I could start my 2016 post by going on about Brexit, Trump and how we are all fucked, but we have every other news establishment doing that for us, so I am just going to take apart my experiences and do my standard view of the games industry and all that jazz.
To be honest, my personal 2016 has not been terrible. I managed to buy a flat and got made a lead programmer.
The former obviously came with some caveats of having a lot of help and of course later on a neighbor from hell moving in next door, but hey that is life, I am on the ladder, I love this flat although I am not planning to stay here forever and I know how much I need for the next one!
Being a lead programmer was certainly a good jump, what you have to remember is that the lead programmer title is a ROLE and NOT A PROMOTION. You don’t necessarily have to be the most senior person to be a lead, just have to be the right person for the project. I mentored junior and was leading my old mentor, I learned a lot, and it was really worth it. You end up doing less porgramming, but I really like bringing out the most in my team!
There were some downsides. I have suffered a couple of projects being canned/put on hold. It is always tough, but as I have always said, for good or bad games like any other creative industry is a business, so you just have to crack on even when there are disappointments.
Right that is the personal stuff I care to share, what about games?!
Before I go in talking about what games were really cool, etc, I want to talk about a specific event that happened this year that I fundamentally disagree with. The whole No Man’s Sky Day 1 patching. Certain “indie heroes” or whatever the hell you want to call them went on about how the process is wrong and how to certification is stupid and how the console holders “aren’t built for 2016”. They also moan about the actual parts of the cert process. I actually think “if you rapidly plug in and remove the controller” as actually a completely legit test. Why? Because users are stupid and some idiot will try it. Next question. I could go on and on about this until the cows come home and it would sound really really ranty, in the end I disagree. Here is an example of an article I don’t agree with regarding this fiasco. I am in the complete opposite camp. When the game gets to disc, the game should be almost perfect. The experience they are expecting should be the one they bought on the disc. They shouldn’t have to rely on day 1 patches that are huge and rape our monthly download limits (I don’t have one personally, but someone will), this whole “oh they have got an extra month or 2 since going gold so we should continue making the best possible game”.. no, not if it changes a LOT of stuff fundamentally, in fact that sounds like either feature creep or piss poor planning. The cert system is not old an convoluted. It is complex and necessary to keep the quality bar high.
Did I mention that No Man’s Sky had several HARD crashes after the patch? Yeah that would have been a certification fail.
Cool, mini-rant over.
One of the biggest surprises I had of this year was DOOM. Like everyone else I was like “meh, Doom, OK”, but after picking it up on a whim, I was suprised. In fact it was probably some of the most fun I could have had with my pants on this year. It was a game that was just… well fun. It knew exactly what it was and I loved it.
We had some Kickstarter game scome out including Mighty No 9 (ewww) and Hyper Light Dirfter (yay!) although my general experience with kickstarter has been absolutely terrible with lots of stuff never arriving even after I had paid for it! (Never use Kickstarter!)
We had a few remastered editions come out. I have really enjoyed revisiting Rapture in Bioshock and fighting for Europa in Valkyira Chronicles.
I also loved playing through the spiritual successor to Chrono Trigger, I am Setsuna, and trying to keep all my characters alive in Fire Emblem Fates. Also Bravely Second is a nice return to that world.
In stealth land, we got the Republiqe remaster, which was great as I had a Unity game on a disc which made me feel better about my career in general (I always wanted to realease a game on a disc and it seems a bit more realistic now). But more importantly we got Hitman.
Episodic Hitman was a stroke of genius. The levels themselves were mini sandboxes you can get lost for hours and were by no means “one-shot”. There are hundreds of different ways to take down the story targets, elusive targets that you only had one go at and finally you had the ability to make your own mission and share it. It is a great package!
Uncharted 4 was also a thing, I really enjoyed it, but I assume everyone has played that game, so you all know how awesome it is!
We then had the summer of Pokemon Go. Although I am not playing it now as in my opinion it is not a proper pokemon game, we had some good times trying to catch them all! It was pretty short lived though…
Deus Ex was worth playing, although it wasn’t as good as it’s predecessor in my opinion. The start was slow, Prague was very City 17 depressing and the story was a bit hollow. I had fun playing it, but I would not have rated the same as a number of other news sites did.
My biggest disappointment though was buying an Xbox One. There is quite frankly, just no need for it if you have a PS4. Recore and Forza are unfortunately not enough for me to keep going back. I will see how long I keep it for, but my gut feel is that it will get traded with my PS4 when I finally decide I want a Pro or an inevtiable Pro-plus.
Oh yeah Final Fantasy XV and the Last Guardian became actual games! I have yet to play the latter, but FF was one of my favourite games of all year. Yeah the plot was a bit nonsensical at times, but I really enjoyed the whole experience. Well done to Squenix for finally getting it out the door!
I could go through all the games I have played, and it is hundreds. But that is not really the point I am making here.
Although the “real world” seems to be slowly falling apart around us we had a great year for games. Bring on 2017!