2016 might not have been the best year. In fact, that’s probably not an unfair statement at all, with a relatively lacklustre slate of game releases. Rather than taking a look at these, instead I want to examine several narratives that swept the gaming world this year. Let’s talk about stories. Small stories or big stories, here are some of the most fascinating things that happened in our nerdy world.
Overkill reclaims Payday 2
Just over a year ago, a big update hit Payday 2, which added one helluva microtransaction cash grab economy to the game, requiring players to purchase “drills” in order to open up “loot safes” and receive in-game items. This was met by an understandable amount of frustration from the game’s longtime fans. While this debacle was incredibly public, the aftermath was less so. Starbreeze Studios acquired the Payday franchise from 505 Games on May 30th last year, and promptly following the game dropped the entire micro-transaction system. The controversial monetization scheme would seem to have been yet another case of greedy publishers strong-arming their developers. Whether Overkill can overcome all this controversy is the real question now.
When Gearbox Software revealed Battleborn, people were like “yeah ok.” But when Gearbox Software decided that they wanted to pit their cute little game up against Overwatch by turning it into a competitive hero-shooter instead of just a mindless, shooty co-op game, people were like “ok nah.” Battleborn is the result of when a director doesn’t have the balls to tell someone when they have a bad idea, so they just put every single goddamn idea in the game anyway only to find out that none of it even works. As of the moment of this writing only 300 people played Battleborn in the past 24 hours. Holy shit.
Hungrybox Winning Evo 2016
The Evolution Championship Series has been host to some of the most insane narratives in the Fighting Game Community for as long as eSports has been a thing in gaming. This is when the world has their eyes on fighting games. This is where the prestige, and the production value goes. The biggest, most shared moment of Evo this year was seconds after Grand Finals in Super Smash Bros. Melee. After a third place finish in 2013, and second place two years in a row, Team Liquid’s Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma took home the gold. The reaction, and pure emotion on his face is extremely powerful. It’s a testament to how much this victory means to him, and how hard he fought for all these years to take 1st place.
The Biggest eSports Prize Ever
The International for Dota 2 is renowned for having an absolutely gargantuan prize pool each and every year, and they definitely did not disappoint this year. With a final groundbreaking prize pool of $20,770,460, TI6 broke records once again. I would like to repeat: that was a 20 million dollar gaming event.
No Man’s Sky… just in general
Ahh, No Man’s Sky. Where do we even start? This is what happens when a humble project spirals out of control. When what was originally going to be an independent exploration game got funding directly from Sony and hyped up to be an expansive universe simulator that is TOTALLY MULTIPLAYER, FOR REAL GUYS ended up being a shallow, repetitive lazer pointing simulator, things didn’t go so well. Whether it’s the fact that within two weeks 90% of the players had completely dropped the game, that it has become one of the lowest rated games on Steam, or that the official Hello Games twitter one day posted “No Man’s Sky was a mistake.”
Ark: survival Evolved forgot DLC comes after release
When the developers of Ark: Survival Evolved announced the “Scorched Earth” expansion for their game for $20, you might wonder what is so controversial about that at first… until you realize the game is still an Early Access title. While not even yet a finished game, the developers have chosen to charge for an expansion. While the developers have responded with a feasible explanation as for why on the backend side of things… why did they have to charge for it?
Kojima finally got his trophy
After being removed in one of the most high-profile, yet simultaneously secretive, firings in gaming in recent years, Kojima has been swinging back. At The Game Awards 2015, when Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain won Best Action/Adventure and it was Keifer Sutherland collecting the trophy and not Hideo Kojima, the host of the show Geoff Keighley had to step in to let everyone know that Konami had actually legally intervened to prevent Kojima from attending The Game Awards. One year later however, Kojima took the stage to finally grab his trophy in a sweet moment of redemption and a last “Fuck you” to Konami.
Something great happen last year that I missed here? Leave us a comment below, or tweet @n3rdabl3 and let us know what you think was particularly interesting! It was a long year and a lot happened, but these stories stood out specifically so to me.