It's been a little while since we released Episode 2: Rules and we are still hard at work on Episode 3 and 4. We hope to provide an update about Episode 3's progress soon.
Taking a step back for a moment to refocus on Episode 2, we have just released a patch which will address a number of issues that some of you may have encountered while playing Episode 2. All fixes noted as RESOLVED in our post here are now included in today's patch.
But how did we get here? Should you be interested in finding out a bit more about what exactly the process of bug tracking and patching is, read on! Whenever we launch an episode, we have a large multi-disciplinary team on standby carefully watching and monitoring all aspects of the launch. Our community team as well as some elements of the QA team will monitor the hotspots of player chatter - Steam forums, Reddit, Youtube, Twitch and Resetera all provide really valuable touchpoints of information for any issues that are being reported. In the hours following a launch, we then triage reported issues according to the amount of people encountering them and whether a reported issue is code-related (i.e. "a bug") or whether it might be user related (such as running the game on below spec hardware or with outdated drivers). We generally try to refer the latter type of cases to our customer support team, who can work with each user individually to investigate their specific hardware and who are most of the time able to resolve those issues by themselves.
When we see a certain number of users encountering code-related bugs, we report these bugs via a unified communications space. It is here that the community team will provide the rest of the team with as much detail as they are able to glean from user reports. Our QA team in Montreal will then set to trying to reproduce that same bug with the steps provided by the community team. Should they be able to successfully reproduce an issue, the development team are provided with a full bug-list entry which includes all information to allow them to experience the bug themselves and thereafter investigate what might be causing an issue with that part of the code in particular. This cycle needs to be completed for each individual bug that gets reported online. Here's one of the shorter threads in action, right around the launch period of Episode 2!
Some issues are able to be re-produced (and consequentially resolved) quite quickly, however, some others will prove very difficult to trigger, but that's where you as our community really come in strong!
One example of this would be an issue that caused certain players save game files to delete themselves after the player had completed Episode 2 on PlayStation 4. This is what we would class as a Priority 1 - MUST FIX - issue as it is so detrimental to the gameplay experience and something that we commit a lot of time and effort to. Patches for Priority 1 will be released as soon as possible, while Priority 2 and 3 issues will usually be bundled together en-mass with the closest Priority 1 patch (this is to help reduce the number of patches - the more patches a game has, the more complicated it becomes to analyse). With this issue in particular, we really struggled to reproduce it on our side despite all of our best efforts. Every day we gathered more information from players who had encountered this issue and who might be able to provide clues as to what was going wrong somewhere. Eventually we were able to secure a handful of affected save files thanks to some very helpful community members. Up until this point, we were effectively trying to "break the game" in the same manner that affected players had in order to try and reproduce the bug. By being given the save files, we essentially had the "broken state" game in our hands and could much better understand what the trigger for the issue was. It turned out to be quite a mishmash of unfortunate things all happening at once under very specific circumstances rather than a cut and dried problem! Knowing what the triggers were, however, has ultimately allowed us to resolve the problem. We were able to resolve the root cause and have tested the fix to prevent further PS4 save file losses, which has been approved by Sony for release. The next steps regarding this matter are that we investigate potential solutions that would help players who have lost their save file, and fast track their progress through Episode 1 and Episode 2. However, this is a very complex proposition and we can't at this time provide any details or guarantees that it will be possible to do.
Please note that the above is not an issue that was found to be present on PC.
Today's patch will incorporate the fixes all issues marked as RESOLVED here. We'd like to once again thank you for all your patience and your support in helping us fix such issues - we would have struggled to resolve it without you!
We'll be back again soon with another developer update on the progress of Episode 3!
The Life is Strange team