News: Mass Deject

There was no salvaging Andromeda.
EA’s excuses are tired!

EA Thinks Andromeda Criticism Was Unfair

Mass Effect: Andromeda was so completely wretched at launch that it became a meme unto itself. The knock-on effect of this has been that planned single player DLC has been subsequently cancelled, while the developers responsible, Bioware Montreal, have now been fully disbanded as of this week. Despite the fact that Mass Effect: Andromeda was so poor that it prompted EA to scuttle the studio responsible for creating it, EA’s vice president Patrick Soderlund this week came out in defense of the game, chastising the gaming community for unfair criticism.

I usually don’t do this, but this is one of those places where I feel like the game got criticized a little bit more than it deserved. I think the game is actually a great game. Yes, we have to acknowledge the fact that there were some things that maybe we could have done better, absolutely, but as a whole, if you go in and you buy the game today with everything that’s in it today, I believe that that’s a game worth buying, personally.

If Andromeda was so great then why were its developers closed down?

Anyone else pick up on the contradiction here? Criticism of the game at launch was out of line because Andromeda as it exists today is worth buying [at a much cheaper price]. Sure, let us all just hop into our time machines in order to warn our past selves that Andromeda would one day get better.

Of course even if one were to buy into the notion that Andromeda should be retrospectively re-evaluated in line with the game as it exists today, that is still bullshit. Bioware might have fixed much of the more visible jank like crabwalks and tired faces, but the game is still astonishingly poorly written from beginning to end. When a game relies as heavily on massive amounts of voiced dialogue as the Mass Effect series, then poor writing can actually ruin an otherwise competent game. Moreover, the biggest cost associated with Andromeda is not its bargain bin monetary value, but rather the player’s time. Time spent playing Andromeda [40+ hours] is time that players could be using to play other things, and so the game is not worth picking up at any price – even free.

They've managed to make the game even uglier!
I do love to be beside the seaside!

Square Enix Announces Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition

While we are on the topic of huge piles of shit, Square Enix has managed to make Final Fantasy XV even worse! Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is a twenty episode retelling of Final Fantasy XV‘s dire plot, with all of the side questing cut out. The first episode will be free, whith subsequent episodes being bought as the player proceeds through the narrative. There is something to be said for this business model, as if the console version were priced this way then one would have ceased playing several chapters in, and thereby saved some money.

There is no beating around the bush here, the game is ugly. This is not to say that the graphics are bad. The graphics are actually miraculously good for a phone app, but the artstyle of the characters is just dreadful. Gladiolus has been likened to Sonic Boom era Knuckles, with the rest of the cast looking like slightly elongated Funko Pop figurines.

What really hurts here is that a turn-based mobile recreation of Final Fantasy XV could have attempted to redeem the fifteenth entry in this fallen series, especially if it was remade using 2D tiles like Dragon Quest XI, but instead Square Enix have opted to remake the game to be even worse than it was on consoles.

At least now the Nintendonly can credibly claim that their system is capable of running Final Fantasy XV, with Hajime Tabata giving some serious consideration to porting the pocket version:

There is certainly a chance. It’s certainly not zero. Obviously we’d have to think about what the meaning and what the significance of bringing this to Switch would be. You know, whether people would want to play it and whether it would be the right thing to do for our team.

With any luck Switch owners will be able to discover first hand just how little they have been missing out on.

Cliffy B writes his name on his shirts!
Schadenfreude: It feels good when bad things happen to Cliffy B.

Cliffy B Takes the Proverbial D

Readers could be forgiven for not realising that Cliffy B’s newest game had released over two weeks ago. The staff only learned this information the other day, and it appears that the gaming world on the whole has still yet to find out. Indeed, the only thing worse than LawBreakers marketing has been its player count. In short it has faceplanted way harder than Battleborn, and the only thing sparing Cliffy from Randy Pitchford style humiliation is the fact that very few people knew of his game’s existence in the first place.

LawBreakers began development as an arena shooter in response to arena shooters briefly coming back into vogue in the 2010s, but when Overwatch became an industry phenomenon LawBreakers was retrofitted to capitalise on that trend. The problem with chasing trends like this is that people who want to play Overwatch already have Overwatch, while people who do not wish to play Overwatch are not going to be interested in playing an Overwatch clone. Cliffy B has literally made a game for nobody, and this is reflected in its performance.

In LawBreakers first beta it peaked at 7,579 concurrent players. In its second beta it peaked at 4,586 concurrent players. At launch it briefly peaked at 3,019 concurrent players. These days it does not break 1000 concurrent players, and people are finding it hard to get a game going. It has never cracked Steam’s top 100 games.

it is very easy to see where Cliffy went wrong just by listening to his strategy for the game:

Yeah, that’s possible. I’ve had a very polarizing personality through the majority of the frickin’ 25 years I’ve been doing this. […] You also have an entire generation of 15-year-old kids who don’t know who I am, nor do they give a shit – they’re more excited about their favorite Twitch streamer or YouTuber, which we’ve recognized in regards to appealing to that crowd, and building relationships with them, occasionally finding the ones that are not fans of us and throwing a bit of money at them to see if they want to give it a go to kind of help raise awareness and get the word out.

Instead of putting together a proper marketing campaign, Cliffy instead threw a few shekels at Twitchers and Youtubers so they would shill his game, and other than that he seems to have relied on his name to sell the game. Even among oldfags Cliffy’s name does not carry the weight that he seems to imagine. The audience for Unreal is not the same as the audience for Gears of War, and Unreal was a very long time ago. Cliffy waited way too long to cash in that particular social capital, and it is not worth anything these days. Of course it does not help that Cliffy threw this particular audience under a bus around the time of Gears of War.

Regardless, LawBreakers has been really hurting for some traditional marketing. One of the things that Blizzard really did well with Overwatch was to use marketing to establish the personality and backstory of their game’s characters. By contrast LawBreakers stars a roster of unknowns, which is kind of fitting given how low the game has flown beneath the radar.

One comment

  1. We keep saying, “It can’t get worse!” and then FFXV does that. To the point that I now believe there is no bottom to this well.

    Final Fantasy is dead.

    There, I said it.

    Final Fantasy is dead.

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