While 2014 has brought forth some great games and tantalising information about future releases, it has already had its fair share of controversial headlines. From graphic downgrades, female troubles at Ubisoft and the usual load of bull, here’s the top 5 controversies of 2014.. so far (because we just know there’s going to be a lot more further down the line.)
5. Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes’ Story Length
When Hideo Kojima revealed that that Metal Gear Solid 5 would be split into two games, he was quick to inform that the first of these two games (Ground Zeroes) would serve as the tutorial to the new “open world” style for the series. What he didn’t mention, however, was just how brief the story of the game was.
Reports from Game Informer flooded in about how the game’s core missions (excluding side-missions and collectibles) could be completed in less than 2 hours which didn’t go down well with gamers at all. Many compared Ground Zeroes to the first Tanker mission in Metal Gear Solid 2 which came free with Kojima’s other project, Zone of Enders. Others began to lament that Kojima had lost his way by making gamers pay for a glorified demo of the much larger “The Phantom Pain”.
4. Ubisoft And Women
Ubisoft suffered a rather prompt fall from grace this year. After the wonderful presentation of Assassin’s Creed Unity at E3, the creative team spoke to Polygon and admitted that they had to cut the idea to have female assassins because it would be too much work, essentially “doubling the production”. Fellow gamers and game makers were quick to retaliate, saying that the claims were a bit ridiculous. Former Assassin’s Creed 3 animation director Johnathan Cooper wasn’t having any of it, saying that this work was not as difficult as you’d imagine.
After the negative feedback, Ubisoft were in hot water that just kept getting hotter. When Rainbox Six Siege was unveiled, journalists were quick to notice how the main “hostage” in the game was a woman and unleashed a barrage of articles criticizing it, with Tom McShea of Gamespot calling it “a sad situation in which she isn’t humanized at all, just a mindless trophy to be taken by whoever is most powerful.”
Ubisoft claimed that the move to have a female hostage would evoke a sense of responsibility for players. ” We wanted people to want to protect her.” They also commented that there will in fact be male hostages in-game. Whatever your opinion on the matter, you can’t deny that Ubisoft rubbed a lot of people the wrong way after E3 2014 with some controversial interviews and showcases.
3. PS Now Prices
The beta for PS Now, the upcoming streaming service from Sony, made a lot of headlines this year. Not for how brilliant or revolutionary it was but for how ridiculous the prices were to rent games, along with the fact that beta testers had to actually pay to play these games. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t a beta usually where the gamer plays the game/service for free, in order to help test out and give feedback of said game/service?
Anyways, Kotaku were quick to report how “insane” the prices were, with examples of how it’s actually cheaper to purchase a game than stream it via PS Now. While the PS Now prices are subject to change, the initial prices were far beyond what any frugal gamer was hoping for. The PS Now service also disappointed with hopes for a Netflix style streaming service, where you pay a monthly rate and stream as much as you want instead of paying for every single game.
2. Facebook Buys Oculus Rift
No one saw this one coming. In March this year, Facebook decided to acquire Oculus Rift VR technology, with Mark Zuckerberg commenting that it’s part of his mission to “make the world more open and connected.” The feedback from the deal? Incredibly negative across the board. Backers for the VR company flooded the Kickstarter page with negative comments about how the company had “sold out” to Facebook, hoping for a refund and overall, how the future of VR is looking less bright. Even Markus Persson (Notch), creator of Minecraft, reportedly bailed on a deal to bring Minecraft to Oculus because the whole Facebook acquisition corrupted the deal.
We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out. — Markus Persson (@notch) March 25, 2014
Despite the negative comments, the deal still went ahead. Things have been rather quiet between Facebook and Oculus since the deal but something is definitely in the pipeline for future technology.
1. Watch_Dogs Downgrade
When Watch_Dogs was revealed back in E3 2012, many were blown away with the potential the game had to do something different with the modern open world setting. It was Ubisoft’s turn to make their own “Grand Theft Auto” and have a new big franchise alongside Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry. However, Watch_Dogs was delayed multiple times and gamers noticed that the quality of the game had dipped considerably and no longer looked as “next-gen” as originally shown.Gamers were incredibly upset over this, claiming that this “next-gen” game looked like a poor man’s GTA IV.
To add even more fuel to the fire, PC modders uncovered the original graphics files for Watch Dogs which enabled much of the features seen in the original reveal. These features included overall graphic improvements, headlight shadows and reflection changes, to name a few. This lead to PC gamers accusing Ubisoft of intentionally downgrading the PC version, with the intention not to outperform the PS4/Xbox One versions which were supposedly “system sellers” for Sony/Microsoft. Ubisoft promptly denied this. Despite the major graphics controversy surrounding it, Watch_Dogs went on to sell 8 million units. However, it also taught a valuable lesson to gamers about “vertical slices” when it comes to game conferences, what you see is not always what you get.
2014 has already been an incredibly controversial year and we know that there’s a lot more quarrels out there that didn’t make the list. So be sure to let us know what you think are some of the big controversies of 2014 in the comments below.
This article is an opinion editorial, it does not represent the overall view of OnlySP.