Video Games / Editorials

ZombiU – The Unappreciated Gem

ZombiU – The Unappreciated Gem

While the Wii U may be faltering on a number of fronts, I have still had some of the best video game experiences on the system the last generation. Oddly, for a new IP with no connections to previous brands, the sense of nostalgia while playing the game was immense. ZombiU was one of the most refreshing games I’ve played in the last five years. Sure the concept of anything zombie related is now long in the tooth, but ZombiU managed to make the undead threatening again. When ZombiU was released, the market was filled with games in which players would lay waste to hundreds of zombies for laughs. ZombiU went in a different direction, a single zombie could end the players life. It added a sense of challenge to the game , as well as forcing the player to think out each encounter.   Player death wasn’t just a simple case of reloading a checkpoint, it actually had consequences. Upon death players would respawn as a new survivor, stripped off all their gear. This played up the whole ‘surviving the zombie apocalypse’ theme ZombiU was going for. The combination of vulnerability and deaths with consequences made the game an intense experience. Playing ZombiU became awful to play, but in a good way. The threat of losing all of my hard earned gear in an instant was awful, almost foreboding. Every hour I played, I would have a story to share when talking about the game to a friend. I’d not had this experience since playing the likes of Silent Hill and Eternal Darkness. Survival horror had truly reached the next generation, and I was loving it. There’s a number of features in ZombiU that supplements the survival horror aspects, most of them using the Wii U pad.   Sorting out the inventory became a period of weakness for the player, as well as a means for the game to amp up the tension. Seeing zombies shambles towards you on the TV screen ,while you scrambled to pick your desired item of use on the Wii U pad, resulted in some genuine moments of panic. The same applies to opening locked doors and doors protected by key codes. They were neat features which made great use of the Wii U pad. ZombiU was truly one of the best video game experiences I’ve had in a long time. Admittedly it’s a short game, and it’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a awesome survival horror. It’s a shame that ZombiU became one of last years most overlooked titles. Given the struggle the Wii U has been going through, I fear that ZombiU will become one of the hidden gems. It’s also unfortunate that one of the few cases of true survival horror has went under the radar of many.  ...

Trolling Videos: Harmless Fun? Or Something More Sinister?

Trolling Videos: Harmless Fun? Or Something More Sinister?

The Youtube ‘gaming’ section has long been in decline in terms of quality. If it’s not a big youtuber suddenly deciding they like video games all of a sudden, it’s some awful coverage of games with misplaced lingo thrown in. It’s a sorry state, and its even impacting the actually industry (see Toby Turner’s car crash presenting at E3), but a new trend is rapidly on the rise, and it directly effects popular games communities. The ‘Trolling’ video has quickly become one of the most popular video formats. The basic outline sees a user entering a game/lobby (commonly Call of Duty) with the intention to antagonize the other players. At it’s most innocent it’s merely a guy just being annoying down the microphone, at its worst it’s someone pretending to be disabled. Let that sink in, a person is pretending to be disabled and earning money from it….Machinma have also contracted him.   The trolling videos show the very worst of people, most contain at least 200 homophobic and racial slurs. Most involve angry young men going irate at the youtuber to the point of rage quitting. The Youtuber will constantly seek for further reaction, this often results in the language and general tone of the ‘victim’ becoming utterly vile. Some may argue that it’s all in the name of entertainment, and in some cases they’d be right, but some Youtubers trolling feels purely tasteless. There’s something rather unsettling when it comes to someone pretending to be disabled purely to bait out a reaction. The same Youtuber (names will not be mentioned) sometimes makes comments back at his ‘victims’ that are simply vile. There is no morale high ground on either side, the question is how low can they go?   The trolling format is unquestionably successful. At times it can be funny, when the trolling is in moderation, but as the ‘genre’ becomes more stacked, the Youtubers look for a greater reactions from their victims. This can only mean that the baiting will be more severe, more distasteful, all in the name of gaining views and subs. Trolling directly effects video game communities, even if the communities associated are known for their poor nature. People have seen that trolling is a means to gain internet fame (which oddly seems to be something a large number of modern gamers want) with little effort, this leads to people replicating the trolling format. Trolling showcases the very worst of a games community, there is rarely a youtuber who uploads someone reacting well to the trolling. The troller also ruins the game for all those involved in the game/lobby that they are currently trolling. It’s a utterly selfish act to jump into a random game and try to ruin peoples fun, or a more extreme view, waste their time. At the end of the day, people will see trolling videos as harmless entertainment. Most trolling videos are there purely for the enjoyment of others, but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Racial slurs, homophobic insults and vile taunts do little to entertain. It’s a slightly alarming that there’s a large proportion of people who enjoy the more ‘scummy’ trolling videos. If these videos are a sign of the times, and the what a lot of people want from the Youtube gaming circles, then that’s simply disheartening. I whole heartily hope that the trend comes to a end, sooner rather than later. At the very least I hope that the Youtubers in this genre maintain some kind of morality in the pursuit of subscribers and views. After all, if this is the result of modern day gamers, then there’s a lot left to be desired, creatively and morally.          ...

Destiny- A True Game Of The Year, Or Just Another Commercial Victory?

Destiny- A True Game Of The Year, Or Just Another Commercial Victory?

A few weeks ago the Video Game Bafta awards resulted in a few raised eye brows, and a lot of angry tweets. Destiny may of been a finical success, but critical it was a mixed bag. With all that in mind, did it deserve to win Bafta’s 2014 Game of The Year award? did finical clout topple quality? was the negative reaction justified? Here’s a video of some youtubers lying about what Destiny is, even though one of them heavily criticized the game, but BAFTA don’t seem to mind using him to forward the nomination…for some reason. While the Bafta awards have always been a bit questionable, Kane & Lynch being nominated before it’s release stands out, tonight’s were a mixed bag. There were a number of games that deservedly won , while others lost out in what can only be described as a sponsored win (yes, this means Far Cry 4 beating The Banner Saga for best music). The biggest award is, of course, the ‘Game of the Year’ award. In a category consisting of Alien: Isolation, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mario Kart 8, Shadow of Morder, Monument Valley and Destiny, it was Bungie/ Activisons DLC catalogue that came out on top. Destiny’s victory was not exactly met with approval. Forget the fact the category was missing games such as Shovel Knight, Bayonetta 2 and Wolfenstein: The New Order, Destiny winning was simply odd. It made no sense, but then again, most of the video game BAFTA awards rarely do. Destiny’s victory was not exactly met with approval. Forget the fact the category was missing games such as Shovel Knight, Bayonetta 2 and Wolfenstein: The New Order, Destiny winning was simply odd. Twitter reacted in the best way it knows how, with snarky tweets. The reaction isn’t exactly unjustified. After years of development, and mammoth budget, Destiny shipped as half a game. No match making, end game locked less grouped with friends, no real end game to speak of, small amount of PvP maps and chunks of story simply missing. Destiny, while it did play beautifully, was half baked. To make things worse, retail copies came with two flyers advertising the first two £20 expansion packs, making the lack of core content all the m ore frustrating. Bafta’s credibility has been questionable for sometime, and 2015′s awards is a perfect example of why. On what planet does Far Cry 4 beat The Banner Saga for best video game music? A corporate planet. The award success of Destiny makes even little sense when compared to the critical success of games surrounding it. Each category is judged by a different panel, mostly made of people within the industry from various fronts. It would be interesting to here the justification for Destiny being the chosen game of the year. While Destiny did well commercial, critical it was hit or miss. If sales determine quality, then surely the winners would look totally different since the video game Baftas started?   Back in 2009, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 scooped Baftas Game of the Year award. The reaction to that is pretty much the same as it is to Destiny’s win. The year after that, Call of Duty: Black Ops won the title. Again, the reaction to Call of Duty winning was mostly negative, mainly due to other games out that year. Discussion began to generate, most of it wondering if heavy marketing and sales had trumped quality. For the most part, Bafta has always had a few questionable winners, but Destiny victory has resulted in a particularly vocal response. While of the reactions across the internet, especially Twitter, has been negative mixed with snark, there are a few people who genuinely agree with the choice. Looking at Destiny subjectively, it plays nicely, looks great and is initially enjoyable. While it may suffer from a list of issues, most of which were previously mentioned, does that make it the wrong choice for Game of the year? It all depends on who judged the category. This years nominees were distinctly of the Western variety, with Mario Kart 8 being the only none-Western game nominated. Destiny ticks nearly all the boxes of a big name, Western developed, hit. Large open maps, flashy visuals, constant action, first person shooting, minor RPG elements. It’s the prototypical product of Western video game development. Perhaps tradition and familiarity is what helped Destiny win the award. Alien: Isolation’s hide-and-seek gameplay is to a acquired taste, some may think Mario Kart is too simplistic, Dragon Age too long, Shadow of Morder too much like Assassins Creed. Monument Valley almost felt like the token indie nominee. The sad fact is, we will probably never know why exactly Destiny was selected as the overall winner. Bafta has descended further into the lands of confusion, with big name games winning awards they arguable did not deserve, and perhaps Destiny typifies that more than any other.    ...

Bloodborne Has This Generation At Its Feet

Bloodborne Has This Generation At Its Feet

As Bloodborne slowly creeps closer to release, the buzz around the game is feverish. It’s hard not to get excited, From Software have worked their PR campaign almost perfectly. No in your face Internet adverts, no social media spam, no promises of the world, just gameplay footage and screenshots. From Software have almost created the anti-hype train, without even uttering a word. The fact there’s still immense amount of interest surrounding Bloodborne, without any of the typical Triple A marketing, is a testament to a game’s potential trumping that of a game’s marketability. There’s a argument to be made that over promotion is a typically Western trait. Bloodborne has a lot of responsibility on it’s shoulders, but not by choice. This generation, as young as it may be, hasn’t exactly blown anyone away. The exclusives on both the Xbox One and PS4 have been decent, but not great. There’s been a level of expectation around each exclusive, that expectation has carried from game to game. People are still waiting for that one game to truly deliver the ‘next generation’ experience. A game that screams quality, engrosses the player, gets people talking about their in-game experience. Bloodborne is on track to do exactly that, but it’s being coy about it.   The lack of a marketing assault may just be the best thing to happen to Bloodborne. Some may say it could jeopardise the sales numbers, but I disagree. Much like Demon Souls and Dark Souls before it, Bloodborne can easily become a word of mouth success story. From Software’s pedigree is enough to sell a decent amount of copies to the already established fan base , that fan base will sell further copies via word of mouth. Is it enough to sell PS4 consoles? That’s a whole different question. Exclusives are there to bring in the consumer, it’s one of the main defining factors when it comes to buying a system. At the moment, the PS4 and Xbox One are pretty much on level ground in this sense, Bloodborne could change this. It’s one of the many reasons why Bloodborne is such a interesting release. As a fan of Demon Souls, and a casual player of Dark Souls, Bloodborne is a must buy. I can’t help but shake the feeling that From Software are onto a winner. There’s no obvious warning signs of a bad game, no DLC controversies, no social issues, just a straight up release. Bloodborne is coming out at the perfect time, From Software could very well be on their way to claiming the ‘New Generation’ as their conquered land.  ...

The Old Blood Is Exactly What We Need

The Old Blood Is Exactly What We Need

One of last years best games just got a follow up, and it’s not even going to cost you much. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has been announced, and oh my days is it what we needed. Balls out, no nonsense, sheer video game joy, it’s exactly what The Old Blood is bringing to the table. Releasing as a standalone experience, The New Blood looks set to bring the fun pack to first person shooter, much like it’s predecessor. Those who missed out on The New Order did themselves no favors. A combination of brilliant gameplay, crazy encounters, and a heavy dose of dark humour, The New Order was sheer enjoyment. It’s rare a modern first person shooter manages to recreate classic genre thrills in the way The New Order did. It filled a gap in the market, and that is still there, making it The Old Blood the perfect filler. Bethesda’s trailer for The Old Blood screams character. It’s dripping with influences from grind house cinema and old B-Movies. It’s the perfect combination. All of The New Order’s humor is present within the 1:53 minute Old Blood trailer. The game knows it’s audience, it knows the strengths of the original, and it revels in them. Thankfully, The Old Blood is seemingly getting the attention of the masses. People who haven’t experienced The New Order are even turning their heads. The Old Blood, a prequel to The New Order, could potentially bring in a new audience for franchise, resulting in a fully fledged sequel. Going back to basics, while applying modern technology, has resulted in one of the purest forms of modern video game entertainment. The Old Blood is exactly what we needed, even so after the stumbling ways of 2015′s initial few ‘next gen’ titles....

Playstation Memories: Abe’s Oddyseey & Little Big Adventure

Playstation Memories: Abe’s Oddyseey & Little Big Adventure

Sony’s Playstation remains as one of the most diverse consoles ever to be released. The sheer variety of games on the platform was staggering. While the likes of Final Fantasy 7, Crash Bandicoot and Metal Gear Solid are first to peoples mind when thinking of the system, I tend to think of the oddities. As a child, I didn’t have a whole lot of access to a number of games. You save your pocket money, you take your chance on a game, often in the bargain bin, and you make do. From time to time you’d manage to borrow one of the ‘big’ games, but for the most part I was limited to random games. This, at the time anyway, was a bit rubbish, but it also exposed me to genuinely unique video games. Abe’s Oddyseey is one of those unique games, and I still recall my initial time with the game to this day.   The first time the game booted up, I had no idea what to expect. My copy came in a blank CD case, mainly due to it being a pirated copy (I didn’t know any better when I was 7), so I was going in totally blind. Even to this day, I’ve never crumpled up in laughter at a video game start menu. Abe’s big greent/blueish, fish eyed, face just starring at me, reacting to what I highlighted, sheer joy. Looking back at it, the menu sets the tone for the rest of the game, something modern games rarely do. As a 7 year old, the game’s mechanics took a little while to get used to. Sneaking, escorting, problem solving, it was taxing for my little mind. With each failure often came a laugh. Trial and error, risk and reward, it all became clear. Abe is one of the strangest video game characters ever created, but he’s a genuinely a brilliant creation. His movements, mannerism and reactions to in-game events made him instantly likeable.   Everyone remembers the first time they farted in the game. The first time they heard Abe mutters ‘whoops’, the first time he blew himself up, fell down a gap, so many memories. Abe’s Oddyseey was a complete new experience for me. It’s genius was lost on me as a child, but it’s sense of humour resonated me with instantly. I never did finish the game, but I can remember my time spent with the game, and how iconic Abe became to me in terms of video games. Abe’s Oddyseey wasn’t the only ‘odd’ game I dipped my toes in. Little Big Adventure is still totally bizarre to me. I never understood what exactly it was, or what I was supposed to do. The protagonists big dopey face, the Monty Python like voices, the hilarious running animations, it was all so odd. In retrospective, Little Big Adventure was the first ambitious game I ever played. As a 7 year old, the creativity of the game didn’t mean much to me. As a 24 year old looking back, it’s a game before it’s time. Even now I still don’t understand some parts of the game, the random kangaroo rummaging around in the bins for example. I never originally played much of the game, but it always stuck with me. The visuals, the characters, the sound effects, the ‘errrr how’s it going?’ line. It’s odd how games almost forgotten by everyone else remain with you. As a child, quality rarely comes into, it’s all about the experience. Little Big Adventure will forever be that curious little game I had to idea how to play, but felt drawn towards it. Fast forward to 2015, my PS4 is currently displaying the HD remake of Abe’s Oddyseey. The menu boots up, and there’s Abe’s big ol’ face. The memorise coming flooding back. Even with the beautiful visual update, it’s still familiar. Playing New N Tasty resulted in me thinking about Little Big Adventure. While one childhood game came back, the other faded away into relative obscurity....

When Will The Current Gen Consoles Be Defined?

When Will The Current Gen Consoles Be Defined?

With the PS4 and Xbox One having spent a decent chunk of time on the market, I find myself asking a question. It’s the games that define a system, often the exclusives, and so far the new systems are debatable lacking in that department. The likes of Ryse, The Order 1886, InFamous and Sunset Overdirve have been decent, yet they’re hardly classics. Keeping in the limits of the last few decades or so, the majority of system have exclusives considered as classics. The PS3 had Uncharted 2, the 360 had Halo 3, the Wii had Super Mario Galaxy 2. Going back even further, the PS2 had Final Fantasy X, the Xbox had Halo 2 and the Gamecube had Smash Bros Melee.   Of course each of the previously mentioned systems had far more than the games listed. My curiosity around the newer systems is around how long it will take for them to gain a classic. It’s still early days, but the exclusives that have came, and went, have all faltered in some shape or form. It’s not that  they’re bad games, it’s just that they haven’t earned the status of ‘killer app’ or system seller. Both the PS4 and Xbox One feel like they are still searching for a identity. The search could be coming to a close, at least for the PS4. The exclusivity of Street Fighter 5 hinted towards the PS4′s direction. Neither system has a truly unique exclusive that defines the console. With the market still wide open, in terms of genres anyway, it’ll be interesting to see which system fosters what. Trying to get grasp of peoples expectations is always tricky, but this generation is a different kettle of fish. The hyper polished games are no longer enough, it’s got to be the whole package. This is something I suspect developers agree with, which perhaps explains the amount of delays in late 2014. 2015 is, hopefully anyway, both the PS4 and Xbox One finally define themselves. This generation is lacking in direction, identity and character. Exclusives can change that.      ...

Marth Amiibo Returns To Retail: End Of The Scalper?

Marth Amiibo Returns To Retail: End Of The Scalper?

The Amiibo line has been something I’ve been interested in from day one. I collect video games, and video game merchandise, so the Amiibo was right up my street. £10 for a decent little figure of the Smash Bros roster? Hell yeah, I was more than down for that. But little did I, or many others, know how crazy Amiibos would become. Those little pieces of plastic have gone from a Nintendo curiosity, to serious business. In late January of this year, Iwata said Nintendo have sold about 5.7 million Amiibo figures. 5.7 MILLION, they’ve barely been out for a full year, and have already became a huge success. The problem is, it’s not only Nintendo making a healthy sum of money from Amiibos, far from it. The e-bay scalper has been around for years, and the humble Amiibo is perfect opportunity. Buying in a number of figures, hiking up the prices of the rare ones, and watching the profit roll in. It started with Marth, Wii Fit Trainer and The villager, all going for around £10-15 more than retail price. Things get worse, much worse. As the fan base for Amiibos grew, so did the investment of the scalper. At the moment, a Meta Knight Amiibo is going for £50 plus on E-bay. That’s three times the price of launch day Amiibos, and people are paying. While it is a great showcase of killer instinct in a business like setting, scalpers are becoming more of a issue. Amiibos are becoming more and more of a stress to collect, as random ones sell out pretty much everywhere. Stores have placed 1 per customer caps on orders, but this has done little. Scalpers will pre-order from multiple stores, some even selling the pre-order slip. It’s now become a element of each release. The worst part of it all, is retailers have taken notice of the scalpers profits, and they wanted in.   UK retailer GAME tend to pull some questionable moves. Their treatment of Nintendo products has always been a bit shady. Past events include pulling copies of games from the shelves, only to put them back up at a hiked price. GAME saw the profits scalpers were earning via Amiibos, so they decide to get a piece of the action. In-store Amibo prices started at £10.99, they quickly changed to £14.99, with no real reason given. The worst part of GAME’s actions around Amiibos, is how they handle each new wave. After personally pre-ordering three full waves of Amiibos, I’ve only ever received one. Why is this odd? Well after doing some research, it would appear the majority of people never receive their online orders. The reason this is all a bit off boils down to the reasons orders are cancelled. ‘Stock issues’ is GAME’s official reason. The issue with this reason is their stores often stock Amiibos a few days (or even weeks) early, at a cost of £14.99. The online price is £10.99…it’s not hard to see what they are up to.   This price scalping could soon be at a end however. Marth, a wave one rarity, is coming back to retail. Nintendo announced that Marth will be reappear on store shelves in late April. The reason for this isn’t to counter the scalper culture around the product, but to support Code Name: STEAM. As a result of this news, Marth’s rarity and stock has fallen quite considerably. He’s no longer a scalpers hot product, as collectors will now have to merely wait to acquire him. Nintendo seem keen to restock Amiibo figures based on what game they support. Marth is usable with Code Name: STEAM, thus he is being restocked. The same could happen to any of the ‘rare’ Amiibo figures, spelling out the end of the Amiibo scalpers…hopefully.  ...

The Best Of February: Monsters & Cooking Cats

The Best Of February: Monsters & Cooking Cats

February was a pretty decent month of video game releases. The 3DS enjoyed two major releases, while the consoles welcomed Dying Light. The PS4 ushered in it’s new exclusive IP The Order 1886, mental reviews included. One of the biggest surprises of February, was the quality of downloadable games released. Resident Evil Revelations 2 – Episode 1 was surprisingly good, and a utter steal at £5. Hand of Fate may have been flawed, but the creativity of it’s concept is worthy of respect…and investment. Normally I’d only select one game as my ‘game of the month’ but truth be told, everything that came out in February was worth checking out. There is one game that stands head and shoulders above the rest, and another unfairly treated by some media outlets.   The Order 1886:   A few months back, I suggested that The Order 1886 would be a case of visuals over gameplay. I was never scathing towards the game, it was more of a case of curiosity. The Order 1886 is exactly that, it’s a curiosity. While some sites (mostly big ones that rated broken games highly) would have you believe The Order is a ‘bad’ game, the truth is, it’s just average. It’s average, at least in terms of it’s dated gameplay, it’s perfectly serviceable but utterly stuck in it’s ways. The technical achievement of The Order 1886 are pure brilliance. While the likes of InFamous: Second Son and Ryse look great, The Order 1886 looks real. The way characters moved, the way their eyes and facial expressions projected their emotions, it all felt organic. The sheer detail in each and every part of The Order 1886 is staggering, bar the lack of reflective surfaces. I enjoyed The Order 1886, I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. The universe is genuinely interesting, with a ton of potential, the world is beautifully grim. The story may have been a little on the predicable side, with a hollow ending, but it’s satisfying. Even with my enjoyment of the game, I have to judge it fairly. The Order 1886 has it’s issues, but it’s far from a bad game. Short, enjoyable, and the first in a series with a lot of promise.   Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate:   Oh my, this isn’t just the best game out in February, it might just be one of the best games on the 3DS. With a improved single player, that also gives new players a more detailed starting point, Monster Hunter 4U is brilliant. Gather, plan, equip, hunt. The concept is simple, the devil is in the detail. On the surface, Monster Hunter 4U looks like a button masher, but it’s much more than that. Monster Hunter 4U has a hidden depth, it’s a pure depth which rewards skill rather than investment. Each weapon type alters the gameplay, they all offer a unique experience. The magic in Monster Hunter 4U is mastering a weapon, feeling a genuine sense of personal skill progression, rather than a number increasing on a stat screen.   I could honestly gush over how good the game is for days, but even than I’d be doing it a disservice. The newly added online multiplayer works like a charm, no lag and barely any connection issues in sight. Teaming up with three other hunters to take on huge creatures is thrilling, every single damn time. In a month where a games length has been questioned, Monster Hunter 4U offer hundreds of hours of play. After years of creeping into the West, Monster Hunter 4U has seemingly been the game to truly break into the territory. The only genuine fault Monster Hunter 4U has is a lack of voice chat, and it’s the ONLY fault. A masterpiece, a modern classic, February’s best game and maybe, just maybe, the 3DS’s best game....

Video Game Merchandise: Too Much, Too Soon?

Video Game Merchandise: Too Much, Too Soon?

With every new game release, be it a popular franchise or a new IP, there’s a wave of merchandise. From posters, to books, to action figures and vinyl, the range of merchandise is staggering. It’s struck me as bizarre that some brand new properties launch with extensive amounts of merchandise behind them. Given that they are new to the market, and don’t have a established fan base, I’ve always wondered if it’s a case of misplaced confidence. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, mostly with the release of Evolve. The game has already spawned a line of Funko Pop Vinyl, as well as a Legacy collection of figures. I never quite understood placing a sizable investment into a franchise that is so new. There’s no established fan base, there’s no reputation to fall back on, it’s a big risk.   Evolve hasn’t exactly set the world on fire., With a heavy focus on DLC, and being online only, it’s not exactly the mammoth game I suspect both Take 2m and Funko,expected it to be. Titanfall is another game that went all in on the merchandise front. Clothing, accessories, licensed controllers and headset, Mega Bloks and Play Arts, that’s a lot for a new franchise. People must have been lining up with offers to purchase Titanfall related merchandise, but less than 6 months after the game’s release, the online player base has significantly shrunk. The stock contained within each of these games must surely be detrimental to how it’s related merchandise is licensed. If a game’s appeal/player base dies down, or the game flops, does this paint video games as a risky mark for companies? The likes of NECA have met a certain degree of failure with their Left 4 Dead line of figures. While the figures themselves were amazing quality, at a fair price, the low sales numbers resulted in the line ending after only two releases.   I often see a wealth of video merchandise stuck on the shelves for month,s if not years, with no one ever buying them. A local store has held the same Assassin’s Creed figures for years now. Titanfall and Call of Duty Ghost clothing lines a local game store, with no one ever paying attention to them. While video games are main stream, the appeal of it’s merchandise is seemingly not, at least in general. Ubisoft is a company that has seemingly went to great lengths to release their games along side huge amounts of merchandise. The release day of Unity at my local GAME store resulted in the whole shop being decked out in figures, clothes, posters, calenders and statues based on the game. The sheer amount of Unity related items on sale was mind blowing, especially seems the game had only just came out. It felt like Ubisoft assumed the game would be a staggering success, and the merchandise would sell well, after all it’s an established fan base. Unity, as we know now, was a broken mess of a game. With various game breaking bugs, and a obvious lack of polish, I began to link the release of the merchandise and the game. Was Unity rushed out to meet the same time frame as the merchandise? If so, who made that decision? Ubisoft? Pressure from the merchandise producers? It all felt a little too convenient. After some reflection on the topic, I’m still curious to how merchandise deals pan out for new franchises. Whose money is at risk? How do they calculate the investment, the risk and reward? Do people even want merchandise to buy along side their new franchises? Each new Triple A franchise is seemingly coming with more and more pre-planned merchandise. It all carries a lick of over confidence, an assumption the said game will be a long term success.    ...

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