Greetings NAGunions and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. Due to the staggering amount of positive feedback from last week (read: none at all) I’ve decided to keep with the new and improved layout system. In the news this week we have H1Z1‘s bad business decisions, Godus continues to fill me with rage, Bethesda has an interesting approach to customer service, Ant Simulator of all things has a scandal underway, Blizzard looks to do something unique with the Warcraft movie, GTA V modders pull it off again and a new indie horror game looks promising. All that, some videos, highlights and a bag of potato chips, after the jump.
H1Z1 announces a questionable sales model
Zombie survival title H1Z1 got off to kind of a rocky start. Considered immediately to be a DayZ clone, the game suffered from pretty bad launch issues, cheaters and a few broken patches, and it looked like it was going to disappear as quickly as it arrived.
That doesn’t seem to have happened, however, as the game has developed a fairly consistent playerbase and has become a popular title amongst streamers as well.
I haven’t played much myself, but I’m told that fans of the game have been divided over the direction the developers have been taking – moving away from the survival mode and focusing more on the competitive “Battle Royale” mode. Some love it, some just want their DayZ clone back – since DayZ is a development disaster that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere itself.
Now as the game comes out of Early Access it’s been decided that it will split into two, separate games. One will be H1Z1: Just Survive, which is the original multiplayer survival part of the game. The other will contain the Battle Royale stuff plus other competitive modes, and will be called H1Z1: King of the Kill. Despite having a free-to-play like model in Early Access, with multiple cosmetic microtransactions available, these two titles will cost $20 each.
It’s a bold choice, but I think it’s also a stupid one. Making the games separate just feels like a moneygrab, and for me it seems like it would make the games feel a lot more stale a lot more quickly. I can easily imagine players who enjoy both styles of gameplay, depending on what they feel like that day, not wanting to shell out for what is essentially different variations on the same game.
Not going free-to-play I feel is the biggest mistake however. For these multiplayer-only games that generate popularity with streamers, f2p is really the best way of doing it. Putting up a barrier to entry just feels short-sighted. The two biggest games on PC today are f2p, League of Legends and DotA. These games rake in millions in microtransactions, and owe their enormous player bases to the low cost to entry.
Remember that Heroes of Newerth was the MOBA that beat DotA 2 to the punch by years, and while it initially exploded in popularity it slowed faded into nothing. The biggest reason for this was their pay-to-play model, which had people turning their backs on it and trying a free game instead. H1Z1 already has a measure of popularity and a solid microtransaction system going, making it pay-to-play at this point is a mistake, in my opinion.
Godus continues to give everyone the finger
Ugh, everytime I read something about this game I’m pissed off. You may have seen on the site this week that in spite of Peter Molyneux’s trainwreck of a game Godus still being in Early Access, his studio 22cans has now released another Godus game, titled Godus Wars, ALSO in Early Access.
The community rightfully asked just what the hell was going on with Godus then, to which the studio gave a reply full of the typical Molyneux arrogance, implying somehow that this was the plan all along.
“Peter has always considered Godus being two games: one tranquil, peaceful and the other war-like with blood battles taking place across the unique lands,” the studio wrote. “The release of Wars proves that we are still dedicated to Godus and everyone who owns or has previously purchased Godus, already has Godus Wars!”
Let’s be straight here – this was not the plan all along. The plan all along was to use the “winner” of Curiosity, the most heinously exploitative money-grabbing piece of crap masquerading as some kind of “social experiment”, to integrate into Godus and make it a prize worth winning, with promises of earning part of the game’s revenue. Never forget, everyone, that this was a prize Molyneux claimed would be “life-changing”.
Winner Bryan Henderson hasn’t had his life changed at all, because he’s never really gotten a damn thing out of it. Now instead of the “God game” we were promised, we’ve gotten some kind of half-baked RTS which is again asking for our money after not even coming close to finishing the previous Early Access title.
Can we please just agree to never support anything Peter Molyneux is doing? This kind of unethical, irresponsible and arrogant selfishness makes my blood boil.
Bethesda customer service is run by a madman
Here’s something to lighten the mood a little – sort of.
A writer for Eurogamer, Paul Watson, ordered a limited edition vinyl soundtrack for Fallout 4 – a four disc set. Pretty cool, but it does cost a pretty penny at $125.
So you can imagine Paul was upset when the package arrived with one of the records warped. He contacted Bethesda support to ask for a refund, providing a photo of the damaged record, and they refunded him – for $25.
Yep, according to Bethesda since only one of the records was shown to be damaged, they only refunded him for that one. But it gets better – the customer support told him that if he wants a full refund, he needs to destroy the other records and send them pictures.
So Paul did what any sane person would – he took a hammer and went to town. After sending photos of the broken records, he was granted his full refund.
The e-mails went public, and Bethesda has stepped in saying this isn’t “the experience they want their customers to have”. Which makes sense, since I don’t think any company wants their customers to be told to smash their products with a hammer.
Ant Simulator cancelled due to strippers
Well, this is awkward. ETeeski’s indie project Ant Simulator has been canned, as lead programmer Eric Tereshinski said his business partners blew all that sweet, sweet crowdfunded cash on “liquor, restaurants, bars and even strippers”.
In an emotional video, Tereshinski lays out his side of the story. “Ant Simulator is going to be cancelled. I can’t work on Ant Simulator anymore. I recently found out my ex business partners were secretly stealing company money. They had secretly spent the overwhelming majority of both our Kickstarter money and the Ant Simulator investment money on liquor, restaurants, bars, and even strippers. This is the reason it has become exceedingly clear to me that I cannot have my career associated with these guys.”
He also claims these same two guys have said they’ll sue him if he tries to release without him. “It was supposed to be my first big step in really taking a shot at making video games as a career. But I have to start over now,” he said.
Well, of course, partners Tyler Monce and Devon Staley weren’t going to take that lying down. They fired back, saying that Tereshinski is actually the problem as he wasn’t able to deliver a “playable demo”. As for the bars and restaurants, they claim all that expenditure was “reasonable” and part of the “operating budget”.
As is always the case in these kinds of situations, the truth is most likely somewhere in the middle. The duo will apparently be suing, so I’m sure there’ll be more drama to follow shortly. Oh goodie.
Rides with Strangers looks to do horror right
Horror is great when it taps into legends of myth and folklore like zombies, vampires and other nasties designed to connect with our socially constructed fears in a metaphorical manner – but what about horror that feels all too real? That horror can be frightening in a way werewolves and demons can’t.
That’s what Kickstarter title Rides With Strangers is attempting with their game about hitchhiking on a particularly empty stretch of American highway. There are ten different strangers who will offer you a ride, each with their own dark secret or intention.
They’re already met their goal of $25,000, with stretch goals adding even more strangers. I love the idea of this, and am pretty interested to see how it will be executed in a game. It could be something pretty special (or, admittedly, terrible).
World of Warcraft Ultimate Movie Edition
The WoW movie is coming in June this year, and Blizzard is hoping the film draws more people into their highly addictive subscription-based MMO.
In that spirit, the company is toying with the idea of a movie ticket that comes with all the WoW expansions, so you can go straight from the Duncan Jones-directed epic to ruining your life forever.
The game could use a little more life at this point. With a last-reported number of 5.5 million subscribers, it may seem like its doing alright but that number is also the lowest it’s been in nine years. The MMO is on a steady decline, and Activision is no doubt hoping the movie can bring some fresh meat for the grinder.
GTA V modders never get bored, apparently
Have you always wanted to play The Last of Us but blew all your cash on GTA instead? Well now you can! Not really, to be honest, but you can run around in GTA V and pretend you’re playing it for a few minutes.
This YouTube video combines two mods to make a pretty convincing Last of Us facsimile, without the gameplay.
Let’s start strong with six minutes of Dark Souls 3 gameplay, pulled from the developer’s livestream.
Next up is The Division, which is long overdue but making up for it with a tsunami of hype. This trailer goes over the game’s skills and customisation.
A game which seems to racking up rave reviews is Rainbow Six Siege. You can watch some of the guys at Eurogamer tackle a mission in this video.
Capcom is attempting to generate some interest amongst the fighting game uninititiated with its new Street Fighter V intro series, which goes over the moves and lore of each character. Pretty useful if you’ve never really dipped your toe into the franchise. Check out this one on iconic character Ken.
Best of NAG
Let’s kick things off with Delano’s showcase of a neat Steam mod that isn’t quite a mod – a Source port of sorts (what a delicious rhyme) of Killzone. You can find out more here.
Then it’s a mod double-dip with part 2 of Tank Muller’s Fallout 4mod showcase, this one focusing on the game’s visuals.