The Volatility of the Gaming Industry
The snow has finally started to thaw around Seattle, and as we troop on towards the end of winter quarter, it’s time to wrap up some gaming news for the week. After all the debacle, Metro Exodus has finally released to the general public, and reception has been quite positive Apex Legends continues to astound audiences, continuing to beat Fortnite in both player count and view count. In negative news, Activision-Blizzard has laid off over 800 staff as they move on with the new year. Crackdown 3 was also released to mixed reviews, with criticism over a lack of innovation and somewhat dated content. Overall, quite a mixed week for the industry.
It seems that as long as a game is good, people will try their best to look past any previous issues—Metro Exodus seems like a pretty good example. Russian developer 4A Games struck gold with their original few games, and Exodus is no different. After the debacle of exclusivity that plagued Exodus as it inched closer and closer to launch, the game has dropped to very positive reviews, with only some criticism leveled towards a few technical glitches. Otherwise, people are enjoying the impressive conclusion to the Metro series. The game itself has changed quite a bit since the beginning of the series, incorporating open-world environments and a new customization system. Where the previous games were focused more towards the intense underground environments of tunnels and caves in post-apocalyptic Russia, this game brings us out into the terrifying, yet beautiful open-world of the outside. You play as the same character you’ve played since the beginning, a ranger called Artyom as he and his wife Anna look to forge a new life outside of the dark underground, hopping on a train to try and get out of Russia. If you’re looking for an action game that puts more emphasis on environments and survival, pick this game up. Metro Exodus released on all consoles including the PC on Feb 15.
The previously talked about Apex Legends has certainly continued to dominate the gaming scene, with millions of people talking about and playing the newest Battle Royale that has hit the market. Coming from Respawn Entertainment, the developers of the brilliant Titanfall series, the game is like a normal Battle Royale, but with Titanfall’s movement, and the inclusion of “Hero” mechanics (think Rainbow Six: Siege, or Overwatch). Unlike other Battle Royale however, you are able to revive squadmates who have been previously defeated. Many audiences love this as it does incentivize playing to win every time, rather than giving up once your teammates are killed. Each character has unique abilities, but the core of the game remains the same. Take down your enemies, stay inside the ring as it closes, and be the last one alive. One would think that the game wouldn’t have the staying power of Fortnite, but it’s free, and seems to satisfy the gamers who prefer a slightly more realistic approach to the Battle Royale genre. Apex Legends is free for all consoles, and is available today.
In more unfortunate news, Activision-Blizzard began a round of layoffs in early February, laying off over 600 employees. Kotaku reporter Jason Shreier found that many of the employees had no prior notice of being laid off, and had no idea what was happening until reporters inquired them about it. The Activision CEO began his press release by stating that while financial results for 2018 were the best in history, it was still not enough. His need to raise more profits has unfortunately resulted in many workers out of a job, and is a stark reminder of how volatile the game industry can be. My heart goes out to these people, and I hope that they will get picked up by other studios and companies very soon.
Crackdown 3 has unfortunately failed to appeal to critics and audiences alike, receiving mixed to average reviews, and it seems to have not gained much attention on social media. The third in the Crackdown trilogy, Crackdown 3 puts players into the shoes of Commander Jaxon (played by Terry Crews) as they attempt to dismantle a secretive terror organization. The game didn’t gather much fanfare as it approached launch, and with reviews painting the game in a negative light, citing a lack of innovation and very dated gameplay, it seems as though the Crackdown series is approaching a quiet end. It’s really unfortunate as the original Crackdown was an excellent game that many people unexpectedly enjoyed due to its attachment to the Halo 3 Beta. Nowadays however, with expectations higher than ever, it seems that developers have been unable to live up to them.
There aren’t too many games left on the radar as we approach the end of winter quarter. There is Rage 2, which looks like an amalgamation of Mad Max, Fallout and Borderlands. An open world first-person shooter, players look to survive in yet another post-apocalyptic mutant filled wasteland (seems like a lot of them going around lately) I won’t presume too much of the game, as I’ve never played the original, but it certainly looks like a fun experience. Rage 2 releases May 14, 2019.
That’s about it for gaming news this week. It wasn’t the most sensational week, but as we move towards the spring and summer, and more games drop trailers and gameplay reveals, expect more and more news to be covered. Until then, stay safe, and keep your shields and ammo topped off.
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