Arrogance in gaming. It is as pervasive as a FART from NATE’s BUTT, and just as fecund. Sometimes it manifests as a trifling little niggle that sticks in your craw, while other times it is as a slap in the face. Often it occurs with such frequency that we can no longer see it, yet it is there, wallowing in developer self-satisfaction, and growing smug and fat on the sustenance of publisher hubris.
Absence of brightness sliders
Nothing says FUCK YOU like a game whose option menu offers up a sub-menu for the adjustment of brightness; only to dump gamers in the obnoxiously familiar screen containing gradient increments running from black to white, inviting us to adjust our television sets in order to match their shitty little game. What kind of smug fuck thinks that their game is so beautiful and unique that players will actually deign adjust their viewing optimisations in order to accommodate its full majesty?! Protip: any game that is so poorly designed as to lack a brightness slider will invariably not be worth the adjustment. This sort of dross still reaches the market circa 2011, enough, this is too much! Developers should at least make the minimum amount of effort, the medium has only had a mere several decades in which to mature. Any game which invites me to adjust my television set gets automatic fail marks from me.
Frivolous and greedy DLC
The most iconic example of frivolous, do nothing DLC would have to Oblivion’s infamous horse armour, yet there are many other fine examples. There was of course Tale of Vesperia’s shameful and tacky option to purchase ten or so character levels (if memory serves me correctly), which mysteriously coincided with an alleged sharp difficulty spike once players reach the endgame. Then there was Resident Evil 5’s insistence that gamers fork over money in order to unlock that awful game’s stillborn deathmatch mode. Seriously, who would even want to play a Resident Evil deathmatch? No one apparently.
Intransigent release schedules
I cannot for the life of me fathom why so many games set themselves firm release dates so far out, and then fail to alter them when conditions change. This is why you have decent games like Enslaved launching in the same window as the CoD juggernaut, and being subsequently slaughtered at retail. It is only natural for developers to want to think the best of their babby, but can we try and keep expectations realistic? To my mind developers would benefit greatly from eschewing firm release dates until a month or two before their title goes gold, and instead just offering a vague release window, and then scheduling their release so that it is the only big release inside a fortnight. Gamers only have a finite amount of disposable income, and it is unrealistic to expect everyone to rush out and buy your game during a cluttered release window. That kind of arrogance seldom goes unpunished.
Dumbed down/sub-par content for sequels
Once a game enjoys a certain measure of success, the developer thinks they have it made. They begin to take their fans for granted, and assume that they will get their pre-existing audience for free every time, irrespective of the direction they decide to take their franchise. Thus it is the perfect time to make some money! This is done in one of two ways; dumbing down the game’s content in order to appeal to a wider audience, or decreasing the quality or quantity of game assets in order to expend less capital in order to generate the same profit. Sometimes you even have a game which attempts to do both such as Dragon Age II. For me this philosophy manifested itself most spectacularly in the release of Resident Evil 5, as the producers were possessed of the opinion that they would be able to keep the fans from the phenomenally successful Resident Evil 4, whilst also turning the follow-up into a co-op game with broken partner AI. This really is the most injurious form of developer arrogance.
We have all seen this. The first reviews begin to trickle in for a hot new title, and for the week leading up to the game’s release its metarating averages a 90+ aggregate, and then its day of release arrives and suddenly the floor drops out from under its metascore. These are the lengths publishers go to in order to twist perceptions, and accrue early game sales on false merit.
Reviewing their own game
Apparently Dragon Age II was such a shitty little game that Bioware man Chris Hoban had to pen his own 10/10 metacritic review. This is of course following in the fine tradition of Two Worlds 2, where staff were obliged to pen their own fraudulent reviews, and then provide proof of having done so. It never looks good when you are the only people giving your game a perfect score, and even less so when you contend that the legitimate grievances of your customers have no reasonable basis (nice one Hoban).