Dénouement 2020: Expectations vs. Reality

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jan 12, 2021

Filed under: Industry Events 97 comments

My normal response to anxiety is to immerse myself into a video game. And if there isn’t anything available, I can fall back to watching movies. But that didn’t work this year, because the entertainment industry basically stopped releasing new stuff. So while “Hardly any big-budget games and movies came out this year” isn’t a 2020 story per se and is certainly the most petty of first-world problems, it’s still something I found really personally annoying.

A year ago I ended 2019 by looking forward to some 2020 games and talking about what I hoped / wanted / expected. Let’s look back at what I had to say and compare my expectations with reality…

Cyberpunk 2077

Link (YouTube)

The anticipation is sky high on this one. The game is still months away and already everyone is expecting that this will be their GOTY. I’m predicting that once this thing hits the shelves, we’ll get a kind of Skyrim-style backlash where people who aren’t playing the game will get sick to death of hearing about it. 

Can CD Projekt RED live up to this hype? I don’t know, but I’m more than willing to give them $60 to find out. 

The game was delayed from March, to April, to September, to November, to December. So it skipped the whole year. 

Must be nice. I wish I could have done the same. 

The game is out now, but aside from the memes, joke reviews, and visual glitches there’s not much else to say about it. Like I said last month, you can feel the holes left behind by the cut content. For every minute I’ve spent enjoying the game, I’ve spent another minute puzzling over odd discrepancies and trying to figure out what the designer intended before this thing was hacked down to the bone. It’s a big, complicated, ambitious mess of a game and there’s no way to digest something like this in just a couple of weeks. This one will have to wait for 2021.

System Shock Remake

Oh great. More concept art.
Oh great. More concept art.

Supposedly this will come out this year, more than two years past the original promised delivery date. It’s been a long road for this game. The demo released in December did not inspire confidence. It looks right. It feels right. But can they get the content done and polished before they ship it? I have no idea.

Nope! Another game sails right by its release date. 2020 is over, and we still don’t have a new release date for this yet. And even if we did, you’d have to be a fool to believe it at this point. 

I guess I’m happy as long as they keep working on it. I’ve been reading the updates, and they are making progress. Hope lives on.

Kerbal Space Program 2

While it's fun to watch inept and disorganized Kebals throw something half-assed together just before launch, the same can not be said for game developers.
While it's fun to watch inept and disorganized Kebals throw something half-assed together just before launch, the same can not be said for game developers.

Will this have the same magic as the original? It’s made by a different team, and there’s no guarantee a new team will be able to recapture the magic of the original. Still, the promise of new Kerbal content is really exciting. I’m looking forward to putting these hapless green bastards into space again.

Another 2020 no-show. This one is a lot worse than the others. Not only is the game delayed, but publisher / backer Take-Two gutted the original studio. The project is now being worked on within T2 and we’re looking at a 2022 release date. Also, if I had to pick one game from this list to suffer from a troubled dev cycle and wind up half-baked, this would be my first guess. I have almost no faith that Take-Two knows how to develop or manage this property. 

They have a YouTube series dedicated to showing off how much they Care™ about the legacy of Kerbal Space program. These aren’t informal interviews with the devs. These are prepared and tightly edited presentations with a cringy faux-documentary feel to them. It actually reminds me of the various preview videos on Cyberpunk 2077, which showed off a bunch of planned features as if they already existed. The series is notable for the way that everything turned out to be lies, horseshit, and wishful thinking. 

Likewise, the Kerbal series feels incredibly artificial. We see the developers talking, but they’re repeating words written by marketing. This is less about letting the public follow development and more about managing public perceptions to reassure us that “Everything is Fine.”

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2

Who are the two people draped over the scaffold? I hope those aren't the fired devs.
Who are the two people draped over the scaffold? I hope those aren't the fired devs.

And now I feel bad for giving the Jedi game a hard time about its multi-part name. I saw the preview for this at E3 2019, and it looked really good.

The Jedi game in question is of course the one we’re wrapping up now. Bloodlines 2 was originally slated for March of 2020, but is now slated for 2021.

We did get some news in 2020, and none of it was encouraging. Writer Chris Avellone was accused of sexual misconduct last year. He’d moved on from Bloodlines 2 and was working on another game, but in June Paradox released a statement to let everyone know that none of Avellone’s contributions would appear in the game. But hey, no big deal, right? Avellone hadn’t worked on the game in a long time. It’s not like he was the lead narrative designer or the creative director!

In August, Paradox fired lead narrative designer Brian Mitsoda and creative director Ka’ai Cluney, without warning or explanation.

Then in October Paradox noted that Bloodlines 2’s senior narrative designer Cara Ellison had departed the company.

It’s impossible to know for sure what’s going on, why these people were fired, or what the state of the project is, but having so many senior creatives leave is usually a very bad sign. It’s alarming to lose two narrative leads in quick succession like this, particularly on a game that we’re expecting to have a strong narrative focus. And losing those people more than a year before the game is released raises even more questions. The game is too far along to go in a new direction, but also far enough from release that their work was likely very incomplete.

Above I said that Kerbal Space Program 2 was my #1 pick for a game that was going to be a mess at alunch. This one is a close second.

The Firmament

I just realized that the Myst games can be read as a parable about the importance of good interface design and documentation.
I just realized that the Myst games can be read as a parable about the importance of good interface design and documentation.

The Firmament is a new game from the Cyan, of Myst fame. Their most recent game was Obduction, which I loved until the merciless loading screens drove me away. Even so, I’m always on board for what this team is doing. 

Delayed to 2022

It’s really funny when you think about it. “Oh yeah our game is nearly done we’re about to launch in a few months oh wait actually we have two or three more years of work to do!” I can understand that one or two studios might make this mistake, but the number of projects that went from “early 2020” to “sometime in 2022” is kind of comical. I can assume this is the result of a confluence of factors:

  1. PandemicI’m talking about COVID-19, not the bygone developer. forced everyone to work from home. I’m not clear on how much friction this might introduce to the development process, but there certainly seems to be a lengthy adjustment period as everyone learns to collaborate remotely. 
  2. Okay, we’re getting the hang of working remotely. However, the shutdown has stalled all of our non-digital pipelines. We can’t print boxes, burn physical copies, or ship them to retail outfits. We can’t deliver on the physical goods we promised with collector’s editions and whatnot. We need to push things back so we can give the physical world time to catch up to our digital goods.
  3. New console generation. Oops, all of these delays pushed us back (say) a year because of the general societal chaos. However, this puts the game well into the next console gen. Do we really want to release a PS4 game into a world ruled by the PS5? No? Then add another year to the calendar so we can make the jump to next-gen. 

Still, it’s a weird world. Presumably we’re going to have a deluge in 2021 or 2022 and all of the delayed games overlap with a bunch of 2022 titles that stayed on-schedule. Right? Or did this madness just pause the entire industry for nine months and we’re going to resume the old pace?

I don’t know. This is my first pandemic.

Half-Life: Alyx

Wait, why isn't Alyx wearing a VR headset in this image?
Wait, why isn't Alyx wearing a VR headset in this image?

I don’t have a VR headset so I’m not going to get to play this, but I’ll be glad to see Valve return to their roots. Even if I don’t play it personally, I’ll feel good if the game gets good reviews.

So there were a bunch of games I expected to play, but didn’t. And then the one game I thought I wouldn’t play, I did. I’ll talk more about Alyx later in this series.

Wrapping Up

I ended my 2019 series by saying “Here’s hoping 2020 is better than 2019.” I think it’s safe to say that this hope was categorically and unambiguously frustrated by the events of the last 12 months. Next time I’m going to talk about the games that let me down in 2020.



[1] I’m talking about COVID-19, not the bygone developer.

From The Archives:

97 thoughts on “Dénouement 2020: Expectations vs. Reality

  1. Joe says:

    I do like 2077, but it suffers that open world problem of I keep trying to get somewhere, but keep getting distracted by everything else. Even if I happen to linger too long in the eyesight of the police or a gang, they’ll start shooting at me. If you put too much of the same thing in a game, it starts to feel like filler.

    Setting people’s brains on fire starts to lose its appeal after the 2077th time. Maybe I should stop trying to clean up all the random encounters and get on with some actual quests.

    1. MerryWeathers says:

      To me, one of the biggest core problems of Cyberpunk 2077 is the pacing. They just all dump all the side gigs on you through the fixers which makes everything overwhelming.

      The urgency in the main plot also doesn’t fit well with the player’s motivation to explore the open world and it barely gives you a break to do that. It makes people unknowingly rush through the game and miss out on all the side gigs, which is the real heart of the game as it’s what explores the characters and the setting.

      1. Sebastian says:

        Is there real urgency at any point in the game aside from “we drive right now from point A to point B”? Even when Takemura says the parade is THIS evening and you need to meet at 7 pm at a certain location, you can spend days doing side stuff. Which is ok and most games do this, but Cyberpunk repeatedly writes the dialouges in a confusing way.

        (But I’m maybe in the middle of the main quest, after 80 hours of doing mainly side and romantic quests)

        1. Joe says:

          I have a feeling that one of the main quests timed out while I was sorting out the city’s gang problem. But I’ve gone through the main quest once, and don’t actually like it. So I’m not sure if there’s any real urgency.

          1. MerryWeathers says:

            I thought the main quests were fine but I definitely would have liked more choices and reactivity, it’s occasionally there but not as much as The Witcher 3 or even CDPR’s much older games.

          2. Smosh says:

            There is one side quest with the depressed neighbour that can definitely time out. That is the only one where I know this is possible. Everything else just waits for you.

            1. Dotec says:

              I didn’t get timed out during that quest, but it’s possible that depends on which ‘step’ you’re at in the chain.

              I did explicitly ‘FAIL’ that quest though – despite thinking I was making all the ‘correct’ steps – and looked up a walkthrough afterwards to figure out what went wrong. And while I see the developer’s intent behind it, I don’t think “Oh whatever. Fuck you, game” was the reaction they were going for.

            2. Joe says:

              Thanks, I remember that one. So I loaded up a previous save and did that one next.

        2. TLN says:

          There’s no real urgency in the sense that main quests won’t fail even if you hold off on doing them forever. But the big thing that drives the plot forward is depicted as something VERY urgent in the context of the story and that falls completely flat for me when you then end up doing 50 hours of something else entirely with no urgency at all. I mean I like the side stuff, and I actually think the game is really good overall, but I don’t think “plot device that gives you only a short time to live” and “massive open world game with a million side quests” go very well together. There are a bunch of small’ish things I could complain about when it comes to plot/mechanics etc. but for the narrative specifically that’s the big one that got to me.

          1. MerryWeathers says:

            What this guy said. At least in Fallout 4 and Witcher 3, you had no idea where to find the person of interest and so you had to rely on quests from the open world to progress your goal but in Cyberpunk 2077, the plot adds “You’ll die in two weeks!!!

            The narrative dissonance is strong and glaring with this one.

            1. Chad Miller says:

              At least in Fallout 4…you had no idea where to find the person of interest

              Fallout 4’s first quest after the tutorial ends with a literal psychic showing up to tell you where to go. In fact one of my chief complaints about that character is that the few meaningful things she tells you exist only to create this kind of ludonarrative dissonance. She even says something like “I suppose you didn’t need a psychic to tell you to go to the biggest settlement around” and I thought, “you’re right, nobody needed that, writers! It really feels like you knew how bad this was and left it in anyway!”

              1. MerryWeathers says:

                Oh I agree, the plot of Fallout 4 still suffers from ludonarrative dissonance by making the main goal personal to the player character which the player won’t be always invested in.

                My point was Cyberpunk 2077 has the same problem and exacerbates it by revealing the stakes early on in the main plot, making it even more urgent and making Fallout 4 look better in comparison of the ludonarrative dissonance problem.

                1. Chad Miller says:

                  still suffers from ludonarrative dissonance by making the main goal personal to the player character which the player won’t be always invested in.

                  Ah, I was actually going in the opposite direction: I think making the plot hook a kidnapped child makes nearly all sidequests including the Minutemen into laughable digressions. First a psychic tells me where to find my kid, then Marcy Long moves into my house without so much as a thank you, so of course the next order of business is to plant their crops and take the town building tutorial…

              2. Vinsomer says:

                To be fair to Mama Murphy, you don’t have to ask her to tell you where to go. You get pointed in the direction anyway.

                I think the way she’s presented, we’re meant to be doubtful of whether or not she actually has ‘the Sight’, if it’s all made up to scam jet out of people, or if she’s just having hallucinations that she thinks are visions. And we do have the option to say that it’s bullshit, or to believe her.

                I don’t think she’s dissonant. If anything, she’s the opposite, and weirdly fits the gameplay of Fallout. Just as the game will give you a waypoint but let you decide if and when to follow it, she too will tell you where to go, but it’s up to you to believe or follow her.

                1. Chad Miller says:

                  I think the way she’s presented, we’re meant to be doubtful of whether or not she actually has ‘the Sight’,

                  My interpretation was literally the opposite. If you stick around as they’re about to leave the building and start for Sanctuary, there’s a conversation that goes something like:

                  MARCY LONG: This is stupid. We’ve come all this way on no evidence other than “Mama Murphy saw it.”

                  STURGES: Do you have a better idea?

                  MARCY: Uh, I guess not.

                  Marcy is already on her way to being one of the least sympathetic characters in the game, and she’s set up as this strawman doubter just so that she can be put in her place for doubting the psychic. Furthermore, the thing Murphy saw was “Sanctuary”, the neighborhood you just came for, so she’s not just immediately but preemptively proven wrong. This isn’t how you sow doubt in the audience; it’s how you prop up your pet character.

        3. Corvair says:

          The issue is something that keeps popping up in Open World RPGs especially: Player and character motivation are diametrically opposed (instead of just not lining up, which would be bad enough): The player wants to go out, explore everything, talk with everyone, hang out with their favourite characters, do races, rake in bounties, collect crafting specs (patterns), or just burn rubber throughout the city.

          The character has the opposite goal: Ignore all distractions, and get through the main thing as soon as possible, because of a narrative hook that is nipping at her or his heels: Eyes on the target, and hurry, hurry, hurry! To make matter worse, Some endings are only available if you deliberately take your time, and wait or do side content until these plot-critical missions unlock (<- not really a plot spoiler, but I tagged it anyhow because it does talk about stuff that may be a surprise to someone playing the game blindly).

          This isn't something unique to Cyberpunk, but the quality of the narrative and writing really make it stand out: "I should want what my V wants, but that would mean missing out on all the side content they put in!"

          I love the game, but that is a weak point in my point of view.

          1. Matt says:

            I wonder why open world games have so much trouble with this. You’d think the writers would focus on making a central storyline that can be dropped or picked up and that had urgency in bursts followed by periods of exploration and downtime for side quests. Even if that’s just a little artificial, like you need to have so much street cred or so much cash to get the attention of the next character you need or to find out the info to proceed, that would be preferable to the dissonance between the player’s urgency and the character’s.

            1. Liessa says:

              TES III: Morrowind handles this fairly well. The main quest is something that’s significant and world-altering, but on a timescale of months rather than days, and you’re explicitly encouraged to explore and familiarise yourself with the place before you get stuck into it. Also, it’s not clear at first just how urgent things are becoming; the signs only appear as you progress through the questline.

              TES IV: Oblivion, however, throws that right out the window. “Portals to Hell are opening everywhere and demons are invading the land! You must find a way to defeat them and save the world… right after you become the Arena champion and collect those 40 Nirnroots for the Mages’ Guild.”

          2. Dev Null says:

            And yet, there’s a bit at the beginning – before the first big job with Jackie – where there are some story arc bits with no real narrative time pressure, and a ton of open world stuff for you to do. And at that point of the game, I nearly got bored and wandered off. Finally just ignored 9/10 of the open world content, which was all a bit same-ish anyways, and got on with the main quest (which has gotten me quite invested in the game again.)

            1. TLN says:

              I wouldn’t say there’s a TON of open world stuff to do prior to the heist. You’re locked to the first island only, none of the big quests are available until later and even for the gigs that are in the first area plenty of them are gated behind higher street cred levels that you aren’t likely to reach that early. The vast majority of side content is only opened up for you after you’ve been told that your time on earth is suddenly very limited and for me that just meant that every time in the main quest where V is brought to their knees due to “relic malfunction” I just sighed and thought “wow weird how this never seems to happen during the 10 hour bursts where I’m completing gigs for Wakako”.

              Instead of immersing me in the game those scenes served the exact opposite purpose by making it so blatantly clear how scripted that is and how little urgency there actually is to any of this in spite of multiple characters telling me otherwise.

      2. trevalyan says:

        The pacing of the main quest is awful, and duplicates the main sin of Wild Hunt in the name of building dramatic tension. Which is spiked when we just ignore the meta plot.

        They would have done much better to treat the Relic as incurable cancer with a 2-year survival rate. Really give us a chance to explore the city and hope something comes up. Still my GOTY, because the gameplay is fantastic, I’ve had fewer crashes since launch than in any one week of RDR2 for PC, and the side quests LOOK like simple murder sprees but reward investigation. I am rather impressed.

    2. Biggus Rickus says:

      I think the game is pretty good in spite of everything, but there are a lot of problems. The story is kind of meh, and for an RPG it’s far too linear. It’s also too short while still feeling a bit tedious at times. The game’s prologue or Act 1, I guess, is pointless and on rails and really takes away from replayability. The idea of spending four hours or so on that just to get to the full game is exhausting. I don’t want to get into spoilers, so I’ll keep this point vague, but the main story operates in direct opposition to the theme of the open world part of the game. So many things in the game that feel like they’d build on each other simply don’t. Some of that’s probably due to cut content, but some of it seems to be just poor design choices.

      In the end, it’s a pretty fun open world action game, but it’s not really anything deeper than that. It’s certainly not the RPG I was hoping for.

  2. Baron Tanks says:

    Timely typo, I read:

    a mess at alunch

    as I am enjoying my lunch break. I can report halfway through, the mess is under control so far.

  3. MerryWeathers says:

    Whatever is going on behind the scenes of VTMB2 is probably really messy. Back in 2019 (already two years ago, fuck me), they already went all out on the marketing, releasing gameplay footage, trailers about all the clans, and pre-order bonuses.

    Whatever set them back, set them back hard

    1. Asdasd says:

      Does it have something to do with the Masquerade itself? I don’t really follow the game, but I heard there’s been a bit of a rift both within the fandom and White Wolf about how to treat this central piece of lore.

      1. Geebs says:

        Sounds like it’s just an overambitious mess and they can’t figure out how to finish it; very much in the spirit of the original, I guess.

        1. MerryWeathers says:

          That’s pretty much most cult classic RPGs, they’re overambitious messes but people can still love them despite it all.

      2. Moridin says:

        As someone who’s been following things from distance… Paradox/White Wolf released Vampire the Masquerade 5th edition fairly recently and in terms of setting it was a big upheaval(there’s a second inquisition attacking vampires on a large scale, lots of big players are getting killed, Anarchs(who, in previous editions, were a relatively minor faction compared to Sabbat and Camarilla) are now the top dogs and so on. At least in places I frequent, no-one seems happy about these changes. Even people who defend the new edition use arguments like “Well, you can just use the old fluff with the new rules.” I haven’t actually read the new books myself, but the bits I’ve seen aren’t very encouraging.

    2. Gethsemani says:

      They announced in a Dev Diary in December 2019 that they were out of Alpha, which means the game was system complete. My guess is that the game did not come together as was hoped, considering how several previews noted how weak or anemic the mechanics felt when hands on. The letting go of the narrative leads and hiring a new lead who’s main credit is as someone who’s good at making systems come together suggests that the narrative is basically locked in and ready to go at this point (so you don’t want to keep paying a bunch of expensive middle management who will do nothing but twiddle their thumbs) but the systems are struggling to actually make for fun gameplay.

      This is also Paradox’s first foray into the lower tiers of AAA and complex RPGs so I imagine they are ready to pour quite a lot of investment into V:TM:B2 to ensure it is good enough that they don’t need to bow out directly again because they did a Cyberpunk.

      1. MerryWeathers says:

        The letting go of the narrative leads and hiring a new lead who’s main credit is as someone who’s good at making systems come together suggests that the narrative is basically locked in and ready to go at this point (so you don’t want to keep paying a bunch of expensive middle management who will do nothing but twiddle their thumbs) but the systems are struggling to actually make for fun gameplay.

        That’s still concerning because gameplay systems tend to be intertwined with the narrative in RPGs.

        1. Liessa says:

          I’ve been loosely following the development since it was first announced, and the whole thing sounds like a clusterfuck. I’ll honestly be amazed if they come out with something worth playing at the end of this, but all we can do is hope.

        2. Sannom says:

          That’s still concerning because gameplay systems tend to be intertwined with the narrative in RPGs.

          Really ? I find that the ones that intertwine systems and narrative are the exception rather than the rule.

      2. Fizban says:

        Assuming it’s based on the TTRPG mechanics, I expect they’ll have a hell of a time: those are heavily narrative focused and simple leveling systems, which simply cannot compete with the complex layered leveling systems of stuff like d20, or even worse, the hybrid action RPGs that triple-ayyyyy seems to focus on*.

        Nor can they go the other direction: you can make a needle-sharp tactical game with dead simple numbers and mechanics, but doing so requires extremely contrived narrative elements to explain the restricted battlefield and action choices. Into the Breach has no room for anyone that’s not in a mech, or more than four mechs and Fire Emblem’s story plays like a visual novel, but with fewer choices, for example.

        *Presumably because those graphics just need to be in motion to look good, and make fully turn-based gameplay look worse and worse for anyone not a diehard.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          Bearing in mind I purposefuly do not follow pre-release media too closely but… I mean… let’s be honest, the first Bloodlines was very, very janky. The game was buggy, certain core concepts of the tabletop system were underutilized or barely paid lip service (humanity), combat was not very good and the game would totally let you build yourself into a corner by letting you progress without combat and then making the endgame very combat heavy with bosses that ignore most mechanics. What it had was entertaining writing, intriguing intrigue further spiced up by specific approach to certain clans (particularly Nosferatu and Malkavian).

          What I’m going for is that B2 absolutely should not try to compete with, say Pathfinder:Kingmaker, it’s strength, much like that of the tabletop game, should be in the writing department. There’s a reason why several V:tM visual novels came out recently (though at present I can’t attest to the quality of either). In all honesty when the Avellone thing happened I was pretty certain that this just revealed that he didn’t do that much work and they mostly wanted to show off the celebrity name… Now though… ehh… I’ll be curious to see what the game looks like once it comes out but I am a bit worried.

  4. Mr. Wolf says:

    What a time to be alive! No longer do you need a ludicrously successful digital store in order to utilise Valve time. Truly an age of complete economic whatthehellisgoingon!

  5. Joshua says:

    Well, the one game I was waiting for, Wasteland 3, was delayed like a lot of others but did release in late August. And I played it, and I guess it was Ok? I enjoyed a lot of it, although there were some writing decisions with the main quest I didn’t care for, and there were a lot of bugs.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      I’m playing through Wasteland 3 at the moment, and yeah, ‘…ok?’ is a pretty good way of describing it.
      There’s some fantastic ideas, a great central premise, bucketloads of character and imagination, a whole lot of jank, a large collection of bugs and a pick-and-mix of outdated gaming mechanics.
      It mixes ‘really good decisions’ with ‘bafflingly bad decisions’ in a pretty unique way.

      Great material for a long-form analysis, though.

      1. Eric says:

        That’s about how I felt with Wasteland 2. I got through the first major section (do you save the water or do you save the food?) and had had about enough. Despite liking the setting, tone, and some of the writing, it felt too married to being “retro” to really be much fun.

        1. CloverMan-88 says:

          Wastelands 2 improves DRAMATICALLY in the second half of the game, when you go to another region. I hated the first map, it was very linear, combat heavy and you had very little influence on the world. The second map feels like a whole new game, it gave me really heavy Fallout 2 flashbacks. If you ever decide to give it another shot, keep that in mind.

      2. Joshua says:

        You volunteering for the long-form analysis? :)

        Mechanically, I thought there were a lot of great improvements over WL2, along with some ones that were just “bafflingly bad” as you said. I was really happy to see that they collapsed the number of weapon skills somewhat, rolling in some similar categories into one skill, but allowing for the variances between the weapons.

        For example, combining Bladed Weapons and Blunt Weapons into one skill, but allowing different advantages to each weapons, which is basically how semi-automatic pistols and revolvers worked in 2. But then they split out the perks to work only with one type of each weapon? Assault Rifles are no longer the default best weapon that they were in 2, but now they are near the bottom? They got rid of chance to fail skills that simply resulted in a lot of save scumming, which was nice. On the other hand, the change to team initiative vs. individual initiative turned combat really annoyed me, because it basically turned the gameplay into a form of rocket-tag gameplay of “ambush the enemy or get wrecked”. There are a whole lot of other pluses and minuses, but they’re all subjective anyway.

        a great central premise

        There’s a great center to the game (which on the plus side, is a lot tighter narrative than WL2) about how in a world of desolation and lawlessness, would you side with ruthless pragmatism or a long-shot anarchic idealism? A literal “Get you to trade/Cold comfort for change”. Basically, a Lawful Evil vs. Chaotic Good. But then they made more “bafflingly bad decisions” with this story (Iron Cordite and Ranger Base backstab) that turn it into more Lawful Neutral vs. Chaotic Insane, somewhat making the choices less complicated. And as it turns out, you can get a good ending, but only if you do a very specific set of actions that aren’t explained very well, which resulted in only 1-2% of players reaching that ending after the first few weeks.

        1. BlueHorus says:

          I’d do a long form analysis, but I mean, how many blogs are there on the internet? We can’t all be Shamus Young and have people read what we write.

          I’m reminded of a Yahtzee Crowshaw quote from his video announching he was going to work at the escapist: ‘throwing a message in a bottle into an ocean…made of messages in bottles’.

  6. Knut says:

    Well, at least KSP1 is still getting updates.

    1. Dalisclock says:

      And mods.

      Honestly, If KSP2 ends up being a mess(or takes years to be worth playing), at least KSP is still there. I’m also waiting to see what KSP2 really brings to the table other then colony planning and interstellar travel. Both of which sound cool but I’m not sure if that’s enough to save it if it ends up being lackluster in execution.

  7. MerryWeathers says:

    I’ll talk more about Alyx later in this series.

    I still suspect the Jeff sequence in the game took a few years off my lifespan.

    1. coleusrattus says:

      Man, yeah. One of gaming’s greatest sequences ever. Only as effective because it’s done in VR.

  8. Daimbert says:

    My normal response to anxiety is to immerse myself into a video game. And if there isn’t anything available, I can fall back to watching movies. But that didn’t work this year, because the entertainment industry basically stopped releasing new stuff. So while “Hardly any big-budget games and movies came out this year” isn’t a 2020 story per se and is certainly the most petty of first-world problems, it’s still something I found really personally annoying.

    I’m fortunate that if in stressful times I wanted to immerse myself, I’d be more likely to want to immerse myself in the entertainment equivalent of “comfort food” with old favourites. Although for me I’m behind the times anyway and was far too busy for it to matter. At any rate, I actually watched MORE recent things than normal (Picard, Discovery, Doom Patrol, Pretty Little Liars) but for video games I was delving into my huge stack of old things anyway, and didn’t have the time to get into the one new thing that I had that was out (Persona 5 Royal).

    Pandemic forced everyone to work from home. I’m not clear on how much friction this might introduce to the development process, but there certainly seems to be a lengthy adjustment period as everyone learns to collaborate remotely.

    It depends how well their business’ infrastructure was set up for that. My company in a completely different field was set-up reasonable well for remote work, and so while there were some blips things worked out pretty well, and in fact it was the features and releases that we had to deal with in the middle-term that were the most at risk, since the short-term ones coasted on momentum and the long-term ones were things we could adjust to and adjust expectations on. For games, it seems to me it would have to be a combination of not having a good work-from-home infrastructure, uncertainty around what the supply chain would look like and if it would even make SENSE to release something (sports leagues had similar issues since they wouldn’t have fans and so would lose a lot of revenue), and perhaps the idea that since everything was disrupted it only made sense to delay things and then add stuff to make up for it, or stuff they really wanted to do but didn’t think they had time to do.

    1. Syal says:

      I’m fortunate that if in stressful times I wanted to immerse myself, I’d be more likely to want to immerse myself in the entertainment equivalent of “comfort food” with old favourites.

      Similar for me. Slay the Spire, Monster Train and Disgaea 5 (with an occasional dash of Hades) will eat up as much time as you want to throw at them.

      Otherwise I’ve been playing Yakuza: Like A Dragon, which isn’t quite what I was hoping (targetting is a bit rough, job system seems closer to Dragon Quest than Final Fantasy, protagonist death=game over) but still good fun.

      …this is the “This Week I Have Been Playing” thread, right?

  9. DeadlyDark says:

    You actually very apt in noticing that there isn’t much to talk about CP’77. Month’s passed, but nobody talks about it. No memes, no in jokes, no interesting videos… Game was released, and after two weeks, it might as well didn’t. And that’s puzzling to me, considering both the hype and impressive sales numbers. I thought, given these factors, there will be a lot of discussions and memes. I find this very weird.

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      The hype and sales (mostly preorders) were based almost entirely on “Witcher 3 was great, can’t wait for more from those guys!” rather than anything about the game, so when the game turned out to be a rushed mess (and I don’t even mean the bugs, but the janky gameplay and obviously cut content) all that hype proved misplaced and the game went into the default videogame state of “people don’t talk much about it”.

      1. MerryWeathers says:

        The hype and sales (mostly preorders) were based almost entirely on “Witcher 3 was great, can’t wait for more from those guys!” rather than anything about the game

        It was actually more on “this is going to be THE next-gen game” than anything to do with Witcher 3 which is why the game is being constantly compared to other Rockstar games which have those reputations.

      2. Jeff says:

        The people who set expectations based on Witcher 3 are still enjoying and playing CP2077, we’re just talking about it in places that avoid the angry mob.

        1. Mephane says:

          This. I got exactly what I wanted and expected and am very happy with the game.

    2. Thomas says:

      I’ve barely heard anyone discuss the game itself in great detail. I guess even with The Witcher 3 a lot of the discussion and memes were ‘this game is great’ than about specific plotlines, and the buginess stops that from happening here.

      1. DeadlyDark says:

        I remember people talking about Bloody Baron and a lot of Roach memes, at the very least

        Also a lot of “The Witcher 3 is not an RPG” memes/discussions

      2. Mephane says:

        A big factor there is spoilers. Even at home I have to be careful what so say because my SO hasn’t finished it yet and I don’t want to spoil anything.

        For example, a positive surprise was the “panzer” hover tank, which fulfills a very common trope but then ends up breaking out of that very trope multiples if you play the ending where you raid Arasaka with the Aldecaldos, every time the panzer is damaged and you have to defend it or join the fight on foot you think that’s it, trope fulfilled, our one-shot superweapon is gone, only for Panam to get it operational again, until you even end the game driving it out of the city for good.

        Depending on where someone is in the game right now, some of those spoilers can be mentioned, but others still cannot, and this is just a relatively minor detail in the game. So in the end we tend to just not say anything except among people who have completed it (a game of this size, only a small minority already have, and in my case that would not have been possible if not for being on vacation to begin with).

    3. The Puzzler says:

      Maybe a lot of people decided to hold off playing it until it got patched up a bit more.

    4. Vinsomer says:

      It’s the nature of backlash. When a game releases and there’s a major backlash, it just swallows up all the discussion, to the point where if you’re not specifically entering into dedicated discussion spaces like the Cyberpunk subreddit, you’re not going to find it.

      And when you remember that most social media sites tend to promote things that are controversial, measured discussion is going to lose the SEO war to outrage and criticism.

      Same thing happened to Mass Effect Andromeda and Mass Effect 3, as well as No Man’s Sky. And there was plenty to talk about for both ME3 and MEA.

  10. Elmeri says:

    I’ll talk more about Alyx later in this series.

    Next time I’m going to talk about the games that let me down in 2020.

    Hope these two aren’t related. Shamus has stayed so quiet about Alyx that I was assuming he didn’t really play it.

  11. MerryWeathers says:

    The game is out now, but aside from the memes, joke reviews, and visual glitches there’s not much else to say about it.

    I do feel some of the backlash against it has reached unfair levels, a lot of people are now directly comparing it to other completely different games like The Last of Us 2 or Ghost Tsushima.

    There’s also a common misconception that the game was in development for eight years when in actuality it was only half of that time which better explains why the game is in the state it is currently in.

    I don’t think CDPR lied about the game’s features, a lot of quotes they said in the past like how they “were aiming to match the quality of RDR2” are being interpreted as “this game will totally be as great as RDR2”. Not to mention the devs themselves recommended that the game shouldn’t be played like GTA and it was more of an open-world RPG experience than a sandbox. The features they mentioned are in the game, it’s just that the way they are handled is pretty inept.

    Also for some reason people have started blaming Keanu? There’s a lot of Snyder Cut-esque conspiracy theories about how there was a perfect story that CDPR just completely scrapped in favor of making a new one focusing on Johnny just to get Keanu. While I do think the full story of the game was just cobbled together in 2018, I doubt the troubled development had anything to do with Keanu, rather he was just the celebrity CDPR chose to play Johnny Silverhand.

    I do agree on calling CDPR out on the crunch torture of the devs, the console debacle, and the rushed broken state of the game but it’s also pretty clear that a lot of people won’t settle for anything less than great at this point. The hype has completely fucked the game over.

    1. John says:

      The hype made CDPR a staggering, phenomenal amount of money. Unless that’s all been undone by a deluge of refunds, it seems to me that it has done the opposite of fucking them over. It’s possible that CDPR’s mismanagement and marketing run amok have harmed the company’s long-run prospects, but I have my doubts. Outraged gamers never stay outraged and there are already a host of people crying out “hey, it’s not that bad”, “you guys are overreacting”, and, of course, “it runs fine on my machine”. I don’t think that CDPR is going to be able to replicate the Cyberpunk hype for their next game, but, unless they just absolutely blow it when it comes to bug-fixing and other post-launch support for Cyberpunk, gamers will still sign up in droves for whatever they do next.

      1. Fizban says:

        The saying goes that outrage never lasts, but I have a suspicion it may be more like: the outflow of permanently outraged customers over time is offset by the inflow of new customers over time. People that are actually genuinely offended by something can and do drop it entirely. But next year there will be a whole new year’s worth of people who are just now old enough/have the money to buy your thing. As long as the new suckers outnumber the people sick of your shit, that’s growth baby!

      2. MerryWeathers says:

        The sales seem like a short term victory compared to the various controversies CD Projekt is currently facing. I assume the company values it’s reputation as it was what made them stand out from the competition and earned them the hype for Cyberpunk 2077 in the first place.

        It all falls down to whether or not they succeed in restoring the company’s goodwill through the post launch support of the game. I would say they should just ditch the multiplayer component of and focus completely on improving and adding to the single-player experience of the game. After that, they should make the next Witcher game (or at least a game set in the same universe) to fully recover the company’s reputation.

        1. John says:

          I’m pretty sure that CDPR must have realized in the year or so before the launch that a short-term victory was the only victory they could achieve given the state of the game. I don’t know what it was that drove them to release in 2020. I assume it was either greed or pure financial necessity. Regardless, it’s hard for me to believe that they didn’t anticipate the outcome they got, unless the months of crunch somehow left even the executives exhausted and punch-drunk. Given the executives’ obvious bungling with respect to Sony and refunds, I admit this is a distinct possibility.

          CDPR may have a reputation. But I’m not entirely certain what that reputation might be among people who don’t follow gaming news closely. My suspicion is that for the majority of the very large number of people who bought Cyberpunk 2077 CDPR’s reputation–if it has one–is or was “made The Witcher 3”. The hype for Cyberpunk was not a product of CDPR’s “friend of the gamer” posturing. It was the product of The Witcher 3’s popularity and a long, industrial-strength hype campaign.

          I agree with you about buying back good will through post-launch support. Fortunately for CDPR, they’ve got a huge pile of cash with which to do just that, and, as I said earlier, a whole bunch of people who have more or less forgiven them already.

  12. Lino says:


    2020 is over, and we don’t don’t have a new release date for this

    Extra “don’t”.

  13. Echo Tango says:

    Re: System Shock remake
    I’m hopeful this one will actually turn out good, since the original is very difficult to play, even with the mods that make the keybinds similar to modern games, and fix some other stuff. However, I’m thoroughly expecting this to be a big mess if it finally gets released. :)

  14. jurgenaut says:

    I bought a VR Headset in preparation for Alyx, but I felt like they missed the boat on the gunplay a bit. The game Boneworks that came out a little bit before Alyx felt a lot better, but was lacking in other departments (narrative, tension).

    Overall Alyx is alright – I haven’t played it through yet (~80% if I had to guess). I sweat a lot flailing about and having a headset stuck to my face, and it’s a hassle just having the headset around.
    Elite Dangerous VR was better, because I’m sitting down, but even then I stopped using the VR headset because I needed to tab out to look up routes and watch youtube. Elite is like the only game I know where you can do a 6 hour session and not even gotten halfway to where you are going. Jump, refuel, jump, refuel, jump, refuel…

    So long story short, I tried VR and now the headset is stuck in a box. Should sell it.

    1. Smosh says:

      Play Beat Saber with mods. It’s worth the price of a VR headset by itself.

  15. Dreadjaws says:

    I recently bought myself a Nintendo Switch, so I completely forgot about the existence of Cyberpunk 2077. A shame, for a game we were all expecting to play for months.

    I remember that even months after the Switch came out I was constantly snarking about the fact that most game releases were just ports from older games. I remember thinking that the console didn’t really have much to offer if they couldn’t come up with new games for it. But now that I have one, I find myself drawn to these old titles. The convenience of having old (well, PS2/PS3 era mostly) favorites in the palm of my hand is astonishing. I actually get annoyed when certain titles aren’t available in it (bummed that the recently announced Mass Effect remastered trilogy won’t be on the Switch, for instance).

    Currently playing Hades, though, which is a new title (well, it’s been on Early Access for a while, but its full release was just near the end of 2020), and I’m loving it. This seems to be a game that underpromised and overdelivered, which is sadly the opposite of the norm these days.

    1. Daimbert says:

      While the main reason I bought my Switch was for Ring Fit Adventure, I have to admit that getting Icewind Dale and Torment on it so that I might be able to play them as a console game played a role as well.

  16. Matt says:

    I’d add #4 to your list: the hype around Cyberpunk which then kept getting delayed. Most everyone assumed it would be a runaway success that would dominate that discourse for weeks or months, so no one wanted to release their game at the same time.

  17. BlueHorus says:

    Eesh. That news about VTM:B 2 worries me….the best thing about the first game was the story, and the way the game evoked the setting.
    It wasn’t perfect, sure (like almost everything about that game), but yeah…changing creative leads that much is not a good sign.
    If the story of the sequel turns out to be bad, it’ll be lacking the best feature of the first game – hell, the thing that MADE the first game, at least for me.

  18. BlueBlazeSpear says:

    Speaking of videos that are based more on wishful thinking than an actual product, has Bioware’s new thing become making trailers for video games that don’t exist? We got trailers for Dragon Age and a new Mass Effect and as far as I can tell, those aren’t actual products, but mostly the stuff of hopes and dreams. I probably wouldn’t think much of it if it didn’t seem like a lot of time and effort went into making those videos. And, more surprisingly, they both had content that seemed to imply things about their respective narratives. I’ve sadly watched Youtube videos where people break them down frame-by-frame looking for clues and hints. I suppose some actual work has been done with the Dragon Age game, but how far away is a new Mass Effect game? Maybe five years? Will there even be a Bioware then?

    1. Grimwear says:

      I did read that they’re releasing a Mass Effect Remaster in…March? I won’t lie I’ll probably pick it up and maybe that’ll keep Bioware afloat for a bit. I only ever played ME1 and 2, though I never got any of the dlc (back in the terrible age of buying dlc on xbox needing to take your money to buy microsoft store currency to then buy the dlc and have useless credits left over no thanks).

      1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

        What I’ve found peculiar about that is that they’ve bothered with these nice looking trailers for games that they hope to exist in the future, yet as far as I can tell, they haven’t shown so much as a screenshot of the trilogy remaster. And it’s theoretically just a couple of months away. The remaster should be a slam dunk buy for me, but I find myself wondering what’s going on.

        But thanks for the flashbacks to early DLC purchases. Such a bizarre and complicated process it was. I only went back later and got all of the DLC for ME2 and ME3 (which was worth it). And at some point, the ME1 DLC Bring Down the Sky just sort of appeared there even though I never bought it. I found it to be a pretty decent DLC considering how close it was to the “horse armor” days when it originally came out.

        1. Gautsu says:

          The only way to get Tali her best armor

          1. Syal says:

            Tali: the horse of Mass Effect.

        2. Grimwear says:

          The best part is that I remember when Xbox got rid of their points and changed it to real currency again my remaining balance was converted and I think I had around 2 dollars on it. Which isn’t enough to buy anything. Coupled with the fact that I moved on to mostly pc gaming and I have no clue where that 2 dollars ended up so Microsoft if you’re listening…give me my money back.

  19. The Rocketeer says:

    Unless you’re trying to generate writing content specifically about games that released in 2020— and I guess you are— I just don’t really get worked up about delays, and I definitely never find myself out of things to play just because a big release fell through, or even a handful of them.

    Even for someone that plays games as much as me or Shamus, there are just so, so many games out there. Perhaps even more so for avid gamers, isn’t the classic problem that the backlog only ever seems to get bigger? I mean, granted, the other half of that phenomenon is the feeling that you’ve “got nuthin to play,” just like you’ve got nuthin to eat as you stare into the glow of your full fridge and 2:30AM. But seriously, I’ve got so, so many games I still fully intend to get around to, some of which I’ve had installed and waiting for years. Some of which are for PS1 or PS2! Because, hey, what if Arc the Lad holds up well? Or Suikoden? Oh, you thought I gave up on 100%-ing Fatal Frame III WELL I DIDN’T. Heck, even a handful of these games might represent months of play. Persona 5 Royal and Kingdom Come: Deliverance are both ready to go, those could both be 100 hours of gameplay if they grab me. And who knows what else I might pick up just because it’s on sale? I take chances on games all the time just because they’re cheap. I mean, they usually suck, but I picked up a PSN game called Dead or School for a tenner and it was killer, so I’m not gonna stop anytime soon. And although I am getting through games a little faster now that I’ve finally retired from Monster Hunter World after over 1200 hours, there’s still plenty of games I’ll never really be done with and return to from time to time, especially games that are good to play while listening to music or a podcast like Picross or Kerbal Space Program.

    So even though I’ve never felt pressured to play games while they’re new and in fact usually wait months or even years for the price to drop, if developers want to keep delaying stuff for two or three more years, I personally wouldn’t mind the breather… unless that might put Shamus out of business. I still get a kick out of heckling this blog occasionally.

  20. tmtvl says:

    “Very little new stuff came out this year” isn’t a problem, it’s a chance to pick up all those forgotten titles that you haven’t gotten to yet and that have been languishing, rotting away in your library for months, if not years.

    1. Philadelphus says:

      “Very little new stuff came out this year” sounds strange to me, because I think I may have picked up more new games (as in games that released in the year I bought them) in 2020 than pretty much any year I can think of previously: Noita, Filament, XCOM: Chimera Squad, LIT: Bend the Light, THE IMPOSSIBLE, Wingspan, Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition, Superliminal, Per Aspera, Monster Sanctuary…while technically released on EGS (which I don’t use) last year, I also picked up Satisfactory and Untitled Goose Game when they came to Steam this year. In that sense, I got a new game on average every month, and that’s not counting a few recent games from before 2020 that I also picked up this year (Planet Zoo, Among Us, Gorogoa, Rumu).

  21. Grimwear says:

    This year the only “new” game I played (that was new to me) was Return of the Obra Dinn and I’ll be honest…I’m not liking it. Arguably I played it “wrong” which infuriates me even more. What I wanted to do:

    1. Play through all the scenarios answering any obvious information like how someone died.
    2. Once I knew the basic story go back and scrounge through all the memories filling in the blanks.

    Unfortunately that’s a dumb way to try to play. What you SHOULD do is:

    1. Play through each memory slowly and methodically with a notepad beside you to record every person, any defining features, and start connecting dots. (Why can’t there be a notebook in game that lets me record these features? I would love to have a diagram feature so I can take the faces of characters and draw lines connecting them. But that’s too convenient).
    2. Fill out nearly everything this way then just scrounge for the last few people.

    It’s annoying because it’s a true detective game. You need to look for obtuse things like what kind of shoes they wear or the type of shirt. And I have no problem scraping through a memory for an hour looking for small details. What I do have a problem with is the fact that I cannot easily and quickly jump between memories. The in game book will track which characters are in which memories but you need to manually walk (no run here) to each corpse memory and use the watch to view it. Every. Time. So much wasted time. O you accidentally went to the wrong memory? Well better leave. Now to find the right corpse. Better not hit the wrong one. For a game that requires you to notice small details I hate how much of my time it wastes and ruins my enjoyment. I have trouble connecting memories and dots because it’s constantly broken up by 2 minutes of me walking to the next body. Just let me easily jump through them with the book! And what’s worse is that the dev has gone on the Steam discussions and stated he thought of adding it but then chose not to. Why? What does me constantly backtracking accomplish? You need to manually walk to each corpse at the start to unlock the memories!

    So ya everyone praised this game but I can’t get over how much of my time it wastes and ruins any enjoyment I may get from solving the murders.

    1. Henson says:

      Here’s the ideal way to play, I think:

      1) Play through the game, filling out the info you are pretty confident on.
      2) Get to the place right before the end, but don’t leave on the boat.
      3) Start a new game.

      This is what I did, and it worked. Your first playthrough gives you a sense of the story and the mechanics, familiarizing you with the different tricks and details to pay attention to. And then, you can start cleanly from scratch once you understand what you should be paying attention to.

      1. Kincajou says:

        For my part i played it and had fun by doing what grimwear did:
        1) follow the memories as told, fill in the easy and obvious
        2) don’t leave on the boat (unless you want to, honestly the 100% ending is a fun add on but nothing revolutionary)
        3) pick a character, go back to all the memories they’re in and try and figure who they are/what happened. If too difficult, pick another one
        4) do all this in short sessions. I suffer from motion sickness so i was physically limited to about 1 hr of gameplay anyways but i feeli it isn’t a game that gets much from playing 3-4hrs straight… many times if you approach the problem with a clean mind it actually becomes easier (see also “baba is you” for this lesson)

        All that said, i don’t necessarily feel there is a right way of doing it and whilst it’s true the game does “waste your time” to me it felt nice because it was more atmospheric… so i wouldn’t have enjoyed the game half as much if it had insta-travel between all the memories (for me it would have added some more ludo-narrative dissonance).
        But if it didn’t work for you guys that’s ok :) I just thought you might find the point of view of someone who enjoyed it thoroughly and wasn’t particularily bothered by the backtracking as an interesting addition.

        1. Grimwear says:

          I openly admit it’s very much a me problem. Me wandering the ship has a very different mindset from me actively paying attention looking for clues. But it’s one of those situations where you read the same line in a book over and over and can’t absorb anything. I try to focus but know that in 5 or 10 or 20 minutes I will need to break out of my focused state to move around the ship and that niggles at my mind non stop and makes me entirely unable to focus until I just get so frustrated I stop playing.

          As I’ve gotten older I’ve become much less patient in terms of games wasting my time. I have so much to play and anything that arbitrarily limits me while I’m playing a game (especially single player) bothers me. I played Metal Gear Solid 5 a couple years back and the fact you need to wait hours in real time for research to complete nearly sent me up the wall. That was my first and last MGS game.

          1. Lino says:

            Metal Gear Solid 5… you need to wait hours in real time for research to complete

            Thank you for saving me 30 Euros! I was on the fence about getting it (never played a MGS game before, and it is somewhat of a seminal franchise), but now I’m definitely sure I never will.

            With so many great games out there, and my free time at a premium, stuff like this is a sure-fire way to lose me as a customer.

            1. Dalisclock says:

              MGS5 is great in the early game and has some amazing on the ground, moment to moment gameplay. It also has some great looking cutscenes that blend seemlessly with the gameplay. Where it falls flat it pretty much everywhere else and by middle to late game all the cool stuff has worn off or become routine and you’re doing what feels like a lot of grinding.

              It doesn’t help that the endgame is very much incomplete and the the game is pretty much pointless to the rest of the series lore anyway(pretty much none of it matters to the overall story, except for a few bits which are tucked away in audiologs).

              If you’re really interested in the series, see if you can scrounge a copy of Metal Gear Solid 1-3(1 and 2 are available on PC digitally now).

    2. Olivier FAURE says:

      Yeah. I really liked the game despite the interface problems, but boy were the interface problems bad.

      It’s baffling how bad it is, actually, given that some of the problems could have been solved by a halfway competent UX designer (or game designer who spent two days reading UX design blogs) spending two weeks on it, and it’s very clear the developer spent months polishing everything else in the game.

      I kind of get why they don’t let you use the watch from the journal; they want to give some physicality to the boat, whereas if you were always using the journal it quickly turn into a database search game. But they definitely should have added some late-game features once you’ve discovered all bodies. An ability to sprint, some way to use the watch faster, teleport points on the ship, something like that. The ability to leave death scenes without walking through the magic door every time would have been nice too.

      Also, the bodies that died during the kidnapping were particularly annoying, because you have no way to distinguish them (the echoes of the bodies are laid out one next to the other) and if you guess wrong you just waited 20 seconds for nothing.

      The game itself was really clever though. I managed to finish it all without hints, and with very little brute-forcing.

  22. bobbert says:

    Speaking of Paradox, I hear Victoria III got pushed back again.

    Also, to nit-pick. The formatting on “Very Bad Sign(tm)” got eaten.

  23. Mephane says:

    I finished Cyberpunk 2077 yesterday and absolutely loved it, ending included*.

    I was hit by a couple of major bugs, some of which could be worked around with some mods (e.g. teleport through the broken door to Cassius Ryder’s clinic, a very common bug), others waiting for patches (I have a single unfinished gig in Japantown, a house that cannot be entered because none of the doors or windows can be opened as they are triggered by the quest, which never starts because the call from the fixer never happens), and my number 1 cause of death was the physics glitch where a tiny drop registers as a fall from a deadly height. Overall, the bugs were no more numerous or severe as I would have expected a launch from a game of this magnitude and complexity.

    That said, I played on pretty powerful hardware (including a 3080) and understand and agree that the state of the game on prev gen consoles is clearly inacceptable, CDPR should clearly have delayed or cancelled those versions of the game.

    *I started as a Nomad moving into the city in an old rust bucket of a car, and ended as a Nomad, having joined the Aldecaldos, riding into the sunset on a frickin’ hover tank with my bff Panam and my bae Judy. I was expecting to be devastated by a very dark ending, but it appears I got lucky and ended up in the best possible storyline. (I was tempted though by Alt’s offer to become an immortal AI in cyberspace, but I couldn’t bear to do that to Judy. If not for her, I would have probably done that instead.)

    1. MerryWeathers says:

      (I was tempted though by Alt’s offer to become an immortal AI in cyberspace, but I couldn’t bear to do that to Judy. If not for her, I would have probably done that instead.)

      I think that ending is the most satisfying if you’ve befriended Johnny and patched up his relationships with Rogue, Kerry, and Samurai and then pick Rogue and Weyland to assist you in the raid of Arakasa Tower. Johnny will have a pretty satisfying character arc if you do all the above in my opinion.

      Speaking of Kerry, the yacht scene where he’s just playing his guitar with you and Johnny quietly listening was one of my favorite moments of the game. Actually a lot of my favorite moments were the quiet and poignant ones which is nice.

      1. Mephane says:

        You quoted the part in spoiler tags, now it is visible openly, and probably too late to edit that. Shamus, if you read this, can you remove the blockquote section from the above reply?

  24. kikito says:

    The backlog of old games is there, you know! :)

  25. Simplex says:

    I totally forgot that Nightive is also working on System Shock 2 remaster called “System Shock 2 Enhanced Edition”.

    In August 2019 they tweeted that it’s “coming soon!”, and then 2020 happened.

    But they are still working on it, and this post gave me hope that maybe it will not be shit:

    They even want to add VR support. HYPE! :)

    1. Tom says:

      WAITAMINUTE… isn’t the System Shock 2 engine actually just a variant of the Dark Engine? This potentially opens the tantalising possibility of a Thief 1 & 2 Enhanced Edition! Maybe even also with VR! Oh, but I just can’t get my hopes up after the slap-in-the-face fiasco of the System Shock 1 remake.

  26. Ciennas says:

    Yeah…. I was a huge Halo fanboy nerd type. I know you weren’t keen on them, but from the first sound of the main theme back in 2001, I had been following the series avidly.

    I was getting increasingly worried through Halo 4, and Halo 5 had me curious to see how they were gonna stick the landing they had set up.

    I expected that answer to arrive two years ago.

    Since then, I have not heard a single thing to tell me that this is going to end well.

    Team leads fleeing into the night, the public showing not going well and looking way more half baked than it should, and on top of all that the pervasive fears that they’re going to try and maximize profit and make yet another goddamned Live Service Grindathon instead of a good Halo Game.

    At least I have other games to play now… but I’m not really looking forward to ANYTHING, having been burned out on hype trains years ago- with Fallout 76 being the final straw on that coffin.

    But Halo was one of my favorites, and it just feels sad to watch it crumble.

  27. Alberek says:

    The clip of the car piledriving someone always gets me…

  28. Sven says:

    The delays on Firmament (there is no The in the title, by the way) are disappointing, but given Cyan’s track record with kickstarters so far, I’m not concerned. I’m sure they’ll deliver, and I’ll probably like it. We did also get an unexpected Myst VR remake, so that was kind of neat (so far only available on the Quest, so I haven’t played it yet; I’m waiting for the Steam release).

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