The Weekly Fetch Quest – October 10, 2016
Welcome to Theory of Gaming’s Weekly Fetch Quest, in which we adventure out into the world searching for the week’s most important news, and gather it all in one place, for your reading pleasure (and unlike most adventurers, we’ll fetch these items for you free of charge).
Every Monday, we’ll post the top stories from the previous week relating to the world of video games, along with some insights into why these are the news stories you should be reading. The Weekly Fetch Quest promises to be a brief look at these events that will get you caught up in no time at all.
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Along with calls to reduce the price (and amount) of hardware comes pleas from those in the industry, from developers to factory workers who construct the hardware, to change labor practices. The timing of these calls coincides with an interview of Amy Hennig (who was instrumental in developing the Uncharted franchise) featured on the Idle Thumbs’ podcast “Designer Things.” During the interview, Hennig expresses concern for long work hours and rising development costs. All evidence points to an industry that is overworked and underpaid, and AAA games made on a yearly basis are shown to underperform compared to games that benefit from long-cycle development, supporting the calls for labor reform.
In a stunning (and welcomed) reversal, Bethesda Softworks has announced that they have reached a deal with Sony to bring mods to popular titles Fallout 4 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition. While this is welcomed news, it does come with a catch – Bethesda’s announcement notes that “You will not be able to upload external assets with your PlayStation 4 mods, but you will be able to use any assets that come with the game, as most mods do.” While some may see this as defeating the purpose of mods, this is a solid step toward the direction of an open, cross-platform console market.
As Sony gears up for the release of their own virtual reality headset, reports surface that two highly anticipated titles, Resident Evil 7 and Batman Arkham VR, will be timed exclusives. With two other highly priced headsets on the market, this move only furthers fragmentation, something the industry needs to quickly address and solve. It’s not just a hardware issue either – players who pre-order Civilization VI will get early access to a civ and a leader, the Aztecs and Montezuma, respectfully. While pre-order bonuses are nothing new, this example has some fans furious, as the content unlocks for all players, free of charge, 90 days after release, implying that content that would otherwise be in the standard retail release is being hidden behind a paywall that forces gamers to pre-order the title. This is another example of how companies should take a page from Nintendo’s handbook when it comes to DLC, and both of these stories further the case that the industry needs to adopt a more consumer-friendly approach.
Google recently announced a new smartphone, which isn’t too surprising, but what is surprising was their announcement of Daydream, their own virtual reality headset. Staying in line with current industry standards, those who pre-order the Pixel smartphone will receive Daydream for free (the headset can be purchased separately for $79). While this move further fragments the VR market, it will be interesting to see how Google utilizes non-traditional game design for their headset.
Following up on a story we covered in last week’s Fetch Quest, more pro sports teams and celebrities are purchasing stake in eSports. This week, DJ Steve Aoki announced he has purchased a stake in the team Rogue, which competes professionally in titles such as Overwatch and Counter-Strike. Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies have announced they have purchased more stake in the team Immortals, who compete in Overwatch, Counter-Strike, League of Legends and Super Smash Bros. As the popularity of both eSports and competitive online games increases, it might be time to re-think what the term video game means, making definitions that more accurately reflect the experiences and intent of each title.
After years of anticipation, it appears that the cult-classic Beyond Good & Evil will finally see a proper sequel. The title has been discussed off and on since 2008, and while series creator Michel Ancel may be taking long-cycle development a little too far, it’s better late than never. This news also gives gamers an excuse to revisit the original title (a practice we highly recommend), which can be found on numerous consoles, remastered with higher-resolution textures and increased performance.