EGMR Awards 2015: Bastard Of the Year
2015 has been an incredible year for gaming with some magnificent titles but it has also been laden with some downright villainous behaviour. We’re talking moustache-twirling levels of bastardy behaviour. The funny thing is that each of these companies putout some really great games and are about to put out some potentially great games but that hasn’t stopped them from doing some truly reprehensible things. The actions of bastards, really.
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The Bastard of the Year Award is what we give to someone who did something so bastardly and evil that we will hold secret or public hate for it until the end of time – or until its bastardness is taken away. Alright, maybe that’s only in extreme cases. It could even go to something that continuously did bastardly things and has gotten itself quite the rap sheet. Anyone and anything can be nominated, whether its about screwing over or deceiving gamers, consistently irritating us, insulting the community or just general evil-doing. But keep in mind that even the good guys can get nominated, as long as they qualify during the year. This award will be given to the overall biggest bastard of the year.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
As much as we adore Batman: Arkham Knight and Mortal Kombat X, Warner Bros. seems to abhor PC as a platform. It is perhaps the only explanation for these games being so horribly mangled on PC. It started with MKX which was utterly broken on PC and is still in a none too great state. It’s just a fighting game though, right? Most people play it on console anyway. Then Arkham Knight released on PC and was an unplayable wreck. We could expend a thousand words on the issues players encountered while trying to play these games on PC but it boils down to data corruption, numerous visual glitches and bugs, framerate drops to near unplayable levels and in the case of MKX repeated server disconnects. We could go on but you get the picture. Both were scarcely in a better state after hefty patches and Arkham Knight was actually removed from retail until October. These are arguably the publisher’s biggest titles of 2015 and they released in such an unacceptable state. Why? Because Warner Bros. skimped on QA. It’s becoming a common practice for games to release with a clearly insufficient amount of QA having been done but on Arkham Knight in particular it was staggering. To cut a long story short, Warner Bros. knowingly left a plethora of PC issues unchecked. That’s a paddlin’ in our books.
Oh, Konami. Konami. Konami. Konami. That wasn’t for effect, it’s just how one summons them. While Metal Gear Solid V is a fantastic game, Konami has proven that it is not worthy to have the rights to such a title. By now Konami’s falling out with Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima is infamous but the juvenile manner in which Konami acted throughout this saga is both hilarious and horrendous. It started with simply refusing to put Kojima’s name on any promotional material for MGS V, let alone even the game box. Then Konami adopted a scorched earth attitude and destroyed anything that even had a whiff of Kojima about it, including the highly anticipated Silent Hills. They successfully managed to turn famed director Guillermo del Toro away from game development for good with that move. Fast-forward and while MGS V was one of the big winners at this year’s Game Awards, Kojima was legally barred from attending.
Look, EA has put in a good amount of effort and work to not be the soul-sucking demon it was a few years ago but that beast still occasionally pops its head out just to say hi. That’s the only explanation for taking a perfectly good Need for Speed and bastardising it with a wholly unnecessary always-on requirement. In truth that’s a personal gripe. A decidedly more universal one is how EA pulled an Evolve with Star Wars: Battlefront. It’s a perfectly good game and a gorgeous one at that but it feels more like a demo than the full package. In no small part thanks to that whopping $50 season pass which has a ton of content locked away behind it. That would be okay if the game wasn’t fully-priced at $60. Sorry, mate, that’s just bad business.
Oh Square, we like you. We really do. You give us Hitman and Tomb Raider and Deus Ex and Final Fantasy and so many other things but you’re ultimately insane. Hell, Square Enix even gave Dontnod the platform to create the fantastic Life is Strange. However, this is the same company that deemed 2013’s Tomb Raider a financial failure despite it being one the year’s best-selling titles. They haven’t become any less ridiculous. Let’s start with Rise of the Tomb Raider’s bonkers release schedule thanks to that timed-exclusivity deal. The game has three separate release dates for Xbox One, PC and PS4 respectively. Then there’s the decision to make the Final Fantasy VII Remake a multi-part release. That decision reeks of cash-grabbing to us. Most egregious is that Square tried to pull off that awful ‘Augment your pre-order’ nonsense. Not only did it sully Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s public image but it is a brash attempt at manipulation by fooling potential buyers into thinking they have enough agency to actual bring forward a game’s release. Bad Sqaure!
Every one of these nominees is a bastard in their own right and we don’t want to undermine them in any way. That would be a bastardy thing to do. They’re each unique, like pizza toppings or strains of malaria. However, there was one that just stood out from the rest.
In the end it was always going to be Konami. Of all this year’s nominees they’ve been the skeeviest and far from simply attempting to get away with some awful business practices and corner-cutting Konami actively vilified a human being and lashed out against him. We can’t say what Kojima did exactly to imbue Konami with such vicious ire but this was certainly a case of disproportionate retaliation. Not only did Konami oust one of its best assets but it also scared off one of our generation’s best directors, Guillermo del Toro, from working in video games again. Add to that its hilarious horse armour DLC for MGS V (Oblivion says hi) and the joke that was FOB insurance as an optional microtransaction. Konami has just been an all-round class-A bastard this year.