Thoughts, musings, ideas and occasionally short rants on the past, present and future of electronics entertainment
Thursday, July 2, 2015
A Bad Year
Twenty-fourteen...where to even start? Bodily injury and work trouble in my personal life aside, it was a terrible year for video games...possibly the worst ever. Looking through my Steam account transaction history, it shows exactly three purchases made by me (excluding gifts) for games that were released that year; The Banner Saga, Ultimate General: Gettysburg, and Elegy for a Dead World. All tiny indie projects, one of which is more of an exercise in creative writing than an actual game.
On the big budget side of things there were so many disappointments. The reboot of the well regarded Thief series and Strider IP were both flops. Destiny was a fairly lean experience despite the fact that it consumed a great deal of the money, labor and time during development. Even game of the year award winners like Dark Souls 2 and Middle-earth: Shadows of Mordor were marred by some questionable choices on the part of their respective publishers. Of course, they still had it better than Mythic Entertainment, Irrational Games, and Crytek USA which were closed down. Despite new console hardware, or possibly because of it, a number of high profile titles were pushed out of 2014. Of those that remained at-launch bugs and glitches abounded, as well as a general malaise of underdevelopment in the form of graphical downgrades, shallow storytelling, and recycled game mechanics (particularly all the HD remakes, not to mention most of Ubisoft's lineup). Titanfall could have really used a single-player component. Watch Dogs needed a better plot and a relatable protagonist. As bad as all this was, I haven't even gotten to the truly rotten stuff yet. In all honesty I don't really feel like going over it in detail, but suffice to say two loosely associated groups abbreviated as "GGers" and "SJWs" got into a pissing match across various media outlets, both on and off the internet, wherein there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and little net gain to be had.
There is a silver lining to all this though. Now that we've hit rock bottom it's a lot easier to go up than down. Many of those delayed games are finally nearing completion. A number of early access and/or Kickstarter titles hit version 1.0 recently (Kerbal Space Program and Massive Chalice being two examples that come to mind). Steam has also finally implemented a proper refund policy, while it isn't a perfect solution, at least consumers have some degree of recourse when they get burned by deceptive reviews. No need to stomp out corruption in the games media if even those of us on a limited gaming budget can discover the truth for ourselves.