As a gamer, there are things I know and things that I don’t know. It’s been like this as long as I can remember. I know that I love Mario, and watching Mario streamers speedrun and play kaizo ROM hacks. I don’t know if I will ever have the time to develop enough skill to do them myself. I know that I’m unhealthily obsessed with the Mechromancer class in Borderlands 2 to the point where I think all the other classes are boring to play. I don’t know (despite public claims to the contrary) if I’ve completely perfected my build yet. I know I’ll never get more than two viewers on any of my random midnight twitch streams and yet, I don’t know why I still feel compelled to do them regardless.
However, in the last year or two, there’s been a new category of knowledge playing on my mind more and more. I call it “the things I think I should know.” It contains lots of trivial bits and pieces about upcoming games, game seasons and morsels of news about games that I profess to know and care about. Yet time and time again I find myself discovering these new trailers and patch notes weeks later on message boards, where I’m told by people I’ll never know or care about how new nerfs and balances make ‘Battlefield 1’ crap or how my beloved upcoming ‘Farcry 5’ will be “More of the same crap by Ubisoft.”
The problem lies when I start listening to these peoples opinions more than my own, which almost ruined the experience of playing ‘Assassin’s Creed: Origins’ for me, and actually convinced me to try ‘Overwatch’ for an ill fated weekend. Many already know my opinion regarding the superiority of Battleborn, and my hatred against the former game for killing it. This opinion of Overwatch is unpopular, and so I mostly keep it to myself, all the while being subject to witnessing others express their rage in public, which in turn, can cause me to question my own, but no more.
I have a very unpopular statement to make and it has nothing to do with Overwatch. Are you ready for it? I’m not sure you are, but nonetheless:
I don’t think EA is such a bad developer.
Now before you light your torches and grab your pitchforks, come after me saying “BURN THE HERETIC” and generally try to force me to change my opinion, ask yourself:
“Why ARE they so bad?”.
Or at least:
“What makes them worse than any other major developer?”
Is it the battle-packs and the randomized content? Because every EA game has micro-transactions. No one’s forcing you to buy those Ultimate Team cards for FIFA or NHL. Do you really need those skins in Battlefront II or Battlefield 1? Blizzard want that skin money too. Even Path of Exile (which is totally free to play) sells cosmetics. If you don’t like it, then don’t buy them.
The campaign in Battlefront II was too short? What did you expect? Every reviewer that played an early copy was telling us it clocked in at around 7 hours. It’s also built around multiplayer, as are similar titles like Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2 and Call of Duty. Okay, bad examples as they’re all EA Games, but what about PUBG? It has ONE game mode. And Fortnite isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel.
In fact there isn’t a single player mode in site for your glorious Overwatch either (insert sarcastic glance here.)
Don’t even try that whole Mass Effect: Andromeda was a mess at launch theory on me either. The last few years have had some woeful launches and enormous first day patches. Assassin’s Creed: Unity springs to mind, but what about CD Projekt Red? They got of scott-free for the complete shambles that went into the launch ‘Witcher 3’. I know what you’re going to say: “But they produced a fantastic game!!”. So did the other two, but we were all too caught up in the online scandal, and didn’t go back to look for ourselves. We live in a world of day one patches, which is no excuse, but why single out one developer.
A developer who has continued to support their games and make them playable, who looks at the monetary value of what they produce (tries to squeeze out a little bit more than the general public is comfortable with) and makes sure they are viable for the long and short term. That’s why Battlefield 1 still has a huge player base 18 months after launch. Why people are still playing Titanfall, Dragon Age and Plants vs Zombies. It’s why consumers buy FIFA and NHL year after year.
But hey, that’s just my opinion.
You don’t have to listen to it. You do have to form your own though and that’s one of the things I know. That’s what we need to get back to.
Which is kind of the whole point of my entire rant here. I don’t know why gamers have such toxic feelings and form such strong opinions on everything being produced by EA. I do know that they deserve to have each title examined and judged based on its own merits. I know other studios and game producers need to be held more accountable for the mistakes being laid at the feet of a single publisher. I don’t know what will happen if it doesn’t change, but I hope that doesn’t become something that I need to know either.