Monday, June 11, 2018

Left behind

I should be in a very good mood. In the past two days there have been a bevy of announcements, some spoiled and some honest surprises. On the short list of awesome things are Doom Eternal, Gears of War 5, Dying Light 2, Devil May Cry 5, Just Cause 4, some new Battletoads nonsense, a date for Metro Exodus and a god damn Cuphead expansion. None of this is coming out this year, and that is fine, because I predict that come October 26th nothing else to go to matter through the end of 2018. It's almost as if the big publishers know that it is useless to fight Rockstar, so why try.

But I am not in a good mood. The press conferences so far have left me rather melancholy because there are other games, games that I was looking forward to, that have either been tweaked slightly outside of what I wanted or now exist in the radioactive no go zones of my fickle and unjustifiable tastes.

The third Wolfenstein was announced, but it is a co-op game that can probably be played single player. Not a total loss but I am worried that it will not be balanced properly for playing solo. Fallout 76 looks to be to be a trollers paradise and with no assurance as of yet that I can play the game without the interference of others it is pretty much off the list in spite of it coming out this year. Anthem really is just Destiny, but Bioware, and while I enjoyed both Destiny games the constant threat of running into other people in the open world kept me from ever being immersed in it. I want to spend time poking around a Bioware world without having to look over my shoulder for some jag off in a mech suit flying in and getting in the way or stealing a kill or blocking an objective.

And then there is Forza Horizon 4.

Forza Horizon 3 was my game of the year when it game out. No game I played in 2016 brought me as much joy and comfort. It was a perfectly tuned open world racer, just arcade like enough to keep it fun but enough sim to keep you paying attention. It was happiness pressed on to a disk. And they have ruined it.

Forza Horizon 4 is (and I stole this from a tweet I saw, don't remember who) an MMO-Car-PG. The world is always online, always shared, always filled with other people playing the game. Who in the ever living fuck thought this was a good idea. Did they play any online races in other racing games? Ever other person is driving like a dick head, pitting you for lolz or driving the wrong way around the track. Multiply that by however many dozens will be crammed on a server in Horizon 4 and the game will be an unplayable mess.

The driveatar function of Horizon 3 and the last few mainline Forza games was perfect. There are AI drivers there based loosely on the habits of other players. They even are labeled with said players' gamertags. But the cars aren't actually being controlled by people so they could be trusted to not ruin the experience for everyone around them. Why change this? Playing online in Horizon 3 was there and it was optional; the best of both worlds.

Remember Journey? Remember my visceral reaction to seeing another person? I tore my network cable out of my wall (gently) to make sure that my experience was mine and mine alone. I did not want to share it with anyone. I did not want anyone leading me anywhere or lagging behind. I do not want to play Forza Horizon 4 with anyone.

And if I can't play it alone I will not play it at all. There are still games for me, just not as many, and I will have to let a few of them go as they wander farther from what I enjoy in favor of what everyone else enjoys.

...

Update (from IGN article):

“It comes with loads of other problems, such as your internet goes down, you can’t play. Our servers go down; you can’t play. So we solved that problem by saying that Forza Horizon 4 will not be an always-online game. As much as this is a shared-world game, and we believe it’s much better played with other people, you can totally just click a button and play the entire game in single player with Drivatars if that’s your wont.”

All is forgiven. Well, Fallout 76 and Anthem are still a problem, but this was more important.

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