Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Gamer's Resolution

I, Violet, being of sound if not entirely sane mind, resolve that I will be patient with the video game industry. If a release date is pushed back, I will not complain. I will understand that creating a truly great video game takes a significant amount of time, and no howling from fangirls/boys will change this. I take this resolution in hopes that others will follow my example.

So one of the things I've really been noticing recently is that when a video game is announced, it is often followed by the news that the aforementioned product will be in the hands of consumers in less than a year. My usual reaction is: "Surely not!". But, I have been repeatedly proved wrong. Trouble is, I wish I hadn't been.

Last year, at SpikeTV's video game "awards" show, Lucasarts revealed The Force Unleashed 2, the follow-up to the game whose story won critical acclaim. I know not everybody liked it, I had my own issues with it, but the writing and acting were better than most modern video games that I've played. But back to 2009. It was just over a year since the first title had been released, and I honestly did not expect any sort of followup for a while, and when I say that I'm talking years. But that night, they revealed a cinematic trailer for The Force Unleashed 2. It was awesome. There was Starkiller (the always-brilliant Sam Witwer), back somehow after his demise in the first title, wielding two lightsabers as if he had been born to do it. And that huge creature he found himself up against? That was approaching the level of "I'm-going-to-have-to-go-change-my-panties" awesome. Then we were told by a handy bit of text that the game would be out sometime in 2010, the very next year.

My reaction was, "yeah, right". But they seemed very confident in that fact. They had the domain prominently advertised in their promotional material. My plan was to buy the domain with the idea that once the inevitable delays came, I'd sell it to them for profit. But his fall, as promised, the game was released, after a slew of bad news from Lucasarts. W. Haden Blackman, half of the creative team that brought The Force Unleashed to us, stepped down from the company. The new guy quickly confirmed that The Force Unleashed 3 had been in development. Had been. He had canned it, and laid off most of the team responsible. This was when I knew that The Force Unleashed 2 was not going to live up to it's full potential.

The game, as anyone who's played it can tell you, is very obviously unfinished. And in my opinion, we've no one to blame but ourselves. The thing is, the modern gamer has become so impatient that waiting even two years for a game to be released after its announcement is unthinkable. This leads to tremendous pressure on developers to finish a game before the fans become restless and lose interest.

I'll admit, I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I moaned and whined every time that Twilight Princess was delayed, and ended up waiting three years for it to be released. I've since learned better, but I still felt the pangs of disappointment each year that went by after the release without a new Legend of Zelda title being announced. And I, like most people, have almost forgotten that Half-Life 2: Episode 3 is even in development. But I'm sure it's gonna rock when it does come out.

The point is, a little patience on our parts, and faith in the companies that make our favorite games, will be rewarded. We as the target audience might not have much power, but at least we might be able to help a little. So Bethesda, if you're out there, if I have to wait until 2012 to play Elder Scrolls V, I'm okay with that. In the meantime, there's plenty to keep me occupied.

Also, humblest apologies to any Duke Nukem fans that might read this. You guys have suffered the most out of any of us, and will be rewarded with much chewing gum.


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