Something’s changed

I don’t know what’s different this year. Is it me? Is it the industry? I can’t say one way or the other. I’m just not into E3 this year.

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This whole blog kind of started with my excitement about E3 a few years ago. But this year something is different for me. Part of it, surely, is the lack of anything that was “to be announced” or leaked previous to the event that really caught my interest. Though without fail, something cool will rear its head eventually and probably change my mind to an extent. I mean, I’m not crazy. I’m still hoping for some big reveals and some new info on stuff like Insomniac’s Spider-Man and GoW4.

Though, like I said, I don’t think I can put my finger on any one specific cause – I think I can pick one biggie out. The proliferation of gaming media. Now we don’t have to wait for E3 for announcements and reveals. They’re happening all year long. Most of the stuff we see at E3 now, save for the occasional big reveal, surprise, etc – we already know about it months in advance. Take Assassin’s Creed: Origins, for example. We knew last year there wasn’t going to be a new entry in the Assassin’s Creed series. But I think we could say for certainty that Ubisoft wasn’t going to be holding off for more than a year. And, aside from that, the game had leaked images weeks ago. Far Cry 5 too. Hell, EB Games and Bestbuy both e-mailed me about how “Far Cry comes to America” last week.

Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that we get updates on great games and developers all of the time. But it’s kind of like how Christmas changes from when you’re a kid to an adult. All year you wait desperately for that day and then when it comes, you just tear through presents like it’s the last time you’ll get to do it. But as you get older, at least in my case, I tend to just buy the things I want when I want them. So when Christmas comes around, there may be a few cool things under that tree for me – but most of what I wanted, I already have.

It’s a weird transitional phase for me to go through – both personally and professionally (well, at least in terms of this blog because no one is paying me to do it…yet). I want to get jacked up. I want to do like I always did and go and tell the person next to me about how amazing the Bethesda conference was and how excited I am about the reveal of X game. And, of course, to take advantage of all of the amazing pre-order deals out there (though again, this may play into my lack of excitement as a part of my no pre-order pact I made with myself). I just can’t find anything within myself that’s telling me that I need to obsessively pour over everything that’s going on and dissect the minutia of every reveal.

Of course, I’m still going to follow stuff, and I think I’ve already shown that I am. Much like Christmas though, I’m afraid I’ve lost the vigor for it. That being said, it’s possible that this year is an outlier. It definitely didn’t help going into E3 that I knew I wouldn’t see a lot of what I hoped to see. Nothing big from Bethesda (Elder Scrolls, Fallout wise), no Kingdom Hearts release date, etc.

But I’m excited to see everyone’s offerings. So far I like what Bioware is doing with Anthem.

Who knows – as the conference goes on, I may change my tune. The hype train may just roll through this station after all. Forgive the tired cliché, I haven’t written in a while and I’m feeling a little rusty.

All I will say is: If this is what growing up is, I don’t like it.

– The Ego

 

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No More Pre-Orders

My last thoughts, in what has turned out to be an impromptu three-part exposé on the release of unfinished games, turn my attention to the way that we shop for our games.

I am going to come off a bit hypocritical to some who have read this blog for a long time, and more so to those who know me personally. But I’ll say this in my defense: Over time, we all learn and either choose to adapt or continue in our own stasis. The reason for my hypocrisy is that I have been the biggest culprit of the pre-order. In the last few years I’ve been known to pre-order 20+ games during the E3 sales either to accrue extra points or receive steep discounts.

Now this is what I’ll say: I have learned, recently, that pre-ordering is just doing us a disservice. I mean, getting a game day 1 at a discount is great. In theory. In practice, what it means for us as gamers is that we’re adding to the companies bottom line and their brag-rights. Huge titles are almost always going to receive massive day one sales numbers. Why? Because most of us pre-order. Whether to get that discount, some knick-knack or some kind of digital chocolate chip cookie that they entice us with. In time, I have pre-ordered for every one of those reasons.

But what we’re seeing now is games coming out to repudiation of what should be consistent values among us gamers. Expectations of quality are not being met. Instead we’re getting games that become memes and that’s all they end up being known for. But the companies making these games are still seeing mass profits, ignoring user sentiment, and continuing with practices unchanged.

Now last week, I said: what can we do? And I didn’t have an answer then. But I have the semblance of one now. We need to stop pre-ordering games. This isn’t the only thing we can do, and it may not even be the best thing we can do, but I think it’s a good start.

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Look at the boast here. Now, CD Projekt Red and The Witcher are examples to the contrary of what I’ve been discussing lately, but I use the image to make a point. If games are getting a million pre-orders, then it doesn’t really matter what they end up releasing. Because even if it’s bad – if even half of those pre-orders go through as full sales – the company has already made back (a substantial portion at least) it’s initial investment. Meaning, they only see black in the books and whether or not it’s a good game is irrelevant. Companies like Ubisoft seem to be ignoring their user base on titles like For Honor, despite massive boycotts and protests like the one on April 3rd. For a company, I’m sure the comfort of seeing the numbers in the black is huge. And the concerns of fans can be brought up during the PR and marketing campaign for the (pretty much inevitable) sequel.

By avoiding pre-orders and trying to have a wait and see attitude towards all new releases, companies putting out games that are unfinished or inferior will have to take a step back and look at those red numbers for a while longer. And this can only serve to benefit us as the end users. A) We will (hopefully) start to see a change in the way games are released and B) by the time we get around to buying the games they will end up being around the price (in some cases and in others possibly lower) than what the discount we would have seen from a pre-order anyway.

If this post tickled you in all the right places, I fully recommend checking out this article I read on Polygon, that struck me as relevant to the discussion.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments below, or check me out and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

From my time

As a sort of indirect follow up to my last posting regarding unfinished games, I wanted to give a bit of professional perspective to things.

Now, one of the big complaints about a lot of games these days is the lack of QA. Now, for those of you not in the know, QA is Quality Assurance. Every game goes through different levels of QA testing. Be it compliance (making sure that the release meets the standards of the specific platform Sony, Microsoft, etc), localisation (compliant with language standards of the region it’s being released in) and functionality (making sure, you know, that the game works and all).

I used to do QA testing for a living. And before people start getting all “wow playing video games for a living? AWESOME!” It’s not as cushy as it sounds. Don’t get me wrong, the company I worked for is definitely my favourite that I’ve worked for to date, but there is a lot to be said for the actual job. I’m not going to get into this now. If you want to know more, I’m happy to answer questions in comments or you can e-mail (theegogames@gmail.com) or tweet me.

What I want to focus on is how some of the issues we’re seeing become predominant in gaming arise.

The biggest issue, at least in my opinion: not enough time. The last big project I worked on was a AAA title for the PS3. Now, this game was a sequel and what I can tell you is that the original time from from start to release was approximately two years. The development cycle for the game I worked on: Nine months…Now, there are some things to take for granted like the fact that an engine doesn’t need to be developed for the game the second time around. But, where as the first game had a little over a year for testing/development, this one didn’t have anywhere near that kind of time. This one had about six months. Now, as a tester, you’re expected to find tens of thousands of bugs over the course of the project. Which, given how many builds a game goes through, isn’t really a challenge. But it is a challenge for the devs to be able to fix everything. There comes a time in a project, especially when they are rushed, that choices have to be made to decide whether or not it’s worth the time to fix said issue. Now, there are going to be a lot of small things that your average player won’t run into, the issue is when those things you don’t have time for, end up in the forefront. Like it did in AC: Unity, ME: Andromeda, etc.

The other big issue I ran into was devs butting heads with testers. Like any time you’re dealing with other people, you’re going to have clashes over decisions. For me, I can remember a series of what I considered extremely obvious bugs (one being a game breaker if you play like me) just being flat out denied (ignored too, but consciously) by the devs. I had to watch one of them play out during an E3 demo. There seems to be some level of animosity between the two stations, with the devs often feeling superior due to their more “prestigious” placement in the scheme of things. Sometimes the end result of a bug going un-dealt with is simply a matter of opinion or (sometimes) pig-headedness. One such instance I faced, having a background in writing/editing, I pointed out and corrected a number of text issues (grammar, spelling, etc) where rather than just copy/pasting my corrections (as emphasised by my supervisor and the functionality manager of the company) they chose instead to leave the mistakes in place.

Well, that’s a small glimpse behind the curtain and a bit of my experience. It definitely doesn’t answer all of the questions, but I hope it sheds a little light on things.

– The Ego

The Age of Quality

Or is it?

In a time where the prices are rising, DLC is proliferating the market at a staggering rate and the quality of games is seemingly going down.

Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t great games coming out. I would be wrong in saying that. With new IPs like Horizon: Zero Dawn coming out and selling millions of copies and of course perennial favourites like Zelda, one would say my argument falls flat on its face. But, let’s look at things in a little more general light.

There are tons of games coming out from the big studios: EA, Ubisoft, etc that are coming out to infamy, rather than renown.

For example: Mass Effect: Andromeda. Granted, ME3 did leave a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths due to the poorly thought out ending. But it was a series that, for the most part, was beyond reproach. It’s one of those series, like Uncharted, that no one would dare question the quality and notoriety of. But here comes the latest installment and man, I haven’t seen anyone turn on a series so quickly or thoroughly in all of my life. It would be like if all of a sudden someone tried to tell you that Mario sucks. It seemed as likely as that.

Halo 5 is another one of those AAA entries that just bombed. It’s rare to see an big titles that go on sale as fast as it did (save for the big Ubisoft titles…but I’ll get to that). They were practically giving away the Halo 5 limited edition after a while.

Then there’s Ubisoft…Oh how the mighty have fallen! I remember when AC2 was rocketing in sales and everyone was looking at Ubi like it was the company of the future. And now? Now we get games like Unity, Wildlands, For Honor which get big sales numbers because people want to believe that the series has the potential for greatness. But they just flop. And then when they come out with new IPs, people want to buy into the possibility of how great it’s going to be. Then games like For Honor have their fan base setting a day of protest so that the company will listen to them. I mean, really Ubisoft? Is this what you’ve become? Is it only a matter of time before we end up with landfills like this:

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Only, piled high with Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy games.

With that said – Is this the age of the decline?

I worry that the great games coming out now are just the diamonds in the rough. The few and far between. I can say for myself that I was very excited for all of the Tom Clancy games coming out this year. Each one of them ended up more disappointing than the last. And then I had high hopes for the new ME, and I can say I’m glad I cancelled my pre-order.

Of course I still have high hopes for the industry as a whole. I know it doesn’t seem like it. I just worry that if the big companies let the quality slide, and they continue to buy up all of the small studios, it creates a dark cloud over the industry for me. One would assume that things should only be getting better with improvements in technology and people more willing to take chances on creating different styles of games, and the consumer willing to go along with them on an adventure.

But then why do we have so many bad games? Is it because the large studios are so set in their ways that they just produce garbage and assume people will buy it? There is definitely a symptom of complicity among the fans. Obviously, to some extent, to problem is that this has simply become a business. I don’t know that there’s one answer. I guess only time will tell whether or not things will get better, or crash.

– The Ego

 

Second Chances

So Watch Dogs 2 came out this week. And, frankly, I haven’t paid it too much attention.

Actually, I haven’t watched much other than the “Before You Buy” video from Gameranx. As an aside, if you haven’t checked out their videos, Gameranx and Jake Baldino are pretty fantastic.

So I have a pretty vague impression of the game so far, but what I do know very well, is how Watch Dogs 1 performed. So the question I ask today is: Do you give second chances to franchises that seriously under preform?

To start: This is Ubisoft. They have a track record of new IPs that stumble start, but end up being pretty fantastic. I’m of course referring to the Assassin’s Creed 1 and 2 debacle. For those of you un-aware of what I’m referring to: Assassin’s Creed 1 was an amazing concept with an incredibly flawed delivery. When Ubisoft came around to releasing 2 (and subsequently the whole Ezio saga…which was re-mastered and released this week) they took the concept and fixed all of the problems.

The problem with Watch Dogs, I think most people would agree, was that it was incredibly over hyped. We’ve seen a lot of that lately

The game itself was okay. I didn’t hate it, but I definitely didn’t love it. The hacking could be pretty fun. And the online aspect, having the ability to infiltrate someone else’s game and mess with them was incredibly fun. But the rest of the game was monotonous at the best of times. The description of Aiden Pearce as a “revenge man” is apt. He was one dimensional and so was his struggle. The gameplay was lacking in most areas – especially combat and the driving was a poor GTA imitation.

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Okay, yea, I’m being pretty hard. But to be fair, it was a pretty big let down. I’ve always liked Ubisoft as a company, and for that reason, I gave them the benefit of the doubt by buying their games at release, instead of waiting till Christmas time like the deal-hunters and watching the game drop 2/3 the price.

So, do you give second chances? If a franchise is really bad from the get-go, how do you handle it? In the case of Assassin’s Creed; I did give the IP a second chance because the conceptual stuff was so spot on and really hit a niche of my interests that it was worth it for me. And in that case – Assassin’s Creed 2 paid off. (Aside: We’ll forgo commentary on the current state of the series until they comeback with their re-worked game.)

And I know this isn’t a blanket moratorium on second chances. Because let’s face facts, giving something a second chance doesn’t always mean it’s going to work out. I recently started eating a lot of vegetables I hadn’t eaten since I was a kid – but I’ll be damned if you think I’m going to eat eggs.

I ask myself, and you dear reader, what does a game have to do to redeem itself in your eyes? Does it have to go the route of Assassin’s Creed 2 and completely fix all of its mistakes before you’ll give it another chance? Or is it a burned bridges sort of scenario?Once ruined, the earth has been salted.

I think the biggest thing I look for is a company’s willingness to hear out the fans and the critics. If they demonstrate the ability to take in criticism, and at least strive to make the changes the people playing their games ask of them – then I am generally willing to give them another shot. And, as I write this, I’m looking up reviews and articles on Watch Dogs 2. If I see it – that spark – the touch as light as butterflies wings that shows developers heard the issues and worked to correct the direction the series was taking, then I will likely grab Watch Dogs 2 and give it another try.

If you have topics you’d like covered, hit me up on social media.

– The Ego

Tough choices

So, I’m sitting here, trying to decide what to do. I’m beset in one of those truly rare occurrences where I’ve been caught off-guard by a new release that I knew nothing about. That game, in this case, is Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance. Now, I know some of you are probably thinking: Well it’s a pretty easy decisions, buy or don’t buy. Right?

Well, if things were ever that easy, I don’t think blogs, vlogs and review sites would even exist. Let me breakdown my problem for you. Maybe, and I hope this is the case, it’ll give me a bit of clarity, and maybe, just maybe, a reason for some of you to comment and weigh in. That would be most excellent. As an aside, I don’t really have anyone else to give me any advice. I generally only have the angel and devil on my shoulders. The angel, being my wife and my wallet telling me that I already have enough games to play. The devil being my co-workers and the other part of my conscience telling me I need to buy anything remotely interesting because I’m missing out on great experiences.

So here’s the deal:

  1. There are times where games, not major AAA releases obviously, just don’t last in stores. In this case – my store only received four copies of Disgaea 5. Now, it may stay online for some time, and it may not. So I put a copy aside for myself while I took some time to look into the matter. If the game disappears, I’m going to have to hunt for it. And, frankly, that’s tedious at the best of times.
  2. Money/time – Yes the age old battle. I think that’s sufficient.
  3. Lack of review sites. Now, I know this isn’t a game that is going to be at the forefront of every gaming site. But it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deserve a decent enough review. Now, I’m not going to tear down other people’s art or what have you, but the choices to see an in-depth review about a relatively unknown game are pretty lackluster. IGN, who devoted a whopping 2 minutes, but is barely able to justify why the game ranked an 8.7 or another review I saw on youtube, which is almost 10 minutes, but is choppily read without any kind of inflection – boring me so badly that I couldn’t finish it even though it probably held the answer to my dispute. Generally, I go to gametrailers.org for my reviews. They combine video evidence and a well formed script to actually (and articulately) explain the boons and failures of games. But they too often pass on reviewing smaller title releases. I guess I get it – can’t review everything (though, I’m sure they have the staff to). I know there are a lot of written reviews, and given that I, you know, write a blog, should probably impact me just as well. But when it comes to a digital media – I really do want to see something. Sites like Metacritic make it so easy too. Collecting all of the reviews together, and offering user reviews. But even sites like that, with a relatively unknown game, are lacking.
  4. What else is out this month? That ended up being the next question I had to ask myself. What else have I pre-ordered for October? Fortunately, this is the smaller issue. Looks like I only have Assassin’s Creed out, so at least that’s not going to be the deciding factor. Course, I wouldn’t mind grabbing the Darksiders re-master. But it’s not enough of  a reason to put off a new title. November though…We all know how big that’s going to be.

As I close this out, I think I know what I’m going to do. It’s always easier to just say yes, and worry about the problem later. Eventually I’ll make it through my backlog. At least that’s what I tell myself to sleep at night. Post. Weigh in. I want you to.

–  The Ego

Return of the king

So, I’m back. Pretty beat at the moment, but expect some new posts in the near future.

An update to my last posts, Bethesda posted a new video.

And as for the Assassin’s Creed reflections, you’ll be happy to know that Florence was everything the game made it look to be. The buildings, the Duomo – oh man. The roofs are even still shingled with the terracotta tiles. Breathtaking.

– The Ego

Where all roads lead

Sometimes when I’m writing, or thinking about writing, these postings, I think: People are going to start thinking that I’m a Ubisoft fanboy. Well, there were times were I would have said absolutely. That was some time ago. But the quality of the series that put them on the map (Assassin’s Creed) has been seriously slipping down the quality mountain.

But the part of the series no hater can hate on is the Ezio saga.

So, the previously undisclosed area which I have taken off to this year is Italy. Now, I’ve never been here, hell, never been off of the North American content. So coming here has been amazing. We started the trip off in Rome. The sights were mind blowing. Any words I can think of, and this is poignant considering who I am, couldn’t justify the majesty of the history left behind.

Now, I’m sure you’re making the conclusion I’m trying to draw. When I got there, I knew a ton of the history of the area in part because of the Assassin’s Creed series. Now, I’m sure that makes me sound like a bad tourist, etc – but I don’t care.

When I got to my hotel near the Porta Maggorie and I could see the remnants of the outer wall that protected the city, I remembered stalking guards and targets along the wall as Ezio. Running along the Roman aqueducts as I escaped pursuers and kept a watchful eye from above as soldiers harassed innocent citizens. I was able to vividly recall scaling the outside of the Colosseum. Slowly, and not so surely at times, scaling it up to the top and staring down at the base. A sight I (more or less) shared not two days ago.

I was right there…

Now, part of this is my “I’m loving my vacation” rant, and part not. The part that isn’t is wholly grateful and in love with the way that these games are built. The level of detail was (is in some cases) astounding. In that way, Ubisoft has truly created an unparalleled title. Even for the more mediocre offerings – Assassin’s Creed 3 or Unity – there is still a panache to the series that nothing else is able to capture. That panache or je ne said quou is found in the details of history. It’s one thing to take a picture of the Pantheon, digitize it and spiff it up (you know, because it’s supposed to look new then). It’s another thing entirely to take the actual page of history, places, events and give them meaning. Not to mention the ever interesting historical notes on the places involved. With the occasional sprinkling of contextual editorials.

While some may turn their head and scoff at what I’ve set down here today, I hope some take note. Was I already a history buff, specifically on Italy, the Roman Empire and mythology going into the games? Assolutamente! But having it all there, at my finger tips, to consume and not say “I wonder how accurate this wiki is?” is saying something for any source – let alone something meant (at its core) as a diversion. It seems likely to me that the Assassin’s Creed series has probably paved a lot of roads for people who had the bug, the gnawing interest in history, but perhaps lacked the will or drive to pursue it.

I won’t go crazy and say when I stood at the base of the Colosseum that I looked up expectantly, but it would have been pretty cool right? Maybe another time. Maybe another time.

And while nothing, not even the best Ubisoft game, can compare to bearing witness to the real thing, I will certainly give them full marks for the effort. I look forward to moving through the streets of Florence and over the canals of Venice, all with the thought of an amazing character, an amazing game, a great concept and a plethora of great memories to help me through.

– The Ego

Double dare

I defy you to check out this video and tell me Mad Max isn’t going to be a contender for the title this year.

Yup. I went there.

So, I’m slightly ashamed to admit it, but I missed seeing Mad Max: Fury Road in theatres. I can also, safely, admit that I haven’t seen the original. Frankly, never caught my eye. Mel Gibson being incredibly terrible in, well, basically everything. The only time I got excited when I saw him on screen was at the end of Braveheart when he’s being drawn and quartered. I kind of hoped someone had actually tied him to the horse for real, and they had a set “accident” like Bruce or Brandon Lee. No such luck.

Sorry, not relevant to my posting at all. Though I do smile when I think about it.

Business at hand: I try really hard when I see new games that I am really excited about coming out to keep myself as pure as possible. Same with movies. So I try not to watch trailers or gameplay videos. But it’s also a new IP. That makes it a bit harder for me to not make a judgement call about the game’s quality. And, not having played any of the Just Cause games, I don’t know what to expect out of Avalanche Studios. So I’ve been checking out a bit here and there. Man – choice is the word of the year for Q4 2015 and 2016 in general.

I think that it’s amazing that devs are starting to keep their finger on the pulse of the industry. For a long time, new IPs – see something along the lines of Assassin’s Creed 1 – where the games, not able to predict how fans will react, or what they’ll find to be the best part of the game, take the player by the wrist and drag them through the game kicking and screaming through the game.

Instead, this year we’re getting games where completing the tasks, or matches, put in front of us in whichever way we see fit. Want to play noisy? Want to play Dirty? It’s 100% up to you to do what you think is best, most fun or best choice for a situation – do it.

Seriously though, how cool is that? It’s such a small freedom. But that freedom is paramount. I see it every time I watch a review, read Metacritic or any forum like playstationtrophies.org, the number one thing people complain about is that the game is on rails, or doesn’t allow the player to impact the world or make the choices to take the game off of the pre-destined linear path. I see games like Assassin’s Creed trying to branch out that way. The other (potentially amazing) line-up they’re putting out as proof in the pudding. That’s enough about Ubisoft for now, though.

I really do think that Mad Max is going to be the game to watch. It’s almost too bad that the game is coming out in the same year as Fallout 4. I only say that because the game that is taking that award is definitely Bethesda’s big gun. That certainly won’t detract from the quality of Mad Max, but it’s Fallout’s GOTY award to lose.

If you can handle it, check out some more of the gameplay videos posted on IGN. The commentary on some of them (as a general rule) can get pretty tedious, but there is some extremely cool footage to work through.

I think the saddest part of the game is it’s going to just be showing up on my doorstep in time for me to go on vacation. Thankfully, that is going to be so cool and immersive, that I probably won’t even remember that it’s sitting there waiting to be played.

For the time being, I think that video is going to be the last one I watch before the release date. I’ll just have to avoid the internet. That shouldn’t be too hard right? Right?

– The Ego

Batteries (not) included

I love, yes love, collector’s editions of games. I have belt buckles, masks, statues and stickers. I think I even have a Kingdom Hearts keychain batting around somewhere. For a very long time, I would pre-order and hunt for basically every special edition that I could get my hands on. The few I regret not getting: Splatterhouses’ mask, the Alduin statue from Skyrim, the bobblehead/lunchbox from the Fallout 3 set and most of all: the Borderlands 2 loot chest. I came pretty close to shelling out the cost on the set when I found one on kijiji. But I didn’t.

With that in mind – I find myself getting pickier and pickier about which sets I’m going to pick up. Part of it: It’s getting way too expensive to just pick it all up. I mean, when I was doing it in the hay day of collecting, the prices of collector’s editions were somewhere in the area of 90-120$. Now, they barely add anything worth picking up (in most cases) and the prices are sky-rocketing. And frankly, I think that they’d have a pretty hard time justifying the price tags.

Compare this:

To this:

Now, granted, the Borderlands set ran somewhere around the 200$ mark (at least in Canada), but something that was 1.5 or 2x the cost of the WoW set – you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck. I like Blizzard, and the packaging and digital stuff is cool. The only thing is: Aside from the digital, and the box, all you’re getting for your extra money is a mousepad and a soundtrack.

Another great example of something worth the money is the new Fallout Pip Boy edition. Look at this thing:

So, it’s a Pip Boy and box I can display. Check.
Amazing videogame collectable. Check.
It actually functions with a smartphone and app. Seriously?

At 160$ – this is a license to print money. It’s no wonder that it sold out within the hour of being posts on Bestbuy and Amazon.

Todd Howard put it best when he said: “As far as stupid gimmicks go, this is the best fucking one I’ve ever seen,”. I don’t envy the people on the buying end of the secondary market.

If this is going to be an on-going trend, other companies need to step up their game. Mousepads, stickers and dinky bobbles are the collector’s prizes of yesteryear. They are going to have to be economical, they are going to have to be something that doesn’t take up an obscene amount of space and they are going to have to be next-level fun. If they can manage that, and I definitely think it’s in the realm of possibility (Bethesda is proof in the pudding). I get that not every edition will come with something that actually functions. Statues aren’t bad. Alduin would look awesome on my shelf – as awesome as anything made of plastic can be. It has to be fantastic. I’ve always liked about half of the pack-ins for the Assassin’s Creed sets. But there are only so many statues of their protagonists that I can reasonably handle. Especially since they’ve all kind of been duds since Ezio…

I hope, going forward, that companies take what Bethesda is doing and step their game up. Assuming they’re going to continue the trend. And why not? People will buy them and the manufacturing of a plastic statue, mousepad, some digital content or a steelbook is a low cost with high margins.

I know this is just a fan mock-up, but look at this:

I dare you to tell me that sucks. I’m not even a huge Star Wars mark, and I would happily display a cool stormtrooper helmet on my shelf.

I’ve already gone way over my image budget, but this:

Yup. If this was an Xbone exclusive set, I’d buy the console for it.

Both helmets, and the rest of the plastic that I have, and will continue to buy, will all look great next to my portal gun. Whooosh.

– The Ego