The War on "Make a Good Game, Make Good Money"

Video games have changed quite a lot over the past few decades. Digital distribution, better hardware, and self-publishing are just few of the many advancements the industry has made. However, there are also many people who lament the current state of the video game industry. Despite the many improvements, they are accompanied by many unsavory elements such as microtransactions, loot boxes, and grindy progression systems. "Make a good game, make good money" became "Make an unpolished game, patch it later". So many games follow the clichéd "Third person action adventure with stealth elements" genre and come off as uninspired, cookie cutter corporate slop. Weird trends such as making female characters unattractive are pushed for no good reason and still in effect today.


From Forspoken, a game that flopped so hard that Square Enix closed the associated studio.

The most notable trend that I have been noticing is the sheer hostility towards games that make it big without resorting to predatory practices or following the cookie cutter framework. Games such as Elden Ring, Hogwarts Legacy, Final Fantasy XVI, and Baldur's Gate 3 received a bunch of criticism, if you can even call it that, from mainstream games journalists and developers of large studios for a variety of reasons.

Elden Ring was ridiculed by developers from Ubisoft, Nixxes Software (part of Sony), and Guerrilla Games (also part of Sony) for having a poor game UI, questionable graphics, stability & performance, and bad quest design. Fans mocked the developers for their bad takes whether it be obsessing over graphics over other game aspects, criticizing a game for not being hand-holding enough, or believing that a cluttered UI is a good UI (hence the meme in the thumbnail.

Hogwarts Legacy and Final Fantasy XVI were targeted for political reasons. The former had a target on its back because of its association with the author of the Harry Potter series and her alleged transphobia (this is the tweet that started it all and honestly, it's not even bad). Mainstream journalists called for a boycott which heavily backfired because (1) the actual game was well-polished and captured the Harry Potter atmosphere very well and (2) some of the allegations such as the game being a 'genocide simulator' were so off-the-walls insane that it created a Streisand Effect. Similar deal happened with Final Fantasy XVI when some games journalists whined about the lack of ethnic diversity even though the game's setting was heavily inspired from the Middle Ages. Their focus on the lack of minority characters in a Medieval-inspired world over things that makes a game good like gameplay and story turned many readers off.

Most recently, some game developers from studios like Obsidian (part of Microsoft Xbox) and Blizzard try to paint the game as an anomaly. One developer claimed that the game will bring unrealistic expectations for what a RPG should be. A Microsoft Xbox employee described it as "Rockstar- level nonsense of scope" (and he deleted that tweet later on). What goes over these people's heads is that the audience likes Baldur's Gate 3 for bringing a complete package of high quality content without microtransactions and bugs. Larian Studios simply wanted to make a good game and it paid off. Meanwhile, the mainstream publishers and studios try to downplay the game's success because if consumers want a game like Baldur's Gate 3, then their monetization schemes will not be as effective. Not to mention, Microsoft is likely salty that Larian Studios did not want to be bought out and join the corporation's games-as-a-service movement.

Over the past few years, there is a clear trend of consumers who seek games made with love and care. They want complete packages that aren't riddled with shady monetization schemes or under-delivered promises. There was a time when publishers and studios could trot out formulaic games one after another and phone it in. The video game media would browbeat fans for being "whiny" or "entitled" and get away with it. But now it appears consumers have caught on to the dirty tactics. While there are still a bunch of shoddily-made games in the market, the success of games like Elden Ring and Baldur's Gate 3 bring hope.

This article is co-published on Odysee,, and Steemit.

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Agnostic classical liberal & fiscal conservative who likes anime, JRPGs, and Linux. You can also follow me on,,, and

Late to the Show and Games
Late to the Show and Games

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