The screenshot you can see here is a screenshot of The Witcher 3. We often hear a lot of good things about this game, including that it is an “highly polished experience”. You can often hear this praise for a lot of good games.
But what is a polished experience ?
There is no other words in the gaming industry that is more ambiguous than “polishing”, where a clear line is set to words like open-world, DLC, aesthetic, polished is not clear anywhere.
The straight definition of it, according to the Oxford dictionary, is in our case
“Accomplished and skilful”
The straight definition like this doesn’t lead us anywhere, but we can make something out of it. We can consider that a polished game is a game done with skills, done professionally, and a complete experience. But like this it’s still vague. What would be considered a game done with professionalism ?
Looking at The Witcher 3 again, we need to know what makes the game like it is right now. We know the following for it :
- It’s beautiful graphically
- It don’t have game breaking bugs
- It’s immersive
That’s for AAA games but indie games can be polished and they are not necessarily graphically incapable but they have something, aesthetics, in a lot of successful games, things like the UI, the design ect… Feels that they respect a style, a certain esthetic.
And like a lot of games with success considered as polished, a lot of indie game does not have a lot of game breaking bugs and a lot of them, and even though they don’t have the most amazing graphism, the challenge or the story they can offer make the game itself immersive.
From there we can pinpoint three things for a polished game, we can also consider that these three points needs to be in the game in order for the experience to be polished:
- Bug free
- Good aesthetic or Good graphism
And all these points work together:
Immersion need a bug free experience with nothing feeling out of place
So there you have it. A polished game is basically a bug free experience, with no game breaking bug or things make you feel like in a game. A good polished make you forget that you are in a game, and make you enjoy the experience because you feel like you don’t need to get around bugs and you are enjoying the game like the developer want you to experience it.