Gamers are a greedy, fickle bunch, and we love nothing more than having our cake and eating it too. For every developer or publisher that tries to please us by making a fan-service game or getting sequels out faster, there’s thousands of gamers who will flock to the forums decrying the release dates and the addition of rainbows.
While gamer hypocrisy has been on the rise for a long time, it’s reached a critical mass within the last few years. Come inside and take a journey as we discover the top six things gamers said they really wanted, but actually didn’t.
Halo Set on Earth
Ever since the 2005 E3 demo of Halo 2, people have been left salivating, wondering what a Halo game taking place on our blue marble would be like. Finally, in 2009, Bungie answered our demands…with ODST. While some thought the game was decent, the greater public opinion was that the title was a quick cash-in looking to bank on the Halo name and the nerd-boner worthy voice cast. Small additions like the cool VISR mode and Firefight did placate fans, but the fact that the latter didn’t have matchmaking pissed more people off than not. What we wanted was Master Chief stomping around Earth smashing alien skulls; what we got was Nathan Fillion smarming his way through chatty orange midgets.
For years, the bane of many a gamer has been the long time between sequels and anticipated games. Waiting three of four years just wouldn’t cut it for us, and the publishers wanted to get products out faster to pad their bottom line every year. While it may seem that a sequel to a successful franchise within a year is a dream come true, the minute Activision announced that they had annualized Call of Duty, or Valve and Ubisoft declared a year turn around for their Left 4 Dead and Assassin’s Creed series, gamers went bananas. Never mind that the Madden franchise had been doing this for years, these were games for the hardcore, not the frat boys! Well too bad, sonny. Be careful what you wish for.
Here’s another puzzler for you: why do gamers always say they want developers to change things up, and then the moment they do, gamers pine for the days gone by. Take Mass Effect 2 and Halo: Reach, for example. With Mass Effect one, people thought it was a great game, but the inventory was buggy, slow to utilize and just plain broken. When Mass Effect 2 came out, people wondered where their clunky inventory had gone. It’s like they were expecting the game to be flawed! The same goes for Halo: Reach. After years of essentially the same gameplay, Bungie decided to mix it up and add Armor Abilities and bloom (a recoil mechanic) to their game. Instead of embracing these new ideas, those who felt slighted flocked to the Bungie forums to bemoan the changes.
At the beginning of this generation, people seemed hyped about the possibilities that Downloadable Content (DLC) would bring. With Microsoft and Sony’s platforms Internet enabled and gamers bursting at the seams to continue adventures beyond what was on the discs, DLC seem poised to revolutionize the industry…and then we all realized that nobody knew how to price DLC worth a damn. After Microsoft’s first venture into that territory with Horse Armor for Oblivion failed, DLC pricing has been all over the place, from ten greenbacks for the excellent Undead Nightmare to fifteen dollars for a few Call of Duty maps. With pricing this erratic, gamer favor quickly turned away from Downloadable Content.
The other side effect of Internet enabled consoles was the advent of multiplayer where gamers typically did not have it before. While PC gamers had been obliterating each other online since the early days of Quake, console gamers didn’t really have full, unfettered (subscription issues aside) access to online frag-fests until this generation. Since the technology was there, developers started deciding that every game should have a multiplayer component. Gamers were all for this until they realized that games whose strength was primarily in the single-player focus (BioShock and Assassin’s Creed) would be up for conversion into arenas for the legions of foul-mouthed twelve year olds that plague every console. While gamers complained and moaned about developers ruining their favorite games, it conspired that the multiplayer portions of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and BioShock 2 weren’t all that bad.
It seems that for every game that has a long tutorial or one that offers a Super Guide to beat the level for you, gamers wax nostalgic about the “old days” when you couldn’t save your game and had to beat it in one sitting or when games would trash you over and over without you having the slightest idea why. As gamers seemed to be a bunch of hardcore difficulty thumpers, some developers like Codemasters and From Software said “You want hard games? Here, take Flashpoint and Demon’s Souls.” Once gamers got their hands on titles like these, you’d think the apocalypse had come. Flashpoint sucked in Call of Duty players with its similar presentation but its realistic leanings scared everyone off, and Demon’s Souls was characterized by an alarming lack of hand-holding and rampant player deaths. Gamers may say that they’re tired of developers building games for noobies, but given how many of them whine about Call of Duty on Veteran, I’d say that gamers are firmly entrenched in their ways.
So there it is, the gamer tendency to ask for things and then change their mind the minute they get them laid bare. Can you think of any more examples where the developers played to the tune gamers were calling and then got lambasted for their trouble? Go!