When it comes to major industries, controversy will always arise. The gaming industry is no different, and 2016 has been filled with plenty of scandals.
2015 gave us Konami’s self destruction as they canceled Silent Hills and broke ties with Hideo Kojima, Bethesda and Valve trying to get people to pay for Skyrim mods, Batman: Arkham Knight straight up not functioning on the PC port, and much more.
And oh boy, 2016 was just as juicy. These are the Top 5 Industry Scandals of 2016.
5. IceFrog: The Truth Revealed
IceFrog is well known within the gaming community as a long time game programmer, as well as the lead designer of DOTA 2. For the longest time, his real name was a secret, with rumors of what it was popping up every few years.
However, this past Spring, the President and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Riot Games, Mark Merrill, revealed IceFrog’s real identity on Reddit. As with the original article on the site — in which this was discussed — I will not display his name here.
We still don’t know what prompted Merrill to do this, or even if he realized what he was doing when he made the Reddit post, but fans of IceFrog were understandably not pleased.
IceFrog had managed to stay incognito for a decade, and it’s understandable how fans saw the reveal of his name as a form of betrayal on the part of Riot Games.
4. Polygon Reviewers: Does a Good Reviewer need to be a Good Gamer?
This past May, the Doom franchise received a reboot. There was nothing controversial about the game itself, most fans and critics responding favorably to it.
No, this scandal stems from the geek news website, Polygon. Like the majority of other reviewers, they gave the game a positive score, an 8.5 out of 10. The problem was that a gameplay video posted alongside the review showed the reviewer’s skills at the game to be, shall we say, less than adequate.
Polygon received an abundance of angry comments, their fans outraged that the people they had reviewing games didn’t meet their standards when it came to skill.
While no one is asking the reviewing community to be made up exclusively of pro gamers, it is understandable how someone could think that only players who are good at a game can truly evaluate it.
3. The Binding of Isaac: Too Violent for the App Store?
Very early in the year, February specifically, Tyrone Rodriguez, founder of studio Nicalis, revealed that Apple had rejected The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, from the App Store.
The Binding of Isaac is a very Zelda-esque game in terms of gameplay, while also serving as a satire of the Biblical story in which God orders Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. While the original version was panned for being too clunky, the Rebirth version has garnered a very loyal fan base.
Apple supposedly rejected on the game on account of it depicting violence against children. However, there are many depictions of child violence viewable on iTunes.
This had led many to believe that Apple thinks of games as a lower form of media, beneath music, books, and TV shows. We don’t know if this is true, but with iOS being a closed system, it’s difficult to get around the ban on the game and play it another way.
2. Pokemon GO: The Most Dangerous Game?
One of this Summer’s biggest fad’s was Pokemon Go. People are still playing it, but in July and August, everyone was playing it. You couldn’t go outside without watching a fully grown man trying desperately to catch a Dratini.
The quality of the game currently is questionable, but at launch it was barely playable. Server’s would be down 90% of the time, the game was prone to frequent crashing, and the distribution of gyms and Pokestops throughout towns and cities was a mess.
But all of that is pretty inconsequential when people used the game as a means to commit armed robbery.
In the state of Missouri, a fruitful lead, led police officers to finding four people who were suspects in several armed robbery cases in the St Louis and St Charles counties.
As it turned out, these adults, who were charged with first degree robbery, had been using Pokemon Go as a tool to target people. They’d go to a Pokestop of Gym in a secluded area and wait for an unsuspecting player to come by.
This would be bad enough on its own, but shortly after the game’s release, stories involving the game were making headlines daily. Dead bodies were being discovered, homes were being broken into, and car crashes were being caused by drivers playing Pokemon Go at the wheel.
So really, only one question remains.
When are the gen 2 Pokemon becoming available?
1. Mighty No. 9: The Final Product
I wanted this game to be good. We all wanted this game to be good. But sadly, for the gaming community as a whole, and especially for the 67,226 people who backed this game on Kickstarter, Mighty No.9 is not a good game.
By the time the game was delayed for the third time, we weren’t expecting much. The hype had long died down since the game’s initial announcement, and all we were really hoping for was a fun nostalgia trip.
That is not what we got.
Instead, Mighty No. 9 proved to be nothing more than a paint by numbers platformer, with a short campaign, few features worth coming back to, and painfully slow gameplay.
Sure it looks and sounds okay, but that doesn’t make up for what proved to be a major failure from Keiji Inafune, and a waste of the almost four million dollars that went into funding it.
Which of these scandals do you think was the biggest? And were there any I left out? Let me know in the comments!