If I sat and thought about this for a while. I’m sure I would have more than one example. The one game that really jumps out in my recent memory is Project Cars on the PS4. Probably because the sequel is coming out soon. That game was pretty broken when it came out with juddery, ugly race replays, poor control customization, an awful UI, and stat tracking that seemed to be tracking someone else entirely. I stuck with the game, because there was actually a solid sim racing game under all that jank. Eventually, the problems I listed were mostly fixed with patches.
The replays played smooth and beautiful, and I think those replays are a big draw for sim racing fans as they appear in all of these games. They optimized the online profile, stat tracking, and it became easy to find an online race in minutes. Most importantly, they added sensitivity customization which made playing with a controller much more comfortable. It went from a disappointment with great potential to achieving that potential and just being a great racing game. Unfortunately, the UI remained pretty bad, and it continued to do weird things like default to abandon season instead of next race when returning to the campaign menu after finishing a race. Having watched some preview coverage for Project Cars 2 it seems like the entire UI is much more elegant and well designed. I really hope they notice and fix that default issue though.
UI quirks aside, the whole experience made me trust that the Slightly Mad devs were trying to make good on the faith I showed in buying their first independent foray into the sim racing genre, and it also showed me how game development is an iterative process as I watched them improve Project Cars in real time.
So my experience changed in that I saw the potential of the game come to life which was great. Different from the change in experience Austin is having with No Man’s Sky, but I think it still tracks in this conversation.
(Also, a heads up - the title of the article has a typo on the front page website, just thought I’d mention it)