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The most bizarre gaming bugs of 2019

One inescapable truth of gaming is that there will always be bugs. Despite the weeks, months, sometimes years spent perfecting every little detail around storylines, game engines, physics, and more, developers can rarely account for every single combination of choices that players will make, what order they'll do it in, and what additional idiosyncrasies each player could add to the mix. Even as games have become more complex, changing from solo pastimes to worldwide community events, bugs and glitches have endured. 

The best thing about being a gamer in modern times is the internet, which makes it easier for developers to release patches, hotfixes, and updates to gamers as soon as they are ready. Not all bugs are created equal, though, and there have been some that were accidentally awesome (or not!). As for the worst ones ever, well, we could argue 'til the cows come home and still not reach a consensus. This year added its own slew of epic fails to the mix. Here are some bizarre gaming bugs that have amused and annoyed us in 2019.

The Gears 5 bug that players want to keep

Coalition's Gears 5 launched in September, breaking various launch records for Xbox Game Studios. Having overcome some initial server issues, it has gone on to surprise gamers by a notable absence of the usual litany of bugs. That said, one of the glitches that did slip through was so funny that some fans want it to stay .

First reported by a player called Whatabeezy on Reddit, this one involves the game's MVP screen. Now, Gears 5's MVP screens have come in for a bit of flak because they are so uninspiring. The players stand around lifelessly with vacant, spaced-out expressions. In this case, as Whatabeezy's character Emile is about launch into a charge, the game ends. Emile, though, is not having it. He continues to scream through the credits. When the solemn MVP screen displays, he breaks into a fearsome roar and thunders off screen. Then a final thud, and all is still. Fans of this bug feel that it only adds character to the dull proceedings.

Apex Legends bug that brings your game to a halt

As a free-to-play battle royale and first person shooter, Apex Legends rubs shoulders with the likes of Fortnite and PUBG. Its setting is the same as Titanfall, also developed by Respawn Entertainment, and it racked up some 50 million players in the month of its launch. In the best traditions of live-streaming multiplayer games, it has had its share of hiccups, including a game-breaking bug in Season 2 that made it impossible to revive a fallen teammate.

When this glitch strikes, if someone is hit, instead of crawling away for a breather and a bit of healing, the player seems to stand up and continue as if nothing had happened. Excellent, right? Well, no: when one's final teammate is downed, a squad-eliminated notification ends the game. A bizarre case of a ghost teammate, maybe?

Players of Fallout 76 accidentally accessed a secret area

In January this year, numerous Fallout 76 players were booted from game servers by Bethesda for the unforgivable sin of venturing into a 'secret' developer area. The funny thing (though maybe not so much for the banned players) was that it was a bug on the developer's end rather than any player transgression. Either way, Bethesda was not best pleased and handed out blanket bans.

Fallout 76 has been no stranger to bugs and controversies, including one that saw players duplicating themselves. For the glitch in question, the secret area contained every item in the game, plus some unreleased ones, including a power armor suit and a human NPC called Wooby. Despite warnings and the bans, players continued to look for ways to break in, and for a while this resulted in a thriving black market for the goodies retrieved. If you're thinking of looking for it, it's too late — it has long since been patched.

Anthem regales and terrifies with these cutscene bugs

BioWare has been kept on their toes with Anthem right from day one, tending to glitchy servers and pasting patches on the gameplay. The general consensus has been that the launch was pretty awful, more like a beta, even causing some commentators to opine on how to 'fix' it. There were others, though, who saw the amusing side of it all.

Anthem's cutscene bugs can feature contorting bodies, invisible characters, and animated walking sticks, which sometimes can tip over to the creepy side of the fence. Distorted skeletons, teeth, bisected skulls: these are just some of the more unsavoury sights. For some hilarity, there is this YouTube video of a conversation between Haluk, Faye, and Owen, in which Owen pops out of existence. The conversation continues as though nothing has happened, but of course, this isn't the end: Haluk disappears too. His cane is seen going up the stairs. We dare you to watch and not laugh.

This Red Dead Online bug spawns multiple dead horses

Horses: you can love them or hate them. Either way, you wouldn't want to encounter hordes of their burnt carcasses piled on top of each other, even if it is only in a gaming universe. But this is exactly what happened in Red Dead Online in May this year.

A duplication bug, where players could clone a fish that they had caught into their inventory, was reported to have been behind this ghastly tableau, which appeared outside some towns. Even though Rockstar patched the glitch the next day, players were left unnerved, and not just at the unexplained proliferation of dead horses. Thankfully, you couldn't shoot at the dead creatures, but if you shot at the ground near the carcasses, they made loud noises. Mic drop.

A Borderlands 3 bug makes players fall through the screen

Going head to head with Troy Calypso, according to some, is the highlight of Borderlands 3. The game launched to generally favorable reviews, though some find it lackluster; in general, the boss fights have been unsatisfactory, particularly in the first half of the game, though they pick up as you progress. Which only makes the Troy Calypso bug so much more heartbreaking.

Players have reported that after felling the foul-mouthed Calypso twin, the game produces a glitch that makes you fall through the world. The glitch shows up after the fight ends and the cutscene plays. Thankfully, it is possible to save and quit, though you lose all the loot that Troy dropped. The only other way to end the falling sequence is to perform a slam, which speeds up the fall, and wait to get respawned, sans loot.

Blair Witch's hair-raising bugs are a recipe for nervous breakdown

Gamers who get a thrill out of scaring the living daylights out of themselves would relish the psychological horror/survival title Blair Witch, a spin-off of the movie series. You play as Officer Ellis, who's part of a search party for a lost child, navigating through a (very creepy) forest area. The story is that the rest of the search party has gone on ahead, leaving you on your own. You have no map, just your dog Bullet's nose. In short, a ready-made recipe for scares.

Some game-breaking bugs and glitches have kept Blair Witch from being hailed as superlative, but some of these bugs also unintentionally turn up the fear factor. For instance, getting trapped behind trees and rocks or between doors can be terrifying when you're already on edge. If not, well, then they just make an otherwise spooky game just plain unfun to play. In other words, don't play this with the lights out.

The FIFA 20 bug that real-life managers will covet

FIFA 20 launched worldwide in late September 2019 with a new physics engine that made the gameplay smoother. However, it hasn't been smooth sailing since. Players have been unhappy right from the start, in particular with career mode gameplay, so much so that the hashtag #FixCareerMode hit Twitter right on the heels of the game's launch. Fans complained that the bugs were making the game unplayable. 

This particular bug in FIFA 20 is one that soccer managers will be wishing held true in real life. While in career mode, the game is somehow tricked into making opposition teams field a weaker starting eleven, keeping the strongest players in reserve. Other problems have included glitchy "Edit Player" screens, broken press conferences, buggy player conversations, and unrealistic league tables. All of this after the promises made by EA Sports has left players feeling cheated, and justifiably so.

The Far Cry bug that is the ultimate anticlimax

Game characters often do dumb things that you can only laugh at. But even then, for a champion to miss his cue and topple off a high platform is a new level of slapstick. Yet this is exactly what Far Cry: New Dawn delivers, one of the reasons the whole game has been being described as a B-grade movie in video game form.

This glitch happens in the Bonecrusher Pit, when you agree to compete in a fighters' arena to help Irwin Smalls pay off a debt. You battle incoming hordes of humans, dogs, and pigs in the arena, with noisy spectators baying for more blood to be spilled. In the final round, you must take on the reigning champion, who is supposed to sail down the zip line to land in the middle of the playing field. Only he sometimes misses the line altogether, and then falls off his platform for good measure, probably out of shame, and dies. A damp squib, but you are declared the winner. Sadly, the loot remains inaccessible on the other side of the fires that border the arena.

Destiny 2's shaders bug took a year to get patched

Destiny 2 is another game that is well acquainted with bugs. Remember the meatball bug that cheated players out of some nifty gear? Or the Whisper of the Worm bug where a lack of ammo made it nearly impossible to use one of the most powerful weapons of the game? But the Worst Bug Award goes to the one that has been referred to as "teeth-grindingly, eye-twitchingly, mind-numbingly frustrating."

It has to do with applying shaders, ornaments, holograms, and other cosmetic mods that allow you to change the look of your armor and vehicles. On the face of it, it doesn't sound like a major bug, but unlike in the game's previous version, Destiny 2's shaders are limited-use items. The shader application process looked like it was working fine, but the progress bar cut out just before the end of the process. This made it impossible for some players to use shaders at all. To add insult to injury, it took Bungie more than a year to figure out a fix.

The Division 2 netcode bug that plagued group missions

Tom Clancy's The Division 2 launched to the ignominy of a day-one patch, a massive one, to fix some game-breaking issues discovered during betas and early access play. Some players also came across a potentially game-breaking netcode bug in multiplayer missions that were on the same network.

"Launching two copies of the game from the same network (or same external IP) breaks the game," said a player on Reddit, who had been playing solo, as had his wife. Everything was fine as long as they played their own games, but when he joined his wife's instance, all of her enemies froze, though she continued to find loot and get updates. The same thing happened if she joined his game. In short, the host instance was taken over by the joiner's instance. An early workaround was for both players to go offline and reconnect, which would find them back in the same group, with everything now working properly. Fortunately, Ubisoft fixed the glitch quickly.

Fortnite's Unvaulting bug that had a happy ending

To round up Fortnite's Season 8, Epic Games held a live world event, called the Unvaulting. Players who had been following the clues leading up to the event gathered at the Loot Lake at the prescribed time to witness the opening of the mysterious vault there. Inside were transparent pillars enveloping six different items, and players had to vote with their pickaxes for the one they wanted to free. TL;DR, it was the Drum Gun that won. But the excitement came after that: the eruption of Season 8's volcano and the destruction of Tilted Towers and Retail Row, effectively redrawing the map for Season 9.

The bug? Well, the event didn't quite go off as intended, at least not for everyone. Many who had queued up for it were unable to participate in or watch the spectacle. However, Epic rose to the occasion and announced that everyone who had signed up would receive an Arcana Glider as an apology.