2016 was an… Interesting year, to say the least. Both inside the gaming industry and out, one unthinkable news story after another kept breaking. Naturally, we’ll just stick to gaming here and take this time to look back on some of the most surreal news stories that came out in the last twelve months. Granted, there are some major events that didn’t make this list, such as the CS:GO Lotto scandal and the controversial release of No Man’s Sky. While those are undoubtedly important events, they aren’t exactly strange in the same way as these other tales. That being said, these are the…
Weirdest gaming News Stories of 2016
Street Fighter V Gets Flava Flav DLC
Street Fighter V did not go over well. Desperate to get on the stage for EVO 2016, the game was shoved out the door way too early with way too little content. I know the lack of an arcade mode gets brought up a lot, but that’s because an arcade mode is the single most basic form of single player a fighting game can have. If Capcom couldn’t even muster up the bare basics, that should terrify you. Hell, we’re still waiting on it to this day.
Something the game has gotten: Costumes inspired by former Public Enemy hype-man Flava Flav. Believe it or not, this is a picture of Ryu and Chun Li. Drink it in. These were released as a part of a sponsorship deal with Red Bull and my brain still hasn’t fully processed the fact that they exist. Aside from the outfits looking hilariously out-of-character for both fighters… Really? Flava Flav? Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was able to get Snoop Dogg for their surreal rapper cross-promotion. You couldn’t get someone with some relevancy post 2007?
An Anime Fan on Prom Night
Mighty No. 9 hurts my soul on every level. I’ve been a Mega Man fan since childhood and seeing the Kickstarter for Mighty No. 9 seemed like a dream come true at the time. Then, mid-2015 rolled around and things got very depressing very quickly. The point where I knew things had gone off the rails was when Keiji Inafune announced not one, but two new Kickstarters for Mighty No. 9 spinoffs. Now, let me just say that the Mega Man Legends games are two of my personal favorite video games of all time and my heart shattered when the long-awaited third entry was killed off just before it hit the finish line. When a Kickstarter for a spiritual successor was announced, I should have been all over it. Instead, I never put a dime towards it because I just couldn’t trust Red Ash without knowing how Mighty No. 9 turned out first.
Looks like I made the right move, because calling the new blue bomber a disappointment is an understatement. The visuals were bad, the voice-acting was bad, the attempts at reinventing the Mega Man formula were bad, and the PC version launched with a memory-leak that caused the game to lag the longer you played it until your computer eventually crashed. The cherry on the sundae of misery was a trailer that seemed specifically designed to mock its supporters. Now I’m actually excited to see what happens to Mega Man next. As bad as he’s had it in the last few years, it can’t get much worse than the not-so-Mighty No. 9.
Konami Vs Kojima Aftermath
The fallout between gaming auteur Hideo Kojima and his publisher Konami was perhaps the defining story of the gaming industry in 2015 and the aftermath of them parting ways still made for some of the biggest headlines of 2016. Kojima announced the first game his new studio will be developing, Death Stranding, and has so far released two teaser trailers for it. Both trailers were Salvador Dali-levels of crazy and apparently weren’t supposed to represent the actual games.
Meanwhile, Kojima’s former taskmaster proved to have a hard time letting things go by announcing Metal Gear Survive, a game based heavily on Metal Gear Solid V‘s engine and is an open-world zombie survival game, the single most diluted genre in the industry today. With the year ending with gambling being legalized in Japan and Konami’s Japanese stocks being amongst the best in the industry, it looks like the company will survive without Kojima, but it’s doubtful that they’ll thrive.
Greenlight Goes Mad
Steam’s Greenlight program officially reached critical mass in 2016. What started as a gateway for small developers to get their passion-projects into the public eye didn’t take long to be exploited by amateurs. Last year seemed to have an unofficial contest to create the absolute worst Greenlight entry possible.
For example, there was Hyrule: Total War, a mod of Medieval II: Total War based on The Legend of Zelda series that was submitted without the approval of the people who made Total War, Legend of Zelda, or even the mod itself. I’m kind of cheating by including this as this issue dates back to 2015, but UnitZ, a Unity asset pack designed to be a starter kit for developing zombie survival games, has been submitted to Greenlight at least 9 different times by 9 different “developers” who have made little to no changes to the original asset pack. World of Warcraft was submitted to Greenlight by someone completely unassociated with Blizzard. A clip of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was submitted to Greenlight. No, seriously, someone tried to market a clip of a late-night talkshow as a video game.
The only barrier to entry for Greenlight is a $100 fee and Valve just trusts their user-base to police the service for them. Fortunately, much of the community has been fairly eagle-eyed and most of these attempts were shut down, but there are still plenty of cracks to slip through. The floodgates have been opened wide enough that 40% of all games on Steam were released last year.
Everything About Pokemon Go
Oh, Pokemon Go, you could have easily filled a top 20 list of weirdness all on your own, couldn’t you? Just the game itself was enough of a bizarre phenomenon, drawing millions of otherwise secluded people to wander the wilderness on the hunt for imaginary monsters. That alone sounds like Nostradamus predicting the end of days and it only got weirder from there. People found dead bodies while playing the game, thugs used the game to bait people into muggings, people abandoned their cars en masse to catch a Vaporeon, et cetera.
The folks making the game had their own share of bedlam, as well. A big part of that was that the game didn’t have a dedicated community manager when it launched. When major problems like the three-step glitch happened, there was nothing but radio silence in response. As a result, the surprise hit of the year also saw a massive drop-off in players. I doubt Nintendo was too torn up about it, though, considering they only signed on for a microscopic cut of the profits of one of the most anticipated titles of last year. Everything that Pokemon Go touches becomes wailing insanity one way or another. Are we sure that Niantic isn’t secretly some eldritch incantation?
Digital Homicide Sues Everyone
Digital Homicide will probably go down in history as the single worst video game developer to have ever existed. If anyone is actually able to top them, I will partly be impressed, but mostly terrified. Digital Homicide first garnered infamy as a shovelware developer for Steam. Now, shovelware has been around since the Atari 2600 and Steam in particular gets A LOT of it these days, so that’s not such a big deal on its own. What makes Digital Homicide special is that they were outright psychotic about it.
It all started when Youtuber James Stanton, better known as Jim Sterling, uploaded a first impressions video of one of DH’s earliest games, The Slaughtering Grounds, back in 2014. The developers than released their own video titled Review the Reviewer that openly mocked Stanton for his criticism. Animosity between the two parties continued to grow until it all came to a head in 2016 and Digital Homicide filed a lawsuit against Stanton claiming that his videos were damaging their business. Then it got even crazier and Digital Homicide decided that they would just sue everyone. I think they even tried to sue me around this time and that is not even a joke. My name could very well have been on their litigious hit-list. I honestly don’t know.
What we do know is that a lawsuit was filed against 100 Steam users for the crime of speaking ill of Digital Homicide’s precious garbage heap. We’ll probably never know the full list of names that DH tried to take to court, but it did include such stellar monikers as Demonsword, Toon Vlux, and JDude330#HaeisBACK. That case was ultimately dismissed after Valve pulled DH’s entire catalog from their service and left them without a source of income to fund their court case. At the time of writing, the case against Stanton is still ongoing, but seems to be on the verge of being thrown out as well.
Those were the weirdest gaming news stories of 2016. Got any other bizarre news stories from 2016 that we missed? Can 2017 end up topping last year in terms of insanity? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.