games / Columns

411 Games Fact or Fiction: Will WWE 2K16 Perform Worse Than 2K15?

July 10, 2015 | Posted by Daniel Anderson

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction. As always, I am Daniel Anderson, and I hope everyone has had a good week. It has really been a busy summer so far. We got a lot of news out of E3, have a lot of rumors about new games from Naughty Dog and Visceral, and have had some great game releases. This is a lot better than this time last year when there was a lot of uncertainty and delays and disappointing games. Anyway this week we have 411’s Jeremy Thomas going against Stephen Randle. Let’s see what they have to say, shall we?

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1.) You think WWE2K16 will perform worse than the last couple games.

Jeremy Thomas Fiction: While negative sales are typically reflected in how the previous entry was received, I don’t believe WWE 2K15 had the same reaction among casual fans that it did among hardcore gamers, at least enough to hurt the sales of WWE 2K16. That leaves it to marketing, which I think will be just fine with the new entry. 2K is already trumpeting the biggest roster for a wrestling game yet and Steve Austin is always good for game sales numbers on the promotion side. As long as they don’t completely bungle this, it should sell just fine.

Stephen RandleFiction: I don’t expect it to have any major changes (the largest roster update ever is not actually a gameplay update, by the way), so I expect it will do roughly the same numbers as other WWE games. Much like the show itself, or Madden, or other long-running gaming franchises, there is a core of people who are going to buy the yearly update no matter what the game is like, and WWE and 2K seem happy to tread water with the game until forced to take a new direction.

Score: 1 for 1 – The 2K WWE series has long been in the same area as the Madden franchise. A lack of competition makes for little to no innovation. Until a new wrestling game comes out to push 2K to innovate, we are going to get the same game every year with little tweaks, but no substantial innovation.

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2.) You will check out Minecraft Story Mode, because it is from Telltale, not because it is Minecraft.

Jeremy Thomas Fiction: I said a similar thing in 4PC, but basically I can’t bring myself to care too much about a Minecraft game even if Telltale is involved. That could easily change if enough comes out to really make it compelling; after all, I didn’t think The LEGO Movie would work and man, did it. But yeah, I do feel like you need to have some interest in a franchise when a game focuses strongly on the story, and I just don’t have any such connection to Minecraft, Telltale or not.

Stephen RandleFact: Minecraft isn’t exactly a lore-rich world of memorable characters and locales, and in fact was designed that way. However, if anyone can take a blank canvas like Minecraft and turn it into an intriguing and convoluted story full of twists and turns that keep you guessing, it’s Telltale.

Score: 1 for 2 – I do not think the Minecraft name will make the game succeed or fail. It will be Telltale making an exciting story for people to invest emotionally in. If they do that, the Minecraft setting will just enhance the story.

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3.) Last of Us 2 will be announced officially in the next two years.

Jeremy ThomasFact: It’s becoming increasingly obvious that The Last of Us 2 is in development; its one of those stories where the amount of reports about it stack up until you just can’t deny it’s probably in the works. And even if its not in active development, you know it’s being talked. I think it will be officially announced sooner than two years from now, but yes, it absolutely will be announced at some point within that time frame. Naughty Dog is focusing on Uncharted 4 right now, but I can’t imagine they’ll let a successful new IP be a one-and-done even if some people think it should have been.

Stephen RandleFiction: I really hope not. The original Last of Us was an incredible game, probably the best of the PS3 generation, and a deserving Game of the Year. However, it was also pretty much a self-contained story that wrapped up fairly convincingly and doesn’t really leave a door open for a sequel. The only way it could work is if they introduce completely new characters, locations, and scenarios for the next game, that take place within the same world as the original but have nothing to do with the events of that game.

Score: 1 for 3 – Last of Us 2 will happen. The real question is should it happen. That is something that someone else will have to answer.

SWITCH!

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4.) People should not complain about not being able to play as a female in Triforce Heroes.

Stephen RandleFiction: Triforce Heroes is not a game where you can get away with claiming that the story requires the main character be a specific gender. Yes, Link is one of the characters, but the other two are just “two guys dressed like Link”. Why couldn’t they be “two girls dressed like Link”? There’s no canonical reason why it’s not a possibility, Nintendo hasn’t provided a good explanation outside of, and I’m not kidding, “the women at the office are okay with playing as male characters”, and from a technical perspective, it’s literally a palette swap. This is a perfect example of a game that could easily be more inclusive through adding diversity, and it’s always going to be a fight worth having.

Jeremy ThomasFiction: Many of us want to embody characters that we identify with when we play games. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be the same gender or even the same species (Draenei hunter FTW!), but we want to identify with them because it makes us feel more emotionally attached to their journey within the game. I always hear the complaint when roles are race-swapped or gender-swapped in movies, or when Iceman was made gay in the comics, “Why not create some new heroes instead of co-opting our own?” Great idea. Here’s why it doesn’t always work; because storylines are created in such a way as to say “well, a female hero just wouldn’t have worked in the storyline.” Sorry guys; you came up with the storyline, so this shield of “but the story!” that you’re hiding behind is one of your own devising. It isn’t like you couldn’t have altered it just a bit to allow for female characters. The truth is that you just didn’t think about the possibility and now you’re throwing up excuses flimsier than “But the animation work” for not having women in Assassin’s Creed IV.

Now, here’s where I’m going to contradict myself just a bit: it doesn’t bother me. I don’t think everyone has to include every potential option so that we can play something that looks like us in every game. But that’s important to some people and if people can complain about too many Triple H skins in WWE 2K15 like it’s the worst thing ever, I think arguing against what they feel is an overly restrictive character creation option is pretty legit by comparison.

Score: 2 for 4 – I think there are valid points on both sides of this argument, but no one will ever be completely happy. Everyone wants something different, and even having full character creation and ability to choose sex and race still gets people complaining (look at some people complaining about Fallout 4).

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5.) EA fighting Star Wars Battlefront leaks will just cause more leaks to occur.

Stephen RandleFiction: This sounds like a defeatist attitude, like “why bother, things will just leak anyway”. That may be true, but that doesn’t mean EA shouldn’t try to stop them. It’s their game, their creation, and it’s their right to release information about it in the way they choose, and not be forced to before they’re ready just because somebody couldn’t wait to find out if you can play as a Wookie. Plus, for the most part, stuff that will leak is from incomplete versions of the game, and why would EA want less-than-ideal examples of their hotly anticipated game floating out there on the Internet so people can pick away at all the “errors” in it? Of course there will be errors! It’s not the release version of the game!

Jeremy ThomasFact: “The more you tighten your grip, EA, the more Star Wars Battlefront details will slip through your fingers.” Come on, you can’t leave that door open and expect me not to take a Jedi leap right through it. In all seriousness though, that’s the nature of how leaks work. The more you freak out about and fight those leaks, the more that the leakers (and those reading the leaks) want to make sure they get out. So keep fighting, EA, because I want to know all about this game.

Score: 2 for 5 – I agree with Jeremy more than Randle in this instance. Plus, Jeremy gets extra points (if this was 4PC anyway) for making the Star Wars reference.

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6.) Gamestop will eventually sell secondhand digital games.

Stephen RandleFact: I can’t see how they plan to do it, given that console makers have their own distribution channels and the PC has multiple digital distributors of their own, but it’s pretty much the only way they survive in a future that will be increasingly dominated by digital distribution and require less and less physical discs that are the bread and butter of a place like Gamestop. It may be a problem that they can’t solve, but it’s pretty much the only way that Gamestop will exist even a few years from now.

Jeremy ThomasFiction: I think secondhand digital games will become a major thing, I just think GameStop will not be around by the time all the kinks get worked out. Of course GameStop wants to sell digital games; for one it’s another source of revenue, and for another it will eventually be the only source of secondhand revenue as the physical game market starts to die. But there are too many logistic roadblocks in the way, and the big corporations that run gaming studios are too terrified of piracy, for this to work for a long time. Remember the fight over DRM? That got ugly and it only went away because the companies pushed too far. They’ve learned from that mistake and found better ways to make sure you can’t just turn one digital copy into a game for all of your friends, and they’re not likely to let that go. So yes, it will happen but I just don’t see it happening while GameStop is still a force to be reckoned with.

Score: 2 for 6 – Gamestop will eventually sell secondhand digital games. All it takes is one court ruling to make it legal, and then watch out. Plus, I doubt that the physical market will die completely. Until we can go more than a month without hearing about PSN or Xbox Live going down, there will always be more gamers who want to own physical copies of games instead of just buying them online. Also, as long as digital copies do not drop in price like physical copies do, people will generally choose physical over digital games.

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Bonus Question: What is your GOTY so far in 2015?

Stephen Randle The Witcher: Wild Hunt, and it’s not even close. You need to play this game. How good is it? I’ve played over 100 hours so far, I’m not finished yet, and I haven’t seen a fraction of the side content. And I feel bad about how much I’ve missed out on! Also, I managed to play that much of a game despite having a small child, which takes an extra effort that I normally wouldn’t bother with if the game weren’t as spectacular as The Witcher. Seriously, go play it now.

Jeremy Thomas Well, I love Arkham Knight for the most part because I have it on the Xbox and not the PC. Mortal Kombat X was a hell of a lot of fun as well. I have yet to play Witcher 3 so it can’t make the list. Right now I would lean toward the Batman game as my favorite of the year so far.

That wraps up this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction. Stephen and Jeremy went 2 for 6 disagreeing more than they agreed. I hope everyone has a good week, and until next week, happy gaming.

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