By Bryan Smith on November 8, 2015 at 3:33pm
So the 2015 Holiday Season is approaching, and people are gearing up, for better or for worse, to get those sweet deals and new products. It’s safe to say that the film industry will be pretty happy with “Inside Out,” “Jurassic World,” “Mad Max,” and more being released just before the deals go booming.
We, however, are not talking about the film industry today. It’s the video game industry baby; get back on track! The thing is, though, that there aren’t a whole lot of excitement as there normally is for 2015. In fact, I see a lot more apathy towards the game releases than general happiness. For lack of a better term, people are looking back at 2014’s releases or early 2015 instead of what is being released during this period. How about we go through the list of games and see why people are putting things on the “wait until later” pile, shall we? (Disclaimer, “Just Cause 3” and “Xenoblade Chronicles X” are not on this list, as they don’t have a lot of negatives to begin with. We are only looking for games that have features or lack thereof that people do/don’t want.)
"Halo 5: Guardians"
While it may have great multiplayer, people are turned off by the rather laughable campaign mode, where negatives go out to Locke being a extremely bland character, rather stupid team AI, a mediocre story (won’t go into spoilers for why story parts are questionable), and debatably linear segments that some fans and critics compared them to “Call of Duty.” There’s also the microtransactions in the multiplayer, with the marketing being rather mean spirited towards those with legitimate concerns, and the biggest offense: no split-screen.
"Star Wars: Battlefront (2015)"
Otherwise known as EA’s “How to crush a game’s enthusiasm from E3 reveal to actual first look and details.” During the first real look and trailer of the game, there looked like a limited amount of content from the get-go, no space battles where previous games had them, no real single-player campaign, and DLC already planned before the game is even released. Oh, and the $50 season pass probably crushed a huge chunk of those sales as well.
"Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege"
I don’t think that there’s a faster way to strike a game down in the eyes of potential consumers than trying to sell a multiplayer-only (or with single-player relegated to training/AI simulated gameplay) game with not a whole lot to do at full price. “TitanFall” and “Evolve” were abandoned by a large number of people shockingly fast. While I’m not all that familiar with this series as a whole, I’ve seen fans and critics alike voice their concerns about this one due to the seemingly lack of content. Also, there are microtransactions in this game. Keep an eye on that pesky little thing- that’s a good way to make people angry about your full retail game.
"Assassin's Creed: Syndicate"
Considering that the game preceding this one was “Assassin’s Creed: Unity,” I think people were extremely cautious and either waited and/or didn’t even bother with “Syndicate” due to how broken “Unity” released. Granted, the release was nowhere near as broken as “Unity’s.” Not being as broken doesn’t make you an instant seller, however. Releasing a game that works as intended is the standard, not something to be praised for.
Reports say that “Syndicate” didn’t sell as well as intended. Gee, I wonder if “Unity” had anything to do with that. Hey, I wouldn’t want to buy a game, even if I was a diehard fan of a series, if I know the next game could be as broken, if not more, with yearly releases.
Then there’s the fact that “Syndicate” really doesn’t add that much new to the series other than the grappling hook mechanic, which just makes climbing faster than anything. “Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag” is fondly remembered for having more than just the assassin stuff that we’ve seen for years. You had pirates and ships and fun! People are slowly losing their interest and it won’t be long until there isn’t room to run the series without a long, proper development cycle gets factored in. When a series keeps doing the same thing without adding much in a short amount of time, or anything at all, I think it needs to take a break. “Super Mario Bros.” (the main series, not the spinoff games and whatnot) doesn’t release yearly, and for good cause. If Mario can last for this long without pumping out so many games to the main series, I think “Assassin’s Creed” can too.
"Call of Duty: Black Ops III"
It’s “Call of Duty.” I think that speaks for itself with the FPS stagnation still slightly in effect. Soon it’ll be the open world game’s time to face that, but that’s for another day. Hey, if you like the series, fine, but when there’s been at least 11 games that you can get on one console alone, I think it’s time to back off and let the series breath.
"Need for Speed (2015)"
It seems EA hasn’t learned its lesson with always online. A lot of people were disgusted with the always online requirement, and it turns out there several other problems as well. Those issues include rubber-banding AI, poor handling, no option to pause the game, and several others.
"Rise of the Tomb Raider"
Do I really need to explain why people are waiting on this one? I’ve cover it several times already. Long story short- extremely stupid timed-exclusivity, $30 season pass, over 300 microtransactions that are basically cheat codes but say, “screw you, give me money,” and superior versions of the game are a given at this point. I’m willing to lay down money that there’d be a Definitive Edition of this game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC when we get to next year. Oh, and it releases the same day of “Fallout 4.” Kinda killing the sells already before they even begin, don’t you think? Didn’t Square Enix say something along the lines of “Tomb Raider (2013)” not being a financial success with 3 million sum earned on its first run on PS3, 360, and PC? Yeah, sure, none of this will surely hurt “Rise of the Tomb Raider’s” chances at all… right?
So that’s six major games aimed near or around the 2015 Holiday Season, and all of them have a good number of people that just don’t really care out of apathy. They all also have something going against them, no matter how hard you try to defend them. While “Just Cause 3” and “Xenoblade Chronicles X” are still pretty high, I don’t see a whole lot of excitement from everyone. There’s only one game I can say for sure that people are universally cheering for.
Now why does this game in particular is getting the most praise without being released yet? Sure, “Fallout 4” could release with ton of bugs like a Bethesda game is known to do and has a season pass to boot, but why is it that people are seeing this game as a pretty big contender for game of the year next to “Bloodborne,” “The Witcher 3,” and “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain?” I can guarantee you that it has something to do with the attitude Bethesda, critics, and fans have for it.
The Timeline of "Fallout 4's" Reveal
Most of the other games that have come out this year have been known for at least a solid year, if not more. The hype went high a little too fast and it died out, especially when things like season passes, microtransactions, and the lack of content/features spoil any fun or excitement that can be had. “Fallout 4” was announced this year.
Bethesda was rather ballsy to reveal the game not only around E3 time, but before it happened. They could have mic-dropped the “Fallout 4” reveal trailer during their presentation, and only show the trailer, and people would go nuts the same way they did with “Final Fantasy VII Remake” and “Shenmue III.”
“Fallout 4” also comes out a rather lengthy time since “Fallout 3-” a total of seven years. Heck, the time between “Fallout 3” and “The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim” is a bit long too with four years. Bethesda knew they wanted to only reveal the game when it was close to being completed and that’s exactly what they did. There weren’t any delays that killed enthusiasm going forward or any announced problems to lengthen the development longer. They kept it a mystery and only said something when they were confident in their product.
That’s what gets people excited for your game. Enough suspense and hype to get people pepped up. As much as I hate to say it, but games like “Final Fantasy XV,” “The Last Guardian,” and even “Half-Life 3” are losing some steam on that front. They better live up to the their hype, or they are going to crash and burn extremely hard from unreasonably high expectations.
The Love and Dedication in Their E3 Presentation and Onward
Good lord that presentation. Remember what I said and being confident enough to show the game? There was just about everything to get fans, critics, and even those not interested in the series enthralled. Bethesda showed enough gameplay, and the start of it all no less, to get people a solid footing without spoiling much, if anything at all. There were the VATs system, the suit, the customization, and the modding.
The game itself wasn’t the only thing Bethesda saved for the presentation. Bethesda not only made a functional, actual sized Pipboy, but they programmed it to run a special app and it works with mobile devices. They also developed a free-to-play game that wasn’t designed to suck the cash right out of people’s wallets (maliciously anyways), and people actually liked it for what it was. Nintendo, take notes on maintaining a fanbase’s loyalty… looking at you, “Metroid Prime: Federation Force.”
Prior to release, Bethesda released seven cute animations done in old-fashioned cartoons to demonstrate what is to be expected of “Fallout 4’s” world- the “S.P.E.C.I.A.L.” series. These showed things like strength, charisma, luck, and endurance- things that players need to survive the harsh wastelands of the “Fallout” series. I still don’t know what to expect fully out of “Fallout 4,” but seeing it’s the atomic wasteland, I believe that’s the whole point.
Of course, we still have charming knickknacks for merchandise coming our way. I believe a retailer has a pre-order incentive of themed socks. Bethesda, whether through marketing or what have you, embraced a lot of things “Fallout” related. They let one lucky person use bottle caps, “Fallout’s” typical currency, to buy the game. I’d love to hear another company who would be so kind to actually let a fan do something like that. There’s even authentic beer from the series being sold. While not available in every country, I’m sure people can import.
Why Someone May Not Be Completely Excited
Now all of this isn’t to say that absolutely everyone is excited. Considering this is the real world we’re talking, there will always be someone to hate something. It is the nature of the beast. However, there are a few reasons why I can see someone not being too excited, or interested for that matter, with “Fallout 4.” Let’s knock the easiest one out to the way- preferences. “I like apples. You don’t like apples.” Yay preferences!
While the season pass may be… eyebrow raising, it should be noted that it is for a RPG. I think you know that you’ll be spending plenty of long hours to begin with, as opposed to a 6-8 hour campaign (cough “Rise of the Tomb Raider” cough). Bethesda stated that they won’t be working on it until the game releases, and they don’t know what it even will be either. All of the paid content following the season pass will also be included in the charge too, so the content could easily be worth more than $30. Compared to “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” that season pass’s contents are known and are releasing on the day of. To be fair, I would practice not getting season passes either and would rather just wait for a Game of the Year edition.
The one major complaint, however, is if “Fallout 4” releases buggy. That’s something to be concerned with. Bethesda games are notorious for releasing with bugs and glitches galore. While nothing absolutely game breaking or disastrous as “Assassin’s Creed: Unity,” the PC port of “Batman: Arkham Knight,” or the “Master Chief Collection,” there are problems.
True that some of these bugs are entertaining, such as a dragon spazzing out in the air to the point of dancing comically, it would be hypocritical for me to give a pass on “Fallout 4” yet criticize “Unity.” I pray that Bethesda bucks the trend and doesn’t release this one so buggy. They had a long time to develop “Fallout 4;” let’s hope that that time was worth it.
To Give Praise (and Money) Where It's Due
I think it’s clear that out of all of the games (and companies) releasing around 2015 Holiday Season, “Fallout 4” and Bethesda are the ones who have garnered the most praise and recognition, despite Bethesda being the rather… iffy company, to say the least. There have been many articles where workers, designers, and the like try to defend their actions for removing something like split-screen or adding microtransactions that many people, fans and critics, are getting tired of in certain games. Seeing how expensive games are getting, along with additional/missing content, we just can’t get everything anymore. We’re at the point where we either have to miss a good portion or pray that a friend has a copy and lets you play.
I’ve been exploring many comment sections of different sites to see and analyze what people want and are avoiding. The general consensus is that “Fallout 4” is the number one game on people’s lists, and many only have that one. Sure, that isn’t to say other people are getting others, whether they see more faith in games or what have you. You can’t argue that people aren’t excited for “Fallout 4,” though. As many people have advocated time and time again, vote with your wallet. If you want a good game that isn’t designed against the consumer, I think “Fallout 4” is your best bet (though if you want my extended opinion, “Just Cause 3” and Xenoblade Chronicles X” are a good fallback plan as well). If you want to see practices that are detrimental to the gaming community and industry, avoid them until companies get the message.
So who’s excited for “Fallout 4?” While I know of the series and certain aspects, this will be my first committed jump into the series. Here’s to hoping “Fallout 4” has a great release and happy trails on the wastelands, my friends.