Multiplayer games with glitches and overall technical problems upon release day have become an expected evil. Unfortunately many of us have come to expect this and although that might be wrong, that’s a topic for another day. On most occasions the biggest and most noticeable problems are fixed within the first week. Games that don’t fix their servers and gameplay in a timely manner see their numbers dwindle and their sales stall. Which brings me to the curious case of Friday the 13th the game.
Friday the 13th released digitally across PC, Ps4 and Xbox One on May 17th 2017. It released a physical copy of the game on October 13th 2017 (see what they did there). The game was developed by IIIFonic, an independent company that was able to raise $1,095,143.40 via Kickstarter and BackerKit. As of August 2017 it had sold over 1.8 million copies, being that it’s the end of November and Halloween has occurred, I would bet that number is potentially at the 2 million range by now. Take heed as all of these are impressive feats, especially for an independent developer. Which raises the question, how has a game that has been so successful still have so many in game issues?
A quick rundown of the gameplay in Friday the 13th. Up to eight players, one is randomly selected as Jason. The Jason player uses his overpowering strength and superhuman like abilities to hunt down and kill as many counselors as he can. Up to seven other players are dropped in the map randomly as different “counselors” and must get off said map by any means necessary, waiting out the twenty minute clock (good luck with that one), fixing a phone and calling the police, drive away in a car, drive away in a speedboat or the real unlikely one, kill Jason (seriously the recipe to do that one is bonkers). When the game works, especially with friends, it can be an absolute screaming and laugh inducing riot. Too bad it rarely works that well, even six months later.
The game suffers from things that seem easy to fix such as, one player of the game is host and if that host leaves then the entire match is shut down, with everyone getting kicked and receiving zero xp in return. How hard is it to do what other games have done in the past? Host migration was common in older games from years past, host leaves the game migrates to another host, I’m not a game developer, but this isn’t a new concept. And yet they have yet to implement such a thing. Connection errors for days! Seriously I can’t tell you how many times friends and I have had to work out who will host the party for the game and who hosts the party chat, having one person do both usually results in it simply not working or crashing. Even still we’ve had problems where the party chat goes crazy, we lose people at times, some are kicked, others don’t make it to the actual game lobby once we start and all this is just the before process. The in game is even worse. Jason has grabbed someone across the room before, people cheating/modding has been a real problem and of course the many other little bugs of going through walls, hitting a trap you shouldn’t have, wonky controls etc. All this and over 1.8 million copies sold, myself included, amazing.
The problems and bugs plaguing this game this far into its lifespan is utterly insane, what’s more so is people like myself are still playing it. Why is that? Probably because there isn’t really a game out there like it. The only thing I could compare it to is a small horror version of PUBG. Problem is, someday, someone with a bigger company or simply a group that has their priorities in order will come along and do the same thing, but better. I do enjoy the gameplay when it works and I know many others do as well, but that seldom happens. I guess when you have a monopoly on a certain style of gameplay you get a pass, for now. Only time will tell if Friday the 13th will stand the test of time or if another will come along and give them the axe.