Another week in videogames and it’s business as usual it seems, unless of course you count Valve’s hasty retraction of its newly launched paid mods scheme, Nintendo’s willingness to finally embrace modern gaming trends, and the announcement of Tony Hawks: Pro Skater 5. And to think, all of this and more happened in a week where - for reasons none of us understand - the Conservative government somehow claimed victory in the UK general election. Clearly it was one of the weirdest weeks in recent memory. But in any case; it’s news ahoy!
Firstly Valve, after launching its paid mods scheme on the Steam Workshop, performed a U-turn so swift it would make any politician proud. Announcing its removal at the end of last week, after having only launched the service a few days beforehand, the news was greeted by the majority of mod enthusiasts (going by the fact that an online petition to remove the service garnered over 130,000 signatures during its brief existence). That being said, there were some proponents of the scheme, suggesting that modders should have the freedom to be rewarded for the extensive works they create, and that the model that Valve implemented was too open to abuse, as they failed to take into account the impact of so called ‘micro-mods’ (the modding equivalent of micro transactions).
After that particular slip-up on Valve’s part was addressed, it wasn’t long however before another quickly materialised. Popular YouTuber Jim Sterling’s criticism of a homophobic and transphobic game that had made its way onto Steam Greenlight was picked up by the majority of videogame press sites, resulting in Valve taking action to remove the game from their platform. Such swift action may have rectified this mistake, but it still left many asking how and why Steam Greenlight had allowed for such a game to become available on their platform, with critics citing the lack of quality control on the platform as something that’s becoming more and more of a concern.
Over in the evergreen world of Nintendo things have been faring rather better it seems, on Thursday Nintendo revealed they had made an annual profit for the first time in four years along with the news that the Wii U has now sold over nine and a half million consoles since launch. This was then swiftly followed up by the announcement of a theme park deal with Universal Studios and Nintendo’s intentions to deliver as many as five smartphone games by early 2017. So not only can we look forward to seeing Mario and the gang on our phones within the next couple of years, we might also be looking at real life Mario Kart and Kirby’s Rainbow rollercoaster. Either way things are looking promising for Nintendo fans.
Finally, the same could also be said for fans of the once stellar skateboarding series, Tony Hawks: Pro Skater. After being run into the ground with motion controls first on the Nintendo DS, and then with one of gaming’s least successful peripherals during the last generation, the series has been announced to be making its return. But more importantly, as a traditional controller centric game. The only word of caution we would advise anyone looking forward to Pro Skater 5 is that it’s once again under development at Robomodo, the same team responsible for the poorly received Tony Hawks: Ride and Tony Hawks: Shred. But who knows, perhaps third time’s the charm.