what I said, so I wonder why you are responding to my comment.

          That aside, I wonder if there ever will be a game where the online components run as smoothly as they are adertised.

    • iainl says:

      I bought NFS Rivals last week. The always-online multiplayer STILL doesn’t work, a year after release; I had to turn it all off after getting kicked out of every race halfway through due to “server migration” that isn’t designed to continue the event properly – it tries, but with all your competitors still going at 160 mph and you parked at the last checkpoint you passed, without a chance of catching up.

    • cederic says:

      Out of curiosity, given the very real evidence that online games have a constrained lifespan (as servers get closed leaving the game unplayable forever afterwards), and you don’t think it’s reasonable to expect the game to work immediately when it’s released… Just when ARE we allowed to play the game we bought?

  5. Arathorn says:

    If there are review embargoes until well after release and if review code is only made available shortly before release, what is going to keep reviewers from just buying the games and telling Ubisoft to go stuff themselves? Of course they’ll have to start paying for those games, but hopefully a review makes a lot more money than the cost of a game.

    • iainl says:

      So far, Ubisoft’s embargoes haven’t been more than a few hours after release – at which point you get what we’ve seen with The Crew, which is that you have to do a “first impressions” first anyway, as there’s just no way to play enough of the game to form a final opinion yet.

    • webs1 says:

      The problem is that the point of a review – to inform potential buyers before the purchase of a game – is undercut by not being able to publish it before or at least with the game.
      A large proportion of gamers are too impatient to wait for a balanced review that is published several days after the release of a game.

      • Deckard97 says:

        Well, if gamers can’t exercise a little impulse control then maybe they get what they deserve. It’s not like these issues are unprecedented.

        • webs1 says:

          Problem is, gamers aren’t one entity.
          So, as long as enough gamers (although probably not a majority) have insufficient impulse control to give publishers the impression they can get away with this bs, more considerate gamers will suffer.

    • Baines says:

      Combine it with publishers giving out early access if you agree to act as a PR piece, and you have a situation where the only news and ‘reviews’ before release day and even hours into release day are publisher-controlled positive fluff pieces.

      There is also the possibility that having reviewers pay for games could weed out some negative reviews in advance. After all, would you rather pay $60 to review a game that you feel you will like, or $60 to review a game that you feel will aggravate you?

  6. melnificent says:

    Is this the patch to enable in game purchases?

    As it seems that Ubi is affecting game reviews and scores by purposely adding in the in game purchases AFTER review copies. Or in this case, not bothering with review copies at all.

    link to imgur.com

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      basilisk says:

      AC Unity had them on launch and it had been known to have them even before that.

    • derbefrier says:

      I also heard people talking about them already on other sites. That’s a pretty silly accusation to make when there’s more legitimate concerns.

  7. Yargh says:

    The funniest part of this particular problem is hearing the radio adds for The Crew: ‘Never race alone again’….oops

  8. AngryNeox says:

    Typical gaming journalism. Looking at their personal experience only with wrong facts.

    First that was a “day 0 patch”. Meaning unless you had a “early copy” you should have that patch before you even started the game!

    And here in europe I only had some disconnects in my 8 hours playtime yesterday mostly at arround 8-10 pm when everybody was at home to play the game. Some slighty lags but overall playable and fun.

    Just my 2 cents.

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      Qazinsky says:

      Yeah, I’m sure John just based this whole post solely on his own experience and did no research into it whatsoever, not like it’s his job or anything…

      It’s great that you had no problems with the release, I had no problems with Far cry 4 (apart from mouse acceleration), Fallout New Vegas and Skyrim, among other games people keep claiming to be extremely buggy, that does not mean that everyone else had the same experience.

  9. montorsi says:

    Resets the expectation bar? Why? Because he said something confidently? Why not just say he’s full of shit, sit back and watch the fireworks. No one ever calls developers on their nonsense.

  10. JohnH says:

    I played the preorder beta for this and it was utter crap. Worst car handling ever pretty much. So for those actually playing the launch version, have this been improved at all? Or is this still a train wreck waiting to happen?

  11. Renevent says:

    Not to discount RPS account of the game yesterday as I am sure they had issues, but my experience yesterday was VERY smooth. Saw tons of people all over the place, did a few co-op missions, and overall had an awesome time.

    The game itself is pretty fun. The story is drivel though and comes off as a bad fast and furious parody. I skip almost all of it to be honest…and I agree with the earlier article that in an open world game where the focus should be racing between players/crews having such a strong central narrative takes away from the experience. The good news is once you get past a certain point it starts opening up and the story takes a back seat.

    That being said, the game is pushing all the right buttons for me. Driving model is fun enough if you turn off the assists, it has cockpit views, wheel support (with FF), tons of events and places to visit, upgrading your car, endless visual customization…I’m a happy camper.

    I also paid nothing for the game (got it from a recent video card purchase) so that obviously helps :D

  12. Player1 says:

    In my opinion it’s fair game to talk about all these issues and let the publishers and developers know that gamers care, and I’m happy to see that many bigger outlets are very vocal on this. But to be honest, we – the gamers – are the biggest problem in all this. As long as we continue to fall for pre release promises and goodies, and keep on pre-ordering games, we won’t change a thing. I for one have started to wait at least a month after release long ago, and haven’t bought a single messed up game in months.

    • Deckard97 says:

      This.

      Even when there’s a game I really want, I wait for at least a couple of patches before I consider purchasing. I funded the Kickstarter campaign for Pillars of Eternity and I’ll still wait a month or two after release before I play it.

      I would find it a greater shock to hear that a game worked perfectly from day one.

  13. harley9699 says:

    Bottom line is their bottom line: as long as people continue to shell out $50-60 for Ubi products sight unseen, why would they change anything?