13 Patches That Broke Games Instead of Fixing Them

Not all patches are made equal: let’s look at updates that made the games worse by downgrading graphics, causing frame drops, and introducing new bugs

Nowadays, patches designed to improve the game or add new content are increasingly becoming the source of new mistakes, bugs and graphics’ downgrades. In this article, we have decided to collect all memorable updates that worsened games.

Days Gone recreated Crazy Frog

Recent Sony exclusive has had its share of patch problems, especially for PS4 Pro versions. After the update, the game began to crash, the console started to shut down and reboot. Textures in the game started disappearing, and experienced gamers immediately recalled a hit song of the middle 2000s. Owners of the disk version had the option to delete the game, reinstall it and turn off updates to play comfortably while holders of digital versions had to wait for the next patch.

Problems with graphics in Red Dead Redemption 2

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Patch notes had nothing about this

Having collected rewards, including for graphics solutions, Rockstar apparently decided to relax – there’s no other way to explain the graphics downgrade in Red Dead Redemption 2 caused by patch 1.06. Perhaps, developers wanted to continue the tradition that started in the first part. Red Dead Redemption looked much worse on PS3 than on Xbox 360 and had a resolution of 640p instead of 720 on Xbox 360. Ardent Microsoft fans are working for Rockstar?

Freezes in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Closer to New Year holidays, Treyarch Studios prepared a patch which task was to improve the balance in the competitive game. The balance was fixed, but Xbox One owners had to fight not only against other users but also against freezing problems during fierce battles. Only rebooting the console helped to cure the problem.

First-day patch in Anthem turned off HDR and decreased framerate

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New problems appear once you’ve dealt with the old ones

BioWare’s project was criticized before the release. It seemed that developers will deal with their mistakes and improve the situation with first patches. However, something went badly wrong. For some reason, the first-day patch removed HDR which was present in the demo version of the game and decreased the overall performance by 20 fps. The increased chance of dropping rare loot was removed as it was a bug. The project almost broke users’ PS4. The latest patches also brought problems (other players could pick up your loot, while guaranteed dungeon rewards began to disappear). A whole story could be written about the misfortunes of the game, and the ending of this story will likely be sad.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins improved Xbox One X graphics by decreasing it on all other platforms

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Owners of the ‘’most powerful console in history’’ were not satisfied with the best graphics: they wanted other platforms to look much worse

You can reach this conclusion after watching Assassin’s Creed: Origins screenshots from PC or PS4 after you have installed the Xbox One X patch. Ultimately the problem affected all platforms but not all players. Some players did not notice any changes in graphics after installing the patch, while some were reminded of Ezio Collection times.

In Fallout 76, patches not only fix bugs but also revive old ones

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One more example of an epic fail of famous developers

A rapid announcement on E3 and a rushed release of the project in the same year likely made Bethesda QA department work day and night before the release of Fallout 76. After the release, the gameplay was made more complex (by adding more grind) while the problem of copying rare high-level items was periodically solved but appeared again. In this light, a whole movement to combat dupers – players that exploit the bug – appeared in the game. The community decided to solve its problems on its own since developers were still wearing their pink-colored glasses. Bored, players even organized cannibal societies, entertaining themselves.

Raid boss went bald after the patch

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A shocking event for oldtimers

Even Blizzard, which is famous for its support of the games (Heroes of the Storm is an exception), can sometimes fail. In preparation for the add-on Battle for Azeroth, a patch 8.0 was installed on servers of World of Warcraft. This patch changed the game in an unintended way. The update was supposed to perform a ‘’denomination’’ of game indicators which increased from the last add-on to huge health scales for dungeon bosses. The last time, this was done manually after Warlords of Draenor, but this time the studio decided to automate the process by changing the code and ‘’released the Kraken’’. Suddenly, many achievements and quests stopped working, items became buggy, and mobs that have previously been rather weak became incredibly tenacious. Some monsters have even dropped their skin from the new horrors, while Kael’thas Sunstrider lost his hair.

In Dota 2, the patch that added The International compendium broke graphics

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Unexpected trouble

Before each The International tournament, Valve publishes a compendium – an interactive digest which automatically updates and tracks the statistics of certain tournaments. Revenue from purchases of this item partially forms the prize fund of the tournament. In 2018, an ordinary patch caused problems with graphics for many players. The developers advised to turn off shadows or turn on glare to cure the problem. This is another vivid example of how seemingly non-correlated things may impact each other in development.

Looped credits in Far Cry 5

The game is so great you’d like to memorize the names of everyone involved in its development

Following one of the ordinary patches which fixed bugs and increased performance in Far Cry 5, many gamers faced the problem of looped credits. After the game was resumed, owners of console copies of the game were forced to stare at the names of the creators of the project. Fewer players had this problem on PC, and they were able to solve it by themselves, unlike the console gamers who had to either restore the console database or wait for the next patch.

HDR in Darksiders 3 had to be turned off after the patch that should have fixed the problem

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Sometimes, it’s easier to eliminate the problem than to fix it

Even before the release, Darksiders 3 players complained about technical problems, in particular about HDR, which made the game faded. After patch 1.02, the situation became much worse: many inscriptions became unreadable, some players faced a black picture while English became the only voice language without the ability to change it. Ultimately, the developers simply switched off the function.

PC Gamers lost all saves after Mortal Kombat X patch

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Kombat history, all stats, and other things were deleted

The patch should have solved performance problems and improve optimization. However, the players noticed that the previously unlocked characters became blocked, Krypt walkthrough was reset to zero while some players could only start the game in a window mode with a resolution of 1024x768. Publisher Warner Bros. rolled back the patch, but the lost saves could not be recovered.

Patch made Kingdom Come: Deliverance impossible to beat

From the very start, Kingdom Come: Deliverance became famous for the abundance of bugs. However, one update made the game completely impossible to beat: one of the quests simply did not start. As a consequence, players could not continue playing along the main storyline.

Rainbox Six: Siege broke PS4 when using friends list

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Other platforms were not impacted

After patch 1.37, players were faced with an unpleasant problem: when using the list of friends, the hard drive breaks, and it is impossible to restore it. The developers tried to blame Sony but players defeated these allegations by running the game on the console with the patch installed and without it.

Epilogue

We have shown the most egregious and original cases of breaking games with the help of patches. Examples with performance deterioration in Destiny 2, Just Cause 3, Skyrim: Special Edition and other projects were not discussed due to their similarity to each other.

In theory, a large number of patches should bring greater stability to the game. However, practice shows that games have become so big and complex that one innocent patch can sometimes cause problems for many players (as in Dota 2). This paradox is well explained by the author of the anonymous blog Ask a Game Developer.

In short: with the appearance of DLCs, the creative part of the development team can create content for updates rather than simply wait for the next project. However, this content is not tested in the release version, so DLCs cause unexpected problems.

We can only hope that someday the developers will learn to foresee their mistakes in advance. What examples of patches that worsen the game you can recall? Share your stories in the comments section!