Game-hunting has never been easier. A thousand ways are at our disposal to research a specific title, from magazine to on-line critique. But sometimes developers game the system to sell more copies, only for their game to turn out to be total crap. Here’s 9 signs a game will fail epically:
1. Promises, promises
Promises, promises. That’s all they are: promises. Created only to build up hype for a game, these sneaky developers often end up going back on them. Take, for example, No Man’s Sky, with their “built-in competitive mode”. In the end, we had to wait until one year ago to actually try it out! And even then, it was only implemented in a very basic manner.
2. Crazy as promotions
Trailers are often the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of hype builders. But never forget that one constant maxim of the video game industry: trailers always lie. Especially when they’re not of gameplay. Real-life enactments of the plot’s events always end up feeling a bit… forced, plus the fact that they probably should’ve spent the money on developing the game also comes to mind!
3. Not-So-Rave Early Reviews
The easiest way to judge a game is by looking at the reviews. And since early copies are often issued to known reviewers, if the majority says it’s crap, it’s crap. Save your money, fly to New York, eat some Katz’s delish pastrami with kosher pickles on the side. You’ll thank me later.
4. Suss Deals
For all you gamers out there with… er… sub-standard finances… you can’t really afford a lot of games. So you wait there, in your chair/beanbag/exercise ball for a promo to pop up! Ping! A game is 90% off! But how good is that game really if they’re selling it at such a loss?
5. They switch developers
Every game has a certain feel, and that’s thanks to the dedicated people who have walked the via dolorosa of developing it. But what happens when they’re replaced with another group of people, while equally dedicated, are alien to the subtleties and nuances of a franchise? Case in point: Harvest Moon, which has radically changed under Natsume directives than its original form when still in Marvelous Entertainment’s hands.
6. Too Many Quotes, Too Little Actual Reviews
Another “trailers always lie” point, this one concerns the over-abundance of cherry-picked quotes. “Game of the Year” and “A must-play” are strong sentiments, but who’s saying them, and have they got any proof to back their claims up? Stick to actual, fleshed-out reviews, not this.
7. Review Embargo-ing
Ben Kuchera of Polygon defines a review embargo as a ‘win-win’ arrangement whereby publishers and reviewers agree to postpone judgment on a game in exchange for an early copy of said game until it is officially released. Unfortunately, this non-disclosure provision is often misbrooked by companies in order to sell more pre-orders. For example, Ubisoft maintained a firm review embargo on Assassins Creed: Unity, well into 12 hours after its release! Cue the accusations of unethicality.
8. Rushed development
Fleshing out a game to its maximum potential is obviously the basic precept of video game development, but sometimes executive meddling and other Nasty Canastas can delay it or even stop development entirely! Take Assassins Creed: they took their sweet time with every title, except Unity. The bugs and performance issues in that mock-piece de resistance has made Ubisoft the laughingstock of the Internet! So remember, rushed development can make or break a game.
9. Announcing the new DLC and Season Pass when the game hasn’t even been released yet
Okay, this one is pretty self-explanatory. You see Game A selling for 30 dollars. All the cool kids are playing it, so you think, I need to get on that bandwagon! Boom, 30 dollars well-spent. But there are several key features missing! Boo. But then, two weeks later, you see a DLC to Game A. With all the missing features. 25 bucks? Hold my coffee. But surprise, surprise, DLC A is missing something too! Thus repeats the cycle with DLC B, DLC C, DLC D, etc.