2015 Gaming Post-Mortem: February
*Will be update in the next few days if something earth shattering happens, like Molyneux starts killing kickstarter backers
With February coming to close it’s time for our monthly wrap up of all the big and little games that came out this month, as well as a bit of discussion on the the news that came up. In a little bit of me news, I appeared on the Indie Haven Podcast
First the big news of the month was the breakdown of 22Cans, Peter Molyneux and his game Godus. Godus was one of the first big successes of the Kickstater boom of 2012, breaking their target goal of £450,000 to make £526,563. Interest in the game was muted but hopeful, seen as something as a revival of the new dead god-game genre, by one of the founders in that genre, Molyneux.
Unfortunately with Molyneux comes a certain risk, the man is now infamous for over hyping his games in a way that his team couldn’t possibly deliver. When he worked on the Fable series with Microsoft this was accepted, but now as an Indie dev (One with a lot of personal wealth) his words meant a lot more and it turns out he just couldn’t deliver. Over the last few weeks what was going on at 22Cans began to become public with people leaving, work on a new game taking place (With Godus still unfinished).
One of the features that Peter hyped was the “God of Godus” function, where by the “Winner” of this his last game Curiosity would be able to control the game of Godus in some grand way, while also taking home a small cut of the game’s profits. In a recent Eurogamer article, it transpired that the winner of this prize hadn’t received a penny and hadn’t been contacted in a while. I advise you give the article a look over here. In an interview to writer Laura Kate, Molyneux said he would stop talking to the press altogether, the full article is worth a read and can be found here. In this whole situation there are several people to feel sorry for, the backers who have yet to receive any of what they were promised, the people working at 22Cans who’ve been trying to make a game they clearly can’t deliver on and Molyneux himself. Some are slightly less sympathetic to Molyneux, for instance this interview at Rock, Paper, Shotgun was incredibly aggressive and combative.
When it transpired that Molyneux had been less than honest with consumers, I wasn’t all that surprised. Molyneux is a singular voice in our industry. A man whose passion for ideas gets the better of him, and leads him to say some rather grand things. Molyneux speaks to that child within us that thinks summers will last forever and that everything will turn out fine. He’s a voice we want to be right, but in the cold light of reality, he so often isn’t.
In terms of big releases for the month we had Evolve, a game which looks really dull. Having never played it I could be dead wrong but from the footage and LPs i’ve watched it’s clearly not something I’d get a huge amount of enjoyment from. With a clear focus on multi-player, Evolve is one of those shiny new “Asymmetric” games (Unless we count Giant Citizen Kubuto, and AvP) The game revolves around 4 players all with bulky guns running after a cute monster, which only wants to be your friend and eat your face. What Evolve is perhaps most infamous for at this point is the extraordinary amount of DLC the game comes with, adding up to well over a hundred pounds, the game was clearly designed to suck as much money out of the player as possible. Gaming pundit, Jim Sterling perhaps summed up the situation best in his video here:
The Order 1886
Ok I wrote about how I felt about this pre-release. But now post-release I can talk with a bit more knowledge. The Order 1886, A game which I’ve been incredibly skeptical about since all the preview footage of it made it seem like the most generic and dull third person shooter ever to be made. Sure, it looks, in terms of graphical power to be rather impressive, but the gameplay itself looks like the worst sort of quick time event driven tripe. As reviews began to trickle in I felt vindicated for my skepticism. It wasn’t a good game by any means, thoroughly mediocre in every way imaginable, On the day that the reviews started to trickle in, on Twitter both the Order and Ryse (The Xbox One game) began trending and suddenly I noticed the similarities between the two. Both are visual show pieces for the console their exclusive to (Yes, Ryse came to PC but only to stop Crytek from going bankrupt), both had QTE heavy game-play and neither one was particular well received. Perhaps these are just the hick-ups that both consoles must endure before we start seeing the real quality console exclusives in the near future. Naughty Dog will doubtless bring their A-game to the new Uncharted and it’s hard to see how any developer could fuck up Halo 5.
Game of Thrones: A Telltale Adventure
Telltale of course continued their trend of releasing an episode a month and so we got the second episode of the their Game of Thrones series. You can read my review over at Indie Haven here. To sum up I thought it was a vast improvement on the first and has made me excited to see where the series goes in the future. The characters have stopped being carbon copies of ones from the original series. The two new characters are a breath of fresh air, with one learning to live with a disability and the other just have fun as a sell-swords in the East. As of yet Telltale still haven’t announced when the next episode of their Borderland series
While only in early access, Darkest Dungeon is one of the cruelest games i’ve ever played. Think of it like a turn based Dark Souls were every choice you make could be life or death for your party of adventurers. I’ll no doubt be reviewing the complete game once it’s left early access, either for this blog or Indie Haven (Have to fight other writers for that privilege). I have of course been conducted my own lets play series of the game and advise you to check it out.
While I’ve yet to really dedicate the time needed to play this game in depth, I have found it to be a rather interesting adventure game with some lovely writing and interesting mechanics. As I said I’ve yet to devote the time this game sorely needs for a review, I will just say that Eurogamer gave it a 10/10 which is pretty astounding to say the least..
So that was February. In terms of big releases triple A games the turn out has been lackluster. Neither Evolve or the Order 1886 really seemed to capture the worlds attention for anything more than a few days. With the indie games however we really were spoilt for choice with the likes of Sunless Sea, Darkest Dungeon and Hands of Fate all coming out this month and looking pretty dam good. For march we have BloodBorne to look forward to, as well as Hotline Miami 2. This has been February post mortem, I do hope you enjoyed it.
*May make a video of this