Bioware Follows Bungie Off a Cliff
Bioware is in trouble. This week it has come to light that their upcoming game Anthem has been pushed into 2019, and all work on the next installment of Dragon Age has been halted in order for that team to assist with Anthem‘s production. Even as Bioware played host to washed up internet feminist, Anita Sarkeesian, this week, staff were secretly voicing their concerns to Kotaku that Anthem will likely fail, and that will signal the end of Bioware’s autonomy under EA.
While it may seem like any game which enjoys the backing of Ms Sarkeesian is simply incapable of failing, the truth of the matter is that Anthem finds itself in a difficult market position. Some people have identified the backlash against EA’s Battlefront II as a big impediment standing in the way of Anthem‘s ability to make money. This is true to an extent, as predatory loot boxes are definitely one of the concerns that Bioware is currently grappling with, however it goes much further than that.
Between The Division, Warframe, Destiny, and next year’s Anthem the market for MMO-lite style games is beginning to look pretty saturated. With this in mind Bioware are looking at the reception of Destiny 2 and getting nervous, as they are concerned that Anthem will feature all of the same short comings. When the original Destiny launched in 2014 it was initially disappointing, yet it was able to rebuild because the market was not saturated at that point. By contrast Destiny 2 launched into an extremely competitive market, and it is very quickly dying.
Destiny 2 launched to a whole collection of problems, loot boxes and XP throttling was of some minor importance, but far more relevant was the game’s lack of content and removal of features from the first game. This is likely the thing that Bioware is most concerned about. Anthem will launch, the vidya lugenpresse will felate it profusely, and then the audience will drift away before they can be fully monetised. This is already happening to Destiny 2
Analysts have started downgrading Activision stock because they no longer believe that Bungie can turn around Destiny 2‘s fortunes – and so they are unlikely to make good on Activision’s financial forecasts. As if this were not enough of an ill omen, the game’s primary Twitch streamers have all followed suit. There exist content producers whose business is built solely around broadcasts of this one particular game. Last year streams of the three year old original game were still attracting a healthy audience, yet once Destiny 2 launched the audience was cut to less than half of what it had been. Now these Destiny streamers are left trying to find a new game to stream that has not already been monopolised by established streamers.
Destiny 2 is dying, and Bioware is shitting themselves because they think that Anthem will suffer the same fate for the same reasons. This is just what happens when uninspired devs jump on a bandwagon. It is the fate that befell LawBreakers and Battleborn. If Bioware goes under – which they probably will – then nothing of value will have been lost.
Bad Thing Happens to Bad Person
On the subject of failing developers, this week David Jaffe took some time out of his busy schedule of haranguing children over their prom photos in order to shut down his studio, The Bartlet Jones Supernatural Detective Agency. If the man does not make you happy that his business failed, then the name of his studio certainly will! One hates to repeat themselves, but nothing of value was lost here.
Until last year Jaffe had spent the current generation working on Drawn to Death for Sony. Before the game’s release Sony realised that it was a worthless piece of shit and gave it away to PS Plus subscribers, but even so this was not enough to get people to actually play it. IGN described it as such:
“Drawn to Death is a mean spirited, misguided mess that falls short mechanically and wants you to feel bad about yourself.”
Following the release of Drawn to Death the studio had been working on an unnamed project for an anonymous publisher [almost certainly Sony], but just this week Jaffe had his funding pulled – probably because the game was turning out shit. Now the studio has been reduced to around seven members, and over the coming weeks they will presumably be taking their unfinished game from publisher to publisher in a desperate attempt to have one of them pick it up:
“Right now, Bartlet Jones is gonna be a very small team pacing around our office with a gas lamp asking if there’s a game. If in a couple of weeks we decide it is, we’ll get our heads back down and fight the fight. If not, we’ll part as friends, raise a toast to Bartlet Jones and move on.”
This is unlikely to succeed, not least because they no longer have a team in place to work on it. It really could not have happened to a more deserving shitbag. Here is hoping that Mr Shitface is the next developer forced to close his doors!
PS2 Backwards Compatibility
This week the PS4 has finally been fully hacked. Hackers now have low level access to the PS4, allowing them to run their own code on the system, enabling them to run both homebrew along with pirated games. These factors are not of primary importance however, as the biggest discovery has been the existence of a robust PS2 emulator, which is capable of running many more games than are available for purchase on PSN.
The PS4 features a robust PS2 emulator which Sony could flip on at any time, and yet we will never get to use it – at least not with a stock PS4 and official firmware. This news is not particularly useful for the vast majority of PS4 owners, as it requires that the system be running on the 4.05 firmware, which was made obsolete in late 2016. It is just nice to know that Sony has decided to artificially stunt the functionality of our consoles, even as Microsoft is hard at work delivering backwards compatibility for both the 360 and the OG Xbox!
Some people seem to think that this discovery has made it extremely likely that we will get access to the PS2 emulator, however Sony has likely locked themselves into this bad policy through their agreements with third party publishers.That being said, there is no harm in harassing Sony for PS2 backwards compatibility via social media. By all means harass Sony on Social media. They deserve it. “For the players” is increasingly sounding like hollow marketing!