Tobold's Blog
Saturday, December 05, 2015
 
Fallout 4 isn't game of the year 2015

Syncaine recently posted on this blog that "if F4 isn't game of the year on PC for 2015, there is some serious corrupt voting". Guess what? Fallout 4 not only isn't game of the year, but in fact didn't win in any of the categories it was nominated in. Turned out that my guess for game of the year, Witcher 3, was correct. So how did I or the devs of Witcher 3 "corrupt" the voting?

The simple answer is that there wasn't any corruption at all, the Witcher 3 is simply the better game. It isn't just one game of the year award, but the Witcher 3 received better review scores pretty much everywhere, and ended 9 points ahead of Fallout 4 on Metacritic. More importantly the user scores for Witcher 3 were 4,213 positive to 327 negative, while for Fallout 4 there were 2,515 users giving a good review and 2,483 gave a bad one. I think the explanation is that Fallout 4 is only attractive to true fans of the series. And even the fans will admit that it isn't the best sequel of the lot. That isn't to say that it is a bad game, but obviously it appeals a lot less to people who are new to the series, or whom the previous sequels left indifferent.

The curious thing about games selling on the strength of the brand is that the sales figures of any sequel reflect not so much the quality of the game itself, but the quality of the predecessor. I'm pretty sure The Witcher 4 will sell like hotcakes, even if it would happen to be just an average game. There aren't demo versions any more, people don't trust reviews, and so buying the game and playing it becomes the only way to really finding out whether you like the game or not. And that than influences your buying behavior of the sequel.

Comments:
Both show there are reasons that Gaming, Hollywood/films, and Broadway/WestEnd/Plays do far more sequels than the innovative/new that critics want.

Off topic, but I am the only person on the planet who is dubious of Steam. Gaming companies are sending their customers to a competitor and paying a third of a billion dollars a year to do so. After reading the award results, I looked up Her Story which won two rewards on Steam. Seeing it was only 40% off I was going to wait until it hit 80% then noticed it was under $4. In a year, I probably buy 25+ $15 MMO-months, back a KS or two, preorder Legion CE, so I am not at all frugal. But outside of MMOs where launch is a different game, then 80% off debugged with DLC in a couple of years seems like a better idea. Initially Steam Sales help. As buyers learn, I am not sure.

 
It is interesting to me how similar the Witcher 3 is to the MMORPG solo questing experience. The main differences seem to be that there will never be another player in your questing area (pretty much always a negative in MMORPGs), and the psychological effect that it doesn't have the "MMORPG" tag. The main complaint I always saw about solo questing in MMORPGs was something along the lines of, "It's called 'massively multiplayer,' you're doing it wrong!!!" Definitions never mattered to me, so I was able to enjoy that part of the game.
 
[...] the Witcher 3 is simply the better game.

It really isn't, by any measure of what makes games games. It was pretty, it had great dialog, and it had a story sidequests that were good and narratively interesting.

The actual game mechanics? Total garbage. Combat was a snooze-fest even on the higher difficulties; the crafting system design made looting nearly anything pointless after the first 10 hours; random loot meant you might discover two upgrades to an item but never the necessarily prerequisite; Qwen was neat but I was never able to build more than one deck because, again, random loot means random cards; infinite bombs/potions makes the gameplay a total joke in comparison to the prior titles, which forwarded a narrative of how dangerous monsters actually were to Witchers.

I'm usually the guy defending plot in video games, but that's honestly the Witcher 3's only saving grace. And apparently it was enough.

I think the explanation is that Fallout 4 is only attractive to true fans of the series.

What? Did you even read any of the negative user reviews? They are almost 100% exclusively from diehard fans of the series upset about how the game feels like a console port. Or that it doesn't have a FOV slider. Or that it wasn't more like a game made by a completely different development team (e.g. New Vegas). Games don't get review-bombed new players, they get review-bombed by jilted fanbases.

The curious thing about games selling on the strength of the brand is that the sales figures of any sequel reflect not so much the quality of the game itself, but the quality of the predecessor.

Eh... it's a bit trickier in this situation. Fallout 3 sold better than Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 3 had a better Metacritic score. Both sold around 12 million copies, whereas Fallout 4 sold 12 million copies in the first 24 hours. What I think happened in this case was a little thing called "Skyrim" - which was released after New Vegas - to the tune of nearly 23 million copies.

I suppose we could call Bethesda RPG the "brand" in this case.
 
"received better review scores pretty much everywhere"

'Everywhere' except major gaming sites like Polygon or IGN, right? But yes, lets ignore that and instead point out some negative user scores posted the day of the game's release that are totally valid and not just angry basement kids 'protesting'.

But then, you might also have to point out that your original point was that F4 won't win ANY GoTY awards, but you have already backtracked on that. I'll still stand by what I said; F4 will will GoTY awards. Just not the award from the show that gives Tomb Raider Mobile an award I guess. Pity.
 
I quoted your original claim verbatim, you didn't say "any" in that statement. Of course Fallout 4 will be game of the year on both the prestigious Syncaine.com and Falloutfanbois.com, but I haven't seen any game of the year award for it from any unbiased site yet.
 
And now shitty blogger is eating comments, awesome. Condensed version:

"Fallout 4 doesn't have a chance in hell against The Witcher 3 and Metal Gear Solid V... Unless somebody makes a game of the year award in which you are the only voter, this simply won't happen."

My 'any' was implied, since their isn't a single GotY award recognized by most people. You were very specific in the above, and like all your other F4 predictions, you'll end up wrong.
 
I don't get what's the point of this argument. There are dozens (really even more) of gaming websites on the Internet. What does it matter if fallout 4 does or doesn't win an award on any of them? Since when does winning a game of the year (or whatever) award mean a game is "better" then other games in its category?

Gaming just like every other entertainment medium is subjective. I've played both fallout 4 and witcher 3 and like fallout 4 more. I liked them both less then dragon age inquisition. They each have strength and weakness and even though they are all 3 RPGs they appeal to different audiences with different tastes.

As long as we are throwing out arbitrary "proof" that one game is better then another then I'll point out that a IGNs fallout 4 podcast is in the top 50 of all iTunes podcasts (it the top gaming one on the charts) so that means more people are interested in fallout then witcher so it's a better game :p

 
What kind of a "prediction" is that if you claim that Fallout 4 will get *any* award, and you include the one you could give out yourself? Hey, I predict Thea: The Awakening will get a Game of the Year award on Tobold's blog!

Show me *one* Game of the Year award that isn't handed out by you, or some Fallout fansite website! I'm quite willing to accept any of the awards listed on the Wikipedia page. Up to now Fallout 4 hasn't won any of them.
 
Hmm.... I think that there was a demo version of Dragon Age: Inquisition for the PC.

Yep, just checked, and there is on Origin.
 
I find it depressing that AAA-PC gaming seems to be limited to the pseudo-rpg genre.
 
"There aren't demo versions any more, people don't trust reviews, and so buying the game and playing it becomes the only way to really finding out whether you like the game or not. And that than influences your buying behavior of the sequel."

Yeah, I'm pretty sure this is the main reason Diablo 3 sold so well.
 
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