It's the start of a new year. Out with the old, in with the new, and time to start cracking on those resolutions. The video games industry should be no different: It's pretty great, but it could always be better and, more importantly, it should always be striving for improvement. To that end, here are five games resolutions we'd like to see tackled in 2015.
More transparencyAs much guff as I used to give overpriced DLC, at least you knew what you were getting when you forked over $6 for a single outfit in Street Fighter IV. Nowadays, any sort of transparency when it comes to purchasing post-launch content has gone right out the window. It went from being vague—Pay $30 up front for five map packs throughout the next year—to downright cryptic, offering up the promise of future content without actually stating what gamers will be paying for. Now you can buy a $100 version of Halo 5 without knowing what you're getting beyond “digital content” at some point down the road, and that's for a game that hasn't even released yet. If your post-launch plans aren't nailed down and available, you shouldn't be able to charge for a promise. We expect Joe Average to provide a detailed plan on Kickstarter before chipping in $5 for his crazy invention, yet we're expected to fork over dozens of dollars on digital content without the slightest idea as to what we're actually getting? Developers/publishers need to have more respect for their customers and the customers need to have more respect for themselves by not purchasing the unknown.
More time in the ovenLet's face it: A lot of games are making it to market these days that have no business being released yet. The Assassin's Creed: Unity fiasco comes to mind, as well as the botched Driveclub launch, just to name a couple extremely recent examples. When a game's issues derive from its online nature, it's at least a little more acceptable that all problems could not possibly be anticipated, even through large beta testing. When a game launches with glitches and bugs galore, though, I have to wonder if quality control is even being utilized anymore. This mentality that a game can simply be fixed after launch needs to die a brutal death. Just because something can be patched up months later doesn't mean that you shouldn't sweat the details beforehand. Again, it shows a lack of respect for your customers, and it's not going to change until we stop supporting the publishers and developers responsible for it.
Keep it freshOkay, we're a full year into this new console cycle, so it's time to take the gloves off and get creative. We've seen plenty of HD remakes and safe sequels up to this point, but now we need even more new series to help make that hardware upgrade feel like it was worth the cash. Thankfully, we're already seeing tons of new ideas on display in the indie market, but wouldn't it be nice if some of that imagination trickled on up to the AAA crowd? I want to be excited for something new again. I want to talk to my friends about a game that was totally unexpected. I want something to come out in 2015 that was so creative it pops up as a point of reference in articles five years down the line. Gimme something worth remembering!
Bolster exclusive contentThis one is likely to be divisive, but console exclusivity can be a great thing. I'm not talking about “Players on Console A get these maps six months before console B,” because that's just ridiculous. But the simple fact of the matter is that neither the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 had all that many exclusives this year, let alone very many first-party titles. If all of the big console makers aren't going to hold hands and create a unified experience (not that anyone really wants that), they should at least be willing to give us a more diverse set of options. At this point, there is very little difference between the PS4 and Xbox One, and that's largely due to the fact that not a lot of exclusive content is being developed. When someone asks me which next gen console they should get, my answer these days is whichever one the majority of your friends are playing . I would really prefer if my answer could be based on, you know, the damn games. “You absolutely have to get this console, because it offers X, Y and Z, which you can't get anywhere else.”
The death of pre-ordersSimilar to ambiguous DLC, I think it's time that pre-orders see their last sunrise. Back when games were basically physical only and available in less supply in fewer locations, pre-orders were the only way to guarantee that you got a copy of your favorite title on day one. As such, those silly pre-order bonuses came into existence, trying to coax shoppers into making their early purchase at one location over the other. Those problems are a thing of the past, though, so it makes no sense that this ridiculous pre-order system still exists, especially on the digital market. If you want to allow gamers to fork over cash a few days early so they can start their download in advance, that's fine, but I've been able to pre-order Uncharted 4 on the PS4 since the console launched, and we still have no idea when that game is hitting shelves physical and digital. How does that make any sense?