Every game-maker would like its titles to ship bug-free, but Treyarch's community director said that the scale of Call of Duty makes such a feat nigh impossible.
Bugs suck for gamers, but the truth is that there is no way to test every permutation of every situation in a game if you want the title to ship in this decade. Some games are worse than others (New Vegas I'm looking in your direction), but Josh Olin, community manager at Treyarch, said that his company is working to remove as many bugs as possible from the PS3 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops. Treyarch is committed to doing the best it can, but with so many millions of players enjoying Black Ops, it would have been impossible for the QA team to squash every bug before the game launched. Olin is responding to the buggy reputation that Black Ops has on the PC and the PS3 but he's quick to point out that the game had bugs on the Xbox 360 as well.
"The PS3 and the PC issues are not exclusive to the PS3 and PC - the Xbox 360 has had its own fair share of issues. Every platform has issues," Olin said. "It is unfortunate that those [bugs] have to exist at all. In an ideal would we would love to ship a completely bug-proof game.
"I can't think of a single developer in the world, though, that could achieve that," he said.
Bugs are an especially difficult problem given the number of people playing Codblops online. "If you look at the population size of the Call of Duty franchise, just a single hour of gameplay collectively after the game's been out - you add up all the man-hours that all the fans put into it - that's more time than you could put into Quality Assurance in a lifetime.
"The sheer number of people is staggering, and they hit buttons and they hit glitches and walls in such weird, strange ways that we could never predict or think of," he said.
Olin isn't quite sure why gamers say that the PS3 version of Blops is worse than any other format, because he's had more than a few reports that it plays perfectly on that platform. "There's hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of players on the PS3 who have absolutely perfect, pristine experiences," he said. "I talk to them everyday - I see replies to me on Twitter all the time from people going 'I don't know what people are complaining about. The game is perfect for me!' So they do exist. I know that doesn't make the people who are experiencing problems feel any better, but it should put it into perspective."
Olin isn't giving up though, and he said that Treyarch is committed to fixing bugs for every customer. "Even if the bug is only hurting a hundred fans, if we can find the cause we'll patch it," he said.
Bugs and glitches in games are never going to be completely removed - that's like asking for there to be no more snow or for mosquito bites not to itch. With a game like CodBlops, its popularity only increases the chances that something will be discovered by a player that a QA team never could, so you almost have to cut Treyarch some slack. On the other hand, it's great that Olin says he's committed to fixing problems that players are having, but that doesn't make a guy feel better about dropping $60 on a broken game.