I don’t honestly know what the consensus is for film, TV, comic books, anime and other forms of visual entertainment in the year of 2018, but I can safely say that 2018 was not a great year for videogames. While there were pleasant surprises here and there and wonderful releases that delighted, it was also a year filled with heartbreak and disappointment.
Several game developers shut down (https://8list.ph/these-video-game-studios-are-no-more/) while some videogames proved to be more underwhelming cash grab than hopeful experiment (https://8list.ph/everything-you-need-to-know-about-fallout-76/). Worst of all, it was a year filled with videogame celebrities breaking into the mainstream culture but also catching deserved flak for their less than politically correct grasp of language. Here are the eight worst gaming news of 2018.
8. Rockstar Games’ toxic work culture exposed
Like previous Rockstar productions, the long-awaited Red Dead Redemption 2 was a commercial success and critical darling when it launched in October. But the studio faced much criticism and scrunity when it came to light that its employees were pressured to pull in unhealthy amounts of overtime to make the game’s technical and artistic achievements possible.
7. Prima Games ceases operations
By spring of this year, the venerable strategy guide brand will cease operations. An imprint of DK, Prima Games began 29 years ago with “The Secrets of The Games” before pivoting to game-specific strategy guides. The declining popularity of printed guides in an age of GameFAQs, wikis and YouTube walkthroughs is the most likely reason behind the closure, but it’s still amazing it lasted this long.
6. Cryptocurrency mining drives up GPU prices
Yes, cryptocurrencies are so 2017, but that didn’t stop a bunch of late game speculators from trying to hop onto the block chain bandwagon. These would be millionaires bought high powered video cards in droves. The result was that 2018 was a bad year for any gamer looking to get a graphics accelerator at a good price.
5. The violent video games debate returns
As gun violence plagued America, President Trump lay the blame on violent media, particularly videogames. Trump’s people put together a highlight reel of violent scenes, and while the games featured are hardly outliers, the reel fixated on the most extreme content including sadistic glory kills and misanthropic player behavior. Thankfully, no one bought Trump’s attempt to ignore the gun debate.
4. Quantic Dream is a hostile workplace
Exposés in three publications accused leadership at Quantic Dream, the developers of Detroit: Become Human, of having a toxic workplace, with incidents of sexual misconduct, racist remarks and homophobic humor. Creative director David Cage denied the accusations, despite testimony from several employees. Cage also invoked the names of celebrities as his defense. “I work with Ellen Page, who fights for LGBT rights. I work with Jesse Williams, who fights for civil rights in the USA… Judge me by my work.”
3. Telltale Games shuts down
After years of mismanaged production schedules and finances, Telltale Games announced it was shutting down. The news meant an end to its seemingly infinite number of episodic story games based on beloved franchises like Fables, Batman and The Walking Dead. It also put hundreds of employees out of work in an expensive neighborhood. Many studios welcomed applications from Telltale’s disenfranchised, but it still sucked.
2. Riot Games’s sexist culture revealed
Brendan Sinclair of GamesIndustry.Biz opined that 2018 will go down as the year of the bad employer. Quantic Dream and Rockstar Games are just the tip of the iceberg, with Riot Games emerging the “winner.” In August, Kotaku published a comprehensive and damning report of a toxic culture at the thousand strong studio behind League of Legends that made employees who didn’t fit into its homogeneous workplace truly unwelcome.
1. Famous gamers need to watch their language
It’s tough to stay cool when you’re on camera several hours a day, every day, but it’s still disappointing when even the nicest folk like Ninja accidentally say something homophobic, racist or misogynist on stream. And this year, it happened a lot. Streamers, video creators, e-sports athletes are all new kinds of jobs in the age of videogame culture but the nature of their celebrity means having to watch their mouth almost all the time.
What was the worst for you? Tell us below!