Weekend Conversation: Unpopular Gaming Opinions

By Mark Delaney,
Consensus opinion does not equal unanimous opinion. And, of course, any opinion is not fact. We all see the world through our own lenses, and even if one viewpoint is widely shared -- like Tom Brady is the best, or pizza is awesome (okay that one's fact) -- there's still room for some to see things in a totally different light. The gaming community seems particularly prone to voicing such controversial opinions quite loudly. At the risk of starting a flame war, we thought it might be interesting to invite the TA community to share some of their own against-the-grain opinions.

Actually, writing it all down now makes it sound like a bad idea. We'll see how it goes. Here are some of our unpopular opinions from the gaming world. Yell at us about them, then share your own.

Sam says good riddance to the Fable series

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The closure of Lionhead studios last year was heart-breaking, a genuine blow to the UK games industry. Nevertheless I think it was the right time to shut down the Fable franchise indefinitely.

With two Fable games in succession failing to inspire and a long history of difficult development, Fable has become a poisoned chalice. The series is now more famous for its failure to keep its own promises than for its final products. If the studio had survived and Legends had remained cancelled, we would probably be looking at a release of Fable 4 this year or the next, surrounded by huge open-world releases like Andromeda and Red Dead Redemption 2 but with a fraction of the anticipation. It would likely have consisted of recycled Legends assets in a time when almost every creative lead from the original Fable had already left the company. Without the spark those developers generated, I doubt that the game would have been successful enough to reignite the franchise. We’d be looking at Lionhead’s closure just the same, only with yet another disappointing game under its belt on the way down.

The early Fable franchise should remain a calling card for the Guildford development scene – a beautiful but flawed experiment to inspire yet more innovation. At this point, any attempt to flog the dead horse would only reduce the brand’s cultural cache, already struggling under the weight of so much disappointment and resentment. It would bring an unwarranted negative image to the UK gaming industry which is quietly thriving behind the noise of Fable's failures, often in the brilliant minds of former Lionhead employees. Let the memory of Fable mature like a fine cheese, and maybe half a decade down the line the series can have its own Fallout 3 moment – if someone can convince Microsoft to sell the IP. In the meantime, let’s hope some of those Kickstarter ‘spiritual successors’ can evolve into something new, without the Fable brand and all the baggage it brings with it.

Kevin is thankful for microtransactions

Destiny: Rise of Iron - The Dawning Screens 30

Once upon a time, Bethesda granted us with horse armor for our beloved Oblivion and dissent spread across the land. The people were a simple sort who preferred the old ways, the better ways. Yet still, there were some who didn't value our heritage and partook in near sacrilegious purchases. The purchases were small, and the product smaller still, yet the people purchased more and more, as if drunk on the idea of content more than what they actually received. Over time, the other publishers saw the riches available from the so-called "whales" that would single-handedly keep a game afloat through their outrageous purchases. They began to design their games around these purchases, making them desirable if not mandatory. They even made their games free, with quality to match, supported only by these small purchases made millions of times each by a select few. The masses cried out, for their gaming empire was crumbling around them. It was a dark time, and there was no way out. Slowly, surely, the people fell away from their beloved games, and the publishers who built their riches on a foundation of faithlessness to the old ways died forgotten by most and missed only by the few whose fortunes they stole.

It's a tale we've all heard. A tale we live in today, many would say. But not me. Games are endless, but my time is not. Every microtransaction brings me a step away from the boring grind and a step closer to the elements I love. Would I grind for 10 hours to save $10? Certainly not. I value my time. So I will buy treasure maps and XP boosts and card packs, and I'll consider it money spent well.

Mark loves walking sims

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Adventure games are constantly under fire from those that claim they aren't "real" games, whether it be point-and-click, hidden object, anything from Telltale, or most recently, and my favorite subcategory of the genre, walking simulators. Supposed gamers take it upon themselves to tell fans of a certain type of game that they aren't games at all. "Walking sim" is meant to be used pejoratively but I and other fans have proudly adopted the term and now apply it with pride for the genre that has delivered great stories time after time since its arguable progenitor, Dear Esther.

The typical argument against walking sims is that they lack gameplay to such an extent that they are either a waste of time, not video games at all, or both. In the case of the former, I happen to love them. After horror and stealth-action games, they're my favorite genre. I often crave a game that is brief, linear, and tells a good story. Walking sims usually fit that billing perfectly. I don't always have time for a 40+ hour epic sandbox.

To the latter point about walking sims lacking gameplay, that's just ignorant. Who defines gameplay? Why would we limit ourselves to defining the term based only on present and past examples? Gameplay is forever changing. Walking sims are an emerging style with non-traditional design, so I see why some people resistant to change would reject them. They're surely boring for many, but not for me. If a video game is just an interactive platform for entertainment, where is this threshold for gameplay and how do we measure what is or isn't reaching that? It all seems subjective to me, which is my point. If you don't like walking sims, I can totally see why. But they hold tremendous value as video games to plenty of others.

Rebecca is still rooting for VR, and thinks it can still succeed

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Many are calling VR a disaster. Low sales figures and the drastic lowering of sales predictions does not scream success, but in news that would surprise no-one, if the supply could meet demand then sales would be much higher. There is still such a demand for Playstation VR in my town that they still can't meet pre-orders three months after the headset's release; in fact, it's sold out across the UK.

Another issue is the games. Several current VR "games" are little more than tech demos, but new VR games are announced every week and they're getting better. Later this month, Resident Evil 7 releases with VR capability, while other well-known franchises like Gran Turismo Sport and new IPs like Farpoint will arrive to push the technology even further forward. When VR is released for Project Scorpio, we will surely see the pool of VR games increase in size.

VR is not a disaster, but it is an incredibly under-supported technology right now. VR doesn't ask players to leave the sofa while they are playing, but it does ask them to become completely immersed in their game world. Surely this is something that we all crave from our games? The future looks bright as long as we as gamers, and developers alike, are prepared to step out of their comfort zone and try new things.
Let us know where you disagree with consensus opinion and do your part to stir up a few readers in the process. We do it on the editorial team all the time. Now it's your turn!
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He has written for GameSkinny, Gamesradar and the Official Xbox Magazine. He runs the family-oriented gaming site Game Together.