The title pretty much says it all. I’m a hair’s breadth away from going political on the blog–not the oops, I need to say this like I did a week or so ago but jumping up and down, waving my hands and cursing (a lot). So I’m gritting my teeth and trying to push through that urge right now. It’s difficult, so let’s look at another topic that is sure to get some folks’ blood pressure up: the state of the gaming industry.
I’m a gamer. As I’ve noted before, I started playing computer and console games when my son was little. I did so initially to make sure I knew what he was playing was appropriate to his age and maturity level. Then I did it because it was something the two of us could do together. Finally, it became something I enjoyed doing to relax for a bit at the end of the day.
Right now, most of my gaming–the vast majority of it–is done on PC. I am at least one generation behind on the consoles and, in the case of the Playstation, two. I don’t do handheld gaming any longer.
So, why am I writing about the state of gaming?
Mainly because I’m frustrated and past being tired of game publishers putting out supposedly polished games only to find they are buggy as hell. To say some of them aren’t ready for prime time is putting it mildly.
Can you say Anthem? Or how about Cyberpunk 2077 when it released?
Two games that had been majorly hyped by their studios only to be little more than alpha versions when they came out. EA/Bioware has treated Anthem like it did Mass Effect: Andromeda. Rush it out after having massive development issues, piss off fans and then basically abandon it. Oh, the servers are still running–or were the last time I checked, but EA announced it won’t be doing the major overhaul it promised players who payed good money for the game. Fortunately, I wasn’t one. I had a feeling about it from the start and simply paid for the EA membership for a month or so and played it “free”.
Another game that is a prime example of a good game that has a great deal of promise but has let players down time and time again because of updates and patches being rushed and breaking more than they fix is Outriders. I enjoy the game but, damn it, fix it.
My frustration level with Outriders is pretty much equal to my frustration with the developers of the Division 2, but for different reasons. At least D2 pretty much works. I just want to know what the roadmap is going forward–if there is going to be one. I’m not interested in the free-to-play they are hyping as being in development right now. I see many micro-transactions in its future. I want to know if D2 is getting new content. If there is any reason beyond getting to blow things up in the nation’s capitol to keep me playing.
Game developers need to take a long, hard look at what they’re doing right now. When the Mass Effect Legendary Edition earns so much EA/Bioware are taken aback by it, something should click with them. They need to ask why. Fans have been demanding a new Mass Effect game for years. IF–and this is a big if–EA/Bioware had treated Andromeda with respect and done even a little quality control, it wouldn’t have bombed as badly as it did. Then there was just silence on the ME front. A pouting studio grudgingly admitted the game underperformed and canceled the already announced DLC. And that pissed off even more fans. Finally, they gave us a trailer, one very brief trailer, for ME4 with no real information, no projected release date, nothing. And the fans went wild.
Just as they did with the release of ME Legendary. Why? Because we could revisit three games, all of which were good to almost perfect.
Another game I’ve been revisiting for the first time in several years is Borderlands 2. OMG, that game is still a lot of fun, still looks good and still keeps me moving from one mission to the next even though I know what happens and have done complete playthroughs multiple times. Why? Because it’s fun. It’s well written. It doesn’t glitch on me every time I turn around.
I mean, how can you not have fun with characters like Krieg?
Game publishers need to remember something too many book publishers have forgotten. Their customers want to be entertained. They also want a product that will give them hours of fun and/or challenge. A product that won’t kick them off the servers–usually just as they’ve finished a major boss battle and before the game saves. They don’t want a game where key items mysteriously disappear from the cache.
For now, I’ll continue playing ME Legendary and Borderlands 2 with forays into The Division 2 (when I really need to work out my aggression) while I wait for the Siege of Paris DLC for Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, another game I still enjoy playing.
I’ll return to gaming tonight, at least for a few minutes, to unwind. The only question is which game to play.
Until later! Now I’m off to write.