Dan has done a great job reviewing some of the more memorable games of the past year, but as we sit on the precipice of 2015, let's also take a moment to reflect on some of the more terrible memories.
Sony's mistreatment of - and attempt to bury the still living - Vita
In the US, Sony has botched the Vita's handling from launch right through to the current zombie living-but-treated-as-dead form it seems to have been banished to; from the $$$$ for single digit gigabyte memory cards to it's lack of marketing and it's exclusion from trade shows. Then there was this mix-up, where Sony Asia literally called the system dead.
Sony has noted that no first party development is being done for the Vita anymore and they've moved all focus to the PS4.
In my eyes, all seems right in the world; AAA titles never really seem to stick for portables unless you're name starts with "N" and ends in "intendo." The PSP was the same way but was relatively successful overall, but most of the still relevant PSP games were third party anyway.
The growth of the gaming tumor that is the Season Pass
I touched briefly on this in my Star Wars article, but the whole $50 season pass thing is gross.
It was a year and a half ago that I shelled out $20 for the Titanfall season pass. I really liked the game, and wanted to make sure I could continue to play the newer maps. Unfortunately, the game fell flat very quickly as the multiplayer didn’t have the depth to keep everyone’s attention, so it was something of a waste, but not something I regret or would stop myself from doing again for the right game.
Fast forward 18 months, and $50 has become the norm for season passes when it comes to AAA multiplayer titles.
The reality of it all is that the publishers are getting what they're asking for, so there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.
I think Deus Ex: Mankind Divided did us a huge solid in 2015. Their terrible, terrible pre-order/special edition fiasco with 5 tiers and multiple options per tier priced up to $150 for the special edition with art book and figuring and 4 day early release - that ruffled a few feathers in the community. The whole pre-ordering games had already become a lightning rod in the webisphere as something that should be stopped, but this weird deal that Square-enix really brought that discussion out into the open. Pre-orders aren’t going anywhere, but publishers had better keep their noses clean, lest they be put in the same sentence of the Deux Ex pre-order episode.
I wrote earlier this month about their business decision being the right one, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a disappointment nor have Konami bathed themselves in glory on the way out. The influence of big Japanese developers has slowly dwindled and ceded to other parts of the world, but to see the demise impact a marquee name like Konami and watch them essentially self demote to mobile only is hard to watch. Add to that the practice of burning the Kojima bridge as he cross to the other side with weird practices like taking his name off of branding or barring him from awards ceremonies and you're left with a very odd feeling. Instead of celebrating the closing of a chapter, they went ugly breakup and cut Kojima's face out of every picture in the house and adopted multiple cats.
So, 2015 wasn't all puppies and cupcakes, but nothing ever is, and you can be sure that I'll be there to remind you of it next year too.