December 2018
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Foreclosure Of A Dream

Darksiders II

Darksiders II

On Wednesday, January 23rd THQ auctioned off most of its studios and assets.  For all intents and purposes, that was the day they ceased to exist.  I’m sure you will see the name pop up again, since undoubtedly someone will buy the rights to it.  But the THQ we’ve known is no more.  Worse than that, the studios that weren’t sold in auction have been dissolved.  The most notable victim of this is Vigil, makers of the Darksiders series.  Nothing is set in stone even for those studios that survived, since there’s no knowing how their new owners are going to treat them or their games in the future.  The news of studios closing has become all too common in recent years, and it only appears to be getting worse.

WipEout HD

WipEout HD

There’s no shortage of games still coming out, of course.  There are more games out now and coming this year that interest me than I can possibly play.  But every studio brings something unique to the industry, so while we may still have plenty of games we will be missing certain unique flavors of games.  Some of the ones we’ve lost recently made games that we have grown to love over the years – for example, last year Studio Liverpool was closed.  If you’re a long time gamer, especially from the Amiga era, you may know them better as Psygnosis.  They were once known for brutally difficult yet stunningly gorgeous side-scrollers such as Shadow of the Beast.  They also brought us classics such as Lemmings and Wipeout.  We barely got the chance to get to know others, such as 38 Studios.  Makers of the ambitious Kingdoms of Amalur, that game looked to be the start of a fantastic new franchise.  But it wasn’t meant to be.

In the end, there’s not a lot we can do to prevent this.  But every little bit helps, right?  You’ve all heard the phrase “vote with your wallet” before, but it really is true.  Profit is what these publishers understand, and it’s all they listen to.  It’s an interesting thing, the gaming industry.  It’s a business fueled by artists.  So in order for the artists to get to continue doing what they do, the publishers have to be making money.  Am I suggesting we buy every great game that’s released?  Well, if you’re rich, sure!  But for the rest of us, we can weigh our purchases more on who exactly they will benefit.  Maybe that lesser-known but highly acclaimed game would be a better purchase than Call of Duty XXV or Madden 2073?

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