Not to be a Debbie Downer or anything, but I’m not as optimistic for the prospects of an awesome 2015 as I was this time last year. We’re already starting into March and the current climate, coupled with what I see on the horizon, doesn’t do much to instill confidence we’ll remember the next few months in a positive light. Now I always look on the bright side (I’m a glass is half-full kinda’ guy), I’m struggling to see the silver lining at this point.
Don’t believe me? Well here are ten reasons why 2015 could suck which may very well change your minds!
This is one of the nastiest aspects of the human condition that I doubt we’ll ever fully rid ourselves of. Unfortunately, the advancements of technology have afforded us amenity like no other time period before, which trolls and haters currently exploit. Couple that with some of the most vile and offensive things regularly spouted off in blogs and online forums; our community definitely seems to be becoming more toxic every day, and that will only escalate further from here unless things change.
Rocksteady recently announced that their upcoming Batman: Arkham Night title (which looks to close out the trilogy in epic fashion) will be M-Rated. They also revealed that several higher-up executives pushed them to cut out much of this content to ensure it received a lighter rating. This proves that self-censorship is still rampant in our culture, which I expect to only grow as games continue to push into the mobile arena (skewing towards younger and younger audiences). What happens if future developers don’t stick to their guns like Rocksteady did here? A steady dilution of content is what we can expect.
I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of all the drama that has been stirred up as of late. I recently covered why I think Anita Sarkeesian (and people like her) are nothing but journalistic hacks trying to make a name for themselves by sullying the video game industry’s reputation. However, for every Sarkeesian we debunk, there are three more waiting to take her place like a beastly hydra. Quite a depressing notion.
Scheduled Release are Blah
I know this entry will likely fill up the comments section more than any other, with remarks like “what about this game” or “how can you consider X title blah?” It’s important to remember this is just my outlook on 2015, which may not jive with your perspective. Where you might see gold, I see a bit of a barren landscape. Aside from a select few honorable mentions (more on that in the future), there isn’t much I’m head-over-heels excited about. It’s much like the second year of a marriage once the honeymoon ends. The newlyweds have transformed into the old ball ‘n chain.
Sequels/Remakes May Under Deliver
What we’ll find no shortage of in the coming months are games slated for follow-ups, reboots or expansive DLC. The problem is some of these series have already begun a downward spiral, a problem that may only be compounded by pilling on another sub-standard release. Take Halo 5 , for example. Although it’s touted as a real game-changer for the FPS genre by 343, its predecessor did not perform all that well. Halo , like other franchises, could receive their final nail in their coffins this year if they don’t hit a home run.
If there’s one thing that Evolve ’s recent release taught us, its developers have still not figured out the right formula when it comes to downloadable content. While well reviewed and heralded as an all-around great experience, Turtle Rock Studio’s title poisoned the well somewhat with its excessive DLC, much of which players felt should have been included on the disc at launch. As the trend of games going completely free-to-play catches on, I think we’re in for even more exorbitant microtransaction fees on the journey ahead.
Someone call the exterminator, ‘cause I’ve not seen this many bugs since that scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom . I gladly give credit to designers for being able to accomplish what they have on this latest generation of hardware, but it’s not been without its drawbacks. In fact, things have become so broken as of late, the day-one patch is now the new normal – despite lengthy beta-testing periods. I have a question for you readers out there: at one point did it become acceptable for studios to push out products they admit are broken at launch and we simply stopped questioning it?
Deadlines Are Dead
Another issue which plagued 2014 (and the early part of this console generation) was titles not coming to market as promised. Even my go-to sanctuary Arkham Knight has been stricken by delays. I suggest if you’ve got your heart set on a particular release, I wouldn’t count your chickens just yet. You too may soon feel the sting of disappointment when you realize it may not arrive until 2016. It’s an unavoidable experience we all must face at least once during our gaming careers.
If you don’t follow the news much, there is one story you should read up on as it’s likely to affect aspects of our industry in the near future. Congress just approved a Net Neutrality bill that will stop ISPs from restricting content or placing speed caps on those unwilling to pay a premium to companies like Comcast or Time Warner. While I’m a supporter of the idea on paper, knowing the U.S. government is having a hand in its oversight gives me pause. It could very well deform it into a mutilated mess. Speaking of oversight, that leads me to my number one reason 2015 may suck…
More Government Oversight Imminent
Some may think this is just me being overly paranoid, and perhaps you’re right. I hope that’s true, but I’ve seen what happens when the government begins its expansion into untapped areas of the private sector. It typically doesn’t stop until it engulfs it entirely. We’ve already felt their impact in the past, as the ESRB is a direct result of the last time the U.S. Congress threatened/bullied our industry into getting what they wanted. Did we open a can of worms with the new Net Neutrality law? Will the unintended consequences give the government a pass to start censoring or regulating violent games the next time a talking-head on MSNBC or FOX blames videos games for a catastrophe like a school shooting? Other counties already ban certain media imports they deem inappropriate, so there is a precedent for this level of censorship. Just something to think about.
Of course I’m not sitting here and hoping 2015 goes right down the tubes, and I would relish in the notion that it’s salvageable after all. If the remainder of the year turns out to be a great period for gamers, I’ll rejoice just as loud as the rest of you. It’s just that, as of now, I can’t see the forest for the trees. But that’s just me. What about you? What is your outlook for the rest of 2015 like? Let us know in the comments section below or on our official Facebook page.