News In Games – 01/06/2015

Oh wow. We’re seeing a lot of the elephants in the room dragged into the light this past week and a half. In terms of shitty corporate practices, MOTDMedia makes a specific mention of Arkham Knight, a game fast getting a rep for the latest in a line of games to chop content into EXCLUSIVE DLCs for what may not even be actual short term gain. Briefly acknowledged is that AAA companies do not care about you, the consumer, so long as that cashmoney comes in over the first few months (See also Arkham Origins, whose development team were requested to prioritise DLC over patches.). Also acknowledging this fact is MerseyRemakes, who point out that yes, lots of companies just sit on licenses they’re never going to use, and may not, in fact, be the owners of. Nobody knows, or at least, nobody’s sure. And videogame history suffers, because while individual folks at a company may care, the organisation, being, y’know, a capitalist and therefore bottom-line obsessed system? Cares not a jot. Even if, paradoxically, it’s not actually losing anything because it’s not selling the thing they’re complaining is taking away money from their company.

In better news, the DOJ is being asked to start cracking down on online harassment cases, as that particular elephant in the room has finally been noticed in the American halls of power. Sadly, I’m not too confident this example will be followed in the UK, but a start is a start, and I hope that grows. Of course, shitty attitude leading to angry or dumb comments leading to assholishness and harassment is still an ongoing situation, even affecting things like playtesting and Early Access reviews. Want examples of the latter? Go look at an Early Access (IE – in Alpha or Beta), and go see how many negative reviews mention the words “Not finished” or “Not polished” or some variation of. And in the positive reviews end, low content shitposts like “Avoiding Wolves Simulator 2014” and “Wolf food simulator 2015 11/10” (The Long Dark.)

…And people say reviewers like me aren’t necessary anymore with such incisive and insightful… Er… Sarcastic jokes. This isn’t to say the games industry doesn’t do some good, but if it wants to do better, and if we want to do better, we’re gonna have to deal with the elephants in the room. For there are quite a few of them.

Releases and Trailers and Things

So, one of the biggies (for me, at least) was the sudden announcement of X-COM 2 by Firaxis, in which… We lost? No really, the official statement has it all, and while I won’t repeat the whole thing, I’ll sum up the salient points and link to the trailer:

  • Killing the Ethereal who was controlling the aliens didn’t end the invasion.
  • Within 20 years of the first game, humanity are now second class citizens in an alien “Utopia” (Read: Shiny looking Authoritarian Dystopia)
  • XCOM aren’t backed by the nations of the world anymore. In fact, they had to make their home base mobile, and are now the resistance.
  • There are Snakemen. They look fucking awesome.
  • There are swords, which would normally be cool. Sadly, they look like Katanas, because it’s the go-to for swords in video games. Le sigh.
  • The game should come out November. I will be reviewing the shit out of it when it does.

And now for the trailer. The turnaround reminds me somewhat of UFO Aftershock (Another spiritual successor to the original XCOM), but in a good way. Looking forward to it.

I would mention Magicka 2’s release more, but a review is incoming on that (Hopefully this weekend), so I’ll only say: If you liked Magicka 1, odds are you’ll like Magicka 2, because, on the surface at least, not much appears to have changed.

LEGO, in conjunction with Traveller’s Tales (Fine purveyor of addictive smashing LEGO brick type games) have released their own procedural block breaking and building thing (You know, sort of like Minecraft) on Early Access… Today! So, er… Honestly, I’m kind of ambivalent about this one, the LEGO games have palled on me in recent years. But I thought I should mention it.

Sadly, there’s not much else I’d recommend at first glance for cashmoney, although for zero cashmoney, I would recommend you take a look at the entries of the Public Domain Jam 2 (Especially Lair of the Morlocks ) and, on Pay What You Want on Itch.IO, Hot Date, a game about dating the most adorably dorky of God’s creatures, the humble Pug.

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