2018 has been a great year for gaming and the year-end really really picked it up with the release of RDR2. But this has also been the year of PR disasters from game publishers and developers alike. Let’s have a look at the highlights.
EA’s “Don’t Buy the Game”
Battlefield is one of the most loved multiplayer franchises. But Battlefield 5’s marketing left a lot to be desired. The game’s initial trailer showcased unrealistic battles and female characters. This didn’t sit well with some players who complained that the role of females in WW2 was very limited.
This wasn’t a very valid argument as Battlefield games never really target realism. But a reply from EA’s then chief design officer Patrick Soderlund really set the community off. He stated “These are people who are uneducated—they don’t understand that this is a plausible scenario, and listen: this is a game.” adding “And we don’t take any flak. We stand up for the cause, because I think those people who don’t understand it, well, you have two choices: either accept it or don’t buy the game. I’m fine with either or. It’s just not ok”.
This received severe backlash from the community and many people vowed to skip on the game. It was really unfortunate as the end implementation on Battlefield 5 was great.
Blizzard’s “Do you guys not have phones?”
Blizzard makes great games and it’s evident from the Diablo series. A lot of people including me, grew up playing Diablo 1 and 2. Diablo 3 was slightly different from the usual formula, but a great game nonetheless.
Expectations were running high and a lot of people expected Blizzard to announce a new Diablo game in Blizzcon this year. Blizzard did announce a new Diablo game, but it was mobile only. This caused a huge backlash from enraged fans who accused Blizzard of trying to cash in on the mobile gaming wave. Later we did come to know a main Diablo game was planned and honestly this entire episode could have been averted if Blizzard announced the main game first and introduced Diablo Immortals, the mobile game at a later date.
Bethesda’s Fallout 76
Fallout is another much-loved series. All of the games in the series are highly acclaimed. But for some reason Bethesda wanted to make an MMO game and they came up with Fallout 76. Fallout has always been associated with a single player RPG experience, so this really surprised fans.
Unfortunately the launch was a disaster and the game was barely playable, being filled with bugs and glitches. A ton of websites called Bethesda out for launching the game in this state with Mashable stating in an article “Let me be upfront: I think this game is bad. The critical consensus, that 76 is a failed experiment with a mountain of unfixable problems, is one that I agree with in broad strokes.”
Consequently, many gamers wanted a refund and Bethesda even acknowledged it. Although after seeing a huge number of refund requests, they went back on their word and denied everyone any refunds. This obviously didn’t sit well with the community and Bethesda had to face a lot of criticism. There’s even a law firm investigating the possibility of a class action lawsuit against Bethesda citing misleading advertising.