5 Conclusions - 10/08/18

August 10, 2018
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A regular look at gaming-related stories from the past week or so whereby conclusions are drawn from anything and everything. These may be incredibly well reasoned based on events from the week. Alternatively, they may be highly speculative, drawn from very little evidence. More likely, they will be somewhere in between.

Conclusion One: Bethesda runs out of Steam

In a surprising move this week, Bethesda confirmed that the beta for Fallout 76 will not be available on Steam. According to the FAQ, the only way to get hold of the company's latest RPG is via Bethesda.net. And according to an email response received from PC Gamer, the game will not launch on Steam at all.

Why the snub? Most likely because — similar to EA's Origin — Bethesda wants people to move away from the Valve behemoth and use their own digital distribution platform. Whether this works or not is another matter: Fallout 76 has already been met with mixed responses due to its move away from traditional a single-player campaign to an online-only experience. Making those same gamers install yet another application to be able to get hold of a few games per year may prove to be a step too far — especially when many of Bethesda's games are already on Steam.

Is this a concerted move to cash in on launch day, or are they planning on doing away with Steam altogether? Given their history we suspect the former, but it's a gamble we're not sure is going to pay off and we fully expect Fallout 76 to be hitting Steam's storefront less than a year from launch.

Conclusion Two: Nintendo is just trolling everyone

Soon after you discovered gaming you’ll have heard about Nintendo. This quite possibly will have been many years ago when the current console from them was the NES, or perhaps the marvellous SNES. NES stands for Nintendo Entertainment System, with a "Super" on the follow-up console. NES is pronounced "NEZZ", or at least I thought so, and so did pretty much every other person in the world except for a minority who believed it was "NESS".

According to Nintendo, it is the latter.

Nintendo first released the NES in 1983. So for thirty-five years they have said nothing. Not overtly, at least. Somewhere along the line however they did provide the world with the above image and it tells us the NES is pronounced "NESS". They are just trolling us. This means the SNES is pronounced "SNESS" which is ludicrous given it starts with an S sound.

I am not a teacher and I do not pertain to have any expertise in phonetics, but seriously? No, it can’t be — so it must be Nintendo having some fun.

Conclusion Three: How to defeat the launch and leave lifecycle of a single-player game

It’s a challenge. Games are talked about in advance of launch and if we’re talking about big AAA titles, there will often be a lot of coverage of one kind or another. Then the reviews come and the game is a masterpiece. Take God of War, for example. It gets the gaming public totally psyched for the game. Then you have release and everyone plays it, loves it, completes it and leaves it. Some might play again, or go for completeness but then? Game over, man.

Unless you have a sneaky plan to wait around three or four months before introducing the New Game +. In the case of the aforementioned Boy: The Norse Edition  we’re getting this as a free patch four months after it first came out. Enough time has passed for even the most ardent fan to have moved on. This will bring folk back, but crucially it will also bring new gamers to the party, which means more sales and more revenue. Strategically if you can engage gamers the first time, regain them later and use all of this to inspire them to stay with you (for the sequel in this case), you’re going to smash whatever targets you had when the actual software is of this quality.

Other games have followed this model recently, with The Witcher 3 sticking in my mind. It’s a ploy. There’s not likely to be much reason it couldn’t come with the game at launch, even allowing for the dev time. Maybe that is an issue. Either way, it makes total business sense to delay the NG+. This is how you defeat the launch and leave cycle of all single-player games where the end of the game is the end game, until you can play it again, but differently.

Conclusion Four: German gaming is now a (slightly) more equal medium

Germany has had an uneasy relationship with gaming, ever since Wolfenstein 3D made the headlines in the 90s with its depiction of Mecha-Hitler, leading to a court ruling which altered the entire industry. Symbols associated with Nazism and WWII have since been heavily modified or removed altogether in games, which is at odds with the way in which other mediums such as TV and film are treated. In short, gaming was given short shrift, and the likes of Wolfenstein: The New Order and its sequel The New Colossus had swastikas and SS symbols changed completely.

Now though, Germany has had a change of heart. Going forward, the USK - the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body - will assess each game featuring themes and symbols deemed "unconstitutional" and determine if they have an artistic or scientific purpose in their depiction of historical events. If so, they will be treated like other games and submitted for age rating. While there is no guarantee the likes of Wolfenstein would still pass this new assessment, it is still a big step for the country since it means that gaming will be considered (almost) on a par with other mediums in its depiction of Germany's darkest period — and that freedom of expression is worth celebrating.

Conclusion Five: Book a week’s holiday from the 26th October NOW

We have talked about how there’s no point being any game but Red Dead Redemption 2 on October 26th, and probably for some time thereafter, too. Well today this message was reinforced with a gameplay video displaying around six minutes of Rockstar doing the end of the Wild West.

 

Rockstar games are the biggest events in the whole world of gaming. Whether you personally enjoy them, love them or hate them, it’s impossible to objectively say anything other than these are the biggest things in our preferred medium, and as such the gaming population and the world as a whole will take note. Get ready for it by planning your life around it now. At Jump Dash Roll we cannot wait for it.

Rob Kershaw

I've been gaming since the days of the Amstrad. Huge RPG fan. Planescape: Torment tops my list, but if a game tells a good story, I'm interested. Absolutely not a fanboy of any specific console or PC - the proof is in the gaming pudding. Also, I like cake.