This year has been rife with various controversies, and I want to discuss some of the major ones of this past year. These are five of the biggest controversies this year – from games to company decisions.
Let’s start with our most recent controversy, and where do I begin? Bethesda has made some major mistakes in their handling of customer data and well, let’s start from the beginning.
Fans who ordered the Power Armor Edition of Fallout 76 were excited for their extras to their game. They were set to receive a Tricentennial steelbook case, 24 collectable figurines, a glow-in-the-dark world terrain map, a full-scale wearable T-51 Power Armour helmet with a West Tek canvas duffel bag, and the actual game along with bonus in-game items. There was a lot to look forward to, but there was one major problem: the West Tek canvas bag was not actually canvas. it was nylon. This wouldn’t have been a problem if they had originally advertised the bag as nylon, but it became horribly misleading, and it only got worse. See, fans complained to Bethesda, and their response was simply that the bag advertised was a prototype and too expensive to make. They eventually said that fans could have 500 atoms of in-game currency to compensate for their disappointment, but this wasn’t going to work. Especially as it was the equivalent of only $5 so it wasn’t exactly equal. Then after numerous complaints, they agreed that they would produce the canvas bags for the customers who were unhappy with the product under the condition they request it before January 31st 2019.
But as well as “The Great Canvas Shortage of 2018” there have been some significant issues when it comes to handling customer data. It’s not surprising that this was actually linked to the aforementioned problem. With customers submitting their data tickets to claim their canvas bags, they started receiving support tickets from everyone else. This didn’t go unnoticed, and soon social media was exploding with complaints regarding the data breach. Much of the data leaked included certain customers usernames, names, addresses, contact details and in some cases the type of card used and the last four digits of at least one card.
This has been an awful launch for Fallout 76, and for all we know, it could only get worse.
Standoff (Active Shooter)
At least in Bethesda’s case, they didn’t go out of their way to intentionally aggravate customers. This wasn’t the case for Revived Games, (or Acid Software as they’re currently going by) who thought it would be a brilliant idea to release Active Shooter on Windows. Now, there’s no problem with FPS games, but this one reached a poor level. See, Anton Makarevskiy decided he wanted to develop a game in which you’re put in the role of a school shooter or a member of SWAT responding to the event. Considering the number of school shootings and mass shootings in general, there was no way this was ever going to get off the ground without controversy.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t actually get off the ground at all on mainstream game services. Valve removed Active Shooter from Steam, citing both the media’s negative response to the game and the nature surrounding the developers. An American helping with the game: Ata Berdyev was previously removed from Steam due to copyright issues and a history of customer abuse. Thus, they had no doubt that the game was created just to troll people. There have been some significant changes to Steam’s policies in response to Active Shooter. They have claimed that they will review games prior to their release to see whether they go against their terms of service or whether the game is created with the incentive to troll.
Makarevskiy and Berdyev both state that they will continue selling the game, claiming that censoring it is against their freedom of speech.
Developed by MadMind Studios, “Agony is a first-person, survival horror set in hell. You will begin your journey as a tormented soul within the depths of hell without any memories about your past. The special ability to control people on your path, and possess demons, gives you the measures to survive.” It has a series of mixed reviews on Steam and is also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. It was threatened with an Adults Only rating from the ESRB, but they managed to avoid it by censoring the game.
Altogether, there was a lot of criticism regarding the subject matter of the game. The developers claimed that they couldn’t release an unrated version of the game due to legal issues, and honestly, I kind of think its for the best. In Agony, you play as a soul who has no memories of their past self, but you can figure out for yourself that they were awful people simply because they are in Hell. Whilst there, the developers promised fans of the game that it would feature elements of intense violence, gore, brutal sex scenes, genital physics, eye gouging, heart plucking and the heads of children exploding. Of course, there’s also strong language and drugs, as well as gay and lesbian sex scenes. But the game itself was also said by many that it doesn’t play well.
After watching videos of deleted scenes that included killing children and scenes of rape, I have to admit that the game looks bad. Not only this, but there has been a lot of criticism regarding the treatment of women in the game. Many have accused the developers of displaying a power fantasy under the guise of a survivor horror game.
“Defeat the communistic evils in this politically incorrect game and be the hero that will free the nation from misery. Be prepared to face many kinds of enemies that intend to establish a criminal ideological dictatorship in the country. A lot of brawl and good laughs.” This is the description of Bolsomito, a single player beat-em-up game that was developed by BS Studios. It gained quite a bit of controversy in Brazil due to the protagonist being named and based after presidential candidate: Jair Bolsanaro, who is also referred to as Bolsomito.
The game coincided with the Brazillian general election at the time, and the game itself features Bolsomito ruthlessly beating his foes, notably, minorities such as LGBT people, black protestors, political rivals and more. It’s a blatant satire on Bolsanaro’s own rhetoric as he has made numerous derogatory statements towards minorities. The Brazillian government were unhappy with the portrayal of Bolsanaro in Bolsomito and have demanded Valve remove the game from Steam. They believe it was designed to humiliate Bolsanaro prior to the election, as the game itself is based on the political climate in Brazil.
Overall the game itself has released numerous positive reviews in terms of its satirical content, but there have been fears that it will encourage negative behaviour towards minorities. Could it have this much power? Probably not. Most of the players of this game are aware that it is notably a mockery of Bolsarito’s own attitude yet there are those who will play this game due to the content it will give them.
Diablo Immortal is an upcoming game for mobile from Blizzard Entertainment and co-developed by NetEase. Of course, everyone knows that Blizzard is renowned for its PC games: World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone, and of course, Diablo. Of course, they’ve released on consoles before, with Overwatch being released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One alongside the PC release. But fans of the series weren’t ready for Blizzard to make an announcement of a Diablo mobile game.
Many of these fans are afraid that Blizzard is slowly abandoning their main platform to make “lesser quality” games for a larger profit. So far, reviewers of the demo believe that although it captures the feel of Diablo, it’s uncertain whether it will still have the soul of the original. Blizzard does not appear to understand the reason fans are upset and why they are afraid this could mean a lack of another Diablo sequel. As well as that, many fans believe that the game doesn’t look particularly good either, but I am inclined to wait for the game to be released before coming to a decision on how I feel about the game.