Dying Light 2: Stay Human reviews have dropped ahead of the game’s release tomorrow and the PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X versions all scored in the high 70s on Metacritic. On the surface, those scores aren’t terrible, but when you dive deeper, it’s apparent there’s a very mixed bag of opinions on this one, with some major issues at play.
(As an aside, I suggest looking for critics whose tastes align with yours and finding out what they have to say about a game, rather than relying on aggregated scores.)
At Paste, Jackson Tyler described the story of Dying Light 2 as “an unmitigated disaster,” though they gave Techland props for the parkour system. IGN’s Travis Northup rated the game as “good,” largely due to “top-notch parkour” and the “awesome open world.” However, the review has a prominent bug alert, with Northup citing some major technical issues, including one a IGN editor encountered that corrupted their entire save file.
Developer Techland said it has “added over a thousand fixes and improvements on all the platforms” over the last couple of weeks. It added that the day-one patch, which will go live on consoles in the next few days, contains “another thousand tweaks.”
At the end of November, Techland said Dying Light 2 had gone gold — industry speak for a game being in good enough condition to to press onto disks. In an era in which studios frequently roll out major patches after release day, that doesn’t mean work on the game is complete.
Broadly speaking, that’s a problem for a number of reasons.
Those with a physical copy and players who pre-loaded the digital version will need to install the day-one patch. They might skip the update, though they’ll run the risk of encountering major bugs. Although Dying Light 2 has a multiplayer option (which will likely require the game to be on the latest patch), some folks will stick to the single-player mode, in some cases because they don’t have a sturdy enough internet connection.
There are telecom infrastructure problems that prevent tens of millions of people from having reliable, fast internet access. Players who live in areas with slow internet speeds often opt for physical copies of games to avoid having to download games that can weigh in at over 100 GB. Live service or multiplayer games might be out of the question for those folks. Day-one patches are another accessibility barrier for them.
A Twitter account that tracks game install and patch sizes for PlayStation pegged the size of Dying Light 2’s day-one patch on PS4 at around 20 GB. It’d take over seven hours to download that with a 3 Mbps connection. Some day-one patches for other games are much larger.
Day-one patches have been a common practice in the games industry for many years at this point. For instance, Elden Ring, one of the most-anticipated games of the year, has gone gold, and FromSoftware is working on a day-one patch. So, this is far from an issue limited to Dying Light 2.
One other key issue with buggy review builds is that some studios and publishers tie developers’ bonuses to review scores. I’m not sure if that’s the case here (I’ve asked Techland to clarify), but it’s an unfair practice.
Not only are review scores subjective and out of developers’ control, we’ve seen instances where games are rushed out before they’re truly ready in order to meet a production and marketing schedule, even if they still bear major performance or stability problems. Reviewers don’t always have access to a build of the game with the day one patch, which can diminish their opinion and, potentially, lead to developers not getting their bonuses.
Cyberpunk 2077 is maybe the most notable recent example of this. CD Projekt Red initially tied bonuses to certain review scores and meeting the December 2020 release date (after the game had already been delayed multiple times). The action RPG was a buggy mess at launch, particularly on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Reviewers only had access to a PC build, which was seemingly in better condition before launch. Sony even yanked the game from the PSN store. It took six months for CDPR to get Cyberpunk into a condition that satisfied Sony.
A few days after CDPR released the game, bosses told workers that they’d get their bonuses regardless of the review scores. Creative director Adam Badowski reportedly said the approach was “simply not fair under the circumstances.”
All of this is to say that day-one patches may not be truly beneficial for players, critics or developers. Affording developers more time to fix bugs before physical copies of games are pressed and review code goes out to critics will improve the experience for everyone. Besides, delays are commonplace these days and many players will forgive studios and publishers for giving dev teams the time they need to create a polished game by launch day — ideally while avoiding crunch.
Dying Light 2 had already been delayed by over a year to allow for more development time. Even so, reviewers have found game-breaking bugs.
QA workers and devs won’t find every bug in a game before launch. That’s nigh-on impossible. But, given more time before release day, they’ll catch many more than they would have on a tighter schedule.
With its day-one patch, I truly hope Techland has fixed the most impactful bugs and that fans who jump into Dying Light 2 this weekend are able to enjoy it as the dev team intended. But the patch may come as a small comfort to critics who’ve already reviewed the game and fans who’ll have a tough time downloading it, not to mention those who’ll hold off until Techland whips it into better shape.
Those folks might end up waiting for a sale instead of buying Dying Light 2 now. It’s already a busy spell for big games, so they might be more inclined to play something else. That could hurt Techland’s bottom line in the long run. In the end, perhaps crafting a smaller, more polished game than one that boasts 500 hours of content would have been a wiser approach.
Java News Roundup: Classfile API Draft, Spring Boot, GlassFish, Project Reactor, Micronaut – InfoQ.com
This week’s Java roundup for June 20th, 2022 features news from OpenJDK, JDK 19, JDK 20, Spring point releases, GlassFish 7.0.0-M6, GraalVM Native Build Tools 0.9.12, Micronaut 3.5.2, Quarkus 2.10.0, Project Reactor 2022.0.0-M3, Apache Camel Quarkus 2.10.0, and Apache Tika versions 2.4.1 and 1.28.4.
Brian Goetz, Java language architect at Oracle, recently updated JEP Draft 828039, Classfile API, to provide background information on how this draft will evolve and ultimately replace the Java bytecode manipulation and analysis framework, ASM, that Goetz characterizes as “an old codebase with plenty of legacy baggage.” This JEP proposes to provide an API for parsing, generating, and transforming Java class files. This JEP will initially serve as an internal replacement for ASM in the JDK with plans to have it opened as a public API.
Spring Boot 2.7.1 has been released featuring 66 bug fixes, improvements in documentation and dependency upgrades such as: Spring Framework 5.3.21, Spring Data 2021.2.1, Spring Security 5.7.2, Reactive Streams 1.0.4, Groovy 3.0.11, Hazelcast 5.1.2 and Kotlin Coroutines 1.6.3. More details on this release may be found in the release notes.
Spring Boot 2.6.9 has been released featuring 44 bug fixes, improvements in documentation and dependency upgrades similar to Spring Boot 2.7.1. Further details on this release may be found in the release notes.
VMware has published CVE-2022-22980, Spring Data MongoDB SpEL Expression Injection Vulnerability, a vulnerability in which a “Spring Data MongoDB application is vulnerable to SpEL Injection when using
@Aggregation-annotated query methods with SpEL expressions that contain query parameter placeholders for value binding if the input is not sanitized.” Spring Data MongoDB versions 3.4.1 and 3.3.5 have resolved this vulnerability.
Spring Data versions 2021.2.1 and 2021.1.5 have been released featuring upgrades to all of the Spring Data sub projects such as: Spring Data MongoDB, Spring Data Cassandra, Spring Data JDBC and Spring Data Commons. These releases will also be consumed by Spring Boot 2.7.1 and 2.6.9, respectively, and address the aforementioned CVE-2022-22980.
Spring Authorization Server 0.3.1 has been released featuring some enhancements and bug fixes. However, the team decided to downgrade from JDK 11 to JDK 8 to maintain compatibility and consistency with Spring Framework, Spring Security 5.x and Spring Boot 2.x. As a result, the HyperSQL (HSQLDB) dependency was also downgraded to version 2.5.2 because HSQLDB 2.6.0 and above require JDK 11. More details on this release may be found in the release notes.
Spring Security versions 5.7.2 and 5.6.6 have been released featuring bug fixes and dependency upgrades. Both versions share a new feature in which testing examples have been updated to use JUnit Jupiter, an integral part of JUnit 5. Further details on these releases may be found in the release notes for version 5.7.2 and version 5.6.6.
On the road to GlassFish 7.0.0, the sixth milestone release was made available by the Eclipse Foundation that delivers a number of changes related to passing the Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) for the Jakarta Contexts and Dependency Injection 4.0 and Jakarta Concurrency 3.0 specifications. However, this milestone release has not yet passed the full Jakarta EE 10 TCK. GlassFish 7.0.0-M6, considered a beta release, compiles and runs on JDK 11 through JDK 18. More details on this release may be found in the release notes.
GraalVM Native Build Tools
On the road to version 1.0, Oracle Labs has released version 0.9.12 of Native Build Tools, a GraalVM project consisting of plugins for interoperability with GraalVM Native Image. This latest release provides: support documentation for Mockito and Byte Buddy; prevent builds from failing if no test list has been provided; support different agent modes in the
native-image Gradle plugin, a breaking change; and support for JVM Reachability Metadata in Maven. Further details on this release may be found in the release notes.
The Micronaut Foundation has released Micronaut 3.5.2 featuring bug fixes and point releases of the Micronaut Oracle Cloud 2.1.4, Micronaut Email 1.2.3, and Micronaut Spring 4.1.1 projects. Documentation for the
ApplicationContextConfigurer interface was also updated to include a recommendation on how to define a default Micronaut environment. More details on this release may be found in the release notes.
Red Hat has released Quarkus 2.10.0.Final featuring: preliminary work on virtual threads (JEP 425) from Project Loom; support non-blocking workloads in GraphQL extensions; a dependency upgrade to SmallRye Reactive Messaging 3.16.0; support for Kubernetes service binding for Reactive SQL Clients extensions; and a new contract
CacheKeyGenerator to allow for customizing generated cache keys from method parameters.
On the road to Project Reactor 2022.0.0, the third milestone release was made available featuring dependency upgrades to
reactor-addons 3.5.0-M3 and
Apache Camel Quarkus
Maintaining alignment with Quarkus, The Apache Software Foundation has released Camel Quarkus 2.10.0 containing Camel 3.17.0 and Quarkus 2.10.0.Final. New features include: new extensions, Azure Key Vault and DataSonnet; and removal of deprecated extensions in Camel 3.17.0. Further details on this release may be found in the list of issues.
The Apache Tika team has released version 2.4.1 of their metadata extraction toolkit. Formerly a subproject of Apache Lucene, this latest version ships with improved customization and configuration such as: add a
stop() method to the
TikaServerCli class so that it can be executed with Apache Commons Daemon; allow pass-through of
Content-Length header to metadata in the
TikaResource class; and support for users to expand system properties from the forking process into forked
Apache Tika 1.28.4 was also released featuring security fixes and dependency upgrades. More details in this release may be found in the changelog. The 1.x release train will reach end-of-life on September 30, 2022.
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