Not long ago we were talking about the importance of online mode, both for gamers and developers. Now it’s time to talk about those games that at some point were not relevant or directly received hate and criticism and are now money printers. And it is no coincidence that everyone focuses their gameplay on online game modes.
The existence of this network that connects us all has made it easier for you to launch an incomplete or even bad game, but that over time you can make a good one. Patches are the order of the day, before a mediocre title stayed like that forever and now it always has the path of redemption in front of it.
De GTA V a GTA Online
So the first thing that an irrelevant game needs to get out of that problem is to have a strong online component, a look that offers a decent one to implement new mechanics and release content that changes its face. Basically all current games have this possibility, because now it is impossible to rule out that a bad title will recover.
The funny thing about remembering the cases of the past is that, either because there is too much information on a daily basis, or because a lot has happened, no one remembers these games before their redemption. Without going any further, GTA V launched with a very robust campaign that parodied Los Angeles, but the online mode was limited, to put it beautifully.
Rockstar promised heists, vehicles and other game modes that would make GTA a regular MMO. However, you basically had to wait for the game to arrive on PC, PS4, Xbox One for the new content to arrive. Right now, GTA V (rather its online) is one of the most popular games in the world and the title one of the best-selling in history. And there are still people wondering why there is no GTA VI.
Rockstar only needed time and space, elements that it gives you to be a AAA company with the possibility of patching your game whenever and however you want. Over time, updates came to improve the player’s life in Los Santos. Eventually “expansions” like Diamond Casino or Cayo Perico arrived and now GTA Online is practically something out of this world compared to GTA Online in 2013.
There are also other cases like Rainbow Six Siege that didn’t do particularly badly at its launch in 2015, but it was a game without an audience. It seemed like the market didn’t need one more shooter, but it’s such a popular genre that it eventually made its way into it and now boasts an entire parcel of land.
R6 was a “modern counter-strike”, or so it was seen with somewhat contemptuous eyes. However, the thing about being a resourceful AAA company is that you can afford to keep betting on a game that went wrong. Ubisoft introduced new operators, weapons, maps, etc. And I adorn it with animated shorts and even fan service, but Ubisoft’s redemption came from the same audience.
The public went from seeing it as a shooter without an identity to one more alternative. Shortly after the battle royale arrived and those who did not like the genre preferred to stay with the more traditional shooters. And there was R6 offering that option, this led to many players giving it a try (the game was sold very cheap and some weeks it was free).
Ubi just needed that initial opportunity that they didn’t give him in 2015 and good mechanics did the rest. And he earned that opportunity by continuing to be available there, something he could only do because it is Ubisoft, another developer would have had to cancel and focus on something else.
Both GTA and R6 did not offer bad games in any case, but time allowed them to improve. Another case are those who had to practically remake the game or offer a novelty that would change everything, for example: Diablo III and Final Fantasy XIV.
The first one was launched with server problems and directly a lot of criticism for not being as good as expected. Blizzard has not changed it too much (it only added two new classes) in terms of gameplay but it did offer an online mode for “seasons” that gave the game a second wind and a lot of useful life. In fact, a lot of people are still hooked that’s why.
Now Diablo III is one of the best-selling ARPGs of the past generation and Blizzard has managed to generate buzz for the Diablo II remake and the launch of Diablo IV.
For its part, FF XIV was literally a different game. It even had a different name and was released in 2010 to such bad reviews that it seemed that the Final Fantasy Online that many expected was going to die forever. But Square Enix withdrew the game and released it 3 years later with the subtitle “A Real Reborn.”
There is not much to say, this MMO is the most popular in the world today and is already a real competition for World of Warcraft. Square had to pretty much redo the entire game but it worked, especially since it had the ability to work on multiple Final Fantasy at the same time.
The smartest in the class
Finally, we have the most talked about case by current popularity, but one of the least remembered. Friends of Epic Games released Fortnite in March 2017 in Early Access, the title was not bad but it was not relevant to the industry at all. It had a mode called “Save the world” that was played cooperatively and little else.
But something changed in July of that year: the irruption of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and its battle royale proposal. Few remember that Epic collaborated in the development of PUBG, since it used the Unreal Engine graphics engine, owned by Epic Games. PUBG also launched in 2017 via Early Access and was a boom on Twitch.
Epic saw from the inside what they were doing in Bluehole and came up with a battle royale mode for Fortnite that would be free. And what’s better (for them, not for Bluehole), they released it in September 2017, two months before PUBG came out of its Early Access. It was also free, so many decided to try Fortnite before PUBG, which cost $ 20.
In that period between September and November there was a communicative war that faced those who preferred one game or another. Fortnite was considered for kids and PUBG for adults and there was a feeling that when PUBG launched in November it was going to push Fortnite into oblivion. But that never happened.
Streamers, including Ninja, chose sides and Fortnite became known worldwide when the streamer played with rapper Drake gathering 600,000 viewers and breaking the record for viewers on Twitch. Epic took advantage of the situation to organize concerts of other rappers within the game or to reach agreements with Disney, Marvel and other companies to offer skins of their franchises.
Not all cases go well
So basically Epic brought Fortnite what it is by releasing it before the competition that didn’t even know Fortnite existed. He then made efforts to keep the game in the top position and had the great stroke of luck that many celebrities played Fortnite in their spare time.
Epic was great, but it didn’t have the relevance of Square Enix, Rockstar, or Blizzard. Therefore, making Fortnite a good game with more content was not enough, they needed an opportunity and a media impact. The opportunity was made for themselves by copying PUBG and releasing their game earlier and the rest was just a consequence of their good work (and some luck).
Obviously now it seems like a mediocre game just needed the budget and time to redeem itself. However, for each case like this there is also one to the contrary, not all titles could improve over time and some even went from relevance to oblivion.
Games like Destiny 2, World of Warcraft or Overwatch. They are titles that have had several ups and downs, but that began as the creative avant-garde. Right now they are in a bad time because the burden of having to release content every few weeks is too much for a team of developers to take that long. There are times when there are simply no more ideas.
For that reason, all these games cry out for a sequel, since the terrain they provide no longer gives space to new content, even with the entire budget of a AAA behind.
Nor should we forget online games such as Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain or Final Fantasy XV. These are games that received patches, but were never fully redeemed. It is not a written rule, but it is clear that those games without the possibility of engaging with an online mode receive much less attention than those that do encourage connection.
In this way, if the AAA industry has taught us anything, it is that mediocre, irrelevant or even games can change with enough dedication. But this dedication, like everything else, depends on who puts the money and time so that everything fits.
No indie studio has been able to save their little game from failure with DLCs or patches So really what a game, even the worst ones, needs to improve is an important economic muscle behind it that allows designers to hit the mark.