My goodness, is it that time of year again? Where did 2017 go?
It certainly was a big year for video games. Almost everything that was popular (or “popular” at least) in 2014 got a sequel, Nintendo came out swinging to dominate a new generation of consoles, and we got to see the dawn of a whole new Moral Panic.
Exciting stuff! But enough previews! Let’s jump right into the Year In Review for 2017:
Nintendo started their year out with a bang and a shortage of 3DS’s, leading to the usual argument between people who criticize Nintendo by saying The Big N is brilliant and the people who defend Nintendo by saying The Big N is incompetent.
Bethesda announced that there would be no more Elder Scrolls remasters, owing largely to the fact that doing so would only serve to remind fans that the graphics haven't actually been upgraded in an Elder Scrolls game since Morrowind.
Someone figured out how to hack the NES classic to add more games to it via USB. Nintendo responded by continuing to not sell them.
Microsoft pushed a massive patch for Forza Horizons that was completely broken, making the most eloquent and convincing case ever against finishing released games with patches. Naturally, they were quoted out of context and everyone got mad at Comcast instead.
Nintendo announced a whole lot of details about the Switch at the Nintendo Direct event, including lots of information on both launch titles!
Ok, that was unfair. There were four launch titles. The other two were Just Dance 2017 and Skylanders Imaginators. I’d write a joke here, but I think Nintendo already did that for me.
In other Switch News, Nintendo announced that they would be following Sony and Microsoft in the practice of charging people for online multiplayer. The internet was outraged to find out that Nintendo had been providing free online multiplayer for years and never told anyone.
Francis Ford Coppola announced that he was working on an Apocalypse Now video game. Surprisingly, Telltale was not involved.
Facebook was ordered to pay $500 million dollars for stealing Zenimax’s software when developing the Oculus Rift. You might say the Rift was…
Sony continued on its business plan of asking “what did Microsoft do last gen?” by updating the PS4 firmware to allow external hard drives.
This is what counts as big videogame news in February, apparently.
Valve announced it would be doing away with the much-maligned Greenlight system in favor of a system where the developers front money to Valve to buy space on the storefront. The internet was too confused by the idea of a thoughtful rollout from Valve to decide that they hated the new system more than the old one, but give them time. I'm sure they'll come around.
The Switch released with barely a hitch in supply lines except that Amazon failed to fulfill preorders on time. Seriously, if Nintendo and Amazon were on Dancing with the Stars as partners, one would step on the other's feet and the other would set the first one's house on fire.
Nintendo did have a bit of a snafu with the Switch hardware after one of the joycons was plagued with connectivity issues. Nintendo assured customers that the connectivity issues would go away as soon as the Switch was removed from the presence of electricity, leading to speculation that Nintendo had partnered with The Amish, rather than Nvidia, to produce the Switch.
Which would, incidentally, explain why accessories for the Switch were backordered for six months. Tempered-glass screen protectors are difficult to make using only a pot-bellied stove and a laundry mangle.
The Disney Afternoon Collection, which contains NES classics Ducktales, Chip and Dales Rescue Rangers, Talespin and Darkwing Duck was announced, thus making the person writing this very happy indeed.
Information about Destiny 2 was leaked and subsequently announced in a classic case of “You can’t leak me, I’m released!”
Blizzard announced a remaster of Starcraft, leading to the a massive strain on Microsoft’s servers as all of North and South Korea finally downloaded Windows 7.
Capcom snuck Bayonetta onto PC, leaving this writer with the vain hope that God Hand would be next. Hey, a man’s gotta have dreams.
Microsoft released details on Project Scorpio, which were noticed largely by owners of PCs who patted Microsoft on the head and said “That's so cute!”
Nintendo announced they would no longer be making the NES Classic which, if nothing else, earned them some points for honesty.
Activision announced that the next Call of Duty game will take place in World War 2, and will be called Call of Duty: World War 2, suggesting that even Activision’s marketing juggernaut has given up and is just using working titles.
To mark the 25th anniversary of Night Trap, Sega announced a remaster of Night Trap. It’s a good thing we’ve all moved past that particular moral panic, because it means we’ll get to see what a toilet that game was.
Leaked reports indicated that Nintendo was planning to make a miniature version of the Super Nintendo, but you can’t fool this correspondent twice!
Speaking of hardware Nintendo isn't making, Nintendo announced a new New 3DS without the 3D. It's called the New S. Ok, no it isn't, but it should be.
Internet experts deduced that a new Far Cry game was coming out, rumored to take place in Montana, allowing users to climb the Rocky Mountains to unlock the map which is – spoiler alert – Montana
Square Enix announced that it would sell IO because Tomb Raider and Hitman failed to meet expectations that were set by moon wizards.
EA finally learned how to take a hint and shelved plans for future Mass Effect games.
Ubisoft’s hint-blockers continued to work, however, and they announced The Crew 2.
The makers of Parappa the Rapper and Gitaroo Man announced they were making a new game that combines the rhythm mechanics of Parappa the Rapper with the dynamic insults of Oh… Sir! No joke here, folks, just a healthy dose of Rad, with a side of Dope.
Alan Wake was removed from electronic stores because of music licensing agreements expiring, and because the developers had never heard of Crazy Taxi.
Ubisoft announced details Far Cry 5. You play as a heroic member of The Resistance defying an evil cult in flyover country that’s destroying America As We Know It. In other news, Ubisoft officially applied to change their company name from Ubisoft to Uber-Subtle.
E3! This year the industry broke new ground in disappointing news! How disappointing was it? None of it was leaked beforehand!
For example, Nintendo unveiled its online service. For $4 per month (or $20 per year for people who aren’t afraid to commit) you can play Mario Kart against people you don’t want to play Mario Kart with, while chatting with people you don’t want to chat with on your very own phone!
Oh, and the launch of the service was pushed out to 2018, which successfully wins the “Most Ambiguously-Bad News at E3” award. Congratulations Nintendo. You’re wreath thingie is in the mail.
But it's not all bad news! Nintendo announced Metroid Prime 4, which puts them well on the path to turning Samus Aran into the new Sonic The Hedgehog!
Meanwhile, Sony decided that they couldn't let Nintendo have all the fun of taking old-assed games that nobody played and rereleasing them to a pliant fan base. I’m actually excited about the remaster of Shadow of the Colossus, because it gives me the a whole new resolution in which to not care about Shadow of the Colossus.
Also, Sony announced the fifth game in the Uncharted trilogy. Douglas Adams could not be reached for comment.
Microsoft announced that they were sick and tired of hearing about the “X-bone,” so they decided to call project Scorpio the Xbox One X, which I have decided to call the XOX, which is pronounced “socks.”
Also, Microsoft announced that their XOX will retail at $500. Seriously, folks, I’ve joked about this before but did someone at Microsoft literally steal the PS3 business model from the dumpsters behind Sony’s corporate headquarters?
Oh yeah, Atari announced a new console. No word on what kind of hardware it has, but I'm suspicious it starts with R and rhymes with “Smaspberry Smy.”
In addition to the seventh Far Cry game, Ubisoft announced the fourteenth Assassin’s Creed game and the second Beyond Good and Evil. Ubisoft has not gone back to the well too often on one of those, but I won't tell you which.
You're not even reading this anymore, are you?
Nintendo announced that the SNES classic would be released in limited quantities. You know what? Some jokes are too easy even for me.
Microsoft announced the latest Crackdown game would be delayed, thus removing the only legitimate reason to buy XOX for Christmas. (Illegitimate reasons include: “because Grandma got confused about which SKU to buy” and “it’s more powerful than the PS4.”)
Speaking of delayed releases, ReCore: Definitive Edition came out, including all of the content that was supposed to be in it when it initially released. When asked if they might have gotten better press if they'd just called the initial release “Early Access,” Microsoft replied, “Marketing is hard.”
Final Fantasy XV has been confirmed to be coming to PC. The game download is reported to be 170GB. I thought of a joke to write here, but Square Enix used all of my memory and I lost it.
EA’s CEO has a word-a-day calendar. This month it must have contained the term “sunk cost,” because EA announced that Mass Effect Andromeda would get no more patches, updates or DLC.
Capcom announced they would commemorate the 30th anniversary of Street Fighter 1 with a special SNES cartridge of Street Fighter 2, complete with a foil box, special edition manual and a legal notice warning you that your SNES might explode if you use it.
Also, the version of Street Fighter 2 is, according to fans, inferior to the one included in the SNES Classic.
Also, it costs $40 more than an SNES classic.
Also, collectors are lunatics.
Destiny 2 released, and to everyone's surprise it was not a massive disappointment! Destiny 1 will go down in history as the greatest rope-a-dope marketing ploy since New Coke.
The makers of PlayerUnknown’s Battleground filed legal action against Epic, charging that it was unfair of them to make a video game with a battle royale mode that had a less embarrassing title.
The sequel to sleeper hit Shadow of Mordor released to a serious and thoughtful discussion about othering and dehumanization of videogame villains. Fortunately, Wolfenstein 2 released shortly after and put a stop to that.
Lego Dimensions was officially discontinued by TT Games. Let the internet flame wars about who killed the toys-to-life genre begin!
Nintendo announced it would bring GameCube controller support to the Switch, so all of you lunatics who think it’s a good fighting game controller can look at it while you wait for them to release the WiiU version of Smash Brothers on the Switch.
The buzz around Destiny 2 was so strong that I bought a copy. It’s the best game about farming since the prior Farming Simulator.
Super Mario Odyssey released, and shocked absolutely nobody by being the best Mario game since Galaxy. The real entertainment will be watching to see whether any fistfights occur amongst Nintendo fanatics over whether Odyssey or Breath of the Wild is the Game of the Year. If so, I fully expect at least one Nintendo YouTuber to punch themselves in the nose.
Spelunky 2 was announced, leading to a big internet discussion about why in the world a perfect roguelike would need a sequel.
EA announced it would acquire Respawn, the developers behind Titanfall, which led many people to wonder, “Didn’t that already happen two years ago?”
Videogame voice actors ended their year-long strike. The voice actors won more money and the ability to know ahead of time if they would have to say anything rude, while game developers won the right to use larger subtitles in HD enabled games. Here’s hoping someone uses that last one. My eyes aren’t getting any younger!
Assassin’s Creed Origins released to a massive controversy about historical accuracy. That’s right, in a game where the Knights Templar are a shadowy, all-powerful organization covering up the fact that Jesus was an alien from space, they didn’t get Cleopatra right.
Citing disappointing sales, NEX Machina developer Housemarque said it was going to stop making arcade-style games. Saying instead they were going where the real money was: visual novels.
Blizzard announced that they were going to take all those classic-Warcraft servers that they'd DMCAd and make them official.
Sega learned from Square Enix’s mistakes and decided to release Valkyria Chronicles 4 in the west as Valkyria Chronicles 4. The marketing department of Sega deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for sparing us two decades of pedants telling everyone that it’s actually the fourth Valkyria Chronicles because the third one was only released in Japan.
Star Wars Battlefront contained blind boxes, which was officially dubbed as an affront to all sensible beings who already spent their allowance on Pokemon cards and Loot Crate subscriptions.
But don’t worry. After the failure of horse armor, day-one DLC, season passes, microtransactions and now blind boxes, I’m sure the the next thing big videogame publishers do to fund games with multi-million dollar budgets won’t outrage anyone.
Speaking of healthy trends, the Hawaii state legislature took up the issue of reigning in, and I quote “EA’s Star Wars Themed Casino.” With informed rhetoric like that, there’s no way this will turn into yet another videogame moral panic.
I mean, we haven’t even finished with the last one!
In other news, Nintendo released a Mario-themed breakfast cereal. The boxes contain amiibo NFC chips, and unlock things in Super Mario Odyssey. I’m sure the Hawaii state legislature will get right on it, as they clearly have nothing else to do.
The Video Game Awards show happened, and, being the forward-thinking people that they are, decided to forego all of that tedious award-giving falderal and get right to announcing games that won’t be out until 2019.
Among them, From Software teased that they were making a game, by showing a picture of a sword and the words “Shadows die twice,” leading some to speculate that it’s a new Tenchu game, which is ridiculous. I mean, how could From Software make stealth games harder and more frustrating than they already are?
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds squeaked under the wire to release officially on December 20th, thus allowing them to qualify for the Game of the Year awards for 2017, which had already been decided in late November. Better luck next year!
Well folks, I think that should about do it. Put a bow on this year; it’s done. What will the future hold? Well, I’m no soothsayer, but if I had a sooth to say it would be that some stuff will get better, some stuff will get worse, and everyone will keep on overreacting no matter what.
At least I certainly hope so. It makes comedy writing so much easier!