Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

No Man’s Sky… Why the Massive Day 0 Patch?

Posted by Rampant Coyote on August 8, 2016

NoMansSky_MonolithThere was something of a crapstorm recently about the much-hyped (dangerously hyped!) No Man’s Sky, between a fan who paid over a thousand dollars to play the game early, and some stores which broke the street date on the PS4. Early reports suggested that (*GASP*) the game might be overhyped and might not actually be the be-all, end-all of video gaming. Okay, I’m exaggerating the complaints a bit, but to hear the rumblings… hoo boy.

Sony responded that without the Day 0 patch, the game as it appears on the disk is not representative of the final game. Developers Hello Games explained that the PC version (delayed a few days past the PS4 release) will not have those problems exhibited in the unpatched PS4 disk. A lot of people dismissed that as damage control, but then the details of the patch were released… and it’s a monster.

If you care, and have caught wind of these complaints, you may be interested in reading about it: The huge list of changes on release of No Man’s Sky.

So what gives? What’s up with these giant Day 0 patches anyway? That totally sucks that the game is no fun on the disk until it is patched, right?

Well, yes… but it’s not really a result of sloppy coding or rushed production or anything like that. It’s simply the realities of a system that is at least a decade out of date. Rami Ismail offers a fantastic explanation full of truth that those who have never made games for console might never realize:

Patch the Process

I don’t even want to provide an excerpt, because you really need to read the whole thing. But … a poor synopsis is this: It behooves a studio to submit a game for certification as early as it can be considered a release candidate, but they aren’t going to just twiddle their thumbs for the eight weeks between cert submission and the release street date.

Of course, I could just say this is another reason that PC gaming is the best, without any certification and now that it has migrated away from disks as the principle means of distribution, but… well, PC gaming can also be the dumping ground of incomplete, crappy titles. It was happening long before the digital distribution era. And then there’s the whole submission for ratings thing. And the marketing thing. Basically, no matter what you do, there’s a whole lot of stuff that needs to happen between “it’s ready” and “it’s out,” especially for a major title, and games are never truly “completed” by the developer. They just eventually don’t get updated anymore.

Since stores have been breaking street dates for as long as I can remember, the only surprise here is the guy who paid serious bucks for early access, and the level of hype surrounding this title which magnifies potential disappointments. That’s not to say that No Man’s Sky won’t disappoint… for the level of hype that’s grown around this title, I think it’s almost impossible for it not to disappoint anyone who has bought into the hype. And there’s a very real chance it will be lame even for those of us who believe we have more realistic expectations. It just means not to put too much stock in early, pre-launch, pre-patched software, or to get too upset about substantial day 0 patches.

Of course, tomorrow is launch day (for PS4 players… not me), so a lot of this conjecture and speculation will finally be put to rest.  I’m going to be at a convention when it released for the PC, so… as usual… I’m gonna be late to the party.

Filed Under: General - Comments: 2 Comments to Read

  • Mephane said,

    Well, is it even really a day 0 patch when on day 0 you just download the game on Steam in its current (patched) form? The concept is only really relevant when you have a physical disc in the first place.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Yeah, the day 0 patch is really for the PS4 players… or those who ordered the disk-based version for PC.

    Someone noted, though… as much as I love digital content, the size of today’s games makes it effectively unavailable for many gamers, even in many places here in the U.S. For them, a 1 gig patch might be more than a mere inconvenience.