The Biggest News Of The Year - Game Watch 2015

2015 is over, dead and gone - now, I'm digging through the biggest stories, and reminiscing on what's been one of the best years in gaming. 

Fallout 4's Announcement, Release & Mixed Reception

When rumours started circulating early this year that Bethesda would be announcing Fallout 4, I really didn't know what to think. I'd never had much - or any for that matter - experience with the Fallout franchise. Sure, I'd heard of it, but I didn't really understand exactly why it was so coveted and held in such high regard. Honestly, I'm not sure I ever will. 

When Fallout 3 was released, it was a ground-breaker. It moved open world, Western RPGs into a new, beautiful place that could tell a story and house an open world which felt like it only housed you. Or so I'm told. As I said, at the beginning of the year, I'd never played Fallout 3, New Vegas, or any of the previous instalments, so the Zeitgeist in which they were captured eluded me, as did the reason for which they were held in the high regard I mentioned earlier. 

Fast forward to June, when Bethesda finally showed off the new game, and the industry fell in love. I remember writing at some point that Fallout 4 wouldn't fall into Destiny's over-hype then let-down thing: and I think I was actually completely wrong, or at least half wrong. Some people really love Fallout 4, and others....? Not so much. I think people assumed they'd get another Fallout 3: another game that would redefine the genre, add completely new things and be something that - quite frankly - it really wasn't. Instead, CD Projekt Red gave us that game this year, and it won Gamotere's Game Of The Year

Kojima vs Konami

Probably the biggest story this year was the Kojima vs Konami debacle, that spawned the #FucKonami hashtag. It all started when the Kojima Productions branding was pulled from Konami websites, and rumours were rife that Hideo Kojima - who had worked for the company for most of his career - had left, just before the release of The Phantom Pain. 

Things continued: PT was pulled from the PS Store, and Silent Hills was cancelled, with Guillermo del Toro mourning as to what could have been. Fast forward, and The Phantom Pain was released to huge critical acclaim, and captured the hearts and minds of the gaming community. Then, just last month, Konami banned Kojima from attending The Game Awards, with host Geoff Keighley announcing the fact to the world and - finally - confirming that there was, genuinely, something going on there and causing the crowd to boo the company.

Then, just before everyone left for the Christmas break, Hideo Kojima that he'd left Konami and was partnering with PlayStation to make a game for them (although those terms aren't fully clear yet).

It's interesting, because we've heard so much about Konami this year. We heard about how they treat their employees, we've heard how they're moving into mobile games, yet hiring for a new Metal Gear and - of course - we heard about Mr Kojima. There's evidently something shady going on there, and I don't think anyone is quite sure what it is. It'll be fascinating to find out the details, but I don't believe we will for a long time. When it does finally happen, it'll be incredible.

Nintendo's Bad Games 

As well as hearing a little about their new console (whatever that'll be, I'm sure we'll find out this year) 2015 saw a rare occurrence with Nintendo: a number of games that aren't considered good by critics. With their focus placed so much on games, thanks to lacking hardware, this was something of a shock. Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, and Devil's Third all received less than five-out-of-ten from IGN, low scores from other outlets, and very low ratings on Metacritic.

I think the fact that these games exist, and that almost everyone I hear talking about them (which, granted, isn't many people) agree that they're bad really means something, and shows that there needs to be a shift in gear. Nintendo needs new hardware, which is the gateway to new games, that will get out to more people, and thus make the developers care about getting them to that Nintendo quality a little more. I'm not saying that the devs didn't care about the games - who am I to say that - what I'm trying to say is that Nintendo needs NX, and they need it soon. I just hope for their sake that it does well. 

Rocket League's Run-away Success

Rocket League: a small game, by a small team that has (to date) sold over 10 million units, and grossed over $50 million for its creators, Psyonix. Frankly, that is unbelievable. I first heard about Rocket League over on Kinda Funny, when Colin Moriarty mentioned this car-football game that he thought would be big. For those who know the Kinda Funny....#ColinWasRight.

The fact that within a matter of weeks, after it was announced it would be free on PS Plus for the month, Rocket League became one of the biggest success stories of the year. The way I know it was big (of course, looking past the incredible numbers) is the fact that a friend of mine, who doesn't really play games, downloaded it on PC recently. It runs at something like 10 FPS, and looks like crap on his computer but he still loves it and still has fun. I think the fact that this "little" game has reached that wide an audience shows its power, and I'm so incredibly glad that it did. 


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