The struggle for conviction and atonement of sins.
We recall those without whom the year 2018 in the industry would be quite different. All of them were marked by different, but positive actions, and in many respects thanks to them the past 12 months will be remembered.
Head of Hazelight Studios Yousef Fares became known in late 2017, after his loud performance at The Game Awards, during which he sent the Oscar, cursed and cursed Electronic Arts. All this was part of the publishing plan – the company made a bet on the charisma of the game designer in the A Way Out marketing campaign. And not lost.
At the beginning of 2018, the attention of the press and players was riveted on the eccentric developer: the media interviewed him, users of social networks expressed their admiration for him. Fares himself continued to please the audience with biting statements . Under the wing of a large corporation, he, in fact, spoke in the voice of the players, not being embarrassed in expressions and talking about what the public was worried about.
At the same time, criticizing lootboxes in unison with consumers, Fares also tried to defend EA. “Misses happen at every publisher,” he said, adding that the most important thing is good games. His A Way Out, apparently, turned out to be just that. Designed exclusively for a cooperative, it received 78 points on Metacritic and in the first two weeks it sold millions of copies, while the publisher planned to sell only 900 thousand for the whole time.
The founder of the Warhorse studio, which released the role-playing game Kingdom Come: Deliverance, in 2018, it seems, declared war on the liberal public. He did this, however, not out of malice, but in attempts to preserve the historical authenticity of his game. So at least he spoke himself.
The origins of the conflict, as a result of which Vavru was called “racist” and “woman-hater,” should be sought back in 2014, when the game designer had a dialogue with the MedievalPOC blog on blacks in medieval art in Europe. Then the media began to speak negatively about the game, and in September, the developer spoiled his reputation even more in the eyes of journalists, speaking in support of the GamerGate movement.
The scandal continued until the release of Kingdom Come and even after it. In 2018, the ResetEra administration banned users from supporting Vavra’s point of view. Kingdom Come: Deliverance itself has surpassed the expectations of developers, having sold out in the first week with a circulation of one million copies. The success of the game was another reason for the press to remind about the “conservative views” of its author – it is to them, according to Neetan Grayson from Kotaku, she is obliged to high sales.
However, the players themselves praised Kingdom Come: Deliverance is not at all for the lack of blacks in it, but for realism and the very historical authenticity. Vavra was able to prove that the frankly niche hardcore RPG will have its own audience. Because of this, he even got on the cover of the Czech Forbes.
Vavra continues to pay for his judgments, which he boldly expresses, both at the end of the year and even when it is not related to Kingdom Come. On December 27, for example, his Facebook account was blocked
My Facebook account was blocked for three days due to the fact that I posted a sarcastic joke that showed the Czech people as Neanderthals (in the eyes of Eurocrats) before joining the European Union. Perhaps because it “offends” Neanderthals (already extinct). Of course, some snitch should have brought me.
If Daniel Wavre still managed to make his “dream game”, then the ambitions of Hello Games creative director Sean Murray played a cruel joke with him. Presenting No Man’s Sky in 2013, he made many rash promises. As a result, the game came out quite different from what it imagined, and Murray himself was dubbed a liar.
The developer “disappeared” – he stopped communicating with journalists and players. However, Hello Games continued to finish No Man’s Sky, releasing free updates. In the summer of 2018, the largest of them came out – NEXT, which, in particular, added the promised multiplayer to the game.
On the eve of the release of the supplement, Murray returned to the public field and began to give interviews. The developer acknowledged that his studio does not support the game for altruistic reasons, but because it continues to generate revenue. Nevertheless, the very fact that two years after the release of No Man’s Sky still became similar to that shown in 2013 is indicative.
Thanks to NEXT, the game returned to the top of sales on Steam again , “positive” reviews from users fell down, and Murray himself seemed to have rehabilitated himself before the players. After NEXT for No Man’s Sky, two more updates came out, which brought her closer to the “dream game”.
Cory Barlog has worked on the God of War series since the second part, but he fully headed the development of only the 2018 game. Despite significant changes in both gameplay and tone, players and critics greeted the next chapter of Kratos’s adventures more than favorably – she received 94 points on Metacritic, becoming the highest rated PlayStation exclusive 4.
Barlog himself became the “face” of the game. Both before and after the release, he talked a lot about the difficulties of development and responded to the criticism of the audience. In April, the developer posted a video in which he cries with happiness, reading the first reviews of God of War.
Significant here is that the AAA game has a human face. Not someone whom the audience “lets the dogs down” on, but someone whom she admires and genuinely rejoices in his success.
In mid-October, Rockstar co-founder Dan Hauser found himself at the center of the scandal, recklessly stating that the studio employees had to work 100 hours a week several times a year. For these words, both other developers and the press attacked him, forcing the head of the company to explain what was said.
Hauser assured that it was not about all the employees, but only about himself and the three main scriptwriters, but the extensive investigation of Kotaku editor Jason Schreier suggested the opposite. In this case, it came out three days before the release of Red Dead Redemption 2.
Such attention to Rockstar could turn into a marketing catastrophe, comparable to the scandal around Battlefield V, and have a negative impact on sales, but the studio emerged from the conflict as the winner.
Immediately after the release, RDR 2 set a record for the weekend among all media products, earning $ 725 million over three days. In addition, she received very high marks from critics and the recognition of players. Studio management, in turn, allowed workers to freely talk about working conditions.
This story can be treated differently, but one thing is clear: under the leadership of Dan Huser, Rockstar released almost the most important game of the year, if not the last few years. And her success was not affected by the scandal accompanying the release.
Editor Kotaku, which in 2018 was the main source of insiders from the gaming industry. It was he who spoke about the rework in Rockstar and what is happening in Blizzard. Schreyer first told about Microsoft’s plans to buy inXile and Obsidian, and revealed details about Fallout 76 right on the day of its announcement. All this made him the main game journalist of the year.
In the fall of 2017, Schreier published the book Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, which contains stories about the development of famous games. In Russian, it came out only in 2018, which was another reason to add the editor Kotaku to our list of the most important people in the industry.
However, with the “Blood, then the pixels” came the incident. The first copies of the book in Russian is replete with errors and inaccuracies, because of what the publishing house “Eksmo” was forced to re-release it with a new translation, which worked on the narrative designer Ice-Pick Lodge Alexandra “Alfina” Golubev.
Director of Publishing Strategy Epic Games is also known as the creator of the analytical service SteamSpy, who collected statistics on sales of games in the digital store Valve. In April, the latter changed the privacy settings of accounts on the site, because of which the service could no longer receive accurate information.
Freezing the work of SteamSpy excited developers, because now they would have to spend money on market analysis from specialized firms, and not every indie studio can afford it. Later, Galenkin began to use the statistics of achievements to calculate the purchased copies of games, but Valve has eliminated this possibility.
The developers would not have had an accessible tool for analyzing the market if in early December Epic Games had not announced the launch of its own digital store, a competitor of Steam. It turned out that Sergei Galyonkin had a hand in his creation.
Perhaps this is the reason for the orientation of the site to the developers. So, Epic Games Store does not charge them 20-30% of revenue, but only 12%. In addition, the store will not have forums, because, as Galenkin says , no developer wants to see the toxicity they bring. As far as statistics tools are concerned, then, he said, Epic Games Store will give the game authors so much information. as possible in a legal field.
The store was suddenly launched right during the Game Awards ceremony, but for all developers it will open only in the middle of 2019, so it’s too early to talk about how it all will work. Nevertheless, what the site creators have promised has already attracted the attention of indie studios.
However, Galenkin is not going to throw SteamSpy either. He says that the “real PhD in machine learning” helps him to work on his new version, and how he will be – time will tell.
It seems that in 2018 the head of the Xbox was able to change the audience’s attitude to the console from Microsoft and several important decisions of the company contributed to that at once.
First, since March, major developers began to appear on the Xbox Game Pass on the day of release. This allowed users to access them without additional fees, which of course spurred interest in the service. Only in December , 14 new games were addedto the Xbox Game Pass , which, with a 50% discount on a one-year subscription, makes the service an offer that cannot be waived.
At E3, Microsoft announced the purchase of four studios, including the authors Hellblade and Forza, and later acquired Obsidian and inXile. All this, undoubtedly, will allow the company to strengthen its gaming direction, however, the company is no longer trying to compete with Sony, choosing “its path” and now seems to focus on supporting the subscription service.
Second, Microsoft has been actively developing its backward compatibility program all year. Now on the Xbox One you can play almost all the important games of the previous console of the company. For comparison, games with the PlayStation 3 are now available only with the help of the service PS Now, which does not work in Russia, and what went on the PS2 is reprinted very selectively.
In the end, you can not ignore the story of the cross-play in Fortnite. Sony didn’t want to allow owners of their consoles to play Epic Games shooter with competitors ’platform owners, and Microsoft deftly took advantage of this to strengthen their market position. The company has teamed up with Nintendo to trick Sony into jokes on Twitter, and Spencer himself said that the decision of the Japanese corporation harms the development of the industry.
At the end of 2018, hardly anyone would say that Microsoft changed the course of the console war, but it seems that no one is laughing anymore at Xbox One X – including thanks to the Game Pass, the lack of noise and the stable superiority over the PS4 Pro in almost all multiplatform autumn games.
But if a year ago it seemed that Microsoft, perhaps, it’s time to leave the gaming market, now there is no doubt that the company is not going to disappear anywhere. On the contrary, she finally found her way.
In 2018, the organizer and host of The Game Awards surpassed himself, and the ceremony itself can already be called a “video game Oscar” without any reservations. The show would not have been so spectacular and memorable without the return of Kaylee himself.
He personally looked through each trailer that the developers sent, communicated with them, entered into agreements with sponsors and decided what the scene would be. The preparation of the 2018th ceremony took a whole year and it was definitely worth it , because more than 26 million people watched its broadcast at the same time, which is twice as many as in 2017.
The Game Awards has become a real love message for the gaming industry as a whole – after all, where can you see top managers from Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft on the same stage? In addition, by the number of loud announcements, the ceremony of 2018 approached E3. All this was made possible through the dedicated work of Jeff Cayley.