Tag: disaster

Nightdive Studios is in Trouble

Nightdive Studios is in Trouble

Introduction

I learned about System Shock after watching SomeOrdinaryGamers play the second game on YouTube. I got curious and decided to purchase System Shock 2 on Steam. It was $10 so I thought why not, and I’m so glad I bought it. It instantly had me hooked when I awoke from cryo-sleep. The graphics aren’t anything to write home about, but the bad graphics are what make this game more terrifying. It adds to the creep factor. This survival horror game helped inspire games like Bioshock, Prey, and even Deus Ex.

It has a good mix of RPG elements and horror. You’ve got skills to level up, weapons to maintain, chemicals you can study, tech you can hack, enemies you can learn about, lore you can listen to, and secret loot caches you can find. This game literally has it all, and it’s amazing what this game has to offer for being made in 1999. It was one of the greatest survival horror games of the old generation. It was right up there with Resident Evil and Silent Hill, and when news broke out about Nightdive Studios wanting to remake the first System Shock of the next generation, the internet freaked out.

Everything was going smoothly. The game had a successful Kickstarter (making over $1.3 Million), they released a pre-alpha demo of the game’s first mission which was also praised by critics and gamers, and there was a sense of trust between the developers and the gamers. However, something changed. Something that sent this Kickstarter on a collision course for disaster.

What happened?

During the development of the game, Nightdive had apparently switched the game’s engine from Unity to Unreal. This decision was believed to be the beginning of the end of this game’s development. After the switch, the game no longer had it’s classic gritty, horror atmosphere from the pre-alpha demo. The graphics were sharp and realistic, but that’s not what System Shock fans wanted. They wanted good graphics, but they wanted the atmosphere to stay true to the original. That clearly wasn’t happening, and it didn’t help when the developers weren’t really listening to the backers.

Things went from bad to worse, when the developers made clear that there would be gameplay changes that would meet the standards of gamers in today’s generation. Its more news fans didn’t want to hear, and by this point, red flags quickly began popping up left and right. All the developers were showing was concept art and screenshots, but nothing on the progress of the game’s development. Which is all the backers wanted to see, and yet their requests were left unanswered.

Finally, on February 16th, their worst fears had been realized. The developers made an update on their Kickstarter page stating that they would be taking a hiatus on the project. It was the worst news possible to hear, and now all we know is that the game is supposedly coming out this year. No month or day, just 2018. We haven’t heard anything from them since. Three backers of the campaign had spent $10,000 on this project, and had hope that this project would go great. I can only imagine just how horrible these backers feel.

Is there hope?

Yes, kind of. Do I feel like this Kickstarter campaign is worse than Mighty No. 9’s campaign? No, but it’s pretty damn close to being that bad. We’re talking about a classic survival horror game that’s cherished by many gamers, and to see it being remade in this state is just sad. Does Nightdive have a chance to recover from this? Yes, and here’s why. They did the right thing and stopped development so they could regroup, reorganize, and come back when they were ready. They admitted that they were moving away from their original plan. They took responsibility for their mistakes, and agreed that releasing the game now would be worse than delaying it until it was ready. This is something the developers of Mighty No. 9 would’ve never done.

These developers made mistakes, and thankfully, their taking full responsibility for their errors. They’re taking a break and they’ll be releasing the game when it’s ready. I continue to hope this game will succeed, but I remain cautiously optimistic. All we can do is wait and see. Please don’t screw this up, Nightdive.

RANT: Micro-Transactions are Coming Back to Battlefront II . . .

RANT: Micro-Transactions are Coming Back to Battlefront II . . .

Honestly, none of us should be surprised by this outcome. Yes, the dreaded day has come, loot boxes will be returning to Battlefront 2. According to EA, the game had missed the mark on the game’s sales. Selling only around 7 million units out of the predicted 14 million they were hoping for. Which in the gaming industry, is incredibly low. Using this as an excuse, EA is now saying their micro-transactions system will be returning to the game in the coming months. This news, of course, made EA’s investors and share holders very excited, and their stock prices have recently soared.

Now the main question on every gamer’s mind is this, how will this new micro-transaction system be implemented? Knowing Electronic Arts (and seeing how they haven’t learned from their lesson at all) they will probably try and make them the same way they did before. At least until after the controversy surrounding them has died down. Knowing Wilson and Jorgensen, that would be their plan. I understand gamers wouldn’t really care about cosmetic-only loot boxes, but as I’m starting to hear more gamers beg for cosmetics in the game, it won’t surprise me if those new loot boxes start selling like hot cakes.

Here is what EA CEO, Andrew Wilson, said about the recent update:

“We wanted a game that would meet the needs of the vast and passionate Star Wars fan base, so we designed it with the intent of keeping the community together, and a commitment to continually add content long after launch.”

Yeah, funny stuff. That’s why Jorgensen had to explain to people that there would be no cosmetics in the game, huh? Or why you initially tried to make the game Pay-to-Win? Or how about when Disney forced your hand into temporarily removing those micro-transactions from the game? Stop talking about the community like you care about them, because everyone knows you don’t. When you leave a bad impression on your community, they usually never forget something like that.

We wanted Battlefront 2 to be able to rival the old Battlefront 2. We wanted the game to be just as good (if not better) than the original title. We had been hoping and praying that the game would get it right this time. Battlefront 2 was literally supposed to be an apology for Battlefront 1, and you even fucked that up. Now Battlefront 3 (if it’ll even be considered possible at this point) is going to have to be an apology for both of those games, but we all know it won’t be.

You are a company run by greed. You’ll never change.

“Nobody is smarter than the Internet.”

“Nobody is smarter than the Internet.”

In January 2013, Gabe Newell (the CEO of Valve) during The Nerdist Podcast had been quoted saying this,

“You have to stop thinking that you’re in charge and start thinking that you’re having a dance. We used to think we’re smart […] but nobody is smarter than the internet. […] One of the things we learned pretty early on is ‘Don’t ever, ever try to lie to the internet – because they will catch you. They will de-construct your spin. They will remember everything you ever say for eternity.’

You can see really old school companies really struggle with that. They think they can still be in control of the message. […] So yeah, the internet (in aggregate) is scary smart. The sooner people accept that and start to trust that that’s the case, the better they’re gonna be in interacting with them.”

A quote that reigns true even to this day. This situation almost sounds familiar when being compared to the current situation with Bungie and the fans. Bungie has repeated time and time again that they’re “listening to their fans” and that “there will be changes” and “we’re looking into it”. The same old tune over and over, and the entire Destiny 2 community is sick and tired of it. Bungie needs to stop believing in the false ideology that they’re in charge, start actually doing something about the game’s problems, and stop lying to their consumers at every which way.

In fact, I already know several things you can add to Destiny 2:

  1. Bring Back Random Rolls – They are what made grinding for loot in Destiny 1 actually enjoyable. It meant that any gun had the chance of either being good or being bad. It made you feel special when you got a very good roll on an Imago Loop you just got. It’s what made grinding fun, and it would make grinding great in Destiny 2.
  2. Bring Back Strike Exclusive Loot – Much like my previous suggestion, this was a feature in Destiny 1 that really worked well with grinding for loot. When you got something that is exclusive to a specific to a certain Strike, you felt really damn proud of your self for working so hard for it. That’s something Destiny 2 lacks almost entirely.
  3. LIMIT the Eververse – I really shouldn’t have to be the one to explain this further to you, Bungie. Especially after all the backlash from The Dawning, I would’ve hoped you learned your lesson by now, but clearly not. Eververse has completely enraged the player-base with how difficult it is to get stuff from her. Hell, it’s already been calculated by many reliable sources that it could take players literal YEARS before they unlock everything from the Eververse. Either limit the Eververse to what she can and can not sell, or get rid of her entirely. She has done nothing but anger the community, and it needs to be taken care of.
  4. Get Rid of Tokens – Many people have argued with me about this topic. Claiming tokens are a good thing and that helps keep it fair for people, because people were leveling factions up too fast because … they were grinding for longer periods? Because … apparently that’s unfair to players who can’t spend hours grinding for loot … in an MMORPG? (I will get to this topic later) Anyways, I don’t care about that, and neither do many other Destiny fans. They want to level up their factions directly, not have a bunch of stupid Chuckie Cheese tokens do it.
  5. Give Raids VARIETY – We don’t want to be going to the same exact spot for every single Raid for the next four DLCs. We don’t keep seeing the same Leviathan, the same Calus, or the same Cabal every time we go Raid. Not everyone is on board with a Cabal-themed Raid system. It doesn’t sound fun and exciting like how a Hive Raid sounds, or how a Vex Raid sounds. The Cabal haven’t done anything in magnitude when compared to the Vex or the Hive. Give us new locations, new planets, new raid scenery, and stop giving us reused assets.
  6. Better Writers – When I first played Destiny 2’s campaign, I was blinded by the game’s visuals, music, and set design. They all looked great. However, the story lacked any quality. Hell, I personally thought Ghaul was a weak villain that quickly changed his motives towards the end for … really no reason. I didn’t like the fact that he cared so much about the Traveler either. Remember, the Cabal have been known for destroying planets just for getting in their way. So why would they care about wanting the Traveler? If anything, I feel they would want to destroy it, because it would break humanity’s will to continue fighting, because the Traveler is practically a God praised by humanity. If they saw their God die, that would ultimately break them. Giving a more powerful and emotional message, but Bungie decided FUCK THAT. Instead get cheesy dialogue, cheesy acting, cheesy story telling, and a dumb, cliché ending. Long story short, just get better writers.
  7. Oh, and stop thinking you can lie to the internet – We’re not dumb, Bungie. We aren’t mindless consumers that don’t know when we’re being scammed. For almost four months now, we’ve been calling you out on your blatant lies, and you continue to believe that you’re still in control of the conversation. You aren’t. Day by day, we are catching on to you, and we’re archiving every word you type. Every message you post. Every tweet you make. Every update you announce. We have it all at our finger tips. Ready to use against you. Do not think for one single moment, that you have any power here on the internet.

Follow these seven ideas, Bungie, and you just might be on the right path to success. Probably … maybe … but eh, I know you won’t. You never will.

P.S. After this, I will be releasing one final blog post on Destiny 2. I promise. It will be released after the second DLC has been released. This will be my final judgement on the game, and will possibly my final goodbye to the game. Next post will be something new, don’t worry.

“This was never intended.”

“This was never intended.”

Introduction

It’s the same broken record every time. “This was never intended.” “We missed the mark on this one.” “It’s too hard to make games.” “We’ll do better this time.” Blah blah blah blah! This excuse is being used more and more since the Battlefront 2 controversy, and people are actually defending them. Some gamers are being told the false ideology that games are too hard to make for AAA companies. Something (unless they’re an indie game developer) that is a weak excuse. Especially if they’re a multi-billion dollar company like Activision or EA. They have every resource at their fingertips with the kind of money they have, and they should have no excuse for why they can’t do better. Here’s two main reasons why.

The Gaming Industry is a $90 Billion Business

Like I said previously, these big companies have no room for excuses when they’re making insane amounts of money annually. In an article by IGN back in 2016, Electronic Arts CEO, Blake Jorgensen, was quoted saying,

“The extra content business is a billion-three [$1.3 Billion] a year. Half of that is roughly our Ultimate Team business.”

For those who don’t know, Ultimate Team is an EA contributor responsible with providing players in FIFA, Madden, and NHL games to be able to buy, sell, or trade player cards for cash or in-game currency. A system that EA has been profiting on for well over a decade. That’s not all. The article continues to state that Jorgensen explained that most gamers’ will “typically pay money to beat their friends”. Its also explained that EA makes over $650 million in digital revenue through mobile purchases. They also receive anywhere from $300 to $400 million from digital and subscription purchases across all platforms.

Remember though, these numbers are from 2016. Imagine what those numbers probably look like today. Astronomical I imagine. So when developers want to give the excuse that developing games is “too hard” or “too expensive”. Do yourself a quick Google search of what their annual revenue is. If it’s more than what you make annually, then they’re talking bullshit.

Some Developers Rush Their Titles

One of the biggest problems with games today is that they’re being rushed. It’s a simple yet terrible fact. Look at Mass Effect Andromeda and Battlefront 2, both of those titles were rushed for two different reasons. Andromeda was rushed so they could have it released on time, even though the finished product was not ready for release, and Battlefront 2 was rushed to be released alongside The Last Jedi film. Duke Nukem Forever met a similar fate. Even after all of the old advertising campaigns explained the game is “Coming When it’s Done!”. They had many years to make this game absolutely badass, and it completely missed the mark.

The finished product was completely botched, glitchy, buggy, and a total broken mess at release. The complete opposite of what was advertised back in 2001. A sad end to a rather epic game franchise. This is a very dangerous practice in the gaming industry that has a affected many game developers financially, and has also been the root cause of some companies being shut down. So why are games rushed? Well, it usually depends on the title. To many game publishers, there are some titles out there that they feel are too risky to sell. Which is usually the reason most big budget games are pushed towards the end of the year before they’re released. This is because most titles are usually given only a month to earn any profit.

So what do they do? Market the shit out of it. Over hype the hell out of the game to the heavens above. Scream from the highest mountain top about their game. Do everything they possibly can to hype the game up. It’s what Destiny 2 was very famous for with their Live Action marketing campaigns. Cayde-6 (one of the main characters of Destiny 2) being the face of most of the advertising. Hell, I got a Cayde-6 mini-figure with the copy I pre-ordered. It was to hype up their game as much as possible. So no matter how bad they did, they would still get the money they’d need from the advertisements. It doesn’t matter how bad the game was (and still is), they still got our money, and in the eyes of their corporate overlords, they won.

Conclusion

The Gaming Industry has and always will be one of the biggest industries worldwide, and will continue making money for years to come. Electronic Arts makes $4.8 Billion annually as of 2017. Activision makes $6.6 Billion annually as of 2016. Blizzard makes $2.4 Billion annually as of 2016. You get my point. If you ever hear game publishers complain and whine about how making games is to hard and that they need to implement micro-transactions to support their $60 games, just look at the numbers. A quick Google search will show just how much bullshit they’re spewing. They’re making us look stupid. They’re making us look like easy prey, and we need to stand up to them.

Works Cited

  1. Passalacqua, Michael. “This Is How Much Money EA Makes on Extra Content.” IGN, IGN, 2 Mar. 2016, http://www.ign.com/articles/2016/03/02/this-is-how-much-money-ea-makes-on-extra-content.
  2. Barder, Ollie. “When Games Are Rushed To Release Who Is To Blame? Hint: It’s Not The Testers.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 17 Nov. 2014, http://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2014/11/17/when-games-are-rushed-to-release-who-is-to-blame-hint-its-not-the-testers/#49f0aad84159.
  3. Lev-ram, Michael. “Activision Blizzard Aims for the Big Leagues.” Fortune, 7 June 2017, fortune.com/2017/06/07/fortune-500-activision-blizzard/.
  4. Curtis, Tom. “EA Reorganizes after a Landmark $1B Digital Year.” Gamasutra Article, Gamasutra, 12 Jan. 2012, http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/129086/EA_reorganizes_after_a_landmark_1B_digital_year.php.