During the holy month of Ramadhan, it’s compulsory for Muslims to undergo a period of fasting from sunrise until sunset while also avoiding oneself into sinful behaviours like cursing, lying or gossiping. When the Ramadhan ends, Muslims all around the world will observe the first day of Shawal, which marks the celebration of Eid Al-Fitr. Did you know that the only day that Muslims are not allowed to fast is the first day of Eid Al-Fitr? The more you know.
Eid Al-Fitr celebration varies from country to country. In Malaysia, Eid Al-Fitr is commonly known as ‘Hari Raya Aidilfitri’. During the morning of Raya’s first day, it’s customary for young members of the family to ask for forgiveness from our parents, parents-in-law and grandparents.
The message of forgiveness seems to be the core message of the Eid al-Fitr celebration. Thus, we would like to hear apologies from some of the video games companies that have committed serious crimes in the past few years. Among the offenses that have been carried out are unforgivable video game cancellations, sudden closure of talented game studios, vicious microtransactions, false marketing and awful sequels from established franchises. Here are five video game companies that have to answer for their wrongdoings.
Voted as the worst company in America, not once but twice, EA takes the cake for being the most hated company in this list. The biggest mistake that EA ever done is taking ownership of the talented companies that had produced groundbreaking intellectual properties (IP) like Westwood Studios’ Command & Conquer, Visceral’s Dead Space and Maxis’ The Sims and forced them to produce unfinished games with exorbitant prices. When the unfinished products didn’t meet people’s expectation, EA had the nerve to shut them down! They even had the gall to transform the classic real-time strategy PC game, Command of Conquer into an exclusive mobile game with the gameplay akin to Clash of Clans named as Command & Conquer: Rivals during the recent EA Play in E3 2018. I sincerely hope that BioWare will be saved from this annihilation.
EA has faced so much flak from players, but the company nearly reached the end of the line with the lootbox implementation in Star Wars: Battlefront II. Furthermore, the company was put under fire when they responded terribly to a Reddit post regarding the usage of real money to unlock in-game heroes, which became one of the most downvoted comment in Reddit’s history with over 670k downvotes. The company suffered a lot of bad rep from this issue. In retrospect, the company decided to remove all the pay-to-win elements from Star Wars: Battlefront II, albeit temporarily.
To be frank, this is not the first time that EA has pulled this move. Back in 2015, I was among the players who pre-ordered Star Wars: Battlefront. I found the game to be such a let-down because there was no single-player campaign and too many extra DLC that required me to pay for what should’ve been included in the original game. I learned from my mistake. Even if there is a single-player campaign in the second game, I will boycott it. Never again, EA.
Ubisoft is undoubtedly one of the biggest video game publishers in the same level as EA. They also happen to produce some of the best video game franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and Just Dance to name a few, but the French company has their fair share of controversies. When the company first launched Uplay, the digital rights management and multiplayer service had caused nothing but pain. During the initial release of Assassin’s Creed 2, players had to be connected to Uplay and be online for the entire playthrough. If you fail to do that, you lose all of the save game.
The company also has the tendency to stretch out their franchise by producing bland sequels annually, as can be seen in the Assassin’s Creed series. I will never forget when Ubisoft released Assassin’s Creed Unity that was riddled with bugs, which rendered the game unplayable in the initial launch. Due to the ungodly amount of bugs in the game, Ubisoft even issued an apology by giving away free games in order to avoid players from suing the company.
In April 2012, John L. Beiswenger filed copyright infringement to Ubisoft due to them ripping off the central ideas of his novel Link, which was using “the ancestral memories” to perform assassination and constant “battle between good and evil” in the Assassin’s Creed series. Ubisoft is so good in averting legal crises that the company successfully dropped copyright infringement lawsuit in just over a month and blocked every lawsuit from Beiswenger in the future. Think this would make it easy to forgive them? I don’t think so.
The Japanese video game mogul was once cherished and loved by many players including myself. I grew up watching and playing Konami games. Konami is home to many popular video games franchise such as Metal Gear, Silent Hill, Pro Evolution Soccer, Castlevania, Contra, Dance Dance Revolution and more. But everything went downhill when Konami settled for terrible decisions on some of our beloved video game franchises.
Remember that time when the legendary game designer Hideo Kojima teamed up with Hollywood director, known for Pacific Rim and Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro? They then attempted to revive Silent Hill series with that horror tease called P.T that made me sleepless for several nights? Although it was just a demo, P.T became so popular among players when the demo was initially launched in August 2014 with over a million downloads. The short playable teaser originally made for the now-cancelled Silent Hills was showered with tons of praises by gaming media due to its well-executed horror that remained true to its original franchise.
Unfortunately, Konami suddenly pulled the plug on the development of Silent Hills in April 2015. Not only were fans shocked by the news, P.T game director and co-writer del Toro was disappointed with the cancellation of the game that was supposed to be the ninth game in the Silent Hill series. Despite the fact that this tragedy was over 2 years ago, del Toro expressed his utmost dissatisfaction to the Japanese company through his tweets like “F*** Konami” and that the cancellation of Silent Hills and P.T didn’t make any sense at all.
Shortly after, there was also an internal rift happening between Kojima Productions and Konami. Kojima was even revoked of his position as the Executive Vice President of Konami Digital Entertainment during the company’s restructuring. To make matters worse, Konami’s lawyers prevented him from accepting the Best Action-Adventure award for his work on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain during The Game Awards 2015.
Kojima left Konami several days after that incident. He re-established Kojima Productions as an independent studio with several former Konami staff. In December 2015, Kojima Productions announced a new partnership with PlayStation to work on a new exclusive PS4 title, which is now known as Death Stranding. While it might be a happy ending for Kojima, Konami said that they will be shifting their focus to mobile gaming. Not only the company threw out the person who brought the renaissance of the Metal Gear series, they transformed it into a Metal Gear Solid 3 Pachinko machine. I’m totally appalled. Konami needs to think through their decision carefully and throw out those Pachinko machines right now.
With the shortest E3 2018 press conference and the sudden disappearance of Final Fantasy 7 remake updates, Square Enix needs to step up their game. The Japanese publisher and developer is famous for their main focus on role-playing games (RPG) like Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts and Dragon Quest. However, the company seems to suffer from the same problems of Ubisoft and EA combined.
Similar to Ubisoft, Square Enix loves to develop mountains of spin-offs, DLC and dull sequels. Let’s take a look on the biggest Square Enix’s franchise: Final Fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the early versions of Final Fantasy games up until Final Fantasy X. I invested half of my life playing these RPGs. However, Square Enix pushed it way too hard with the release of spin-offs from turn-based tactics to fighting games as well as the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV that has no server for Southeast Asia players.
Another problem near to EA is the microtransactions. That dreaded microtransaction seeped into the single-player RPG Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. In the game’s shop, you can purchase Praxis Kits, which can be used to upgrade Jensen’s level faster. In addition to that, you can get a variety amount of in-game cash instantly by using real money. And the worst thing about all of this it’s only available for one-time use for one single playthrough. I know it’s completely up to the players’ choice but the fact that a triple-A title has microtransactions is mind-boggling.
Furthermore, Square Enix is a serious advocate for “Games as Services”, which means the developer will keep creating more contents in single-player games to encourage the player to keep playing even after they finished the game. In other words, the company loves to play the long game with their games, which no wonder Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy 7 remake are taking so long to develop. If they keep dilly-dallying in their work, I’m not sure there will be fans who will be remotely excited for their upcoming games.
Other than manufacturing computer software, electronic devices and personal computers, Microsoft is active inside the video game industry by creating Xbox consoles for three generations. There are two things I love about gaming on Xbox. First, Xbox controllers are better than other consoles’ controllers. Second, I can play all of the old games I love from previous Xbox 360 and even the classic Xbox games to the new Xbox One X using the backwards compatibility.
Speaking of games, Xbox has always fallen short of PlayStation in terms of exclusive games. Many people have thought the video gaming brand had completely lost in the battle between Xbox and PlayStation due to the cancellation of two Xbox exclusive games: Lionhead Studios’ Fable Legends and PlatinumGames’ Scalebound. To be clear, Xbox owns several good exclusives like Halo, Gears of War and Forza. But, it’s simply not enough in the long term.
When Sea of Thieves was released, the game was panned by the players due to lack of content in pirate-hunting and seafaring adventure. Another Xbox exclusive released this year, State of Decay 2 also received the negative treatment as the game was riddled with bugs that the developer had to come up with a giant patch of 20GB to fix the game.
Looking back to the recent Microsoft E3 2018 conference, they might still have a chance to make a rebound with 18 Xbox exclusives such as the announcements of Halo Infinite, Gears 5 as well as the actual release date for Crackdown 3 after the game has been delayed since 2016. To combat the Xbox exclusives problem, Xbox boss Phil Spencer announced that five studios also have joined under Microsoft Studios in an effort to develop better Xbox exclusives. Don’t screw this up, Phil!
I do understand that these video game companies have to make a profit to deliver their games but it doesn’t mean that they need to morph into money-grubbing syndicates in exchange for bad games and services. We, as gamers, but more importantly as a consumer, should be smart in making video games purchase. We need to prove that these video game companies don’t have total control over us. For all I know, the gaming community has always been the most patient, passionate and supportive community I ever known. We do forgive, but we will never forget the blunders.
In celebration of Eid al-Fitr, I would like to say Happy Eid al-Fitr (or Selamat Hari Raya) to all my fellow Muslims. After this long rant, I don’t mean any harm and I wish to apologise if I hurt anybody’s feelings, especially if your favourite gaming studio was mentioned here.