Greetings NAGilliots, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. In the news this week Ubisoft talks bad videogame movies, Blizzard says the lack of post-launch content is your fault, LawBreakers is on life support, PUBG does the unthinkable, Fortnite does the PUBG and a game that couldn’t quite get the momentum it needs throws in the towel. All that, some videos and more highlights from the week, after the jump.
Ubisoft has “learned their lessons” from the Assassin’s Creed movie
Hey remember the Assassin’s Creed movie? Probably not, because you probably didn’t watch it ‘cause it blew ass. Much like every other video game movie ever made, with the possible exception of the first Mortal Kombat movie.
The studio had high hopes for this one though. Some big names were signed on, and Michael Fassbender took the lead role. Ubisoft also insisted they were ensuring it was done right – they weren’t going to throw their IP around willy-nilly for a hefty cheque.
CEO Yves Guillemot reflected on the production, saying that “in doing the script, we had quite a bit of control of what it could be” – the same sort of message that was thrown around a lot while the movie was still in production.
He continues, “What we realized with the launch of the movie is that we thought we had more control, but… [ultimately] we didn’t have as much control as we thought.
“In the video game industry, when you’re not ready, you push the date. In the movie industry, you don’t push the date. So if something is not going to be perfect, you can’t change it.
“Sometimes it’s just changing the way things are done—re-filming a little bit, shooting again a few small scenes—but when you have a date, it’s very difficult to change the date.”
So to sum up, they had total control until it the movie sucked, at which point they now didn’t have as much control as they said. It’s good to know the classic Ubisoft PR experience extends actross all domains.
Blizz blames slow Overwatch development on the players
This is an interesting approach. Facing some criticism to the fairly slow release post-launch content in Overwatch, game director Jeff Kaplan has said it’s all your fault.
Well, not YOU, exactly. But maybe you. In a new video, Kaplan says that the Overwatch team is “spending a tremendous amount of time and resources punishing people”, as opposed to working on new game content.
“The bad behaviour is not just ruining the experience for one another but the bad behaviour is actually making the game progress at a much slower rate,” Kaplan said.
In spite of this, Kaplan says they’re still not where they need to be with punishment and reporting systems. So expect the slow progress to continue. In the meantime, he asks everyone to “take a deep look inward”. Kum-ba-ya.
I don’t buy any of this at all, and I find it quite offensively stupid. If your entire team is working on combating toxic behaviour, hire more employees. Cheaters and griefers have been part of online gaming since the internet began, and any company of Blizzard’s size (or significantly smaller) that’s making an online competitive game should expect to devote resources to combat that.
Appealing to everyone to “just get along” while passing the buck to the players is either underestimating the intelligence of your playerbase or indicative of someone who is completely out of touch with this industry.
This is not an either/or situation – deliver content and put proper punishment systems in place.
Cliff Bleszinski’s LawBreakers is on life support
Veteran game developer Cliff Bleszinski can be a victim of his own hubris at times, and the launch of the debut game for his studio Boss Key has been caught in the crossfire.
In spite of some pretty paltry early launch numbers, Cliff was happy to say he wasn’t worried and that things will pick up. More specifically, he spoke about how League of Legends got off to a slow start as well – ambitious is an understatement. I reported this story back on August 13th, and at the time I said that “nothing kills an online game faster than a low player count”.
That truth seems to have hit Cliff now, and he’s been forced to admit that the game is in trouble. “I have to keep this game alive, first and foremost. I can be very cocky and very brash on social media. And realising that, you know, we have a fledgling player base. It’s been very humbling for me. I’m going to continue to iterate on this game, continue to add to it. And try to be less of a dick, honestly.”
The game’s PC numbers in particular have fallen off a cliff, going from a peak of 7K concurrent players to less than 200 in a 24-hour period. Still, Bleszinski may not have learnt as much as he says. The excerpt above is a small part of a much larger interview, where he goes on at length about how the game is poorly understood because it “doesn’t follow the same archetypes as everyone else” and talks about Warframe’s slow start – admittedly a step down from his previous comparison to League of Legends.
PUBG takes down DotA 2’s concurrent player record
Well, it’s happened. I said in the past that I think PUBG would make a real case for toppling Valve’s Steam darling, but I absolutely did not expect it to happen this fast, while the game is still in Early Access.
DotA 2’s previous concurrent player record of 1.29 million has been broken by PUBG’s 1.3 mil this week, making it the most concurrent players in a single game ever on Steam.
There’s things here that make this even more insane. DotA 2 is free, PUBG costs money. DotA 2 is a well-established title with a legacy and an entrenched e-sports presence, PUBG is an Early Access game that’s less than a year old. Perhaps most interesting for me is that DotA 2 runs pretty damn well on a potato PC, whereas PUBG still struggles with optimisation issues that requires players to have better tech than they should need.
Where the growth may go from here is honestly hard to predict – this thing is a runaway train.
Battle Royale coming to Fortnite this month
While we’re on the topic of Battle Royale, Fortnite is hoping to ignite a little more interest with their own rip on PUBG – a 100 player giant map PvP battle royale.
This really mirrors PUBG in many ways, including players jumping from the air down onto the map.
The new mode is currently being tested on the PTR.
Final nail in the coffin for Battleborn
Perpetually compared to juggernaut Overwatch, Gearbox’s Battleborn has consistently come up short in that head-to-head.
In spite of the company’s insistence that the game isn’t looking to be direct competition to that, people have consistently been playing Overwatch instead anyway. None of this has been helped by Battleborn being not very good at articulating just what it is trying to do, and where it fits in.
After the game’s next update, development will cease, effectively killing the game. It will continue in maintenance mode for players to carry on with until they get bored or move on, but the lack of new content will likely see a migration of the current playerbase to something like Overwatch.