The Worst of Video Gaming in 2018

This year in the world of video gaming, we have had many widespread acclaim of great games such as Red Dead Redemption 2, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Spider-Man for PS4, Monster Hunter World, God of War, and Dead Cells. When you think of the positive of gaming in 2018, Those games come to mind first on the top of my head. Even some of the major gaming headlines made the news around the net as we found out in reveal trailers that The Elder Scrolls VI is in development, along with Doom Eternal, and The Last of Us 2. And we were even shown gameplay of Cyberpunk 2077 and Death Stranding which has been anticipated for some time now which made the gaming community happy.

In between the great releases and great news that shocked the industry, there has been bad news and disappointing games that has been released to the public and the reception ranged from negative, to downright universally panned by not only the gaming community, but also by the major outlets that covered the news. The news did not sit well with the developers and studios that were producing the games and their damage control of these situations were met with an even bigger backlash than it originally started. Today, I give you the worst in gaming of 2018 and I shall begin with the handling of the Playstation Classic.

In 2016, Nintendo released the NES Classic Mini which featured the best games of that console at the time. I remember trying to buy one, but they were sold out everywhere and the lines to get one at various stores were endless. Nintendo also released the Super Nintendo Classic in 2017 and even though they produced more of the consoles, the same effect happened as they were sold out everywhere. I did eventually got one a few months later and I am satisfied. Trying to follow suit, Sony announced in the fall that they would release the Playstation Classic in December. I loved the Playstation and I was excited for this. This was until we found out that many games such as Crash, Spyro, and more would not be included in the game roster that was already lackluster. The bigger news is that many games that were included in the console were not the American versions of the games as they were the PAL versions of the games and the PAL versions were notorious for not running in full speed when you play them. Sony has had potential with this console, but it has flopped and the sales of the PlayStation Classic has been much lower than the Nintendo counterparts to the point that many retailers are putting it on sale now.

One of the biggest news stories in the fall is the major news of TellTale Games studious is shutting down. This news broke shortly after the release of the second episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season as it came out of nowhere to the public as this studio has made great games from the IP’s of The Walking Dead, Batman, Game of Thrones, and much more. About 90% of the staff were let go without warning and only kept a number of them to finish a Netflix series. The rest of the former staff got picked up from different gaming developers since the public outcry and I have interviewed one of them about the situation a few days after the news. Skybound eventually announced that they plan to finish the final season of the game and although that is great news, the damage has been done already. There were more stories that came out about the company, but not to the level of how Konami treated their staff before Metal Gear Solid V was finished.

Bethesda could not escape bad news ever since the reveal of Fallout 76 has made it to light. A few months before its release, The developers stated in many interviews of what features would be in the game and what could players expect differently in this game than the last game and boy oh boy did almost none of it matched up to the final product. What we got, was a product that was a buggy, unplayable mess that angered the players and the fans of the series. It is so bad, that the guys at GiantBomb refused to finish the game to review it since it was frustrating for any of their staff members to play it all the way through. The fact that the developers has taken out NCP’s in this game which was needed in the first place can tell you how out of touch they are with their fans. But it does not end there.

The Pre-order bonuses included a high quality duffel bag if you bought the Power Armor edition of the game. The picture of what was ad is completely different from what the customers got when it arrived to them and it was not good at all. The closest that anyone has received great quality duffel bags was at a press gaming event where they were given out for free. Bethesda originally did not accept refunds at all, but they offered affected customers that bought the edition of the game an in-game currency that is worth only $5.00 and that did not sit well along with the data breach that happened a few days later. What a crappy year for Bethesda overall.

As i quote the former WCW Champion and current member of the WWE Hall of Fame Goldberg, “Who’s Next? Blizzard, You’re Next”. At BlizzCon, Blizzard held a showcase for their upcoming titles and many fans speculated that the fourth installment of Diablo would be announced. But that did not happen as we got an announcement of a mobile game Diablo Immortal. With the age of micro-transactions and lootcrates are here today in mobile and console gaming, the fans reacted negatively to this announcement because of those possible factors and due to the fact that this announcement was made at the near end of the conference. They even held a Q and A afterwards and one person asked them if this was an April Fool’s joke which gained a huge laughter from the audience. Another question that was asked is if the game would be released on PC and when the developer answered that there would be no plans for a PC release, the audience booed even louder. You would think that it is Roman Reigns out there during the height of his main event status in WWE talking on the microphone with the way the crowd responded. It was that bad.

And finally, I have saved the best for last and that is EA Games. That is right, EA all year has been in the gaming news for bad reasons and it was also ranked number five of the most hated companies in America this year. The year started off with them with the continued controversy of the way Star Wars Battlefront 2 was handled with their micro-transactions (which was eventually fixed, but the damage has been done). And it reached to a point where the federal government had to come in and investigate their practices. There were also rumors about Disney parting ways with EA to look for another developer to make their Star Wars games. In the early spring of the news of EA, the first trailer of Battlefield V was released and the reception to that trailer was mixed to negative due to EA and DICE changing too much historical content of World War II along with a long, dragged out press conference that did not showcase more than a few minutes of game play at all. The news got worse for them a few weeks later when they started to sell DLC’s for their DLC’s in The Sims 4. Pretty weird if you ask me why they did that, but the fans were not happy about that at all. The only good thing that came out of EA this year is A Way Out, but even that great game could not save what was going on with the slaughter of news out of EA because time and time again, they proved to have learned nothing from their mistakes and that was on full display at E3 this year when EA had their conference. They announced a streaming game cloud subscription along with a subscription to get some of their games on the PC. That did not stop at all as there was also an announcement of another Star Wars game. The way this was done was that Vince Zampella was sitting in the crowd as one of the correspondents talked to him and then and right there, he made the announcement just like that without any details and without a trailer, or even a logo or promotional art. That was one of the blandest video game announcements I have ever seen in my life and it was also funny to see the non-existing crowd reaction to the news as well. How is it that the CEO was out there saying that the conference was all about saying that the company has changed and then proceeded to talk about money and subscriptions with their out of touch agenda. How is it that years ago, EA used to be a great developer but just like Konami, they turned to the dark and greedy side. I wish I can finish what I am saying about the crappy year of EA, but I just come to find out that I cannot since the rest of my thoughts are locked away in a paid micro-transaction lootcrate.

In all seriousness, there is more gaming headlines and disappointments that made the news such as Metal Gear Survive, the lack of the news of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, the introduction of the Event Pass of PUBG, and much more. But these headlines takes the cake for me since this is what I think about first in an awful year of headlines in the gaming industry.

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Developers of Telltale Games Breaks Their Silence on the Layoffs

The news broke out Friday that Telltale Games has laid off over 250 members of their staff and only kept 25 members of the staff to complete the Minecraft Story Mode for Netflix. This is the same company that has produced many hit titles such as The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Batman, Game of Thrones, and Tales of Borderlands and their upcoming titles included a sequel to Game of Thrones, and The Wolf Among Us and an upcoming Stranger Things title. The news came out of nowhere and those titles were canceled. The biggest hit from the titles is The Walking Dead as their final season of the game just started over a month ago and after the second episode which will release this Tuesday, we will not get the rest of the planned episodes. This caused a huge uproar online due to the fact that many people has paid for season passes for the game and they cannot give out refunds to the people who has purchased the game expecting a full season.

Since then, the hashtag of #TellTaleJobs started trending and major gaming studios started to pick up on this and it shows a good sign that they want to hire many of the former developers. Of the many developers, I have interviewed one of them and his name is Johnathan Straw of Telltale Games and this is what he had to say of the situation:

Hey Jonathan. Thank you for taking the time for this interview. I appreciate it very much. What can you tell me about the situation at Telltale and did you have any indicator that this was going to happen on Friday?

Jonathan: “Here’s my side of things. I was actually on PTO on Friday, and noticed something was up as I was waiting for my flight at SFO. I noticed rumblings through our Slack channels, and saw an all hands company meeting appear on the calendar. Shortly after I saw a cryptic condolences message on Slack and began asking for clarification on what had happened. While waiting for a response, my company email account force signed off. Then peers started alerting me through Slack that the company had been closed and everyone had half an hour to vacate, then return on Monday to gather belongings. There was no indication that this was going to happen. In fact, just within the last week or two, we had made new hires, and one of my supervisors had just returned from intern recruitment outreach in Florida. I had a meeting on Thursday right before the closure concerning training plans for transitioning the studio to Unity, and even had a candid conversation about converting my employment status from project hire to permanent hire. Both of my immediate supervisors were enthusiastic about advocating for my conversion. My team had a major project review that is typical and routine to our development process still on the calendar as the employees were being ushered out of the building. All I can really say is that everything was running as normal until suddenly it wasn’t.”

Yikes! This is crazy. So of the 25 that stayed, were they alerted also, or they found out as it happened. And there is a load of rumor and innuendo going on with the last few episodes of the game including the talked about situation of the way they will be released and that the CEO’s only focused on gathering as many IP’s as possible. Would you like say your input about it here?

Jonathan: “I don’t even know who the 25 retained employees are. I won’t comment about rumor and innuendo. The official statements from Pete Hawley and Telltale official social channels are as much as I know about project and IP status. I hadn’t gotten to a point in my employment to begin exploring our IP library, as I was primarily focused with getting The Walking Dead: The Final Season out the door. Even if I knew what else we were exploring, I wouldn’t be able to reveal them if they hadn’t already been announced by the company.”

Interesting. My final question is, since a number of former employees were let go while their health benefits were cut, did that happen to you as well? And do you feel that there was an over saturation with the amount of people that were hired through them? I would also would like to add in that there will be a class action lawsuit (which just came out today) against Telltale. Would you like to comment on that?

Jonathan: “All my benefits were rescinded immediately just like everyone else’s. I didn’t feel there was an over-saturation of hires. I was hired after the November layoffs, and it was a bit sad to see a quarter of the building empty where there were previously desks and people when I first interviewed. The teams I saw there were adequately streamlined, and in general we were all working under better creative conditions both from my observations based on my previous employment at Telltale Games (2010 – 2012) and from sentiments among my peers. I am following the class action lawsuit. We have all been discussing the legality of the lay-offs, but none of us are lawyers. I suppose it was only a matter of time until this all caught the attention of lawyers. If it gets me and my peers the severance we all deserve, then I am all for it. Fortunately, I have been in this kind of situation before. I am prepared with alternate sources of income, independent game projects of my own making, and a healthy network of friends in the industry.”

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Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead Releases to Critical Acclaim

Based on Robert Kirkman’s best-selling comic book series and graphic novels

Episode One – A New Day has dawned on PlayStation®Network, PC and Mac. Coming Friday, April 27th to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., April 26, 2012 — Telltale Games and Robert Kirkman, the Eisner Award-winning creator and writer of The Walking Dead for Skybound Entertainment and Image Comics, announced today that the first episode of the game series based on the critically acclaimed comic book series, The Walking Dead, is now available for download. Players can purchase the PC and Mac versions from the Telltale Games Online Store, as well as Steam and other digital distribution services. The first episode is also available for download now on PlayStation®Network for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and will be available Friday, April 27th on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.
Early critical response to Telltale’s first episode of the series has been intensely positive from gaming critics across the web. In their review, IGN.com awarded the episode an Editors’ Choice award, saying, “‘A New Day’ is one of Telltale’s finest games,” also stating, “…This is a deeply personal and emotional experience, and that’s why it feels so right as a part of this franchise.” The review praised, “…The Walking Dead Episode one has just about everything fans could want.
Other critics lauded the game, with Official Xbox Magazine awarding the game an Editors’ Choice with a score of 9 out of 10, saying the episode was, “Slam-bang entertainment,” adding that, “Everything just feels right” with its “Striking art style and cinematic presentation.” Website Shacknews said, “The Walking Dead is more than just a great adaptation of a beloved property—it is easily one of Telltale’s best games.
Gaming site Polygon gave the game an impressive 9 out of 10, stating, “With choices that matter and intensity to spare, Telltale Games delivers one of its best efforts to date.” Their accolades continued with, “…the first episode of The Walking Dead held me in as I was thrown from one story-twisting, heart-stopping conflict to another, disaster threatening if I looked away from the screen even for a moment.” The reviewer also said that the episode was, “…one of the most intense gaming experiences in my recent memory,” and that,”So many games have teased a truly “interactive” narrative, but I can think of none that have delivered this well.
The Walking Dead: Episode One – A New Day is set in the world of Robert Kirkman’s award-winning comic book series. Lee Everett, a man convicted of a crime of passion, has been given the chance for redemption in a world devastated by the undead. Players will experience life changing events, meet new characters and familiar ones from the original comic, and also visit locations that foreshadow the story of Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes. The Walking Dead offers a tailored game experience – player actions, choices and decisions affect how the story plays out across the entire series.
Episode One – A New Day is the first of five monthly episodes of The Walking Dead games series and will be available for 400 Microsoft®Points on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Xbox 360® on April 27th; it is available now for $4.99 per episode on PlayStation®Network, and is available as the first part of a five episode season pass for $24.99 on PC and Mac from the Telltale Online Store and other digital outlets.
The Walking Dead: Episode One – A New Day is rated ‘M’ (Mature) for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence and Strong Language by the ESRB.
For more information on the game, visit the official website, Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information on The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman and all of his titles, visit www.skybound.com.