When it comes to gaming journalism, ethics are generally lacking across the board. We’ve seen writers fired for giving negative reviews to heavily publicised games. Websites have exchanged great scores for early access (as seen in the Drivergate scandal). And well, if GamerGate proved anything, it’s that a lot of journalists seem to band together like an internet fraternity. That gaming journalists have almost become an internet priesthood dedicated to protecting its own.
In a world like that, a media controversy in the world of gaming journalism is almost irrelevant. I mean, how can you possibly top fired reviewers or dodgy scores?
Well, by taking down negative review scores on behalf of the game publisher, that’s how! Which is exactly what The Sixth Axis did with their NBA 2K18 score after 2K games got in touch.
That’s because (as you may know), NBA 2K18 is a bit of a trainwreck. It’s got save files that are far bigger than they have any need to be. It’s plagued with poor game design elements like artificial difficulty. And like so many triple A games nowadays, it’s filled to the brim with microtransactions and pay to win gameplay elements.
So, the The Sixth Axis’ reviewer slapped the game with a deserving 3/10 score. Exactly what you’d expect for a poorly designed game like this.
But obviously not a score that sat well with 2K Games. As a result, the company contacted The Sixth Axis to ‘discuss’ the review, leading to the score being removed from the article in exchange for a note saying the following:
Update: In discussion with 2K Games, we’ve temporarily removed the score pending a statement with regard to our criticisms, at which point it will be reinstated. Additionally, a draft conclusion was posted that incorrectly characterised our score as a protest vote, and has been reworded to reflect that our criticisms are rooted in the effect that VC and microtransactions have on the gameplay.
It’s extremely dodgy on every level. What’s more, it’s not a change the actual writer had any say in either. Oh no, 2K games just went straight to his editor, as he mentioned himself on NeoGAF:
Hello. Reviewer here. After review went live I’ve had no direct contact with 2K, instead their PR is chatting with my editor. All I know is that 2K are to issue a statement of some sort regarding issues raised in the review. Of course, the real issue is what updates the 2K18’s VC system gets. Just think of this as a review now in progress. If things remain unchanged so will my opinion.
So not only have we got a site removing scores because of negative from the publisher, but they’re not even working with the actual writers when they do so. Real respectful guys! How nice of you to annoy your reviewers by editing their work behind their back.
It’s really bad news all round really. And you know what else it is?
When it comes to difficulty settings in games, there are hundreds of ways mechanics can be handled to make things more interesting. You can merely up the enemy health or damage, like in Mario & Luigi Dream Team or most Zelda games.
You can change a couple of thousand variables to make things annoying, like in Super Smash Bros Brawl’s Subspace Emissary mode.
Heck, you can even redesign the entire game to suit the new difficulty. Like in Ocarina of Time 3D with its Master Quest mode, or the classic NES title with its second quest.
But one thing these games don’t do on difficulty settings is change how your character actually looks. They change everything else sure, and occasionally an extra mode adds a joke character for laughs (like Tofu in the Resident Evil games). But for the most part, character design remains unchanged throughout difficulty modes.
However, that’s not the case in South Park the Fractured But Whole! Oh no, in this game, the creators have decided to do something extremely controversial for the difficulty modes.
Namely, they’re changing the skin colour of your character the higher you ratchet up the difficulty slider. Put simply, the harder the difficulty, the darker their skin colour will be in the game. Here’s a video showing it in action:
As you can tell, it’s an… interesting system. After all, it’s clearly making a political point about racial inequality (since black characters have a harder time in game than white ones), and they’ve definitely tried to reflect that in the design. For instance, enemy health and damage doesn’t go up with difficulty increases, but the amount of money you get in game does decrease. This aims to mirror what it’d be like growing up in a struggling household without much in the way of immediate job prospects.
Add how the game changes the way you’re referred to based on your skin colour (to try and show racism from the characters in universe), and you’ve certainly got a creative set up for a difficulty slider.
Back in 2011, Rockstar and Team Bondi released a game called LA Noire. Set in Los Angeles in the 1940s, the game tried to merge detective fiction with an open world setting, complete with cases to solve and perps to question.
It was an interesting game really, and it did pretty well on the market. However, with Team Bondi’s development practices coming under fire and the game design not quite matching that of GTA or Red Dead Redemption, it faded into the background shortly after.
But it seems it’s making a comeback! Why? Because as the title suggests, the game is being remade for current gen consoles like the PS4 and Nintendo Switch. Here’s a tweet confirming it by Nintendo UK on Twitter:
So, what’s included here?
Well for the Switch version, it’s your typical extra control mechanics. You’ve got gyro controls with the Joy-Cons. There are touch screen controls when playing in handheld mode.
And there are some minor additional bits in game, like extra camera angles. No, I’m not quite sure what they mean by that one either.
For the PS4 and Xbox One on the other hand, it’s really more of an upscaled port than anything else. The textures are upgraded, the lighting effects are made better and in their own words… they’ve now got ‘enhanced clouds’. It’s your typical video remaster really, with the changes basically existing as a way to justify not putting it on PSN/Xbox Live.
Finally, there’s also a VR version for the HTC Vive too. This one is simplified to fit the hardware (only 7 cases are included overall), but it provides a way to experience the title in a virtual reality set up none the less.
And that’s it really. A few system specific features, some upgrades to camera angles and resources as well as a new version to show off VR tech. It’s not the biggest set of changes in the world, but it works well enough for this game. Especially given how Nintendo fans haven’t experienced the game at all by this point.
But enough of that. What does this all mean for the brand as a whole?
Well, a few things really. Firstly, it shows Rockstar are willing to give the Nintendo Switch a chance in general. That’s great news for Nintendo fans, and means it’s not completely unlikely that their more hyped games (like GTA and Red Dead Redemption 2) could be heading to the console themselves further down the line.
It also means that LA Noire as a brand isn’t dead. Which again is great news for those who enjoyed the original game, since we’ve heard basically nothing about it for the last 6 years at this point. So, there’s now the possibility that if it does well here, an actual LA Noire 2 game could be in the pipeline at some point.
Either way, LA Noire is being released for Switch (and other modern systems) on November 14th 2017. So, are you buying it? Does the idea of Rockstar possibly releasing games on Nintendo systems get you hyped up enough to give it a chance?
Or are you waiting for other games by the company to come out on the system instead?
Post your thoughts here or on the Gaming Latest forums today!
Back in August, Capcom released Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 to the world. A collection of the later Mega Man games (aka 7, 8, 9 and 10), the game was released on all the major platforms. PS4, Xbox One, PC… it was released on them all.
Well, all except the Switch that is. Because for whatever reason, this is what they had to say on the possibility of a Switch release:
There are no plans for a Nintendo Switch version at this time
Yep, just that. In one sentence, they’ve shot down the possibility of a Switch port and stated they have no plans to port the game to the system.
And it’s quite baffling to be honest. I mean, what is Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 anyway?
A simple compilation of later Mega Man games. Just one SNES game, one PS1 game and two retraux games designed in the style of the NES titles.
So that’s not exactly something that would strain Nintendo’s system. Nor is it something that’d take too much time to port over. Or fail to sell, given how many Mega Man fans own Nintendo systems.
But hey, it is what it is I guess. Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 isn’t coming to Switch, and that’s that.
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 Interview (Technobuffalo)
As of this point in time, quite a few people want to see Okami on modern consoles. After all, it looks amazing, with a visual style that seems almost perfect for a Wind Waker style reimagining. It plays well, getting near unanimous praise on its initial release.
And well, the game has stirred up quite the cult fandom over time. In that sense, it’s almost like Capcom’s Psychonauts or something. Namely, a classic beloved by everyone who played it.
Yet despite that, the chances of said game being ported have always seemed fairly slim. After all, Okami wasn’t the biggest seller in the world, and Capcom barely remembers their lesser known franchises now.
In a world where even Mega Man seems to have been neglected, what chance has Okami got of seeing another rerelease?
Well, a better chance than before anyway. That’s because as the title suggests, evidence has now popped up that Okami HD could be coming to the PS4 and Xbox One on the 12th of December 2017. This evidence is from various video game retailers, who have data for that exact title on their systems right now.
That’s good news if true, especially given how amazing the PS3/Xbox 360 remaster of Okami really looks.
But is it actually true?
Well, it’s hard to tell.
On the one hand, you have to keep in mind that Okami really didn’t do well in terms of sales. Seriously, it was one of the biggest disasters Capcom ever had. All those positive reviews absolutely failed to translate to financial success on any platform.
As a result, you have to ask whether they’d even consider remaking it again. I mean, it was released on the PS2 and failed. It was released on the Wii and failed.
And while remaster sales figures don’t seem to be online anywhere, it’s likely they weren’t utterly amazing.
So, in that sense, you have to ask yourself whether Nintendo would port it to even more consoles. It’s certainly good enough to deserve a port for sure, but Capcom isn’t a charity. Heck, they barely remember Mega Man exists, let alone stuff like Ghosts ‘n Goblins and Viewtful Joe. Are they really going to remaster it again for more modern platforms?
It’s a bit doubtful there. It seems like a poor move from the company on a business level.
Yet at the same time, it also seems fairly plausible in other ways. After all, they did port it all these times already, and the data is in retailers’ systems.
So there’s evidence of both Capcom supporting the title and of its existence in some form.
And when you add how it’s likely just an upscaling of the original HD remaster, that makes it far more ‘likely’ than a lot of other rumoured games.
That makes evidence of a port or remaster more convincing than usual.
But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens for the time being. The evidence on both sides is just too evenly matched for a simple yes or no answer.
Still, what do you think? Would you want to see Okami HD on PS4 and Xbox One? Is the game even a plausible idea?
Post your thoughts on that (and more) here in the comments or on the Gaming Latest forums today!
Report: Okami HD Heading to PS4 and Xbox One (Kotaku)