Well, it’s finally Christmas, the year is near an end, and I’m unfortunately not feeling very well. My throat has been bothering me this past week, likely due to an influx of black mold that was present in a place I worked on Monday, and as such it’s hard for me to speak. Anyways, I hope everyone is enjoying their obligatory familial festivities and receives a collection of gifts to their liking. I’m probably just going to get $100 to spend on my medical expenses.
Here’s a jolly story to start things off. Publisher and developer Crytek has shut down five of their studios. Yes, after apparently not paying their employees for months, the company chose to downsize in a major way, and gave some fluffy explanation about how they wish them all the best, because that’s what a company is suppose to say when they lay off what sounds like half of their workforce. It’s actually kind of sad how much this once prominent studio has came, as just a few years ago they seemed like a rising force that created a visually impressive game engine and some pretty stellar looking games.
However, after a Ryse sequel failed to materialize, the company began focusing on making visually impressive VR tech demos that were received well, but also a couple of free-to-play games that had far colder receptions. Such as their attempt at creating the next big MOBA with Arena of Fate, which is currently in limbo. Or Warface, which is called Warface, and cannot be taken seriously as a thing.
Atlus also announced a new game with Project Re Fantasy, and provided next to no details about what it is beyond a vague notion of being a new IP, a supposed fantasy setting, claims that the game will be developed by their newly formed Studio Zero, who is just an internal team, and the game will unsurprisingly will take a long time to complete. Which is a given, considering that this is the company that delayed Persona 5 by two years. I’ve decried companies for announcing games far too early in advance, and this is easily one of the worst examples I’ve ever seen. If your game is not ready and will not be ready to be shown for a very long time, there is no sense in saying it is on its way.
I could just end it there, but I’d like to go over some of the things that happened this past year in games, as it’s been quite a ride.
This was the year where VR took off with the release of the disappointing Oculus Rift, insanely expensive HTC Vive, and the largely enjoyed Playstation VR. I’ve expressed my disinterest in this primitive form of virtual reality before, and I really don’t see this ever exploding like a lot of people in the tech sector wanted it to. Besides, I still contend that games have reached their most favorable end point regarding user inputs.
Iterative consoles became the way of the future with the release of the Playstation 4 Pro, and will likely result in some negative fallout down the line, like Nintendo’s iterative New 3DS did with the performance of certain games being rubbish on original hardware.
Mighty Number 9 was finally released after a load of drama that ensued after its highly successful Kickstarter, and reception of the game ranged from middling to outright vile depending on the critic. The story, gameplay, and visuals were all heavily criticized, and faith in both Comcept and Keiji Inafune effectively died out.
No Man’s Sky also released to a very intense backlash from the gaming community. Games were digitally returned, accusations of false advertisements were followed, and many lifetimes were spent in pursuing a crafting driven space adventure in pursuit of, well, nothing of much value. The awe and grandeur the game was sold on was really just mundanity and repetition, the likes of which was far from what some people, myself included, were expecting of the game.
The stupidly long awaited Nintendo NX was finally revealed as the Nintendo Switch, which Nintendo is still adamant about detailing until January 13th, 2017. Their reluctance led to lives worth of discussions, and provided an opportunity for the lovely Laura Kate Dale to leak an extensive amount of information about the device, earning her a lot of attention, much of it from human beings who may as well be lumps of sentient feces.
The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy Versus XIII XV were both released after decade long waits. Though, TLG was built on decade old technology and thus felt dated upon launch, and in a very impactful way for some. While FFXV was released in an incomplete state, mostly due to a very troubled development cycle that had the game rebuilt entirely over the course of about three years.
A second Beyond Good and Evil game was announced as being in pre-production.
Cat Girl Without Salad, a joke video game only remembered by nerds, was released via Humble Monthly, and is not available anywhere else because… reasons.
A Two Worlds II expansion was announced and delayed.
Majesco died after being on its deathbed for a decade.
Pokemon Go became a global phenomenon for a few weeks.
Disney gave up on video game publishing and ended their toys to life business.
The third installment in the Zero Escape series was released, and it was pretty great.
Danganronpa 3 was released as an anime series, and it was rubbish.