Last year wasn’t exactly fantastic for those of us who enjoy playing videogames. While there were some stunning releases from both mainstream and independent games developers (Alien: Isolation and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter really stand out for me on this point) during 2014, there were few games or moments related to gaming that left me feeling a) positive about games and b) wanting to play them more. So here are five things I’d like to see happen in gaming during 2015.
5. Fallout 4 finally announced
Many will argue that the definitive Bethesda gaming experience is to be found on PC, but as someone who preferred playing Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas on console, and really enjoying the third game… I just want Bethesda to announce that Fallout 4 is being developed in house and is heading to consoles and PCs in under two years. I’ve played enough Skyrim now (as many regular readers of Hex will know, I really have played enough Skyrim) and I just want to return to the post-apocalyptic wastelands of the Fallout series with a new story and a new mission on the horizon. Please.
4. Nintendo to continue its surprising turn-around
The beginning of 2014 didn’t go that well for Nintendo, as we discussed in agonising detail on Nerds Assemble last January, and so it was really surprising to see just how positive things were looking for the company come the end of last year. It wasn’t just Paul B getting hyped about their games and consoles for once: I saw and heard from other people who were enjoying releases like Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Brothers, plus a surprising number of people who enjoyed Hyrule Warriors. And so, during 2015 I want to continue seeing Nintendo going from strength to strength, for people to realise that videogames don’t all have to be about gritty action and A-List Hollywood voice acting: I want people realise that there’s room for fun. (P.S. I’m hoping to play some Captain Toad this evening, because I have been excited about that game since E3 2014.)
3. More same console co-op
Yes, we have powerful new gaming consoles, but this doesn’t mean that everyone wants to play their videogames in physical isolation from other people while having input from them. The lack of same console co-op for Far Cry 4 is frustrating for me and I don’t believe that it’s only gaming couples who want to play the games in the same room, on the same console at the same time. Nintendo, currently, seem to be one of the few large publishers and developers concerning itself with this area (along with many indie developers), but considering the greater power of the PS4 and Xbox One, if developers and publishers would just stop obsessing about graphics and online for a moment: maybe we could have a few more games announced to have same console co-op.
2. Sony to love the PS Vita a bit more
I was given a PS Vita for a Christmas. I love it, it’s powerful for a handheld and already comes with a wide array of games. But over the last half of 2014, it seemed that Sony was losing interest in the platform. There is a lot of interest from smaller and indie developers for the system, but no one appears to be romancing larger developers and publishers. And even if there were more games coming out, the long running situation with PS Vita memory cards (the rarity and high cost of the 32 GB and 64 GB versions) shows a lack of involvement on Sony’s part. After the PSN outage over Christmas, I bought an 8 GB card (that’s all I could easily find and pay for) that came with several games for download… The card was too small to download all of the games that came with it. So please, Sony, give the Vita a bit more love: there’s plenty of life left in it yet.
1. For marketers and PR to realise that loads of different people play videogames
In a time where many people of many different and varied backgrounds and ages play videogames, I really dislike the ways in which the industry continues to promote most gaming activities, beyond Candy Crush, as the sole pursuit of boys and men. This is 2015. I am the main bread winner in my house and I like to play videogames of a varied type and story. So when some game designers talk about making a game with a female protagonist or someone who isn’t Caucasian or someone who is disabled or someone who identifies somewhere within LGBT, I’d rather marketing and above stop thinking about their bottom line so much and a bit more about the cultural washing that they’ll be participating in. Ditto goes for marketing materials that only feature guys playing videogames that are “traditionally” thought of as only interesting to people whose gender just happens to be male. There’s a few campaigns here and there that acknowledges less stereotyped gaming backgrounds, but still not enough.
It’ll be interesting to see which of these happens in 2015, though I’m feeling like most won’t.