Ben's Week In Review: January 19
I don't care about Trophies at all but for some reason, it bugs me that I don't have even one Platinum... Not one. :(
Next-gen = the decline of the shooter?
For the first time in years, a Call of Duty entry didn't end up at #1 on the annual sales charts. Grand Theft Auto V proved the enduring popularity of that franchise and furthermore, given the marked decline in quality Ghosts represented, it seems the market may shift a bit. Perhaps shooters like CoD and Battlefield won't dominate sales charts as they did in the current generation. Developers can use the increased power of the next-gen consoles to produce bigger, more immersive, more realistic worlds; it'd be a little boring to waste that potential on a simple FPS.
So, maybe what we'll see is an evolving genre. Rather than the standard formula - a ho-hum campaign and a bunch of maps for basic multiplayer action - maybe we'll see a shooter revolution. Perhaps titles like Destiny can help it move along. When I say the "decline of the shooter," I'm referring to the FPS as we currently know it. And as for Call of Duty, if Sledgehammer really is designing the new entry, that could be awfully intriguing. However, I doubt Activision would give them much in the way of wriggle room...then again, maybe they're tasking Sledgehammer to deliver another series reinvention, ala Modern Warfare.
Good luck with that.
The Square Enix Dominion of Confusion Reigns
Nobody can figure this publisher out. We hear that Tomb Raider finally breaks even, and we learn that because Square Enix dumped over $100 million into the project, it took most of 2013 for the game to even turn a profit. Obviously, that massive budget is also the reason they expected the title to move 5-6 million copies in one month. How many franchises in this industry can do that? Three? Four? Tomb Raider ain't one 'em, by the way. How could Square Enix not know this? A reboot of a franchise that had been ailing for years? $100 million? 5-6 million anticipated sold in 30 days? What planet are S-E executives living on? It's amazing the game sold what it did (3.4 million in the first month).
And I'm not saying it didn't deserve those sales; I loved Tomb Raider. But it didn't really play like a $100 million game and the publisher's expectations were, to say the least, painfully unrealistic. It also helps to explain the upcoming Definitive Edition. Everyone at both S-E and Crystal Dynamics probably knew the game would take a while to reach profitability (if it ever did); hence, they came up with a plan to help boost sales. I mean, let's face it, it's the same game. And I really do appreciate all the cool upgrades the next-gen iteration will get.
Still can't convince me it's worth $60.
Personal gaming update
My girlfriend and I are going through The Cave because she loves puzzle-based adventures like that. She's also playing Portal 2 single-player...I'll turn her into a gamer yet. ;) I'm back to GTAV after finishing up with Gran Turismo 6, and I'm very much looking forward to February. Thief is gonna rule! I'm also really interested to learn more about R.B.I. Baseball 14; the resurrection of that iconic IP is pretty awesome. I just hope they don't try to make it a simulator like The Show. We desperately need an over-the-top arcade-y sports game. There's a reason I played the hell out of that NBA Jam reboot; these days, that's what I want from my sports games.
Lastly, I'm of course excited about that Kickstarter campaign started by Final Fantasy Tactics director Yasumi Matsuno. Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians is probably the closest we'll ever get to FFT2. Sadly, I despise playing games on a smartphone or tablet, so I just have to hope it makes to the Vita. Unlikely, I know. But I can dream.
1/18/2014 Ben Dutka