Call Of Duty Creators Say Your Bugs Were 'Edge Cases'

I have very publicly championed Call of Duty: Black Ops. I found the single player provoking, the multiplayer addictive. But was picky about which version of the game I like. That's because my choice for Game of the Year seemed packed with bugs when I played it on the computer and Playstation 3.

But why?

That's what I wanted Treyarch studio head Mark Lamia to explain to me. So when we had a chance to chat on the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences red carpet last week, that's what I asked.

"That's a very good question, but I also think it's often misunderstood," Lamia said, after I told him that there was a big difference between how the games played and were perceived on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC at launch.

"I would ask you to go on to the PS3 yourself, not just read the boards, and experience it yourself on both platforms," he said.

I did, I replied, but only at launch.

"You did," he said, sounding a bit surprised.

What I found when I played the game on the PS3 was a title with framerate issues and crashes and I heard about quite a few multiplayer bugs. When I played the game on PC is was completely unplayeable, freezing and dropping to a framerate that turned the game from a movie into a slideshow.

Initially, Lamia seemed to answer the questions I wasn't asking, explaining how two of the versions shouldn't have had bugs, the lengths that the developer went to to ensure there wouldn't be problems.

"The answer is that we have a huge team that is just committed to making sure that Black Ops, period, on whatever platform it is out on, that people have a great experience," he said. "We have our own internal test team that are the largest we've ever had. We don't even rely on Activision's test teams. We have Activision's test team support, but actually at Treyarch we've invested in testing to the point where we have full test teams testing all of these platforms and making sure we are doing all of this stuff."

He also explained the great lengths that the team went to once problems were discovered.

"We hear about something that bothers us and we make sure it's fixed and addressed," he said. "Which is why you've seen aggressively us addressing things we hear about. So when we hear about something, we actually reach out to players sometimes in the community to see if we can replicate it. If there is something out there that we've never seen, obviously we're going to work with players to see if we can work it out."

Lamia seemed to feel that the problems that were popping up for both PC and PS3 users weren't the typical experiences for a vast majority of the people playing his game.

"Here is what I will say: We know this for a fact, that the vast, vast majority don't have these sorts of experiences and they're out there playing this game," he said. "I really do encourage you to go online and play it.

"To the extent that there are issues we are unaware of, we are committed to trying to work to make sure the experience is good, that's the most important thing. We are making the game for everyone. The game is robust, huge, we want to make sure if there are any issues they are addressed."

Lamia added that he thinks that the game plays "really great" on all of the platforms now.

"That's not to say there aren't edge cases," he said. "When we do hear of something, we're not like not doing anything.

"We worked on the game for two years, we want nothing more than for people to like it, especially guys who invested in rigs to make sure they had a powerful enough system. Obviously we care about the PC community."

Lamia wrapped up by saying just how proud the team is of the game on all three systems.

"We think it's an awesome experience," he said. "I wish it wasn't just the 360 version you felt that way about because we feel like it's a great experience on all of the platforms."


Comments

    What a load of crap.

    I highly doubt the "vast, vast majority" aren't having issues when at least a quarter of the population damn near every server are having the same issues. Hell the first few patches to "fix" said issues, made them more prevalent.

    What Treyarch needs to realise is that not everyone who encountered problems complained in public forums about it. The game was unplayable for me on PC for quite a long time but I wasn't one of the people complaining about it openly on forums. I bet only a small percentage of people with the problems actually complained about it openly.

    In fact the 6 other people I know who bought it on PC (and one on PS3) all had the same issues, some of them worse, but none of them went to the effort of making public complaints or lodging support requests.

    Either Treyarch don't know the real extent of the problems this game, or they're in damage control mode.

      I agree and concur. All my mates had issue on the PC version for a good few weeks till it was 'playable'. None of us splashed our disgust on forums, we simply read and agreed and tried to find the time to do what we could to get the POS playable.

      How many of these interviews must we read to increase the likelihood of people not buying their next title?

        Same here, every single friend of mine who brought the PC version had bugs that made the game pretty much unplayable right from the start, and we all had hardware that far and away exceeded the minimum system reqs.

    "What I found when I played the game on the PS3 was a title with framerate issues and crashes and I heard about quite a few multiplayer bugs."

    What were the specs of this PC you were running it on? it sounds like it wasn't beefy enought to handle maxed out graphics settings? I ran fine on max settings using a Quad core and ATI 5750 1GB. Usually Vertical Sync off and Anti Alias on low (can't really tell the difference between AA at X2 and AA at X16 in a FPS to be honest).

    I found the game ran fine, but there were still gameplay bugs.

      I've commented on this before. Don't just assume that people who complain about slowdowns have weak computers. This game has an issue with dual-core processors, anyone with a dual-core processor will see massive framerate drops, it will run considerably worse than any quad-core system, even if the quad-core system is less powerful.

      The issue isn't his PC hardware, the issue is with the game engine.

        Apparently they made a "fix" for that dual core problem late last year, all it did was stop my 20 second freezes, the framerates were still pretty much same crap even on low everything on graphics settings, w/ Core 2 Duo E8400 and GTX 460 OC graphics card. In terms of singleplayer it's kind of forgivable. On Multiplayer however, that makes it unplayable.

    Whoops! PS3 sorry my bad

      I meant to quote "When I played the game on PC is was completely unplayeable, freezing and dropping to a framerate that turned the game from a movie into a slideshow."

      Sorry I need another coffee

    You know what was an "edge case"? Me buying a Treyarch game (COD: World at War) a couple of years ago. Luckily it was a once off - hasn't happened since, and is very unlikely to happen again in the future.

    I enjoy the part where Activision make a pact with GameServers, and last night GameServers begins to shit itself so that every Black Ops server becomes unplayable for a period of 2-3 hours.

    That was enjoyable...

    as for PC issues, From day 1 to present, I've never encountered any framerate issues at all. Everything maxed including AA I was still putting up about 80-150fps... /shrug

      I love the part where their in-game server browser used to DDOS GameServers constantly.

    They could spend less time in Spin Management Classes, and more time in the debugger.

      Agreed. I haven't played it yet, but it looks obvious tonnes of intelligent gamers had problems with it, and so there must be a problem, and the guy has just side stepped it all.

      And PS3 problems, how is that possible? Most every PS3 is the same.

    Bogus comment, clearly. The PS3 version is riddled with gameplay bugs and connection issues. If such figures were available on the repeat play and time played for multiplayer PS3 MW2 and multiplayer PS3 Black Ops, I'd put money on Black Ops being well down in comparison. I played it for a fortnight, and was disgusted (and have trolled every Kotaku thread on it since!), because it's just appalling as a product, but moreover it was such a massive disappointment compared to MW2. When much more polished, playable games came out - NFS: Undercover, for example – BlackOps got shelved.

    Killzone 3 MP looks good, although lacks the polish and perfect feel of MW2 as well.

    The really sad part in all this is that MW2 could well have been the last good PS3 MP COD experience. With Treyarch supporting the Xbox primarily, and Infinity Ward gutted of its original talent too, we've no idea on the future of the franchise, which is ultimately a big loss for any gaming fan.

    Hopefully something new will come along and replace it soon.

      That should have been 'NFS: Hot Pursuit' above.

      +10,000,000,000

      BLOPS is the most horrid thing I have played on the PS3. Looks bad, plays bad. BAD BAD BAD: Black Ops. It really makes you realise how good infinity ward were at optimising for the ps3.

      Alex, we are going to bring every BLOPS article to it's knees..

      Also, I can't believe that Crecente played this on PS3 and still praises it.

    I really wish you would of pressured him a tad more.

      Agreed. Brian, can't you go back to him and say something like, 'Based on their experiences, our readers believe your answers are disingenuous, and inaccurate. What are your thoughts?'

      It's ineffective journalism to let this guy off with such a poor answer. Why not confront him about the Xbox optimisation versus the poor PS3 port and coding? What about some stats to support his 'edge case' argument? You know, like Apple with the iPhone 4, when they said with Antenna gate that the phone was seeing less returns than the 3GS model? You know - hard evidence to support what this spin doctor is saying?

    I even found it buggy on Xbox, I had it crash a few times, and strange things like getting "stuck" in a wall so I couldn't move.

    I don't remember any similar bugs when playing MW and MW2

    So many of developer higher ups can work as politicians I reckon - they're so detatched from reality and love avoiding the question. It's good that Brian took the incentive to ask the question and I REALLY wish game journalists would do that more often. I also agree with some here that Brain should've pushed harder. Game journalists need to learn to be as harsh as some of the general media.

    I have the PC version, riddled with multiplayer issues for a long while to start with. It's ok now thankfully but I really do wish the days when games were released without major issues.

    I'm actually really surprised anyone buys into the artificial hype surrounding the CoD series.

    Love the "we put up a lot of testing on Black Ops" bullshit,

    hell 90% of the maps that have Railings have at least one where you can't shoot through them still on the PC. this isn't a hard bug to squash from changing the static mesh's physical property's.

    but unfortunately it would mean they'd have to re-release an entire map to be downloaded again because they didn't test for jack shit.

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