Welcome to Slimgamer’s end of the year coverage. We took seven writers, gave them six categories, and locked them in a room until they’d decided on the Top 36 (or so) of 2012. Each writer picked one item from each category and we compiled the six lists as our take on the “Game of the Year” list. Every day for the next six days we’ll post a different category commemorating the best (and not so best) industry developments of the year.
Today, we take a look at the top news stories of 2012.
There have been many headline moments in 2012: Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk leaving their post at the head of Bioware, Cliff Bleszinski leaving Epic Games, THQ hitting very hard financial times and very recently filing for bankruptcy, and many of the GAME stores here in the UK being forced to close because they simply aren’t making enough money to sustain themselves. However, I think the news piece that has had the biggest impact on myself personally is the Lost Humanity 18: A Table of Doritos, written by Robert Florence for Eurogamer highlighting how some journalists are perhaps too familiar or ‘in bed with’ PR companies and publishers. This article, which has been altered due to the threat of legal action from people mentioned within it, has had such a monumental effect in the video game journalism industry that reviewers and writers are now being forced to look and openly examine their practices and procedures in order to reflect the best image for their magazine or site. I know this piece might not have much of an impact on most gamers or readers of gaming websites but I think that the fallout of this ‘Doritos Gate’ (as it’s been called) will lead to better journalistic practices and ultimately more quality writing.
GTA V Announcement
The Grand Theft Auto series is without a doubt one of the biggest series in gaming. Most people anticipated the announcement but I honestly thought that it would go the way of Half Life 3 - always around the corner but never fully announced. It’s been five years since the last GTA and we’re ready for more.
For me, the biggest news story of the year was definitely the meteoric rise of games being funded through Kickstarter. It started back in February when Tim Schafer and Double Fine raised over 3 million dollars from the fans themselves. That’s when the floodgates opened and now they are showing no signs of closing ever again.
2012 saw literally hundreds of games try their hand at crowdsourcing their funding. All sorts of different developers, from well established names (like Obsidian and Peter Molyneux) to developers nearly lost to the history books (Brian Fargo) threw their hats into the ring to either bring us something new or revive an old fan favourite. Never before have developers had the power that they do now; they can escape the grip of publishers and appeal right to the people who truly matter: their fans.
G4TV Ends X-Play & Attack of the Show
Once in a while, it’s nice to take a break from the perils of the internet, sit back on your couch, and watch some television. Having a love for video games, it was a special treat to be able to watch video game related content on cable. In fact, a major reason I subscribed to cable was just to watch X-Play and Attack of the Show on the cable network G4TV. Now, there isn’t much left beyond what Spike TV produces and the occasional video game award show. These shows gave us some industry greats that are sure to do big things.
Games in Art Museums
This is kind of a three part news item for me. For one, the inclusion of video games in two major art museums – those being the Smithsonian exhibit and the Museum of Modern Art – is fantastic. The incorporation of video games into these exhibits is a huge step forward for the gaming industry. It’s great to see the industry getting this kind of attention at all and, with all of the fire it’s come under lately, it’s more important than ever that we get this kind of artistic recognition. To go along with these two is also the announcement that the soundtrack of Journey was nominated for a Grammy. This marks the first time that a video game has ever been nominated for such an award, and it is a momentous occasion. Congratulations to Austin Wintory, its composer whom I met during E3 2012; you completely deserve it.
Cliff Bleszinski leaving Epic Games really surprised me and – as a huge fan of the Gears of War, Infinity Blade and Epic in general – I was slightly saddened by this. Gears has had such a huge effect on the way that games are made and played (the cover system has been stolen and copied by so many games) that I honestly thought that Cliff would forever be making Gears of War games there. But after his year long sabbatical, he decided to move on from Epic to pursue other avenues, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what he does next.
Check back tomorrow for our take on the biggest surprises of 2012!