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"A game is only late until it ships, but it sucks forever."—An unofficial motto at Origin Games
Before bringing out a product—in this case, specifically a game or program—it must be tested. The stages of testing are typically called Alpha and Beta, but may include Gamma in some companies. Alpha testing is done by the developers themselves, while Beta testing is done by a specific, outside team called Quality Assurance. In late phases of beta testing (this phase rarely called "Gamma" or "Open Beta"), select members of the public are allowed to test the game. During Alpha and Beta tests, those doing the testing seek out bugs, note them down, and forward them to the parties responsible for fixing them. Those developers then either fix the bug, delay the fix due to whatever time or business constraints, or declare it as "will not be fixed". Ideally, testing will last long enough to fix the most noticeable bugs.
However, sometimes, this isn't the case. Software may be rushed for any number of reasons, which may include: a holiday release, desire to compete with another company's product, a studio's closing, or outright laziness. When this happens testing can be shortened or outright skipped. This results in buggy, unstable programs that no one likes.
Companies take note: Spending time fixing any errors before releasing a program is a lot easier than trying to fix them after it's released. It results in fewer complaints, too! One of problems is that marketing and development are done by different people and sometimes even different companies. Once the publisher starts to nag the developer, rushed games happen...
On the other hand, companies may have to do this, particularly small ones. Not all companies have enough time, discipline, or money to go through all the development stages for what they're planning, and so have to release in the hopes enough people will buy it to get them going to go through the rest of the stages for them to better perfect it and then get attention to those changes to make more buy it later.
Naturally, the Obvious Beta skips the regular testing to go straight to release. In extreme cases, games have gone straight to release before it even enters the testing stage at all. To add to some confusion, the current paradigm in mainstream development renames and redefines some testing stages. Alpha for instance can be (depending on the company) used to denote a technically finished product (it's feature complete and could theoretically ship though it's probably still got issues of varying degrees) while beta can be used to note the same only with far less game-breaking bugs. Thus when the players talk about betas and a finished product with a developer, it can often mean two dramatically different things.
- Nearly any game translated by Natsume (most typically Harvest Moon) will have some game-breaking bugs upon initial release; typically they're not present in the Japanese versions. Worse, they work with consoles, so all you can do is hope that they'll release a new version without them, to no fanfare or announcement.
- Madden NFL has a rather ridiculous amount of bugs every year, likely caused by its strict once-every-August release schedule. Interestingly, the NCAA football series is generally much tighter, because they build it on the previous year's Madden engine.
- It's arguable that due to the internet functionality of the current generation of systems, beta versions of console games are now much more likely, since the developers can update the games after release. (Doesn't mean they will, of course...)
- The vast majority of Massively Multiplayer Online Games are released in a varying state of buggy, due to a tight schedule. They usually get better (see Anarchy Online, for instance), but particularly bad cases can break the game before it begins.
- The arcade version of Beatmania IIDX ran on a custom-made and very complicated PCB (it actually used a consumer DVD player controlled via a serial port to create video overlays, amongst other things), until the ninth version, whereupon it was dragged kicking and screaming onto a Windows XP based PC platform. The transition was anything but smooth; as well as the general bugginess of the code, the game's timing measurement and response speed were extremely bad, two things which are critical in a music-based video game. It wasn't until the 11th or 12th version that things were almost back to normal, though the home releases continue to exhibit smoother and more responsive gameplay than the arcade ones.
- E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600. The developer was given only five weeks to make it (in order to make it in time for Christmas), solo, and as a result it was an utter mess. Coincidentally, this also makes this trope at least Older Than the NES. The backlash from this was so bad that a planned 5200 version programmed by John Seghers (which was thankfully a completely different game) was aborted.
- The same applies to the 2600 port of Pac-Man, which Atari released as soon as they got their hands on the programmer's alpha version. The two games are often mention as single handedly causing The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, which is probably an exaggeration... but Lord, they didn't help.
- The board game Betrayal at House on the Hill originally shipped with several errors in the instructions—particularly in the game's various Scenarios. (For example, the Underground Lake is on an Upstairs tile.) This obviously could cause gameplay to grind to a halt as the confused players tried to sort things out... which was made much harder by the game's primary conceit: that one or more of the players pulls a Face Heel Turn and starts actively working against the group. Errata for the game can now be found online.
- The sixth volume of the Grail Quest Solo Fantasy series, Realm of Chaos, appears to have suffered from a severe lack of playtesting before being released (see the page for details).
- One of the most notorious is Big Rigs Over the Road Racing. Well beyond Obvious Beta, this is just some pre-alpha code that was hacked together into something shippable. It's something akin to what what a game looks like in the first month of development, when the team is expecting a 2 year development cycle.
For example, although it's supposedly a racing game, there are no opponents, no timers, no obstacles, and no collision. Trying to drive over a bridge causes you to fall straight through to the valley beneath, but that's okay because you can drive straight up the vertical cliff on the other side of the valley without even slowing down. You can drive over mountains, through buildings, and off the sides of the map at your leisure. In fact, the only possible way to lose is for the game to crash. Admittedly, the game does crash pretty frequently. It's also worth mentioning that there's a level that doesn't work, your brake lights float a noticeable distance behind your vehicle, it's possible to drive infinitely fast in reverse, sometimes the game's code has trouble distinguishing between starting and finishing, so you win the race immediately...
Just to add insult to injury, the available race mode is actually the custom race mode (presumably the first to make as it's easiest to test). The promised main campaign, which the back of the box claims involves evading police on public highways, does not exist.
- Test Drive Unlimited 2 suffered from a swarm of bugs and server issues when it was released on the PC. Since it had online activation and needed a connection to the game's master servers to play, the game would flat out refuse to let players start up the game, and it would often kick them out of the game without warning, due to massive server overload. The day-one DLC was broken and would eat player's in-game (monopoly) money, and the game had several gamebreaking promotional cars like the Bugatti Veyron SS.
- The just-released PC ports of Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee and Stranger's Wrath as part of the new Oddboxx...they're more like Obvious Alphas at this stage. Terrible performance on even high-end gaming computers for X Box ports that have had no graphical upgrades aside from resolution, resolution options with a nondescript "Low", "Medium", "High", and "Ultra" for the latter (1024x768, 1280x960, and 1600x1200 making up the latter three) that require an .ini file edit if you need a different res (say, 1920x1080), issues with the controls such as not being able to move with a gamepad in Munch's Oddysee and unchangeable inverse look in Stranger's Wrath...even at 50% off for the whole Oddboxx on the first day, a lot of people are understandably pissed. At least they've promised patches to clean this mess up and even grant Stranger's Wrath the updated graphics intended for the PS3 Updated Rerelease, though whether we'll ever get them is another question.
- Empire: Total War, which has been somewhat fixed with a lot of patching. If you want to see what it was like on release, fire up the Road To Independence scenario, which for some reason seems largely unaffected by the bug-fixes. Marvel as your AI willfully ignores an order you've give dozens of times, and when it does listen, interpret your order to move 12 feet forward to mean go play grab-ass in a forest 5,000 miles away.
- Bohemia Interactive's fanbase all know that their games are not playable until a year or two after release for them to be patched.
- This is pretty much expected for any MMORPG immediately after release—game companies can't really test the game under the conditions it's supposed to handle (i.e., thousands of simultaneous players) without releasing it for retail. Sometimes the MMORPG is initially released as a clearly marked Open or Closed Beta (generally to those players who've pre-ordered the game), so bugs at that stage are entirely understandable and should be highlighted to the GMs. Most major bugs will be ironed out by the time the paying customers hit the world, but many minor ones will likely remain for some time.
Another sign of Obvious Beta in MMOs—bugs aside—is large gaps in content. Often an MMO player will see the starter zone polished rather well, hit level 20 or so, then find that there's absolutely nothing but literally days of solid Level Grinding before you can attempt the rest of what they bothered programming. Conversely, they may not have actually bothered programming much after the starters anyway.
- Muelsfell: since coming out of "Beta" over a year ago, there are just as many, if not more, bugs than there were in Beta. The new features and new monsters are particularly bad.
- Anarchy Online version 1.0 was this, to the point where the original version would effectively force you to reinstall Windows.
- Flanker 2.0 was so unplayable that the cleaned, definitive version was... Flanker 2.5. Falcon 4.0 was the same as well.
- Streets of Sim City is a SimCity spinoff in three dimensional plane Wide Open Sandbox driving game which you can drive around SimCity cities. Unfortunately, it's riddled with tons of bugs. Likewise with Sim Copter except with a helicopter. Both are good games with a good-sized fanbase, they just happen to have a lot of bugs. Still perfectly playable, it'll just crash every half hour or so.
- The PC version of Red Faction 2 had a multiplayer mode that didn't allow multiple players, and showed pickups as 2D sprites in spite of the working 3D models in the "Single Player" campaign. The campaign itself was a veritable glitch-fest, and the best ending was essentially impossible to get legitimately due to a bug where some civilians whom you were supposed to save would chase the player's vehicle down so they could die on contact, which was completely unavoidable.
- Disciples III: Renaissance was a Base Breaker for many reasons, but it's glitchiness was universally reviled. Lowlights include long load times, bad triggers, and an overly aggressive AI that is content to ambush the player from offscreen and destroy his essential party. For an added bonus, due to the way the game's autosave works, such an ambush requires loading from a manually created save, as the autosave triggers at the end of the player's turn—meaning he has no resources to prevent it, even if he knows it's coming.
- Most of the later VGA adventure games suffer from a profound lack of testing, and can crash randomly based upon any number of bugs. The worst example is probably Quest for Glory 4.
- Police Quest: Open Season has countless bugs that randomly crash the game, corrupt saved games, or make the game Unwinnable.
- Ultima IX. The ending chapter of the Trilogy-of-Trilogies. The greatest RPG ever. And it was released as a mash of crap, unplayable on most hardware that was available at the time.
Erik Wolpaw of Old Man Murray: [Ultima IX is] ...a game in which programming errors battle each other gladiator-style for the privilege of crashing my computer...
- Though it had no real Game Breaking Bug, The Witcher was such a bad case that the developers took pains to make up for it by producing the "Enhanced Edition" (free as an upgrade), which in addition to being "The game as it should have been released," also came with a host of bonus in-game content and eight complete language packages (audio and text).
Enforced in that the game was considered to be a niche product for a fantasy novel only really known in Poland at that time, so the international interest was a surprise and the localization rushed, resulting in sloppy English.
- A recurring problem in the X-Universe series of space sims. In X3: Reunion, the main plot had multiple unpassable stages.
- The company is so notoriously bad about this that several gaming sites have had to re-review their games after several months of bugfixes make them properly playable. In an interesting twist, they usually end up providing substantially more features than was actually promised in the original Obvious Beta.
Egosoft has a history of releasing several minor patches after the game is out, then exactly one year later releasing a super-patch that fixes and improves the game to "how it should always have been" status. The smart (and patient) player will add one year to the release date of any Egosoft game.
- The expansion packs to Final Fantasy XI are Egregious in this regard. If you buy them on their release date, one is not so much buying an expansion as one is buying access to a couple new areas without a whole lot to do in them and the promise that over the next eighteen months, they'll gradually let you access all the stuff they promised on the box.
- Final Fantasy XIV was released lacking so many features, and with so many known serious game design problems, that it was more of an obvious alpha. Unusually, the developers actually apologized for it and canceled subscription fees until it is up to snuff (estimates are until the PlayStation 3 release, which is still TBA)--essentially, putting it right back into beta!
- Ever Quest was terrible at release: mobs randomly could or couldn't enter water and some areas they couldn't travel to/from, and there was bad pathing, falling through the world, inaccessible zones, instant death drops from falling 2 cm, and the boats didn't work consistently for years.
- This was one of the biggest complaints about Hellgate London. It was released in a woefully buggy and unbalanced state, after a too-short beta period. It rapidly improved... but by that time, most people had already written it off.
- The first two STALKER games shipped with a great many glitches and bugs. Clear Sky was especially bad, where the state of the game could change between quick saves.
The first game was also rushed in many other ways: translation errors in the English version meant a lot of confusion shotgun" was translated as "rifle" and "attic" as "basement, vital NPCs could die in random locations, it was possible to sequence-break to the point the game took ten minutes to finish, and there was a lot of obviously cut content. Fishing around in the game files showed entire missing levels, fully-programmed weapons that never actually appeared, camera settings for drivable cars and helicopters...
- Evil Genius, though a perfectly playable and fun game, has some bugs that are unforgivable. Examples include the impassable Persian rug, and the science henchmen who actually make your plans harder to complete. These bugs can be fixed with a simple edit of game files (conveniently stored in text form), but since the developer went belly-up shortly after the game was released, you have to do it yourself.
- Epic, a space flight sim on the Amiga, Atari ST and PC, shipped in a hideously unfinished state. The waypoint system would only point you to a single target even if you'd already destroyed it, the manual was confusingly written and incomplete (including a statement that an ion "is a particle of FILL IN LATER"), the cheat was printed on the control summary card, and early versions of the game crashed so often than many retailers returned their copies and refused to buy fixed ones. To make matters worse for buyers, the game received rave reviews in several magazines based on alpha code and published anything up to seven months before it was actually released.
- Fallout 2 shipped with some gamebreaking bugs (your car vanishing, for example).
- Fallout 3 didn't have any obviously missing content, but had serious stability issues, with crashes still not uncommon even in patched versions. In addition, an entire new story branch was added after the original ending with DLC, although this could be argued as being more due to disappointment with the original ending than incompleteness.
- Fallout: New Vegas. There's no blatant content removal unless you really look, but the bugs are out of control, ranging from simple graphical glitches to bugs that crash the game, corrupt saves, or make items unobtainable. Also, the load times are much longer than in Fallout 3, despite them both being made on the same engine. Also, a patch released a day after release rendered the game unplayable on some systems, requiring another patch the next day to correct it.
- World of Warcraft suffered from this for quite some time, though it has (mostly) stopped doing so.
- In the early days of Burning Crusade, for example, the final bosses in the two main dungeons were not only horribly unbalanced to the point of being effectively undefeatable, but the first time that any guild managed to kill Lady Vashj, she instantly respawned and killed the entire raid.
- Before any of the expansions came out, most final raid bosses were rendered unkillable or unreachable by Game Breaking Bugs (sometimes on purpose to keep players from getting too far and flooding the forums complaining that they don't have anything to do and that the dungeon sucks BECAUSE they got that far so quick). Ragnaros would never come out of submerge and just keep throwing Sons until you ran out of mana and died. C'thun would eye beam you while you were in the stomach. (And nobody really knows about Naxxramas, because you can probably count how many guilds entered Naxxramas on just your hands.) The most amusing one was Chromaggus, who was overscaled on purpose to prevent players from reaching Nefarian because the Nefarian encounter wasn't fully coded.
- Silithus in general was an Obvious Beta zone. It was this little corner in Kalimdor that, for some reason, wasn't covered in the guide, but there were actually a few quest chains in there. Strange. When you entered, you found this wall that you couldn't get past; literally half the map of Silithus was unfinished. It also became an obvious beta (along with Eastern Plaguelands) for an attempt at creating world PvP. It was later finished in patch 1.8. However it still is plagued with a problem of mob-density, but it had been improved in other patches.
- Expansions typically have growing pains and players pretty much expect it, but Cataclysm was notoriously buggy at launch, largely due to the sheer amount of content Blizzard crammed into it with a relatively short beta testing period. Numerous quests were glitchy or outright broken (Vashj'ir being the biggest culprit), mob spawning was out of control, phasing caused any number of headaches, achievements were busted, you name it and it was screwed up. Loads of hotfixes were a daily occurrence for weeks, and even after the first major patch (4.1), there's still lingering issues.
- Artix Entertainment like to do a fairly tolerable version of this, on purpose. Both Dragon Fable and Mechquest were initially released in a fairly unfinished, but playable, state, only available to paying players of their previous games. There was only one (or practically no) quest, only a few items, no stats, one or two areas, very few monsters, etc. The players play the game, offer suggestions and report bugs to the devs, and slowly, the kinks are hammered out and the product is released to the public. New content is then continually added and modified throughout the lifespan of the game. In the pre-release Mechquest design notes, Artix mentioned that, due to time constraints, the game would be released without thorough Beta testing, and the players would just have to see whether it broke or not. He dubbed this practice "Gamma testing," and so far, it seems to be working out just fine.
- Gothic 3 Forsaken Gods, the standalone expansion to the third game, is this in spades. The game is so bugged it took a 240 MB patch (latest one) to make the most basic features (like shield parrying) work properly, and it's still a bug riddled minefield anyway. It also has worse cell load skips than its predecessor when unpatched, and is prone to crashing and generally taking its massively high requirements and running underpar at best. As further insult to injury, the whole game was made by developers totally unfamiliar with the engine who slapped this sucker together in a few months and was shoved out the door before it had been properly playtested, basically rendering it critically flawed on arrival.
- Windows systems
- Legend has it that the Windows ME launch party coincided with the filing of the 500th Urgent bug entered into the tracking system.
- Vista seems to have released in a similar state, but it was very usable after Service Pack 1. Certainly every Vista videocard driver released in the first 6 months of Vista's life qualifies, as they were responsible for the majority of Vista crashes.
- Microsoft has a history of this: Word 3.0 for the Macintosh was released in 1987 with about 700 bugs.
- MS-DOS 4.0 suffered massive problems on its release in 1988, including poor compatibility with older programs and even a number of potential data corruption issues. This one wasn't entirely Microsoft's fault, though—IBM were the main culprits here, as they forced Microsoft to shoehorn in a number of OS/2 features at the last minute, then insisted on releasing the resulting product before adequate testing could be done. This lead to a subsequent 4.01 release which fixed the major problems. You'd think Microsoft would have learned something from this experience, but unfortunately it was just the beginning.
- Before Vista, the original release of Windows 98 was so horribly bugged that they had to release a Second Edition in order to patch everything. (Admittedly, 98SE went on to become the most stable and successful branch of that version of Windows.)
- It's often said that the even releases of Windows are the Obvious Betas where Microsoft likes to experiment while the odd releases are an attempt to perfect the previous release. This is most visible when noting the differences between XP and Vista, and Windows 7 and the current concepts for Windows 8. In essence, what happens is that windows releases a new OS (such as vista) which quickly garners a reputation as crap due to unforseen bugs. Even after the bugs are fixed, no one wants to buy "that crappy, buggy vista." So Microsoft releases a "new" OS (Win7 in this case) that is essentially the previous one with all the bugs patched out. Windows 8 is a bit of a subversion because while the radical UI changes have become the subject of a huge Broken Base, stability and performance have so far not been an issue.
- It does seem though now that Microsoft does seem intent on bucking the "every other version is good" trend. Probably the most significant thing they've done is actually offer up new releases with widespread, freely available public beta testing, something they had never done before Vista. Ironically, the beta releases of both 7 and 8 ended up being much more stable and useable than the shipping versions of many of their Obvious Beta predecessors.
- Developers at the small set of companies who were sold Microsoft's Visual Interdev when it was released were dismayed to see the splash screen labelled 1.0a and a large Alpha after the name. The actual product crashed regularly, lacked key documentation, generated non-functional code, and had unremoved warnings that it was not for public release, possibly making it an Obvious Alpha.
- The initial demo release of Painkiller Resurrection was an absolute disaster—the developers accidentally released a much older version of the demo than they had intended, and it shows: loading up the level takes a good five minutes, particle textures appear as orange-brown cubes, the finicky draw distance causes distant church towers to hang in the air miles away, and players couldn't even finish half the level because a physics-enabled rope bridge kept tossing them over the edge or pushing them straight through itself.
The Steam release of the game wasn't much better either, thanks to dodgy AI programming, painfully long load times and frequent crashes. And even in the retail version, the multiplayer mode is an absolute joke: Players can dart up along walls, the weapon pickup models are completely botched, and firing the electrodriver crashes the game on the spot.
- Daikatana was noted for excessive delays/slippages and a ridiculously arrogant advertising campaign. It shipped with broken AI, insanely unfinished levels, and dozens of bugs and glitches. The game was a mess in co-op as well: Cutscenes (and their subsequent event flags) were removed entirely, causing the players to spawn stuck behind closed doors that were supposed to open in cutscenes. The Readme recommends playing the single-player mode first to get an idea of the story. The co-op has a host of bugs on its own—the best being a glitch that causes players to spawn stuck to the floor, telefragging each other in an infinite loop.
- Supreme Commander shipped in an Obvious Beta state including severe game balance issues that had been identified during Beta testing but weren't fixed prior to launch, pathfinding problems, engine problems and hardware compatibility issues. Despite being promoted heavily as a DX10 showcase, the DX10 support was never added; in addition, the promised SDK and editors never materialized due to proprietary code used in them.
- It is rare to see an enemy in an unpatched copy of Hidden & Dangerous 2 not floating ten feet above the ground. Other show-stopping bugs include not being able to interact with any object in the level [including mission objectives], enemies moving behind locked doors they have the only key to, and the AI's disturbing tendency to blow itself up if left with anything explosive.
- Jurassic Park: Trespasser was more like a beta design idea. Instead of a regular FPS setup, the player controls the character's right arm by holding down keys and moving the mouse. Aiming a gun requires careful alignment of both the player's body and their arm to line up the iron sights, which makes combat impractical. Further, the game was equipped with a severely broken physics engine that, according to The Other Wiki, allowed the player to lift several-hundred-pound steel girders with one arm but did not allow the player to be pulled over a Chest-High Wall by that same arm. The very same physics engine also lacked friction, meaning stacked objects would simply slide or push off one another if misaligned regardless of mass. (On the flip side, this very physics engine may have very well inspired later works such as Half-Life 2, as it was very advanced by 1998 standards.)
Also, since any stowed melee weapon Sticks to the Back, and since a weapon's damage is determined when the weapon intersects with a character model, some weapons actually cause continual damage to the player when stowed.
The game's 3D engine rendered distant objects as scaled sprites, which popped abruptly into polygons as the player approached them. It was released at the dawn of the era of hardware 3D acceleration, and actually looked worse when run with a 3D card; software mode used system memory to store textures, whereas the accelerated version was limited to the small texture memory of contemporary 3D cards. The software mode also used a clever form of bumpmapping which was incompatible with 3D accelerators, and so as a consequence the game looked better and ran faster in software more than with a 3D card.
- Hearts of Iron III, a World War 2 strategy game, shipped with extremely broken AI. The AI countries would join factions seemingly at random; it wasn't uncommon for Japan to join the Allies or the US to join the Axis. Save games got corrupted all the time. The game ran incredibly slowly even on computers that far exceeded the system requirements and crashes were very common. The AI failed to research certain very valuable techs, giving the player a huge advantage. Totally improbable events, particularly involving naval landings, happened practically every game, such as Brazil invading Germany in 1941.
- Valve in general have a habit of releasing games with Game Breaking Bugs, although they are generally prompt about patching them. However, they also have a habit of releasing patches that cause brand new bugs in addition to fixing old ones (and sometimes not even that; they've "fixed" the spy's backstab register twice so far without actually fixing it). Special mention goes to the 2010 Half-Life 2 update, which ported the entire game and its Episodes over to the newer version of their engine but introduced a host of new problems, at least some of which are present on all or at least most users' systems. The patch was released in May 2010, and to date only one bug (which made the AI crash at a critical point) has been patched.
- Elemental War of Magic was released in a buggy state. Given that it's Stardock, this by itself isn't too terribly surprising. What is surprising is that said "buggy state" is horribly, horribly buggy and received more patches (six) in four days than GalCiv2 and Sins of a Solar Empire did the month of their respective releases. And it's still missing content, like competent AI. If Brad Wardell is to believed, this was deliberate—as a substitute for Copy Protection. Reviewers did not wait for the six patches to hit before slamming the game for being unfinished.
- In Elite 2: Frontier (at least on the Amiga version), game breaking bugs appeared over time (150 hours or so). It, therefore, most irritated players who had put the most into the (otherwise excellent) game. It basically became impossible to access the bulletin board to take missions and other features became disabled. The fact that Game Tek released several improved versions cemented its position as an Obvious Beta for those who played it for the requisite length of time. There were other bugs, crashes and exploits, too.
- Elite 3: First Encounters is a great game, and the fact it's still played after more than 10 years (after being reverse-engineered and spawning advanced graphics clones with the same gameplay) proves this. But Gametek took Executive Meddling Up to Eleven, went behind Frontier's back and released the closest thing to a complete version they had (or so Frontier's official site says). Ugly bugs spoiled the release as a result. For example, when flying into the atmosphere of a gas giant to use fuel scoop, the game crashes spectacularly as soon as the scoop activates. Even after the game was patched, it still refused to run in anything that wasn't a pure DOS environment - which prompted the aforementioned hacking of the game by the fans over the years so that they could at the very least run it in Windows.
- Might and Magic
- Might & Magic IX is a clear example of this trope, though it is partially excusable due to 3 D 0 going bankrupt during the development process. The result was a game loaded with bugs, glitches, and strangely empty buildings.
- Might and Magic VII was nowhere near as bad as IX, but it still has an assortment of problems - overpowered and underpowered classes, extreme laziness in the sprites (they didn't even bother with palette-swaps and just tinted them single colors) and obvious unfinished content.
- Dungeon Lords was released with many missing features, despite them being stated in the game manual and advertised as such. Buttons, sliders and icons were present in the game and didn't do anything. Game patches gradually implemented some of those elements. The developers later released a collector's edition with "new stuff" which were actually, you guessed it, the missing features... which still didn't made the game complete in the end. To add insult to injury, the very last patch doesn't upgrade the original release to the "collector's edition" version.
- Star Trek Legacy. The Xbox360 version wasn't too bad, although it suffered more bugs than a console game really should. The PC version on the other hand was a total mess, riddled with bugs and controls that obviously hadn't been tested properly, if at all. Also, when players looked through the game directory, they found huge chunks of legacy code from the ancient Star Trek: Armada engine, just proving how little effort had truly gone into the game's development.
- The author of Slime Forest Adventure freely admits that the game is a Beta. To make up for that, if you buy it now, you get free updates for life.
- Pool of Radiance: Return to Myth Drannor was so buggy that some gamers reported it destroying their OS. Even the install shield had a crippling bugs which prevented players from installing the game to a folder other than the default. It was so bad that the developer needed to release not just an update patch, but a completely new installer, meaning the user has to download this to install the game rather than going through the autorun setup from the disc. Most users would not be aware of this fact and will install it from the disc anyway, making it pointless.
- After the closure of Black Isle Studios, producers of Fallout, Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment, the studio was 'resurrected' through Spiritual Successor studios made up of much of their old staff, Obsidian Entertainment and Troika Games. Both studios have become renown (or reviled) for their tendency to release pre-finished or incomplete games:
- Knights of the Old Republic 2 is Obsidian's crowning example. Due to Executive Meddling by Lucasarts pushing for a Christmas release, much of the last third of the game is missing, including lots of voice files and code left in that details entirely new planets, a more satisfying ending, and a bit more character exploration and personal sidequests. A fan mod was eventually released to try to implement some of it.
- Neverwinter Nights 2 was fairly buggy upon release and suffered from memory leak issues and a lack of polish.
- And still does, since Atari had to pull the plug on updates due to being sued by Hasbro.
- Alpha Protocol also has several bugs, including some that include flags not being thrown correctly in response to some of your actions and leaving you with odd results. Trying to sneak into the US embassy in Moscow will make the game think you butchered your way in, and Shaheed will mysteriously come back from the dead in the epilogue if you arrest him.
- Arcanum of Steamworks and Magick Obscura harvested criticism for a poorly balanced and unpolished combat system, and also for a general issue with bugs.
- Temple of Elemental Evil was riddled with several bugs and was generally unstable as heck. There is also references to some minor cut content in the second town.
- Vampire Bloodlines was playable from the outset but had many physics flaws and bugs. A number of Troika programmers stayed on after the company went bankrupt and was able to finish an official patch that fixed many of these errors. Fans latched on to this and went on to produce several years' worth of unofficial patches that have fixed most of the game's errors and restored cut content.
- Dragon Age is rough around the edges in hindsight. First of all, the endgame (everything post-Landsmeet) is extremely bugged, failing to recognize who was made ruler of Fereldan and even your character's gender. Also, the Dwarf Noble-only sidequest, "The Prodigal Son", was so bugged that it is literally Unwinnable without mods. Most of the DLC post-Warden's Keep were notoriously full of bugs and glitches upon initial release, most notable "Return to Ostagar" (which had to be delayed for over a month because it was practically unplayable), "Awakening" (which even those who liked it agreeing it was most likely rushed) and "Witch Hunt". Thankfully, the combination of patches (both Bioware and fanmade) and special mods have removed these issues, or at the very least mitigated them.
- Several of Eve Online's expansions have been considered this, although CCP has got better over time, many earlier ones introduced Game Breaking Bugs, lag and desync issues, which then required entire patches dedicated simply to resolving those.
- Dark Sun Wake of the Ravager was plagued with such issues as disappearing doors that left the player permanently stuck, NPCs who continued to speak and act after death, inability to complete quests, and best of all: enemies, allies, terrain, and even equipment vanishing permanently for no good reason. An official patch fixed only a small amount of game-breaking problems. Completing this bug-encrusted piece of shit is only possible through extreme abuse of multiple save slots.
- The Elder Scrolls series is notorious for this.
- Oblivion has the "honor" of Game Breaking Bugs all over, even early on the main quest, even with the a number of official patches, a fan patch, and fan patches for the fan patch (The first fan patch stopped updating, with the 2nd patch working on untouched bugs and additional patches for the downloadable content/expansion packs) applied.
- Morrowind, of course, had a number of bugs on release but its expansions landed like a wrecking ball: Tribunal had a number of elite assassins attacking you night after night regardless of level, and having the audacity to even install Bloodmoon rendered both the original campaign and the Tribunal expansion unwinnable and broken. A fan patch had largely taken care of this until Bethesda released their own which just created loads of new problems and questionable design decisions (Ice Armor going from the best new light armor to a mediocre medium, among others).
- Skyrim carried on the trend; however, most of the Obvious Beta was with the PlayStation 3 version rather than the PC, which Bethesda is used to. A couple patches have been released to assess bugs, but plenty of bugs remain. Some of which will intentionally never be fixed because they're funny. While still buggy (with players reporting having to console-command through quests due to broken quests), the game's arguably the least buggy of the Elder Scrolls game next to Morrowind.
- Daggerfall takes the cake, however. Even though several games were shipped with design flaws or glitches, Daggerfall was the worst. How bad was it? You could at least complete the main quest in the other games without a bug making the game Unwinnable.
Daggerfall was also the game where one of the patches included an official tool entitled FIXSAVE.EXE, which as its name implies, was meant to repair errors in savegame files because they were too common to tell all affected players to restart the game. They also ended up publicizing some cheats, such as a dungeon teleportation spell, because the glitchy collision system in the engine tended to let people slip between the world geometry and into "The Void", where they'd fall forever otherwise, and because of the game's use of randomly generated dungeons could often result in dungeons without exits.
- The PC release of Rampage: World Edition was a literal Obvious Beta. IF you were able to get it to run at all, it had the words "Beta Release" in all four corners of the screen.
- Lords of Magic remained beta for a very long time after release. The developers admitted they rushed it out to cash in on holiday sales.
- While League of Legends went live without many hitches, Yorick the Gravedigger could be considered this. When he was released, he was considered "Worthless" because his abilities were, well, practically a beta. It also didn't help that his ult was supposedly changed from development to release and was full of bugs.
- On the Glider PRO CD, the final star in "Grand Prix" appears in a room whose title promises one more. A half-built, unplayable sequence of rooms lies beyond. The house was supposedly completed, but no patch was ever released.
- Oregon Trail 5th Edition, especially version 1.0, is riddled with glitches and compatibility issues; it requires a patch to work at all on XP (otherwise it crashes on launch), and is not compatible with Vista. Stick with II or the 25th Anniversary Edition.
- Having been shipped hastily just before the company went under, the Mac-only RPG Tomb of the Task Maker has a few noticeable glitches and Dummied Out content. Read the section on underdevelopment on this site.
- The sequel to Sword of the Stars, Lords of Winter, was released as a literal beta in November 2011 due to an erroneous upload of a pre-release candidate to the Steam servers instead of the intended release candidate. It was successfully replaced by the release candidate 24 hours later, at which point the delighted audience discovered that the actual release candidate wasn't much of an improvement and was riddled with several bugs. Kerberos Productions have yet, as of January 2012, declared that they feel the game is at the 'release' stage and bugfixes keep coming out on a near-weekly basis.
- Might and Magic: Heroes VI is this despite testing including open beta. At the moment of this entry developer is working on a patch that should fix some issues that were known since then; fan created bug list contains over 120 issues and quite a bit of them almost game breaking.
- Postal III. While the Postal series isn't known for its high production values, the game's initial release suffers from frequent crashing on some systems, the AI failing, broken Steam achievements, sound issues, among other things. Additionally the style was quite a departure from what RWS had in mind before Akella took over production, making it much more cartoonish. A crucial element - free roam was cut out and later put out in a patch and there is no multiplayer, despite its development being credited, as it was canned at some point. Also, the game was quite underpromoted and isn't out on Steam after its official release date, as of early January 2012, instead having to be purchased from other minor retailers. Reception (fan and critical) is mixed to negative, with one of RWS' developers saying "the whole thing was rather tragic". Granted, the game wasn't that bad, it was quite humorous, Your Mileage May Vary though, as Giant Bomb's Quick Look shows off few redeeming qualities to the game.
- Magicka had numerous game-breaking or crashing bugs on release; multiplayer was especially buggy, and laggy because it used ridiculous amounts of bandwidth (far more than an average FPS game). After many of these bugs were fixed, the developers added the "Bug Staff" and "Crash To Desktop" spell to the game.
- Cities XL, a Sim City clone suffered this. An Updated Rerelease, Cities XL 2011, fixed most of the huge bugs, but many remain.
- Merit Software's Command Adventures: Starship can become unplayable about halfway through. When you attempt to send a team to a planet, the default action sound will 'bleep' three times and you're kicked back into space. At times, you'll find crew members vanishing and eventually it gets so bad you can't even get into the shop and other sections of the Starbases. Merit intended Starship to be the first in a series of Command Adventures games but it ended up being a Franchise Killer instead.
- o3 Games gave too much control over The Outforce to their publisher, who committed Executive Meddling upon it, pushing it to be released with only the Terran campaign finished. Even worse, the units for the Terran, Crion and Gobin races have identical capabilities, even some of the unit names are the same across all three. Nonetheless, the AI is killer, it may have been the first RTS to support unlimited group sizes and the graphics are beautiful. Multiplayer also works and there are no game breaking bugs. It just needed more time in the oven to bake in more content and de-clone the three races.
- The Lego Rock Raiders PC game featured rampant Artificial Stupidity and literally impossible requirements for One Hundred Percent Completion.
- Lego Island 2 was beyond rushed in the middle of its development. Almost 50% of what was intended was cut entirely (for instance, there was going to be a cave area with many more sub-games). Not to mention, the fifty percent we did get didn't even look half-complete; the physics were basic, the graphics were very texture-filled, the instructions would barely give you a hint on what to do, there was no replayability, the load times were inexcusably long (sometimes going as long as two minutes), and it was filled with various glitches, not uncommonly game breaking. The PSX version was based off this one, so it too was incomplete in the same way. The GBA and GBC versions weren't, though, although opinions still tend to vary on them.
Play Station 3/Xbox 360/Wii
- Sonic the Hedgehog for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 featured poor controls, poor hit detection, graphical errors, framerate problems, placeholder graphics from the old Sega Dreamcast games and Loads and Loads of Loading, with a distinct possibility of spending more time loading the game than playing it. It ended up that way due to rushing for a Christmas release.
- Far Cry: Vengeance for the Wii was a mess of a game with laggy framerates, cut content, and sloppily-done visuals, obviously rushed out just to put a Far Cry game on the Wii for the sake of it.
- The in-game Loading Screen hints in TimeShift frequently refer to features that don't actually exist and the rewind function spends much of the game disabled because the developers didn't feel like resolving the minor issues that it could present. For example, if a character is scripted to open a door, then the player could have used the rewind function to be either inside the room before the door opened, or outside of the room after it closed.
- Infamous PS3-exclusive flop Haze at first was promoted as having a new task-based AI system which was licensed by Free Radical Design, then found not to work at all on the hardware they were designing for. The game slipped for over a year, with early trailers having nothing to do with the final plotline. The end result had obvious missing functions [the two rifles were clearly designed with underbarrel mounts], poor visuals, stodgy AI, ridiculously repeated samples and a disjointed, pretentious plotline. Since FRD had promoted all their other projects as using the distinctly unimpressive Haze engine, they duly lost all their custom and collapsed shortly afterwards.
- The Last Remnant for the Xbox 360 is plagued by massive slowdown during battles which, coupled with the amount of grinding that you have to do and Loads and Loads of Loading, makes the game drag to an infuriating extent. The PC version successfully fixed all of these problems and even included a Turbo Mode to make battles go faster. You'd think that they would be working on a patch to fix the graphical problems in the Xbox 360 version, but seems to have been abandoned entirely. The Playstation 3 version that was supposed to come out simultaneously with the 360 version has vanished entirely into the ether and Square refuses to speak of it.
- The King of Fighters XII has been accused of being an obvious beta. The playable character roster had been cut nearly in half between XI and XII (a few players have browsed through the index files of the Xbox 360 version and discovered files for several unused characters in the game such as Yuri and Takuma Sakazaki, fan-favorite Mai Shiranui, and even long-unused Fatal Fury Sub Boss Hwa Jai), the main arcade mode is little more than a glorified time trial with only five stages and no proper end boss (though some would argue that given SNK's reputation for making extremely punishing bosses, this change would be a good thing), and until a version 1.02 patch fixed it, the netcode for online play was extremely unreliable, leaving some players stuck on the loading screen for minutes before even being able to select a character.
- Notoriously, the Xbox 360 version of Alone in The Dark 2008. The PlayStation 3 Updated Rerelease fared better, but still had its issues.
- Another Century's Episode R is, by direct admission, an Obvious Beta to allow the team behind the ACE trilogy to get adjusted to the Playstation 3 architecture. This entails rebuilding the game engine from the ground up and focusing on gameplay and graphics rather than Loads and Loads of Characters, as the previous two games did.
- Major League Baseball 2K 09 for the Xbox 360. This video sums it up pretty well. Not enough proof? Okay, one more.
The developers were surprisingly up-front about this in later interviews. Executive Meddling led to them having only 9 months to develop the game instead of the usual (for that series) 12 months.
- The 2010 reboot of Medal of Honor is a glitchfest riddled with game breaking bugs. Electronic Arts doesn't usually rush out games like this. What were they thinking? One level has a huge glitch that causes an entire section of the level to go missing, leaving only the bottomless void.
- If Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One was ever tested, it wasn't done very thoroughly; the game's makers and testers never picked up on the fact that the invisibility cloak (when it actually works) breaks most levels wide open, causing event triggers to fail, enemies to simply stand stock still and, hilariously, putting it on while fighting the final boss causes you to win the entire game almost instantly.
- Dragon Age 2 is riddled with bugs ranging in severity from "mildly annoying" to "great, the game froze up and corrupted my save files." More obvious, as these bugs aren't encountered by everyone, are the reused environments, Darktown's perpetual daylight, the fact that all darkspawn (until the "Legacy" DLC, at least) were hurlocks, and so on. All of this has been confirmed as the result of a rushed development schedule.
- Kung Fu Panda 2 for the PlayStation 3. While the Xbox 360 version is sub-par in its own right, the PlayStation 3 version looks like a meeting pitch prototype that was shown to a publisher in order to get further development funds but got shoved out the door as a finished product instead.
- The original Wii version of Tales of Graces was recalled in 2010 due to the number of game-breaking bugs and glitches. It went alright on its first playthrough, but on repeat playthroughs the game just imploded on itself. Sometimes the music would glitch during fights, too.
- The Silent Hill HD Collection was made with incomplete versions of the games' source codes-because Konami had lost the complete codes-with predictable results.
- Soul Calibur V was released with only 1/4 of its story mode completed due to the development team running out of time.
- Sonic Chaos, released for the Sega Game Gear and also on Master System in some countries. The physics are messy, with Sonic or Tails gaining extreme momentum with minimal input or actually losing speed by pressing forward after a spindash. The stages are extremely short, the longest acts taking less than a minute to beat, and have a quite similar pattern: high route with no enemies and several ring boxes clumped together and a low route with one or two enemies and a few bottomless pits. A very noticeable case was Sleeping Egg Zone, with a few sections looping twice and the ground and ceiling "disappearing" if you merely touch it. A few elements are lifted from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and some elements would be later used in the next game (including, but not limited to using the first boss of Sonic Chaos as the very first boss of Sonic Triple Trouble, an actually good game).
- Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis for the Game Boy Advance, the port of the first game, was a failure of epic nature despite the GBA having over twice the processing power of the Sega Genesis.
- Sonic Chronicles was released in the late beta phase. While still highly playable (and enjoyable), it had an abnormal amount of cut-content (including pretty much the entire soundtrack, which was just fan remixes downloaded from the internet). What evidently happened was that BioWare was acquired by EA and decided to work on Dragon Age, since they had already fulfilled their contract to Sega. This isn't so much of a case of "poorly-released game" as it is "Game could have been much better than it actually was."
- Mortal Kombat Advance in theory was to give a bone to MK fans wanting to play UMK 3 on the go with their Game Boy Advance back in 2002. Midway, however, handed the license to an outside third-party away from Ed Boon and his team and gave them four months to turn it out for a quick profit. Unsurprisingly, the game came rife with glitches, incomplete AI (either motionless or cheating), and unresponsive controls. The game proved to be a bit profitable for Midway, but this kind of practice foretold the future bankruptcy of the company.
- The original Pokémon games, especially the original Red and Green, released only in Japan (after five years of development!), were notorious for this. The updated Blue engine, despite fixing some of the more painful bugs, was still a mess, with the infamous Mew glitch, Glitch city, the old man exploit, as well as MissingNo, due to being a beta and because of some of the shortcuts taken to fit the game on the cartridge. Even the Updated Rerelease Yellow didn't fix much. By Generation II, which uses an upgraded engine, most of the bugs were fixed, but exploits involving the PC boxes that had a similar effect to the Mew glitch (i.e. manipulating cloning and PC boxes to get any Pokemon) remained. Note that this isn't always a bad thing—the games were indeed playable (and many glitches you had to actually go out of your way to exploit) but it was one of those rare instances where they released a late beta and it actually worked.
- Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny for PSP was obviously rushed out for a Summer Holiday release. It is supposed to be a port of Soul Calibur IV with extra characters and modes...but to get it out in time, there is no story mode or proper arcade mode. The options mode doesn't let you adjust the difficulty or number of rounds, the create-a-character mode is very lacking, and there is no money system or internet play. The game's makers lampshade this by saying that it's a 'simpler Soul Calibur game for novice players'. Tekken: Dark Resurrection, which came out several years before, is not lacking in any of the modes its home version offers, and thus, Broken Destiny could have been much better.
- Shin Megami Tensei's Devil Survivor
- The original has a few lines left in Japanese. Considering how many lines there are, it's possible that the beta testers couldn't find them all... except that one of the lines has to be seen in order to get FIVE of the six Multiple Endings. Also, one of the skill descriptions is Blatant Lies, being the exact opposite of what the skill really does.
- The Updated Rerelease Devil Survivor Overclocked could actually be considered WORSE than the original. Lag is everywhere, and grinding is bad when the game's form of Treasure Chests can randomly freeze your game.
- While fun to play, the two DS Prince of Persia sidescrollers are so glitchy and unpolished that it's obvious they were rush jobs. The boss fights are particularly embarrassing.
- While it's playable; Tales of the Tempest feels like this. It seems almost like it was an attempt to get used to the relatively new (at the time) DS hardware. Compare Tales of the Tempest to even Tales of Innocence and you can notice a pretty big difference between the two (in areas outside of soundtracks)
- Action 52 was, at its most generous, an obvious alpha. In fact, it was pure incompetence. For example, while any competent NES game would switch levels by swapping out the bank that holds the level data, Cheetahmen (and other Action 52 games with more than one level) accomplished it by swapping out the entire PRG ROM. The net result is that every level is in fact a different game, which is why bugs can occur in some levels but not in others, why each Cheetahman's level set has different sound effects, animations, etc., and why the end result cost $200. Some of the different levels in games have the same level number.
- The NES version of Strider looks like a late-beta, due to things like uneven collisions, odd borders for platforms and walls, enemies and NPCs that appear and disappear at weird times or don't disappear when they should, and a poor translation. The third-to-last boss does not disappear or change in any way after his defeat, and the final boss simply does not appear in his room for several seconds. When he does, he just pops into the middle of the room as if by a glitch. the first Data Disk you analyze unlocks Australia as a stage, even though the actual clue in the disk refers to the location of the Attack Boots you get at China. Not only that, there's no reason to go Australia until very late in the game (its the final area you need to explore before visiting the Red Dragon). Further credence to this theory is the fact that the Japanese version was canceled before the release of the arcade version, even though a tie-in manga adaptation was already published for it.
Sega Master System
- The port of Battlemaniacs for the Sega Master System, which only saw release in Brazil but was intended to be released in Europe as well. The most obvious signs of the unfinished port are the missing, misplaced and incomplete cutscenes and music.
Super NES/Sega Genesis/Sega Mega CD
- In Super Double Dragon, it's impossible to catch your own boomerangs, knives do way too much damage, you can't switch weapons once you pick one up... The Japanese version, Return of Double Dragon, which came out a few months later, is more complete than the American version (it even has an additional level, albeit a rather glitchy unfinished one), but is obviously far from finished (the game still lacks any sort of plot or even a proper ending). See also Bad Export for You.
- An obscure Japan-only RPG by the name of Maka-Maka exemplifies this. This game had several obviously unfinished parts and many bugs, some of which are game breaking. In fact, word has it that the game was released in its prototype form due to time constraints.
- The somewhat obscure Japanese Sega Mega CD sequel to the Genesis semi-classic El Viento, Annet Futatabi (Annet Again), was released in a very unfinished state. The protagonist's flashy spells are all unfinished, usually resulting in just a single animation frame blinking in and out. Basic combat controls work correctly, but enemies swarm you any time you get knocked down, effectively making getting up an impossibility. Enemies and even bosses will occasionally wander off screen and not return for anywhere between 1–5 minutes... or never, making the game randomly unwinnable. It is little surprise that the game was never released outside Japan.
- The initial release of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 had a load of glitches (such as getting stuck in the walls in Carnival Night Zone), but most of these were fixed when locked onto Sonic & Knuckles.
- The first Jurassic Park game for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive wasn't buggy, but it certainly had an "unfinished" quality to it and the enemy AI was pretty pathetic overall. Velociraptors, for instance, were the scariest and deadliest dinosaurs in the film, but here became slow, lumbering idiots who basically waited to get shot. Two things support the theory that it was a rushed project: the first being that the actual beta ROM is almost identical to the finished product, and the second is that developer Blue Sky software later released a loose sequel subtitled "Rampage Edition" which ratcheted up the action and made all the dinosaurs significantly more dangerous enemies (for instance, Velociraptor encounters are now downright scary, and the T-Rex still only appears from the shoulders up, but now she chases you). While the original was still an okay game, it's pretty obvious that Rampage Edition was the version Blue Sky meant to make the first time.
- Star Ocean
- The original Star Ocean 1 came with several crashing bugs, an item creation system whose success rate in some circumstances was so low it almost wasn't worth trying, items that were obviously meant to exist (and referenced in places) but couldn't be found, and a final dungeon that (story-wise) came out of nowhere on a planet you couldn't explore. The enhanced remake for the PSP corrected most of these issues.
- Sequel Star Ocean: The Second Story on Play Station had a game crasher that would "randomly" occur after completing a battle, the overworld/dungeon screen would fail to load, leaving just a black screen and no music, forcing a reset.
Play Station/Nintendo 64
- Mega Man X6 has shades of this, what with its rushed localization, resulting in incredibly sloppy translation and leaving the original japanese voices in the cutscenes, the lazy level design, and a sound test which is missing several tracks. This shouldn't come as a surprise when you realize that not only was the game assembled in less than a year, it was never supposed to be made to begin with—Keiji Inafune had already moved on to Mega Man Zero at the time and intended X5 to be the finale of the X series, but Capcom wasn't content with milking the series, resulting in the creation of X6, released just when the PS 1 was on it's death knell in the states.
- Space Station Silicon Valley famously shipped with no collision detection enabled on one of the souvenir objects, making it impossible to pick up.
- The North American release of Suikoden II has several places where dialogue simply wasn't translated at all. And because Konami also removed the Japanese font, the result is characters who speak indecipherable gibberish (see the second screenshot.)
- The N64 port of Indiana Jones and The Infernal Machine was so full of Game Breaking Bugs that it was only released as a Blockbuster rental (or a direct purchase from Lucas Arts). One of the most memorable glitches had to be the fact that in one level, when you tried to drop into a cave since access seemed impossible, when Indy fell in the water and you tried to resurface, he just swam through the air. Effective for getting in the cave, but he just drowned.
- Superman 64 has insane glitches, horrible controls, awkward animations, a very short draw distance, largely nondescript textures, a telling lack of content (well, unless overuse of Pass Through the Rings counts as content), two years in development and not much to show for it... it's basically unrefined in nearly every aspect. Where it gets REALLY interesting is the actual beta release was BETTER than the finished product... apparently due to Executive Meddling, the company was forced to change a lot, as they began to run out of time...
- WWF Smackdown! for the PS 1 is clearly an Obvious Beta of WWF Smackdown!2: Know Your Role. They were both made in the same year and built on the same engine, with many things being left over from the first game in the second. The oddness about the first game is as follows:
- The menu descriptions are written in sloppy English, including a Create A PPV mode called 'Match Making'.
- The season mode is limited: hardly any backstage story, no feuds, the ability to skip matches, and the ability to be eligible for pretty much any title at the same time with little reason.
- The create a character mode is limited with the only parts you can select being head, upper body and lower body. In the sequel, the same parts return as 'standard' parts, individual parts now are under 'advanced'.
- Instead of unlocking characters, you unlock their parts.
- The original copies of Spyro Year of the Dragon were very glitchy due to being rushed for release before the Year of the Dragon ended. However, the Greatest Hits and Platinum releases fixed these problems and this game is regarded by many as one of the best games released on the Play Station.
Dreamcast/Play Station 2/Gamecube/Xbox
- Tomb Raider
- Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness was released in an infamously unfinished state and garnered many comments from reviewers along the lines of "it might be good when it's finished". Problems included the inability to dual-wield weapons despite Lara's twin holsters, the sea monster with an un-textured belly, Lara's ability to beat a timed door puzzle without the allegedly necessary jumping upgrade and Lara's clothes miraculously changing themselves.
- While far more solid than Angel (outside the PS2 version), Tomb Raider: Underworld is also quite buggy, with various rough edges and some Gamebreaking Bugs.
- Spyro: Enter The Dragonfly. You can swim in the air if you get through a certain gap in the net in a pond, allowing you to swim to later levels and do the boss battle early. If you're directly above or below something but actually far away from it, it sounds close. Spyro sometimes freezes and slides around like he's ice-skating. Visual effects go wrong a lot. Sometimes you arrive in a level and have to wait for it to appear. NPCs twitch and bounce like spastic jello molds for no good reason. Sometimes the dang thing just freezes. When you press "Look", occasionally Spyro would headbutt instead of looking. There are copious spelling errors.The gateway to the second world sometimes doesn't work.
- The DLC for the North American version of Disgaea 2 Cursed Memories: Dark Hero Days had so many bugs and glitches that the developers actually had to pull them from PSN so they could work on fixing them. When first released, they had no voice, but random noises played whenever the characters would say something during battle, such as menu scrolling and selecting sounds, and their attacks were completely messed up in area and damage (to the point that Sapphire's Ultimate move did reverse damage, thus healing enemies). The DLC was later put on back on sale with the attack glitches fixed, but the random noises still play up when they are fighting.
- Nippon Ichi also ran into this problem with the US version of Ar tonelico 2, which has a Game Breaking Bug around the endgame, a badly translated fourth Cosmosphere, and even spots where there's still kanji floating around.
- Grandia III is a case of this. The whole bit about airplanes and flying that the game makes a big deal about early on in the story is almost completely abandoned once you actually get a plane, the second disc is very rushed, and one of the main villains is Put on a Bus, never to be seen again.
- Vexx is complete from a gameplay perspective, and everything works. But the story is rather skeletal (with tons of hints that it was supposed to be much grander), a number of power-ups/game aspects pop up all of once and are never referenced again, and certain things in the main game hint at a multiplayer mode that simply never happened.
- The Dreamcast port of Slave Zero, which was one of the few games released in the first year of the system. All of the ingame music is removed with only the intro and ending themes remaining, the menus in languages other than English are glitched and not fully translated, the framerate is far lower than the PC version and dips inexplicably during the cutscenes and the game is filled with all manner of bizarre bugs, such as falling infinitely off a Bottomless Pit or getting killed by the checkpoint transition and becoming invincible as a result. It's still playable enough to narrowly avoid Porting Disaster status, but superior PC-to-Dreamcast ports showed Infogrames plainly didn't care and rushed the game to get a quick buck.
- The Japanese release for Tales of the Abyss was actually an Obvious Beta. There were several items that were Dummied Out (Hi-Ougis and cut-ins that weren't accessible in-game, a potential part in which VAN was playable) as well as several bad bugs (Tear and Jade freezing while casting in overlimit) and plenty of Good Bad Bugs (being able to go anywhere on the world map, perfect because there are parts that can be Lost Forever). What appears to be a Regional Bonus for North America was actually more of a completion, despite several bugs that weren't removed (Luke has an extension to his Mystic Arte if Ion is in the party; Guy and Natalia have two Mystic Artes; Fortunes Arc has an extension; the final boss has a second Mystic Arte; Nebilim had around SEVEN Mystic Artes added; the cameo bosses not only have their cut-ins, but Phila and Rid actually had two).
- Crash Twinsanity: There are certain cinemas in the game that lack appropriate sound effects (in a couple cases, music), which makes it seem like parts of the game were rushed before release... and they very well were, considering the sheer amount of cut content that one of the developers of the game decided to share on a Crash forum...
You also have the cutscenes and world layout. After you complete certain cutscenes and the stages with it, you go back to the world map, giving you some kind of free roaming until the next cutscene continues the game. Although this free roaming zone tends to be really linear, you could go back to previous part of the world map, even though you were not meant to do so. Literally. Doing so means that all the cutscenes and stages get reset, meaning that you would have to play all of them again until you reached the point where you screwed up. The game just treats you as it was your first time reaching each zone. This can be seen after you complete Cavern Catastrophe, where you can find a tunnel that will get you back to N.Sanity Island.
- Some gamers argue that even systems often count as an Obvious Beta. Consoles and handhelds, especially the latter, often have an Updated Rerelease/Updated model released a couple years later that addresses several bugs/design quirks. This can sometimes lead to the original models seeming a bit odd to play after you got spoiled by the newer ones. The Sega Genesis alone had a lot of models, some of the later ones with the Add ons built in.
- Many cell phone models often fall into this trope, considering how many updated models come around that improve bugs and complaints about the previous models.
Nokia's 3600/3650, for one, was the butt of numerous complaints due to its unique circular keypad layout. Some people actually found the keypad easier to use, though. Nevertheless, an updated variant of the phone, the 3620 (3660 for the Eurasian market) was released with a conventional layout, and a 16-bit, 65K colour screen compared to the 3600's 4096-colour display.
- The Sony PSP models, although the PSP GO was often considered a downgrade by fans - and it's also, arguably, an Obvious Beta for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, affectionately dubbed the Play Station Phone.
- The Wonderswan, a portable Bandai system released only in Asia, had an original monochrome version released in 2000, followed by the Wonderswan Colour shortly afterwards.
- The infamous toilet bowl-shaped Atari Jaguar CD addon, which, due to faulty connections, rarely worked at all.
Dr. Insano, who struggled to get one working to review a game: [N]ot only is it prone to hardware failures, it's prone to about five different ways it can fail. It can fail if [it] isn't perfectly placed on the [Jaguar]. It can fail if the contacts aren't clean. It can fail if the Memory Track cartridge isn't perfectly set, and it can easily fail because the laser itself or the motor mechanism are defective, and they often are, and in [Spoony's] case, it would often fail because the lid is so poorly designed that, when closed, it actually closes too tightly and mashes the CD against the inside of the drive, preventing it from spinning, and that could easily cause additional internal damage[...E]ven when I did get it to work [it] still froze all the time, and I do mean all the damn time!
- When the same was attempted by The Angry Video Game Nerd, he couldn't get it working either, and so handed off his Jaguar and CD addon to Richard DaLuz. DaLuz, in his capacity as creator of the NinToaster and SuperGenintari (a NES, Super NES, Genesis, and Atari2600 in the same box), seemed like if anyone had the skillset to get such things working, it would be him. Even after he soldered the CD addon to the console, thus eliminating any possibility of a connection problem, it refused to work.
- Early adopters of the Xbox 360 found themselves acting as beta testers for the machine's cooling system. Then as beta testers for the various fixes for this. Depending on who you believe and which motherboard variants you include the failure rate within 3 years was anywhere between 30 and 70% with many customers requiring multiple replacements. Arguably these issues were only finally fixed (although die shrinks and the ability to install disc images - avoiding the extra heat, wear and noise from the 12x DVD drive spinning constantly at full speed - helped they couldn't solve the fundamentally flawed cooling model of pushing hot air out a rear panel which the air vents had to share with various AV connectors) with the release of the slim redesign 5 years after the original launch.
- Clive Sinclair, head of Sinclair Radionics and later of Sinclair Research, which brought the ZX Spectrum to Britain and helped kickstart its home computer market, valued minimalist designs that the British public could afford, at the cost of neglecting to have his creations properly tested and polished. By far the most infamous example is the Sinclair Black Watch, an early digital watch that used an LED and sold for either £17.95 or £24.95 depending on whether you got it in a do-it-yourself kit (like most home electronics of the time) or preassembled. The kit was notoriously difficult to assemble; it had a battery life of only ten days (resulting in many preassembled watches arriving already dead) and its batteries were just as difficult to replace; its integrated chip could be destroyed by static from nylon clothing; and most damning of all, it was unreliable in keeping time because it ran at different speeds depending on the weather. Oh, and just for kicks, it could explode if you left it powered on for too long. The product was such a gigantic flop that Sinclair Radionics would've gone bankrupt if the British government hadn't stepped in to provide subsidies.
- The World God Only Knows has an early story where Dating Sim Otaku Keima Katsuragi struggles to get through one of these. Filled with just about every bug imaginable, the biggest one he has to overcome is getting stuck in a loop that prevents him from reaching the ending. Not only that, but trying to save the game will fry his PFP, so in order to find a way around the loop, he has to try every. single. route. And when he finally does manage to get past the loop, the result is corrupted graphics and text that make it completely unplayable.
- ↑ Technically, there is an opponent car, but it doesn't do anything but sit at the starting line indefinitely. There is a patch available that will get it to move, but it still stops right before crossing the finish line (as there's no code for what happens when you lose a race), so it's impossible to not win.
- ↑ and probably did because people were going to pirate leaked builds anyway, as happened with the paid beta programs for 2000 and XP