House of Troubles: Is Bethesda’s “Free Pass” Justified?

Since the turn of the millennium, Bethesda Softworks and their development branch Bethesda Game Studios have gone from an eccentric yet ambitious company, with their own unique visions and goals, to a massive player in the western video game industry, whose name is recognized on the same level as the best of them; everyone invested in the scene knows what they’re about, and especially as a developer they’ve achieved huge popularity and renown. Their development résumé consists essentially of two franchises: The Elder Scrolls, created by Bethesda themselves, and Fallout, acquired from Interplay. Both of these franchises are among the most popular video game series in existence, generating quite a bit of buzz with every new title that’s launched or announced. Continue reading

Agoraphobia: The Decline of Open World Games

Over the past decade or so, the Open World format has steadily increased its penetration of the video game scene; starting with role-playing games whose nature included such vastness and openness in the game world like The Elder Scrolls series, eventually the number of new games with Open World sensibilities increased noticeably, and existing series began to adopt those features as well.

More linear games like Metal GearFar Cry and the Arkham series of Batman games developed from being fairly straightforward, guided experiences into what we saw in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom PainFar Cry 3 and 4, and Batman: Arkham City and Arkham Knight. The reason should hardly surprise anyone – it’s the supply to the audience’s demand. My argument, however, is that the tide is well on its way to turning around, changing the landscape of Triple-A games in the next few years. Continue reading

The Forgotten Game of the Year: Pillars of Eternity

As the end of the year draws nigh, the discussion about the best game of 2015 is becoming more relevant by the minute. The gaming community now has a pretty good feel on what the year has to offer, ranging from spectacles such as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain to apparent disappointments like The Order: 1886. It’s curious, though, that the favor of the general audience appears to lean a bit towards games released late in the year – as if their memory can’t quite reach as far back as last spring. Continue reading

Double-A: The Death of Audience-Specific Games

I’ve often heard Greg Miller of Kinda Funny mention the fact that in the video game industry of today, the mid-sized game developers have ceased to exist, as both Triple-A releases and indie developers consume practically all of the space there is in the market. For the traditional, old-school and possibly somewhat sentimental gamer such as myself, this is upsetting to say the least, since nowadays the only options are either the big titles that are smoothed and, if you’ll excuse my impolite expression, “dumbed down”, so that they will be appealing to as many people as possible, whether or not they’re seasoned gamers; or independent games that more often than not lack the resources to provide a satisfying, robust experience. Continue reading

It All Started with a Water Chip: What Happened to Fallout?

By the time this blog entry is posted, I’m positive you’re either tired of Fallout 4 related content, or don’t care about the game and are sick of hearing about it all the same. What I’m intending to do, however, is not just compose a lengthy article about what the newly-released post-apocalyptic role-playing game is made of, but rather take a look at the series as a whole, and more specifically how it has gone through changes so thorough that for all intents and purposes nothing of the original game is left to be found in the latest one.

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