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In a new interview on GameInformer, Bethesda's Todd Howard explains how the post-development efforts they put into The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim helped them to refine their bug-crushing and QA processes such that Fallout 4 will benefit from a more polished experience right out of the gate. A few paragraphs:
(It probably took us a month or two before we really had a handle on it,) he says. The team had to decide how it was going to identify problems before it could figure out how they happened or why they surfaced at particular times.
(All of the updates we did on Skyrim, and all of the DLC once we sorted [the bugs out] we had a different process for how we checked the content out,) he says. (There will always be some problems.) Howard says that figuring out how to deal with those issues is the trick.
(I think we've gotten way better there,) he says. (For us, [the player's] saved game is the number one thing. If the game crashes that's bad, but it is nowhere near as bad as someone's saved game being hosed. That's our scenario that we will do anything and everything to avoid. We made a lot of progress given how Skyrim went, but we did it during Skyrim. This just builds on that."