Maintaining a Standard
I do not advocate that mindset that some gamers pursue, where they don’t see game publishers as a company selling them a product, but instead see their vendor/consumer relationship in a more personal light. I think it is both wise and healthy to see things as they are; namely that buying a game is a transactional relationship governed by consumer law. That is not to say that we should by default, think ill of all video games publishers, but it is pertinent to reflect upon what we know about the business practises of such companies as Riot Games, Blizzard- Activision and more recently BioWare. To be concise, some video games companies are shitty to both their customers and their staff. Others are not. Let the buyer beware and all that.
Is this ramble going anywhere, I hear you ask? Yes, it is. I want to reference the British video games developers and publishers Rebellion Developments Limited. They are practical and realistic regarding their franchises and the scope of their projects. The games they produce are polished, well made and cater to their customers needs. And as far as I’m aware, the company doesn’t treat their staff like a Dickensian Mill owner. Furthermore, Rebellion doesn’t take liberties with the monetisation of their games. Their base game and season pass policy is not excessively priced. Furthermore, in the case of Sniper Elite V2 Remastered which is due to be released on 14th May, the price reflects that this is an overhaul of an existing game. It cost £29.99 but if you pre-order, there’s a 10% reduction to £26.99, applicable regardless of platform. If you happen to own the original game, then £6.99 will secure you an upgrade to the remastered version.
Rebellion have some great franchises in their back catalogue. As well as the Sniper Elite series, which improves and becomes more streamlined with each iteration, the company also holds the rights to publish 2000 AD. It has released in the past both a Rogue Trooper game which has since been remastered, along with a Judge Dredd title. Hopefully this too will be retooled or perhaps a new project will manifest itself. Strange Brigade is also one of its newer titles which was well received upon release last year. The company seems to consider very carefully what it does and doesn’t over extend itself or take unnecessary risks. It appears to know its market well and understand its customers needs. From the live streams I seen along with the interviews I’ve read, the developers along with founders Jason (CEO) and Chris (CTO) Kingsley strike me as being grounded and unburdened with the hubris shown by other larger companies.
At a time when it is common place to read about the iniquities of games publishers, it is easy to become very cynical of the entire industry and paint a negative picture with broad strokes. However, there are some good companies out there which seem to conduct themselves with decorum, as well as producing good games. I wrote recently about a lack of excitement that seems to blight some quarters of the gaming community at present. However, when pre-ordering Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, I was reminded that it can be found and not always where you expect it. So I guess the moral of this rambling narrative is that some companies still do maintain a standard and that gaming per se hasn’t quite totally gone to the dogs. I just hope that in the next few days there isn’t an expose that revels that Rebellion are a bunch of bastards.