Not too long ago, I was playing the ‘If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?’ Game (the answer was Pizza, obviously), but being a Gamer, it wasn’t long until I got to thinking about that kind of question in Gaming terms. More specifically, I was wondering whom I’d choose if I could only play games by one particular publisher from here on out. It turned out to be an interesting internal argument for a while – and given I didn’t reach a satisfactory answer then, I thought I’d take a crack at turning it into a thing here.
I chose publishers (rather than developers) because I think that gives the “game” a higher level of difficulty – not least because most people would just choose whichever developer made their favourite game (or series of games) – and because the output of publishers offers more variety, more variables, and it ultimately means one has to factor many more elements into the decision.
Likewise, given this is a ‘for the rest of our (Gaming) days’ decision it requires us to evaluate the past output of publishers, and try to extrapolate from that into an, as of yet, unknown future. Of course, choosing publishers creates its own set of problems, because sometimes there’s a fine line between some developers and publishers, with some companies being both, or some publishing companies swallowing developers into their fold when it suits them to do so. Take Bethesda Softworks, for example: are they a big enough entity to count as an actual Publisher in their own right, or should one only include them and their output within the bigger category of ZeniMax Media? Or take Deep Silver, who acquired a lot of THQ’s stuff (eg. Saint’s Row) when the latter went belly-up, but who are themselves a subsidiary of Koch Media: are we gonna choose THQ (even though it’s defunct), Deep Silver, or Koch Media as our “contender”? Finding the answer will likely necessitate a wee bit of lateral thinking, judgement call-age, and case-by-casing it – although I’ll try to be as consistent and logical as possible when doing so. Basically though, my place – my rules!
I’m not a total tyrant however, so I am throwing the floor open to suggestions, within reason (so no suggestions to go away and do anatomically implausible things to myself, thankyouverymuch). More specifically, I’m asking you what Publishers I should include? Obviously most of the big(ger) ones are no-brainers – Activision, Ubisoft, Sony, Microsoft, ZeniMax, Take-Two et al – but smaller ones are easier to overlook – and there are bajillions of the buggers. Unfortunately I can’t include everything, so if there’s a mid sized publisher you’d like to see included, give them a shout-out in the comments, and I’ll consider them. Only if you want to though, obviously.
In terms of “Rules”, or how battles shall be fought, I’ll basically be looking at their output (quality and quantity) and any particular highlights (and lowlights) contained therein, franchises, possible future releases, how they might’ve performed in the past in terms of breaking new ground, being innovative, encouraging developers etc, and finally (again, my place, my rules) whether there’s been any element of ‘just generally being a bit of a dick to Gamers’ at any point. There’ll be negative bonus points for that shit, ain’t no mistake!
Anyways, each round will consist of a head-to-head, no-holds-barred fight to the death (or, more accurately, elimination – there’ll be no actual death) with the winner progressing to the next round, and the loser ignominiously returning home to lick their wounds, and wonder what might’ve been had some obscure blog that they couldn’t give a shit about not eliminated them from a competition with no actual prizes. Brutal, right!? Still, there’s kudos to be had (KUDOS, y’allz) and any fool knows that’s better than any cash-money prize and that it kicks the bejaysus out of even the shiniest of Trophies. In the initial stages of the tournament, I’ll try to make rounds as like-for-like as possible, but obviously that’ll change as the competition progresses.
In that spirit (and because I love the smell of Napalm in the morning) I’ll be kicking the competition off with….. SONY vs MICROSOFT, because there’s absolutely nothing about that that I can foresee being controversial. At all.
Finally, whilst I hope this will be a regular thing, “regular” is reasonably subjective, and I don’t want to promise there’ll be one every week – not least because this is the sort of thing that’ll require research and, like, actual work – although I will try for something like that. Also, being somewhat fickle, if I spend hours on them and no bugger reads them, I *totes* reserve the right to not bother with it any longer.
So, over to you. If there are Publishers you’d like to see included – or if you’d like to offer some pre-emptive input on Sony vs Microsoft – the floor is yours……