Five writers give their take on Super Smash Bros. DLC, WWE 2K16’s lack of female wrestlers, Square Enix’s Western appeal, betas, and TellTale’s sporadic release schedule.
Welcome to the Game Ranter Banter, a weekly feature that allows five journalists currently writing for Game Rant to voice their personal opinions on several different developments from throughout the gaming industry. Whether this pertains to news, our take on a recently released game, or just a brief overview of our thoughts in general, this is a way for our staff to share our personal opinions and interact with the Game Rant readers.
Without any further ado, let’s get underway!
The Age of Console Gaming Betas
By: Denny Connolly
Thanks to the launch of the Star Wars: Battlefront beta, we’re all getting a chance to dive headfirst into the holiday gaming season few weeks ahead of schedule. Any time a triple-A beta like this goes live I can’t help but wonder how much it kills some of the day one excitement. The Destiny beta was a ton of fun, but many gamers expected the full game to be much bigger than it actually was – based on a misunderstanding of what the beta’s purpose was. At the end of the day, a beta isn’t a demo or a sample level, but an actual test of the game’s (and servers’) capabilities.
I don’t think open betas are a bad thing by any stretch, but – as they become more frequent and more open in the world of console gaming – I think it’s crucial for gamers to keep our expectations in check and for developers to be as clear as possible about how much of the game players are actually experiencing. Many PC users are already well versed in the world of alphas and betas, but this is new territory for some console owners. If you decide to enter the world of beta testing, just remember to have fun, reserve judgment, and offer feedback whenever possible. A lot can change by the time the day one patch rolls around.
Tall Tales And Longer Waits
By: John Jacques
It’s no secret that Telltale Games has a formula for success on its hands – the developer crafts fantastic storylines and immersive quicktime action into what usually tends to be hour-long bites of episodic content. They’ve established themselves as the kings of the episodic content genre with huge titles like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, but there’s still one thing they haven’t been able to master – producing content in an organized, timely manner.
Things started off well enough, and properties like The Walking Dead enjoyed bi-monthly releases throughout its first season. However, things get murky after that – the second episode of The Wolf Among Us came at a snail’s pace and took 4 months to arrive after the season premiere, and any gamers currently waiting for the season finale of Game of Thrones have been doing so for almost three months with no hints of a potential release date from Telltale.
While the studio does a somewhat good job at sticking to a bi-monthly schedule, it’d be nice if Telltale Games would post an actual launch layout instead of leaving gamers scratching their heads on when the next episode will arrive – especially since they sometimes only give a few days notice before the episode drops.
Go West, Square Enix
By: Cody Gravelle
This past week saw the revelation that Square Enix had loaned its crown jewel property, Final Fantasy, to a western studio in Sweden called Grin. While the fact the project failed is disappointing, Square Enix shouldn’t let that discourage them from pursuing that line of thinking again.
It’s no secret that Final Fantasy 13 was one of the worst entries to ever stumble its way into Square Enix’s games catalogue, which is impressive given that Chocobo Racing is a part of that list too. Final Fantasy 14 had to be completely relaunched before it was a playable, enjoyable experience. Final Fantasy 15, amidst controversies over gender representation, is beginning to look like the last chance for the franchise to re-assert itself as a unique and relevant entity in the video game industry.
Now, Final Fantasy 15 has already incorporated a bit more of the West into its narrative with its focus on finding oneself on the open road. If that proves to be a success – and console RPG fans had better hope it does – maybe Square Enix will realize it’s time to bring Final Fantasy to a western studio and see how an entirely new culture influences its most important IP.
The glimpse into the Fortress project looked exciting and innovative. Hopefully Square Enix looks back on it and feels the same.
Where Are WWE 2K16’s Female Wrestlers?
By: Dalton Cooper
Since its reveal, 2K Sports has promised the largest roster in series history for WWE 2K16. While the developer have made good on that promise, it somehow has neglected to include some of the most popular and important current stars in wrestling right now. I’m talking about the Four Hoursewomen of WWE’s developmental program NXT: Bayley, Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and Sasha Banks.
What makes their exclusion from WWE 2K16 so frustrating is that there are no shortage of male NXT wrestlers represented in the game. Colin Cassady and Enzo Amore, while undoubtedly popular, have never even made an appearance on Raw or SmackDown, yet they are included over the superbly talented female NXT competitors, despite the latter having far more screen time and in-ring accomplishments.
What’s worse is that there are some wrestlers that are on the roster not once, but twice. There are two versions of Steve Austin (this is excusable considering he is the cover athlete and all), two versions of Stephanie McMahon, and even two versions of The Terminator! With the recent push for female athletes (just take one look at the star power of Ronda Rousey), it’s supremely disappointing that WWE and 2K Sports are completely failing to capitalize on the opportunity in front of them. Considering WWE’s embarrassing inability to properly utilize these women on the main roster so far, perhaps I had my expectations too high expecting to see them in WWE 2K16.
New Challenger Approaching
By: Riley Little
As one of the biggest games Nintendo released last year, both versions of Super Smash Bros. have been treated to a myriad of new content. As has always been the case, however, the most anticipated aspect is new characters, and so far gamers have been treated to four of them as post-launch add-ons. While that’s all well and good, however, gamers have been chomping at the bit to see what other characters will be added to the ever-growing roster. Fortunately, it sounds like they should be receiving news on that sooner rather than later.
Now that the Fighter Ballot has officially ended, word from several notable personalities amongst the Smash community claim to know the identity of the next entrant. While they’re not ruining the surprise for fans yet, they claim a formal reveal is set for this month. Couple these reports with odd happenings on the official site (largely related to the games’ trailer page) and the fact that new fighters haven’t been released since June, and it looks like gamers could be getting their fill of crossover-fueled mayhem with a new challenger very soon.
With rumors of Shovel Knight and fan outcry for others, it’s hard to say what to expect from the next game update. In the meantime, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for King K. Rool though. He’d just be the bee’s knees.
That concludes this week’s Game Ranter Banter! What did you think with our takes on recent events in gaming? Get at us in the comments.