Can Wii U Players Haz Zombi U Patch?

Based upon a tip sent in to Gonintendo, ZombiU players will be forced to play their game without adequate support. If this forum poster is to be believed, Ubisoft won’t expend any resources on fixing glitches in their Wii U game. Just as a crack in a table is a defect that can take away from its’ use and enjoyment, a glitch in a video game can ruin an experience. Not that people don’t sometimes have fun making games do things that they weren’t designed to do but when a bug impedes player enjoyment completely it is a problem. Let’s take a look at this bug.

Oh wow, so the player gets stuck in a room that they cannot leave. Not only that but it happens right at the end of the game! A patch would address this glitch along with many others present in the game. I’ve experienced bugs in games before, even at this level, and they can make you afraid to play.

True Crime: New York City was simultaneously one of my most favorite and hated games for a few months because of its’ glitches. They came without warning, imagine running into a building but having your character model fall endlessly beneath the city. Weird crap like that happened very often in that game, you saved often to keep progressing if you decided to rough it through. Getting back to Zombi U, let’s see what the players have been told by the developers.

“The supervisor told me [stiedema] that the dev team does not believe that the current level of complaints warrants the effort to pursue work on a patch and that the dev team’s time would be put to better use working on other projects.”

That’s a respectable answer. They didn’t bs (although they did make the poster work for the information) the poster with some story about it eventually coming or it being too difficult or that a statement will eventually be coming. Nope. Ubisoft is a business, they don’t foresee the money being invested in patching the game as something that will give them an equal or greater return. Because of that, they will not be patching this game. Now people may try to shame them into doing so but it may not happen.

The developers and testers have to be paid for their time. Not only that but since programming is bringing logic into programmable devices, it is actually running correctly. The programmers just found a way that didn’t get them the results that themselves and the players desired. If the Trenches and pretty much any developer can be believed, fixing one glitch may bring in plenty of other problems that were not foreseen. That live action butterfly effect would increase the amount of time needed to get the game in a “good enough” state for players to enjoy.

I don’t agree with the lack of support this early in the games development. It released on November 18, 2012 – less than 70 days ago. Unlike the Wii there’s no Nintendo imposed super block on patches, no crazy technical blocks and the game seems to be fairly popular. I don’t like using VGChartz info for something as newly released as ZombiU but it’s the best data available at the moment. According to the site, this unsupported title has sold about 310,000 copies. Normally that would seem like a flop but it’s a launch game, it’s selling to a market prior to launch didn’t exist in anything but preorder slips (I’m referring to the Wii U market, not the hardcore gamer/gamer market).

At the time of this post, the total number of Wii U’s sold is unknown but Satoru Iwata’s goal (president of Nintendo) is to sell 5.5 million units by the end of March. I’m going to take a stretch here and say that half of that number has been reached (2.75), that means that Zomi U may have reached about 11% of the userbase. One would think that continued support would be essential to keep word-of-mouth positive so that the sales can be maintained at a healthy level for a longer amount of time. Gamers praise games and when they do that helps to build momentum for sequels. When gamers trash games they usually go after the companies as well (myself included). It’s imperative to the future success of Ubisoft on the Wii U platform to show their customers some support.

As a (jaded) consumer I’ve been watching the Wii U launch. Not just Nintendo but their partners too. Ubisoft is pretty much their biggest ally at the moment and I’ve been impressed at the overall quality of Zombi U. It’s on my list of Wii U games to get (more on that later today) if I ever take that plunge. It has a very enticing gameplay style that has only been attempted in the mainstream by Resident Evil: Outbreak. From my perspective on Zombi U it seems like someone decided to focus more on the local player experience of RE:Outbreak (it was geared towards online play) with a heaping helping of a pre-Wii fan idea called “Wii Hide, You seek“.


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