Top 10 Video Game Controversies of 2019Well, it's been another great year for video games. The remake of Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening was actually fun, Koji Igarashi delivered on his promise of a Metroidvania successor and a few others. However, there have been some questionable decisions by the gaming companies over the year. Here's ten to get started and I'll let you dear readers voice your own opinions.
The Top Ten
Sometime in October 2019, Blizzard Entertainment banned eSports player Ng Wai Chung, best known as Blitzchung, over his vocal support of Hong Kong's liberation. The following day, Blizzard announced that Blitzchung would be banned from Grandmaster tournaments for one year and would forefeet his prize money. The public backlash was very profound and the launch party for Overwatch on Nintendo Switch to be held in New York City was cancelled. Even U.S. Senators and other Congressmen got involved. Afterwards, Blizzard halved Blitzchung's ban to six months and allowed him to keep his prize money. But the biggest insult came when Blizzard President J. Allen Brack gave what had to be the most hollow apology on record. Ouch.
Blitzchung did nothing wrong. Sad how companies sell out to the Chinese government and throw out any values. Free Hong Kong.
Fallout 76 has got to be Bethesda's biggest embarrassment to date and the problems just keep on coming. First, the wearable helmet was found out to become moldy sometime in September of 2019. This forced massive recalls. Then sometime in October of 2019, Bethesda announced a paid subscription service called Fallout 1st. For $12.99/month or $99.99/year, players would get access to many bonuses including a scrap box which allowed them to store as much stuff as they wanted, private servers where only you and your friends could play, a monthly allowance of 1650 atoms and exclusive items and discounts. However, the scrap box would actually delete your loot, losing it forever and the private servers were anything but. Oh, Bethesda. You were once a well-respected company. But take a look at yourself in the mirror now.
When I was a wee lad, the only way games could do permanent damage to my system was if they were so hard, they made me smash them out of pure rage. But times have changed as Anthem has proven. Shortly after launch, there were numerous reports of their consoles and PCs being bricked. That is to say, rendered unusable. What was suppose to make up for "Mass Effect: Andromeda" only added fuel to the fire for Bioware. Furthermore, whatever road map was planned was abandoned. This is what happens when a game doesn't enter development stage until eighteen months before launch.
Let's be honest; the Google Stadia is an impressive looking piece of technology. The ability to stream video games without the use of a console sounds like a dream come true. But while the thing may work for some people, I believe the biggest problem the Stadia has as of this writing are the games on offer. It had 22 games to offer and that might sound like quite a bit, but when you compare it to other streaming services like xCloud and their 53 games on offer, there's just no comparison. In the words of Chris Carter from Destructoid: "Stadia needs to ramp up now, not later. "It works" isn't a competitive edge."
While the original Super Mario Kart hasn't aged very well, I'll still take it over this insipid mobile dreck any day. It's considered one of the worst games of 2019 and yet, it could've been one of the best. However, that's not the case. For starters, you only need one finger to steer, accelerate and brake. It's as flimsy as you can imagine. And then there's (you guessed it)…..MICROTRANSACTIONS! For $5/month, players could access additional karts, racers and the 200cc circuit. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. But probably the biggest stupor is that it has no real online multiplayer. That's basically one of the Mario Kart's series most important aspects, if not THE most important. It's just CPU racers with usernames on it. Need I say more?
I never really played this, but I know a few people that did that hated the whole transaction on a phone idea right off the bat.
While Pokémon Sword and Shield might be great games, there's one aspect about it that really irks many fans of the franchise; no National Dex. In fact, almost half of the old Pokémon were left out. According to game producer Junichi Masuda, it was a difficult decision but the resources needed to bring around 1000 Pokémon onto the cards was too demanding. Despite numerous protests from fans, the chances of Game Freak about-facing on their decision are very slim.
When the trailer for the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog film dropped in Spring 2019, many fans were horrified and angered over his initial design. Unlike the handsome blue blur you see next to this paragraph, he looked nothing like his video game counterpart. For starters, he was tall and lanky, his face wasn't what you see here and he didn't have gloves. It also didn't help that the choice soundtrack was Gansta Paradise by Coolio. Thankfully, Paramount delayed the movie to February 2020 to give the team time to redesign the character and fans were a lot happier.
Thank god for the remake but still why does this need to exist? When has a video game movie ever done well?
Summer of 2018. I'll never forget it. It was then that the then new president of Sony Kenichiro Yoshida established new censorship guidelines for any games released on the PlayStation. It started with the cancelled localization of Omega Labyrinth Z and then games such as Dead Or Alive: Scarlett and Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal were then affected. In fact, it's the primary reason why Senran Kagura producer Kenichiro Takaki decided to leave Marvelous when his work is done. In August of 2019, D3 released Omega Labyrinth Life for the Nintendo Switch and the Sony PlayStation 4. Despite the uncensored Switch version selling 3x the copies, Sony continued to push their censorship policies on other games like Devil May Cry 5 and Terminator: Resistance. It's only a matter of time before this causes their profit margins to dwindle big time.
When done right, remakes can take what made the original good and make it better, take the bad and either fix it or omit it and add new features to make the original obsolete. At first, the remake of Crash Team Racing won over many, from newcomers to longtime fans. However, players became suspicious because the number of Wumpa Coins needed to purchase goodies were very high compared to what you won in the races and rumors began speculating that the game would have microtransactions. And sadly, a few months later, their fears were confirmed. This angered a lot of fans who decided to ditch the remake and look on eBay for copies of the original PlayStation 1 version.
For many years, Valve's Steam store was the go-to place for buying and downloading video games straight to your computer. However, Epic Games decided to launch their own such store on December 6, 2018. Needless to say, their games on offer pale in comparison to what Steam has on offer. In order to drum up revenue, Epic Games decided to secure the exclusive PC rights for well-received games such as Metro: Exodus, The Outer Worlds and Borderlands 3. There are rumors that the publishers didn't give Epic Games exclusivity of their own free will and that Epic Games strong-armed them. Players are still hoping that these games don't stay as exclusives forever.