Unanticipated April Was.. Interesting?
Silly headline, isn’t it? Initially, you’d think so. Instead, let’s stay open-minded and run through what actually happened in April.
April is a somewhat quiet month, especially after the carnage from March — the month of Mass Effect 3 and all the gamer outrage. April was always expected to be quiet, apart from two releases which were quite exciting, and somewhat overlooked.
Anticipation for April was little, a few players were excited for Prototype 2, where others wanted The Witcher 2 on Xbox 360. That was about it. Megarom offered us a campaign for a collector’s edition of Prototype 2, where they also gave 2upGamers the chance to host a launch event for the game. It was a quiet launch event, however, it was fun. Socialising with fellow gamers and the other eGamer staff is always enjoyable. Especially when Azhar, AG and Nqaba continuously go on about how they want KFC. All the damn time.
Unfortunately there was no launch event for The Witcher 2, and that’s because it’s a game which only a few players would enjoy. Caveshen is busy with the review of the title, and we’re excited to see what he’s going to say. Here’s a warning though, it’s probably going to be quite a long review.
That wraps up the anticipation for April.
However, anticipation aside, a lot did happen in April.
Kickstarter had a campaign for a brand new Leisure Suit Larry game. Al Lowe and Replay Games funded over $500,000 for a remake of Leisure Suit Larry 1. With the money they make from sales, they’ll continue to remake all of the titles and probably include a few new ones. Kickstarter is proving to be a great asset to the start-up industry, and without the need for a single venture capitalist — great things could be coming our way more often.
Electronic Arts was voted the worst company in the United States of America. This seems to be quite controversial, as the whole Mass Effect 3 issue caused this to happen. Apparently Electronic Arts is more devilish than the Bank of America who launched us into a double-dip recession. I guess people prefer games over anything else in the world? Or, to deal with the depression of the recession, they relied on EA who screwed them. Never fear though, there’s new DLC for a better Mass Effect ending, for the whiny bastards who cried.
April then turned slightly more interesting, really quickly. We saw an image and a trailer for Crysis 3, as well as new information Lost Planet 3 and Halo 4. We also learnt a bit about Halo 4, and that it will offer new multiplayer modes. Then again, not that any of you care about Halo 4, as South Africans prefer to overlook the title.
Crysis 3, then. This title is set in New York with a lot of Nano-technology. It seems to feature a crossbow as the weapon of choice, which is strange, as many games are using the crossbow as the front-running weapon lately. We’re not sure what this move is about, but I’m sure that Hawkeye feels a bit better about himself. He was always looked down upon.
News-wise, April was intensive. It showed us what to look forward to and what we could expect later this year and next year. But it was never anticipated, it just happened. We didn’t know that there would be leaks and reveals for the aforementioned games. This is the only reason as to why April was interesting to talk about.
Formal news and industry information aside, we had a few great discussions on eGamer as well. Charl posed the question: are game reviews simply just another sales pitch? He touched on the issue that game reviewers have lost their objectivity, where games are only good for certain reasons. And whenever a game isn’t good, it will be bashed to hell and back. Game reviewers seem to exploit the technical errors in smaller games, and not the larger games.
This leads me onto Silent Hill: Downpour. This game scored strange scores on all publications. Many believed that it was plagued by a horrible combat system which killed the story and the game completely. Others overlooked this, and used the ability to dodge fighting as much as possible to achieve their goal. It scored between 4 to 7 out of 10 on various publications. Those who scored it 7 acknowledged the limited combat system, whereas those who scored it 4 simply bashed the system. It’s ironic, though, because Downpour is a story-driven game. It seems that the industry has moved from story games to combat games, as Call of Duty with a bad story and a great combat system can score 9 out of 10 whereas a game with a great story and shoddy combat system can only score a questionable 4 out of 10. What do we rate games on: combat or story? How does this work? What are we aiming for? Whose fault is it that Call of Duty is copy and pasted every year?
The discussion regarding reviewers being out of touch is interesting, and there’s a lot of evidence showing that many reviewers either do as their paycheck says, or they simply tell bad lies to get the job down — as quick as possible.
Following that, we discovered that next-generation consoles might contain measures to stop secondhand game sales. This is truly horrible, I think. Used games don’t hurt developers as much as they claim. If anything, the money is recycled into the industry to keep games being bought. For example, you sell your game to buy a new game, the cash is recycled. It feels as if the gaming industry simply wants all the money, and none of it to be recycled. I think that the outcome of such a measure will only lead to disappointment. To achieve a nonexistent secondhand market, developers and publishers are pushing for an always-on internet connection to verify the game and if it is being reused. Once that happens, people won’t be able to play singleplayer games once the internet is down, and people without internet won’t be able to play at all. What happens then? Someone is going to hack the system to allow offline play, which in turn, allows for pirated and secondhand games to be used as well. Why will anyone even buy games anymore? It will be easier and cheaper to pirate them. The industry would take a really hard knock.
Sure, there might be a few lawsuits, but, ultimately, the gamers will win. They always do. Something will be overlooked, and there will be a new class action against the publishers and developers, leaving the market with an opportunity for piracy.
It just doesn’t seem viable that an always-on internet connection should be needed to play games. We pay enough as it is. We should get money back whenever we sell games. If we paid half the current price without the ability to resell, that might be better as we usually get around half the money back for the secondhand sale. PC games are cheaper, and piracy for PC is far greater — publishers always complain. How does that work? Will pricing change if the secondhand market is removed?
To end off, we had a few cool features which were lighthearted and also interesting. We had the opportunity to have a hands-on look at Sleeping Dogs, which Alessandro said looks great. It’s going to be an exciting title. And, we also had the chance to interview Matt Armstrong, who was involved with Prototype 2. He gave us a pretty neat tongue-twister with Heller’s name.
April. Unanticipated but really interesting in the end. Let this be a lesson, things will happen — even if you’re not excited. The article title isn’t that silly after all, is it?
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