Games Journalism 2021 - Coming to you live!

Jason Kelk of Retro Gamer, the longest suffering in-patient in the UK from COVID, has died. Rest in peace gamesman.

Patricia Hernandez is back at Kotaku.

A very promising choice, in my opinion. I really liked her earlier work there.

Also, over at RPS - Graham Smith out as EIC, moving up within the parent company.

Hello! It’s me! Your former hardware editor, Katharine Castle. Surprise! It’s such an honour to be taking over from Graham, and I can’t wait to get started.

Good for Katharine, but a bit of a shame to lose her for the RPS hardware section- I really liked her observations and writing style.

Oh, here’s another op-ed too. I haven’t read this one yet, so apologies if this is a stinker.

I for the most part don’t play anything that ends up with seasons, but the sentiment of the oped still amused me: https://www.pcgamer.com/its-become-impossible-to-keep-up-with-all-these-damn-seasons/

Kotaku seems to be trying too hard and is all in on negativity

I don’t like Kotaku, but I don’t really see anything wrong with that piece. That game does look awful.

Their editor posted a thread about this.

Folks, it’s nearly midnight so bear with me here. I’m never going to ask folks to pull punches but since soft launches are fairly common in the mobile space, it’s def wrong to imply the XCOM gacha game released that way because it looks bad. So that’s gone.

But if a thing doesn’t look good (in this case kinda betraying everything about the original IP), we’re going to say that. The issue that I’m seeing more broadly is a recognition that games have a “toxicity” problem and

so there’s bristling at anything perceived to contribute to that. but that issue isn’t going to be fixed (or really have anything to do with) by being ‘nice’ to a game with a model predicated on preying on vulnerable people.

I hear you guys on being careful regarding what is said about game developers, because they can receive a lot of unwarranted shit, and there’s a need to examine where or all of us in this space might contribute to that, intentionally or not.

but y’all are going to bat for the wrong thing here. if you look at the footage of the game, or play it, and want to tell me that actually it’s good, cool, let’s have a conversation. but so many of you guys are arguing on principle here, completely detached from the thing.

what i’m also seeing is sympathy for folks who likely worked on a thing only to see it trashed. but IMO your ire should be with publishers causing this situation to happen in the first place. we can’t do much other than judge the end product and be honest about it.

well, in the context of a post informing someone about a game release. obviously, any work that can be done to humanize devs and make people understand the process and industry should be pursued bigger picture.

what i’m also seeing is sympathy for devs working in the mobile space which get a LOT of unwarranted crap. there’s huge stigma. but we’re talking broadly here. in this very specific case, the very specific game we’re talking about, does not fall under that umbrella.

i also want to make clear i don’t think gacha is inherently evil, though many have Complicated Opinions on that. it’s more that in this specific context, the business model being appended to a lackluster release doesn’t really do the game favors.

Kotaku mad that they’ve been out-Kotaku’d.

I am willing to forgive a multitude of sins for actual journalists (I know, I know, but they drive conversations) calling out predatory gambling bullshit for being just that.

e: Not that I really think Kotaku or Patricia have committed any terrible sins here. 2K shit out a brand-exploiting mobile gacha turd. Fuck them.

@intuitionist Mmm, fair point.

Also, I just actually looked at the art. Fucking titty armor in XCOM. I hope the original team got their bonuses and moved the fuck on to a company that doesn’t actively suck quite as much.

By the standards of the genre, titty armor is positively progressive. We’ll be lucky if this XCOM game never makes it to the lolitas in beachwear stage.

In fact, by the standards of the platform and genre, nothing about XCOM Legends is particularly notable. It’s a type of game like 2 billion people play each week and enjoy. The only reason to describe it as “shitty” is if you take offense to the use of the IP in this way because it’s too “precious”. Considering no one involved in the article appears to have even bothered playing the game, all I can say is grow up.

The reaction is also informed by the story they just ran like a week ago making fun of one of the Call of Duty directors for describing his job as being work.

It strikes me that social media endurance must be one of the necessary job qualifications to take a role like this.

I’m also amused that Twitter threads are the longform nuanced examination of the clickbait articles. What an ecosystem.

Good point, popular things are good by definition. Especially when their popularity is built on intentionally exploiting well-understood cognitive biases to drive addictive behaviors and extract maximum revenue.

But hey, at least this one covers the improbable titties up in a layer of latex! What more do you want anyway, ya SJW killjoys?!

Jason Schreier gets the goods on how Blizzard fucked up the WarCraft 3 remake.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-22/inside-activision-blizzard-s-botched-warcraft-iii-reforged-game

Blizzard Entertainment’s disastrous remake of the classic video game Warcraft III last year was the result of mismanagement and financial pressures, according to newly revealed documents and people with knowledge of the failed launch. The release also reflected Blizzard’s significant cultural changes in recent years, as corporate owner Activision Blizzard Inc. has pushed the developer to cut costs and prioritize its biggest titles.

At the time, the company apologized for the launch and said it had chosen to backtrack on updating the cinematics because “we did not want the in-game cutscenes to steer too far from the original game.” But documentation produced after its release, as well as interviews with 11 people who worked on or close to the game, indicate that Reforged was actually rescoped due to budget cuts and internal arguments over the game’s direction.

I once asked Rob Pardo (at IIRC BlizzCon) why they canned StarCraft: Ghost after the previous year’s largely well-received multiplayer at either a BlizzCon or some other event (maybe that was at the Paris thing where they announced D3?).

“I mean, what I played back then was at least an 85 sort of game,” I said.

“Why would I want to release an 85 game?” he replied.

RIP Blizzard.

Still pissed at Reforged for permanently ruining online WC3.

I can deal with a remaster that I don’t particularly like, but why destroy the original version? I still have an old disc copy of W3 and I can’t play it. Why in the world would they do that?