Alex White | firstname.lastname@example.org | February 13, 2019
As awkward as this sounds to say, I am a hardcore gamer. I spend a ridiculous amount of my time playing video games when I should be working and I don’t regret a second of it.
There are a myriad of video games from a variety of publishers, but I’m focusing on trashing AAA (pronounced Triple A) games; these games, with the highest production budgets and marketing levels, are generally only released by major publishers.
When an incredible amount of work is put into a game, it should be enjoyable. Unfortunately, a recent trend has shown decreasing popularity in these games because they just aren’t fun!
Most AAA game series start with a beautiful game that millions of people can enjoy and love. Games like Fallout (1997), published by Interplay and Bethesda, have a truly amazing amount of content. Fallout, for example, was set in a post-apocalyptic world and is story-driven. The story format allowed the game to develop meaningful characters and relationships between the player and everything in the game, which meant that you were invested in the game. It’s just like reading a book: If you aren’t invested, where is the fun?
This idea of a post-apocalyptic world (Fallout) focused entirely on the stories you encounter spawned a series of games that I have personally put more than 400 hours into. Bethesda recently released a new prequel to the game, Fallout 76. The game is currently the lowest rated Fallout game of all time and has been hailed by critics and players alike as the worst game in the series, made only to milk money out of the franchise.
The truly horrible nature of this game stems from the the fact that the makers removed non-player characters completely, offline gameplay, the capability to return to your base after exiting the game, and the Player vs Player combat has lost all rewards for winning and punishments for losing. As a result, they have gotten a 52 percent on Metacritic, and a 5/10 on IGN, which are both very low scores for a AAA game.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first instance where a AAA sequel has flopped. EA has recently done the same to the most recent installment of the Battlefront series. Square Enix, while not nearly as bad, refuses to stop making new Tomb Raider games. 343 industries continues to make Halo games to this very day, even though they were truly ruined by Halo 4. They are now on the sixth one. Ubisoft ruined the famous Assassins Creed series with Assassins Creed Unity, which had a huge amount of bugs, glitches, and terrible gameplay, but continues to make Assassins Creed games to this day.
Now, to the real question. Why is this? Why do major game publishers either continue series that need to end, or come out with unfinished, terrible games that make you dislike the series a little more, no matter how much you enjoyed the previous games? The simplest reason is, well, simple. Money.
Why would you spend an extra year on a game, and tens of millions of dollars, when you could just release the exact same game again and put less work into it, knowing that a loving fanbase will buy it for ridiculous prices spend ungodly amounts of money on DLC’s (DownLoadable Content) and Microtransactions. The answer is you wouldn’t. The game industry is being closed in by the fact that the most expensive games can’t cost more the 60 dollars, because no one will buy it. Unfortunately, inflation continues to pick away at how much 60 dollars is worth. So they do anything they can to make money, and this means that the quality of games we want to enjoy is being crushed into the ground.
There are several ways that gamers can deal with this problem, but there are 3 very prominent ways. First, spend 80 dollars or more on these games, so that the game companies can make their money back. Second, we can pay for microtransactions a DLC, forcing us to spend large amounts we can easily lose track of. Finally, and in my opinion the best option, is Indie game publishers.
They are often cheaper than AAA games, and are made by smaller developers such as Obsidian and The Behemoth. Two games I personally really enjoy are Cuphead and Mount and Blade: Warband, as they are both around 20 dollars and you can spend just as much time on them.