The gaming industry remains one of the fastest evolving industries in the world, one that constantly adapts, and one that is increasingly expanding its reach and grasp on the citizens of the world’s free time. As such, there’s rarely a month go by which can be called a bad month in the industry, especially not when we look at it as players rather than puppet-masters and suits.
To wave out the old, and welcome in the new we’ll be going through some of the defining factors of each of the months of the year. We’ll be listing some of the games that launched, discussing some of the events that happened, and discussing some of the implications that they had throughout the year, or might have going into the next.
So, without further ado,
Traditionally a bit of a slump-month, with the upcoming E3 festivities and hype likely to overshadow any sales tail, May 2016 still managed to see some very important and influential titles launch.
Battleborn, Overwatch, and Paragon, all took headlines throughout the month, with the launch of the former two, as well as the resulting heightened profile of the beta of the latter. Duskers, Stellaris, OmniBus, and Total War: Warhammer launched for the PC, while the PS4 had the release of exclusive Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and the Xbox One finally received Superhot.
What is traditionally a quiet month ended up featuring both Overwatch & Uncharted 4, two titles which have dominated GOTY lists all over the internet.
- Disney announced that, following the decline in sales from their Toys to Life title Disney Infinity they would be shuttering long-serving studio Avalanche Software. Avalanche Software originally founded in 1995 developing games independently until their acquisition ten years later. Over the years they worked with Ubisoft, THQ, Midway and 2K among others, as they developed titles over five console generations.
- The closure of Avalanche also marked the closure of all internal Disney development studios, with the company transitioning to simply licensing out its IPs.
- Io Interactive & Square Enix started their Elusive Target content off with The Forger. The game received it’s second map during the month, meaning that both components of its incremental content types were officially underway. Elusive Targets, the one-shot, limited time content which features changed guard routes, and no instinct mode hints, served as a solid reason for players to buy the game before the first season completed (with all maps out) at the end of the year.
- Both VVVVV and Citizens of Earth were removed from the Nintendo eShop after the 3DS versions were found to contain exploits in them which users could use to cross-boot homebrew and software with the right set-up. It should be clarified that these are what are deemed ‘secondary’ routes, as users will already have needed to rig the system in a specific way in order to have it serve this function.
- Speaking with GamePressure, Sebastian Wojciechowski -CEO of People Can Fly- revealed that the studio was working on both a small project, as well as a triple-A shooter. The developer, whose previous work included Bulletstorm, Painkiller, and Gears of War: Judgement, didn’t let on any more information other than that we would we see the triple-A shooter at some point in 2017.
- Later in the year, Gearbox announced a new publishing wing, and announced that they would be publishing a remastered version of Bulletstorm (Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition) for release in 2017. Can we presume that this, then, is the small project?
- Gran Turismo Sport received a release date via an exclusive event in London (later confirmed on the PSBlog). The title was planned to release with E-Sports compatibility fully enabled when the game launched on it’s planned release date of November 15th/18th (NA/EU respectively).
- The title was later delayed, in late August, when it was pushed back to an unspecified release window at some point in 2017.
- Starbreeze, parent company to Overkill, confirmed that they had recovered franchise rights to the Payday series, as well as confirming they would be removing the controversial micro-transactions that had been added in October 2015. Starbreeze recovered the rights from 505 Games, who they had originally partnered with as to ease the porting of Payday 2 to the Xbox 360 and PS3 (back in June 2012).
- Valve made changes to the reviews system to showcase more recent reviews in their own column for users of their website or client app. Changes were likely a reaction to older reviews which had been more heavily interacted with showing over reviews made on the product more recently; the initial set-up being folly when we consider how often titles are updated these days.
- There was also an option added to display that the product had been received for free. This was changed further later in the year as changes to curators and ‘redeemed’ copies were rolled out, but we’ll address that in the appropriate round-ups.
As for Big Boss Battle? We launched on the 16th of May with a few reviews, as well as an archive of reviews/articles that we’d brought over from the website we’d worked on before. Initial plans had been to launch in partnership with another website; with us playing more to the written content, and then the video. There was -almost immediately- a major falling out, and by the end of the month we were entirely separated.
Once we’d got all of the archives out, we started gaining new authors in the following months. Although we considered dabbling with news, we wouldn’t really get going on that front until November.