2014 Post-Mortem: February
After the reserved start of January, February was the start of when things in gaming began to get back to normal. New releases began to come out for all the major platforms, announcements were made and there was one big suprise for fans on one particular series.
Telltale continued with it’s episodic content for the Wolf Among Us. Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors came out several months after the first excellent episode, leading some to believe the studio had perhaps bitten off more they can chew by having two concurrent series running at the same time. Wolf Among Us as well as Walking Dead Season 2 had both received critical acclaim but will the two launching so close to each other, it was had not to think that one series may have been favored over the other. Both series however did finish this year and were both met with critical and commercial acclaim.
PC players as so often is the way where spoilt for choice with some rather noticeable indie games coming to the platform. Subversive spy thriller Jazzpunk came out and confused everyone, followed soon after by Banished which can be known as the Dark Souls of strategy games (It’s fucking hard). I personally have mixed feeling about Jazzpunk, it’s well made game with plenty of weird and wacky elements, but it’s particular brand of humor wasn’t something I personally enjoyed too much.
The consoles market both last and current generation had a few games of which to have a look at, most notably Thief, this reboot of the venerable stealth franchise was given a luke warm reaction. Series die hards believed it to be too simplistic. As a series newcomer I disliked the game for being boring, tedious to play, with long loading times on the PS4 (console peasants and all that) Honestly if you’re looking for a first person stealth game i’d stick with Dishonered. Another Triple A that came out in February was Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 and no one cared.
The big news of February was that Bioshock developer Irrational games was to close it’s doors. Head of the Studio Ken Levine cited his desire to work on smaller, more narrative driven games. Why the whole studio had to go instead of him just bowing out has been the cause of much speculation. Was Levine the only thing keeping the studio going? Did 2K not see the value in the rest of the staff without Levine? Of course all this is just idle gossip and we may never get a comprehensive answer to what happened at Irrational. It is however an interesting case study, showing that even a very successful studio such as this one, isn’t immune to closure.