Every so often we hear ‘PC Gaming is dying!’ from big brands and game publishers.
To me, that’s not the case, it just seems ironic that the publishers who say that bring out the same games on a yearly/6 monthly basis.
‘6 months between this and the last game in the franchise’ you ask? Is it possible? Sometimes yes and no. We see some reviews from certain games, lets say ‘something something 3’ actually crashes with ‘SomethingSomething2.exe has crashed etc..’ .. So they’ve used all of the old game and just changed some textures, texts and scripts?.. Well that’s annoying.
‘But the tech we use is next generation, we can reuse it again again..’ and will.. non stop. If its next generation and all the same engine why not have it as instalments instead of milking full price from your audience. And why does it still crash? Why is it full of hacks and cheats? Fortunately its not all gloom.
When it Goes right..
When I started on-line PC gaming, all we had was Unreal Tournament. Looks basic now, but not only did if offer a solid on-line competitive play system, it simulated it offline with bots. It was part of a series what launched the Unreal Engine, provided documents and tools to learn how the engine works and the developer even ran a few fully funded competitions which encouraged people to modify the game to win a license to make their own content/game titles.
Why is this relevant? Well Epic Games, who developed the Unreal Engine have reason to celebrate about their creation. They don’t have to make games any more thanks to the way it’s picked up. Unreal Engine 4 is just out, Other developers are using it to create realistic looking worlds in 4k resolutions. It already has VR support in Occulus Rift systems.
How did their franchise go right? Well After Unreal, and Unreal Tournament came Unreal 2 and Unreal Tournament 2003. The looks and gameplay were there.. But the game had clearly been made with consoles in mind with simplified menu and controls and limited graphics options. This is where I left the franchise and moved onto dedicated PC games like Enemy Territory and Guild Wars. The Unreal Engine developer continued with their aim at consoles with Gears of War, won awards and got that franchise to 3 games.. (magic number.. 3, not 6 or 8.. THREE!) and again tried their hands at fixing Unreal Tournament with UT3, alas old players remember the clunkiness of the previous attempts and mostly avoided, this was the last Unreal named game.
The Developers looked at how well GoW done, and assessed what was good about Unreal, and found the Engine works well, it supports great graphics and mechanics and other games developers use it to produce brilliant games. They decided to have this as their core product, Even though the franchise what made it their thing died, it’s not being beaten like a dead horse.
When it Goes wrong..
Now for the part the cynic in me has been gearing up for.. I’m calling you out Battlefield and Call of Duty. Every time I hear of another one of these my heart sinks and I get gloomy over PC Gaming..
Please just stop. You both have the majority of PC gamers and console players playing your flagship games. But you are taking the mickey a bit with your badly worked constantly released ‘new versions’. People want variety, changes.. Yes running about gaining medals and experience shooting up objectives, fighting each other is fun.. Paying £60 for a reworked, renamed version of the same thing we all paid £60 for last year isn’t.
This is what’s killing PC Gaming. There’s no inspiration when stuff like this happens. People can’t afford to keep up with this scale, and when they do they are disappointed.. Especially 7 months on and it’s still very buggy!
The only good thing this is doing is helping the independent game makers out their get more noticed. Maybe publishers should take a hard look at the indy’s and help them out with getting noticed.. And that does not mean buying them out and taking their ideas.
.. Anyway.. Some good news!
The first game I ever played was Wolfenstein3D, Its a pretty long franchise too.. But another success story as they have a long development window. First game was late 1990’s and had a few addons and spinoffs.. Hell that started a whole genre of games! I’m pretty sure there was an earlier version in text form for older systems..
I think the next one came out 2002, and spawned another set of genre and objective based on-line play. Another standalone adventure in 2009.
This year we see not only a new engine, completely new storyline and universe based on its original, humble beginnings. From the screenshots of Wolfenstein: The New Order and videos it looks good, and due to be released at the end of the month already shows a high interest level. In fact, we’ve been asked to design some machines based on the recent system requirements for it!
Another exciting franchise is Fallout.. But there’s lessons to be learnt with that too with a new one being teased and the fans whipping their selves into a frenzy whenever anyone says the name. Recently a site appeared what looked like the start of an Augmented Reality Game advertising it, Unfortunately turn out to be a very good hoax.
The Too Long, Didn’t Read part..
This is mainly aimed at the users who say ‘PC gaming is dead’ or ‘There’s nothing worth playing on PC’ and THEN goes and buys Battlefield or Call of Duty when ever a new one is released.
Since they won’t stop making Battlefield or Call of Duty.. Just stop buying them. There’s better stuff out there than the yearly instalment of Call of Battlefield meh’s.