6 Weirdest Gaming News Stories of 2016

Weirdest Gaming News Stories

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.

 

World of Warcraft: The Nighthold Beckons

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

After an astounding Legion release, World of Warcraft’s subscriber numbers surged up to one of their highest peaks. The expansion itself was one of the greatest yet in the history of World of Warcraft, adding and recreating some of the most fun and interesting things to do on Azeroth. The addition of world quests, a class hall and the next ten levels of life in World of Warcraft give players, young and old, things to do in the game daily that revitalized the drive to log in and play. Six months after the expansion’s release, it’s time for the newest raid instance to come out: The Nighthold.

The Nighthold

The Nighthold
The Nighthold

The Nighthold is the third raid instance to be released in this expansion, and will currently reign as the longest raid with eight new bosses to kill and loot. This instance will be found in Suramar, home to the once-fading Nightborne. As you progress your character to unlock the new raid, you’ll give life back to this trapped and starving race of elves, and help them thrive in the new world on the Broken Isles. You find out that the terrible Gul’dan, a fel-powered Orc who’s bent on destroying all of Azeroth with the Legion, has taken up residence in The Nighthold. The once grand structure that it was, The Nighthold was a testament to the achievements of the Nightborne. It was created around the Nightwell, the source of power for the Nightborne and the only thing that kept the race alive when their world was crumbling around them. Gul’dan means to seize that power, and only you can stop him.

It’s Time To Raid

It's Time To Raid
It’s raid time.

Well, you and 19 of your closest friends. Like all WoW raids, you’ll need your friends and guild mates to help you take down the evil that’s within this fortress of the Nightborne. Not only will you have to fight Gul’dan and those that support him, but The Nighthold’s own defenses as well. Battle a giant scorpion named Scorpyron that guards the secret entrance you’re using to get inside. Once you dispatch him, you’ll be fighting entities of the very Nightwell itself, a being made of pure leyline energy and a construct that hasn’t had a good fight in many years. After you breach the defenses and creatures of the instance, you’re on to fight those that are drunk on the power of the Nightwell and the fel-energies of the Legion. You’ll even get to fight against well known demons like Tichondrius and Krosus, the giant colossus that you fought at the entrance of the Legion expansion. This fantastic run ends with Gul’dan himself, and he’s not going to go easily.

Why We Raid

Why We Raid
Spending time with our family.

Having a new raid is a fun and exciting way to get your entire World of Warcraft family together. After you’ve dominated a previous instance and all the loot you could ever need was acquired, it’s fairly usual that players would start to dwindle, interested in other games until something new comes along. That very moment is now, and the release of The Nighthold has brought the World of Warcraft family together once more. It’s an exciting time as you head into a new place that you’ve never been before, fighting giant bosses that you’ve never killed and winning loot that takes your character’s power to new heights. An expansion release is fun, engaging and helps you get to know who you are as a player, but as the year goes on, it’s the continual addition of new content, like raids, that have kept players engaged for all these years in World of Warcraft. As they celebrated their 12th Anniversary this past November, you know that Blizzard knows what they’re doing. Here’s to another 12 years of adventure, excitement and nerdy online family.

Blizzard Finally Speaks About The Downfall of Titan

Blizzard

Blizzard

With Overwatch on the horizon, Blizzard has partnered up with GameSpot to produce a three-part video series that takes a wonderful and critical look at the game and all that surrounds it. While it is a fascinating look at the development process, the most interesting part is that after all of these years, Blizzard has finally opened up about the downfall of Titan.

Titan, for those of you who don’t know, was Blizzard’s colossal and exceptionally ambitious follow-up to World Of WarCraft. A game that, while promising, eventually failed to hit the mark at every turn and somehow mutated into what we now call Overwatch. 

Hearing Blizzard talk about how Titan was a personal failure and how it broke the spirits of one of the best developers in the industry is an honest and refreshing look at how high the stakes are for a company as big as it.

So without further adieu, grab a nice cold drink and check out the series below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooWpfIazPRE

Activision-Blizzard Acquires King

Activision-Blizzard and King Digital Entertainment have released a joint statement announcing that Activision-Blizzard has acquired the mobile development company.  King is most famous for Candy Crush Saga and has released numerous successful mobile titles under the free-to-play business model.  Activision-Blizzard acquired the company at $18 per share for a total of $5.9 billion.  It doesn’t appear that any major changes will take place at King following the acquisition as the statement makes clear that King will still operate independently and that Chief Executive Officer Riccardo Zacconi, Chief Creative Officer Sebastian Knutsson, and Chief Operating Officer Stephane Kurgan will retain their positions within King as prior.  Along with profiting from the emerging mobile market in general, a major motivation for the acquisition appears to be bringing Activision and Blizzard’s IP’s to mobile as the statement puts a fair deal of emphasis on franchises owned by the companies.  You can read the full joint statement here.

While Activision and Blizzard are major names among core gamers, King is far from revered with the same crowd.  Along with the general bias often held against mobile games, King stirred up controversy last year when it filed lawsuits against smaller studios using the words ‘candy’ or ‘saga’ in their titles, including a “Notice of Opposition” against Stoic for their viking-based strategy-RPG The Banner Saga.  It seems unlikely that fans of Call of Duty, Diablo, or the like would be too excited about any mobile spin-offs with King’s name on them.

What are your thoughts on Activision, Blizzard, and King joining forces?  Are there any franchises you would like to see or dread seeing worked on by King?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

7 Video Game Spoilers that are Now Unavoidable

The worst part about a great plot twist is that spoilers for it are bound to precede the story it appears in for anyone that was late to the party.  Even if you’ve never seen a second of the films Psycho, Planet of the Apes, or The Sixth Sense, you probably already know all of their most famous surprises due to how ingrained they’ve become in the popular culture.  With video games often growing into franchises, spoilers are even harder to avoid as major twists of previous games can be played up in promotions for the newest one.  The following spoilers are almost unavoidable now due to how much they’ve been brought up since in their respective franchises.  If you follow games media even lightly, you already know all of these inside and out.  However, for the sake of those that have managed to avoid learning these twists early, I’ll just be listing the titles of the specific games being spoiled so you can skip any entries that you’re worried about.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Aerith

7. Final Fantasy VII

This one doesn’t exactly fit the theme of the article given that the Final Fantasy franchise tends to reboot its lore with each numbered entry, but its hard not to call it one of the most famous and unavoidable plot twists in gaming history.  Part way through the game, one of your party members, the kind-hearted Aerith, is fatally wounded by the villainous Sephiroth.  Despite countless rumors of a way to revive her, her death is irreversible without hacking the game.  While Final Fantasy VII has had plenty of spin-offs, the only one I can think of that made a point of Aerith’s death is the Advent Children film.  However, it still belongs on the list just for being the one thing that is always the first to come up in any discussion of the game.  It’s gotten to the point where most people don’t even recognize it as a spoiler and just assume it to be common knowledge.  How many news outlets do you think mused about the possibility of resurrecting Aerith while reporting on the recently announced remake?  Even the quirky competitive FPS Screencheat uses her name as one of its many analogies for killing an opponent.  That’s the thing with big surprises; everyone starts to either analyze or satirize it endlessly.

Snake_&_Raiden

6. Metal Gear Solid 2

The first thing that comes up with any conversation on Metal Gear Solid 2 is its infamous bait-and-switch that had regular protagonist Solid Snake built up as the lead in all demonstrations and marketing for the game, only to replace him with an entirely new character named Raiden.  Where the big twist of Final Fantasy VII is one of the most discussed topics of the game, the bait-and-switch of Raiden is the only thing that ever receives any attention when discussing MGS2 or even just the character of Raiden.  When Metal Gear Rising, a spin-0ff centered entirely around Raiden, was released years later, many were still so jaded by his appearance in MGS2 that they refused to give the spin-off a chance.  It’s actually pretty ironic given that Raiden was actually built from the ground up as a parody of the very fanboys that hate him, spending most of the game whining right alongside the bitter players for the ‘real’ Snake to get involved in the mission.  Typical Kojima.

Arthas

5. Warcraft III

Prince Arthas Menethil, the main hero of Warcraft III, is pretty much your typical Prince Charming when the game starts out.  That’s what makes it such a shock when he turns to the dark side and ultimately changes from being one of Azeroth’s most celebrated champions to one of its most repulsive monsters.  His descent begins when an undead curse begins to spread across the land, turning people into mindless ghouls.  Desperate to contain the curse, Arthas resorts to slaughtering an entire village that has been infected but has yet to fully turn.  It’s a brutal choice that immediately turns both his mentor and his beloved against him.  Eventually, his struggle against the forces of darkness leads him to not only embrace the undead curse himself, but to even become its leader as the infamous Lich King.  From there, Arthas quickly became Warcraft‘s most iconic villain with an entire expansion in World of Warcraft centering around his final downfall and being made a playable character in Heroes of the Storm.  If you haven’t been following Warcraft lore from the start, it’s likely too late to check out Warcraft III without already knowing who goes full Darth Vader in it.

MaskedLucina

4. Fire Emblem: Awakening

Here’s a tip: If you don’t want games spoiled for you, don’t even look at the Super Smash Bros games as you can find massive spoilers for other games just by looking at the character roster.  For example, there’s the identity of the masked swordsman going by the name Marth from Fire Emblem: Awakening.  This was built up as the big mystery for Awakening right from the game’s reveal and remained the focal point of its marketing all the way up to its release.  How could the legendary hero king from the very first Fire Emblem game, whose reign was generations ago, be appearing in this era?  Well, you could play the game yourself to discover the truth, or you could just take a glance at Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS.  As it turns out, it’s not King Marth traveling from the past, but Prince Chrom’s daughter Lucina traveling from the future.  While having Lucina appearing on the roster may not immediately give away that she’s the Marth impersonator, her using the mask from the disguise as one of her taunts and Kirby wearing the same mask after stealing her ability certainly make it obvious.  At least they didn’t give away the time-travel part from tha… She mentions it in one of her victory quotes, doesn’t she?

Portal

3. Portal

Here’s one that’s become so ubiquitous that you’ve probably forgotten that it even is a plot twist: GLaDOS, the mastermind behind the first Portal game, is actually a psychotic computer out to kill you.  Today, that just seems as obvious as the fact that you use portals, but this was actually a massive surprise when the game first came out.  Remember that Portal was first released as a part of the Orange Box alongside the highly anticipated Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and Team Fortress 2 with little build-up for the tacked-on puzzle game.  People started it up thinking it was just some simple bonus that was thrown in with the big releases because it wouldn’t sell on its own.  Then it starts throwing around a dark sense of humor slowly enough for it to be cynically charming.  As you dig deeper, it becomes more and more apparent that this facility is not what it seems and that everything has been designed to tear you apart physically and mentally.  Finally, you meet with the mechanical mastermind to shut down her devious plans… And then GLaDOS became the most iconic character in the Portal franchise, being heavily promoted for the sequel, making cameos in Poker Night at the Inventory 2 and the film Pacific Rim, and generally made it impossible for anyone to enjoy the same mental trip that Portal once offered again.

OcarinaSheik

2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Smash strikes again, but at least it’s not the only guilty party for this one.  The fact that the mysterious ninja warrior named Sheik is actually the missing Princess Zelda in disguise has been made abundantly clear in anything and everything to feature Sheik since.  First, Super Smash Bros Melee introduced both Zelda and Sheik as playable fighters with the unique ability to transform from one to the other during matches.  This was carried over into Brawl before being cut with the 3DS and Wii U entries making the two completely separate characters, but the damage had already been done by that point.  Even then, Hyrule Warriors came by to make sure nobody forgot the princess’s double-life by making it a plot point in its own campaign.  At this point, expecting anyone to be surprised at Sheik’s true identity is a joke in and of itself.

AlbertWeskerFMV

1. Resident Evil

Capcom really couldn’t try harder to make the single biggest plot twist from the original Resident Evil known to everyone, regardless of whether or not they’ve ever even touched it game or any games in the series.  One of the members of your team sent into the Spencer Mansion, Albert Wesker, is secretly a double-agent working to sabotage your operations from the inside.  It’s shocking to discover that, after all of the horrors you’ve struggled to survive against, one of your own is actually complicit in it all and working to cover it up.  Or, at least, it would be shocking if Wesker hadn’t been made into the main villain of the series and highly advertised his turn to the dark side in future titles.  Not only did he reappear as the antagonist in several RE games, such as a major selling point for Resident Evil 5 being the chance to finally take revenge on him, he’s also appeared in two of the live-action films and as a playable character in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Lost Planet 2.  Each time he’s appeared, it’s been readily apparent that he’s the baddest bad guy that the entire RE series has to offer.  Honestly, it feels like he should have just been a low-level goon that died within the first game and have a new character take up the role of the mastermind if only to keep the surprise fresh for a lot more people late to the party.  If you haven’t already picked up Resident Evil with any of the half-dozen rereleases that the game has had over the years, you’re going to have to go in already knowing who the surprise villain is right from the start.

What spoilers are you sick of seeing everywhere?  Do you have any that should have been included on the list?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

World of Warcraft, The Fury Of Hellfire Is Coming

Hellfire

On Wednesday the 24th of June the next patch in Blizzard’s flagship MMO’s latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor will go live.

Patch 6.2, deigned by Blizzard ‘Fury of Hellfire’ aims to satiate the swelling appetites of the plethora of players who find themselves sitting on their hands at level cap, but how will they attempt to do this?

Take a look yourselves at the very Gul’dan-heavy Patch trailer:

After the grunting and growling Orcs are done grunting, growling and making things explode, Blizzard gives us a look at a few of the features that will be introduced in the new Patch – so, what does the small-nation-sized World of Warcraft player-base have to look forward to come June 24th?

Garrison Shipyards are the first thing shown in the Trailer – created with the goal in mind of countering the warped remains of the Iron Horde’s naval warfare, the Shipyard serves as the first major construction expansion onto your Garrison and allows you to exert your control over a whole new, very watery domain – the seas that border the illusive Tanaan Jungle.

Available for those who have reached Level 100 and already have Garrison Level 3, this expansion will give those who are just running the monotonous daily chores of their Garrison and yearn for a sparkly new one to undertake.  Allowing you a great measure of control over what you do with your sea-based forces, including customizing your crew and choosing what vessels to deploy in order to counter the vessels you’ll be facing, the vast blue expanse between you and Tanaan Jungle will soon be yours for the taking.

Which brings us squarely to the next feature in the trailer – the much discussed and desired, Tanaan Jungle.

A brand new Level 100 Zone – accessed through a series of quests in your Garrison wherein you set up an aforementioned Shipyard and ultimately establish a forward base to storm the Jungles from – as you’re used to by now you’ll be undertaking chapter-based quests within your Garrison that send you deeper and deeper into the zone as the story within it unfurls as well as earning you more resources for your base.

With more rare creatures, treasure and an entirely new zone to discover and area hubs with intimidating names like ‘The Felforge’ and ‘Kil’jaeden’s Throne’, players have a lot to look forward to with Tanaan Jungle – and that leads us straight into the final thing shown in the trailer before it returns to the flashy cinematics of Orcs being scary and Orcish. In the heart of Tanaan Jungle, the Hellfire Citadel Raid.

The grand, looming spire. Home to uncountable twisted and malformed Fel horrors and the dark, sinister minds that composed them – a threat to Draenor and Azeroth – Hellfire Citadel sets 10-25 players against multiple areas chocked full of bosses. Beginning in the Iron Bulwark and eventually culminating in a climactic showdown with Archimonde himself in ‘the Black Gate’. Hellfire Citadel aims to be a fan-pleaser with Lore callback bosses such as Mannoroth.

With all this and much, much more on the way come this Wednesday – such as new armour, pets and a new feature entirely called ‘Timwalking – fans are biting their fingernails at the tantalizing prospect of more content to romp their way through.

Here’s the Guy Who Completed all the WoW: Mists of Pandaria Achievements

Pandaria

While many of us are still struggling to get their characters all the way to level 90 in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, others have greater goals in mind, like how to complete all the player achievements in the game. And one of them has already managed to do so – and it was a clan matter too. Pretty incredible!

The player who managed to complete all the World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria achievements comes from Russia, is known as Хируко and is slowly becoming a celebrity because of all these achievements. It was a move well planned too, especially for getting the Realm First achievements on all classes. In order to get these achievements which require the character to be the first in the realm to reach level 90, he joined some low population PvP realms with multiboxing and while his clan mates were killing all the other players in the realm who tried to get to level 90, he was leveling up like a pro. And it certainly worked!

And if you’re curious to see how a desktop computer of a WoW pro looks like, here it is:

wow all achievements rig

Pretty impressive achievement!

Source: MMO Champion