Games Inbox: Forgiving the Cyberpunk 2077 launch

The Friday letters page is confused as to what Embracer is spending its money on, as one reader suggests scrapping the Splinter Cell remake.

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No second chances
I’m seeing a lot of people talking about Cyberpunk 2077 again, now that the Netflix anime is out and the story DLC is on the table. Does that mean we’re now forgetting the launch it had or, more importantly, the shameful way CD Projekt acted towards both its customers and employees?

I’ve never bought the game and while I admit the recent improvement in reputation is making me wonder if it’s worth a go, I’d just rather not give CD Projekt the money. I feel that they and the industry at large didn’t really learn anything from the whole incident.

People thought that it would be a watershed moment, and no other publisher would ever release a broken video game again, but of course they did. They started doing it just a few months after Cyberpunk 2077.

And now CD Projekt is talking about more The Witcher games – the obvious way to recover from their problems. But it doesn’t sit right for me. They were perfectly happy to rip everyone off, and work their staff to death, just to make a release date and I don’t think that attitude should be rewarded. Especially given how they don’t really seem that apologetic anymore.

Long-term plan
I don’t care either way whether there’s a new Saints Row but what interests me, every time their name comes up, is when Embracer Group are going to announce or release something that’s worth the enormous amounts of money they’re throwing around.

They have spent literally billions in the last few years and yet what have they got to show for it? It seems impossible to get a list of all their games, because they own so many different publishers, but as far as I can work out their biggest game probably is Saints Row, along with things like Biomutant and Darksiders. Somehow I doubt EA are checking over their shoulder.

People talk about the trouble Microsoft are going to have integrating all their developers and I think we’ve already seen it in miniature with Embracer. They’ve spent all this money and seem to have nothing to show for it and no sense that anything will change anytime soon. I fear a lot of these studios are just going to end up being sold off or broken up.

New and old
So they’re going to change the gameplay and the story of Splinter Cell in the remake? I don’t want to ask a stupid question, but if you’re going to do that why not just make a new game? It’s not like the first one is anyone’s favourite anyway (I’d much prefer a remake of Chaos Theory) but a new game would be amazing.

If you have to change that much about a game to do a remake I think that’s a good sign that you shouldn’t be making it. I’m not so much concerned by the changes to the story, because I can’t remember what it used to be anyway, but changing the stealth gameplay to be more modern? What’s the point? Why would you play a remake looking for something modern?

If you want it to be old school do a remake, if you want something modern make a new game. You can’t do both at the same time.
Tony T.

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Lucasfilm awakens
So glad to hear that Lucasfilm is planning to make more graphic adventure, I’d love to see a new Maniac Mansion. They used to be so experimental back in the early days, with future sports games, fractal based first person games, a MMO (in 1986!), military simulations, puzzle games, and, of course, graphic adventures.

The only problem with what they’ve announced so far is that they’re all sequels or licensed games. I would love to see them announce a brand new IP and put their weight behind it, and complete the transition back into the Lucasfilm Games of old. I don’t care what it is, just as long as it’s imaginative and unusual.

Bloody odd
If we assume this guy is right abut Bloodborne, and he does seem to know his business, then you just have to ask why? What on earth reason could Sony be waiting for? The only one that makes sense is that they didn’t want to do a PlayStation 5 patch because they’re working on a remaster/remake that they want to sell at full price. But they wouldn’t be that transparently manipulative, would they?

Self-awareness doesn’t seem to be a common trait amongst publishers but surely Sony must realise that their game prices are not popular and that very obviously trying to rip off customers is probably not a good look.

Or maybe there’s another explanation like, err… they keep forgetting? I mean, I really don’t know what else it could be. What a really weird situation.

As good as it gets
RE: Loopmaster and Splatoon 3. I would give it more of a chance. It sounds like you only just reached Anarchy Battles, which is where the real meat of the game is. I haven’t even touched the single-player, Salmon Run, or the new card game yet. Anarchy Battles has four unique modes that all require very different tactics. Like any shooter, or indeed game, you get what you put into it. In other words, you’ll have to practise to get good but once you do it’s amazing.

Some of the Anarchy matches I’ve had are as good as gaming gets. Frenetic, tense, exciting, and just unbelievably fun. My personal favourite is Tower Control, which never gets old. I absolutely love using the new tri-stringer weapon for this, with its exploding arrows allowing for an excellent tactical edge. Are you using all the different weapons too? This changes things up significantly.

I’m really glad the game has been a big success, at least in Japan. The reviews are right to say there’s not enough innovation from the first two titles but to be fair this is the best the base game ever been. As with the previous games, I imagine Nintendo has a lot more yet to come via updates and the large scale DLC. Hopefully this is where the new stuff will come in. Is there any word from Nintendo about the schedule for updates?
Ryan O’D

GC: Not yet, but the post-launch support for Splatoon 2 was excellent, so this should be as well.

Gloomy recommendation
Just a heads up that this week’s free Epic Games Store title is the really excellent Gloomhaven.

Thoroughly recommend anyone with any interest in games like XCOM or Into The Breach give it a go (including yourselves, GC!).
Matt (he_who_runs_away – PSN ID)

No quick switch
My thoughts on when the Switch 2 will most likely launch are less to do with the state of the current machine and more about what I think the next one needs to be.

As far as I’m concerned, it would ideally have all the same functionality while being at least as powerful as an original Xbox One or PlayStation 4. In order to achieve that with a sensible battery life, at a reasonable price, I think it’s probably a bit too unrealistic to expect it sooner than late 2024.

That’s just intuition around price and tech, though. I’ve seen the Steam Deck used as an example to counter those thoughts, but the current form factor, battery, and price still don’t strike me as the sort of thing Nintendo would go for (and that’s with Valve admitting to taking a hefty hit in order to get it to market at those prices).

Not that I think there’s no chance of an earlier release, but I’d consider it pretty miraculous if a Switch 2 is out in the next 18 months and it doesn’t disappoint a lot of vocal people looking for something more like a portable PlayStation 4.

Inbox also-rans
RE: the PlayStation 5 aesthetic. I can’t say it’s an ugly console but then again what do I know? I bought an American SNES years ago and didn’t mind looking at that.
Chevy Malibu (PSN ID)

GC: We can put the PlayStation 5 down to personal taste but the American SNES?! You monster!

Sometimes I find obsessive fans kind of creepy but I’ve got to admit that the GTA 6 map they’ve made is an impressive bit of work, even if at the same time it seems completely pointless. But kudos to them having fun and speculating.

This week’s Hot Topic
After last weekend’s Inbox about favourite fantasy video games this week’s asks the related question: what’s your favourite sci-fi game?

It can be a licensed game if you want but try to also include a game that started in video games. How big a fan of science fiction are you in general, and how much of a distinction do you make between relatively grounded settings and space fantasy?

Do you feel there are too many or too few sci-fi games at the moment and what kind of games would you like to see more of, including specific genres like space combat simulators and sci-fi horror?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

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