Our journey to E3 next stops at the downside of the year in gaming. While video games helped unite quarantined people, developers struggled while working from home. Delays, bugs, and failed launches became the standard. 2020 changed the gaming industry landscape forever.
Unfortunately, there were many disappointments during the past year as well. The highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 arrived after being announced eight years prior. Not even Keanu Reeves could make up for the title’s reception. Riddled with game-breaking bugs and optimization problems, Sony soon offered no questions asked refunds and pulled the title from their store. Plagued by lawsuits, an angry fanbase, and disillusioned investors, the creators of The Witcher 3, seem to be in a death spiral. CD Projekt Red’s stock prices fell from $31.00 USD a share to a current rate of $11.59. Although subsequent updates seem to have fixed the game, they are still awaiting approval from Sony, and many of us wonder if the company will survive.
A series I have long enjoyed released Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord to much fanfare, becoming the largest launch on Steam for the year by that point. Buggy but loveable, a staple for the Mount and Blade franchise, the title received very favorable reviews. A year later, still bogged down by an early access label and no steam workshop for the vast collection of mods available, it holds tremendous potential but has lost some of its shine.
World of Warcraft’s Shadowlands started strong, notable for the new locations and an engaging storyline, as well as the release of Torghast. Torghast presented a rogue-lite experience for WoW players, but the lack of tangible rewards has made it a point of contention between players and the developers. The release of patch 9.1 promises much-needed content, but fans have grown increasingly impatient after a lengthy development period.
The prospect of a new MMO to capture WoW’s fanbase doesn’t seem forthcoming either. Amazon’s foray into the MMO genre, New World, has not only been delayed but also has alienated many prospective players with talk of a cash shop. Reports about what the shop will contain are varied, but Amazon has confirmed there will be experience boosters *at some point.* Gamers are incredibly suspicious of cash shops these days, and Amazon’s ambiguous language while announcing a cash shop for a game that isn’t even out yet could doom the long-developed title before it even releases, whenever that may be.
Gaming has seen hard times in the past and is only strengthened by trials. 2020 brought success and stresses, but the future will prove it deserves its respect as mainstream media.
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