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Games Inbox: Black Friday backlog, lowering video game prices, and Street Fighter X Transformers

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Games Inbox: How is Black Friday affecting your backlog?
Is Black Friday only making things worse?

The morning Inbox speculates about plans for a January Nintendo Direct, as one reader refuses to call Valkyria Chronicles 4 by its name.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

Uneven problems

While I understand the concerns about Black Friday I have another first world problem when it comes to sales: my backlog. I’ve already spent far too much on the Steam sale, and I’ve got a hit list of games I want to get on console that, if I’m honest, I’ve got no idea when I’m going to play. Even if I only count games I’ve bought this year I’ve still got huge games I haven’t played, like Persona 5 and Horizon Zero Dawn.

I blame Destiny 2 and most of all, but of course I’m really only blaming myself because I should have more self-control, either not to buy the games (but they’re so cheap!) or not to play only the ones I know are made to be addictive.

I think the industry is partially to blame though as what’s becoming obvious is just how… uneven it is. 75% of all big games come out in the same two months, prices are either stupidly high or irresistibly low, games are either mega budget blockbusters or tiny indie titles. There’s just no middle ground. It’s bad, and so is the way I’m currently eyeing up the list of PS Store deals…
Tamol

Lowering costs

I can see what was meant by Black Friday devaluing game prices. It is very weird how a game can be £50 one day and £25 the next and then back to normal the day after that. It’s good if you catch it when it’s cheap but it really doesn’t make much sense and is very unfair on those that don’t catch things at the right time.

I know GC has always said that games should have a large price cut of that sort of amount as standard and I tend to agree. Even £25 is a lot compared to DVDs, but at least it would start to enter the realm of impulse buy. Games just aren’t like that at the moment though. Imagine if you bought Battlefront II not knowing what it was like, which is presumably going to happen a lot because it’s Star Wars, and then you’re left with a four long story campaign and a multiplayer that had its (broken) heart ripped out of it before it even launched.

Games need to be cheaper to buy and cheaper to make. Companies have convinced themselves that they all need to be these mega budget blockbusters but it’s so obviously not true. Everything from Super Mario Odyssey to Hellblade proves this, but they will just not learn the lesson. I think the reader going on about profit is on the wrong track: it’s not how much companies need or want to make back it’s how much they spend in the first place. That’s what needs to change, and then we wouldn’t need loot boxes.
Stimpson

Balanced diet

Although of course I’m hoping for some big reveals next months I think we are forgetting what a success Nintendo’s January Direct was for the Switch. I bet they haven’t though, and I can see them regarding that as a new sort of template for each year: announce new games in January, top things up at E3 in June, and then deliver at Christmas. That’s worked for them so well this year and we all know they prefer not to do things the same as others.

As for what they will announce. I think Animal Crossing has got to be shoe-in, Metroid Prime 4 will obviously be one, but I think they need something else on top of that. A new IP hopefully. Maybe something straight action again to complement the other two and not rely too much on just open world games. No idea what it’ll be, could be multiplayer (could even be loot box based!) but that’s my guess.

Nintendo have to think of their games like a chef’s menu. If they’re the ones providing all the main reasons to get their console they have to provide a balanced menu, so let’s see if they can do it.
Steggo

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Extra discount

With regard to the letter In Thursday evening’s Inbox by Neganl, and heavily discounted games during Black Friday that have only been out a few weeks. I have a sort of opposite story to that. Way back when Syphon Filter was released I was really interested in it as I had followed its progress in GamesMaster magazine along, with Metal Gear Solid, GoldenEye 007 and Mission: Impossible. (I always knew Mission: Impossible was gonna be pants!)

When it came to release of Syphon Filter I rushed down to a local chain of entertainment products, which I believe was HMV, as there was a discount on new PlayStation games at the time. Only to be told that Sony had delayed the game by a week so that it could be sold at full price after the offer had ended! I was so livid that I wrote in to GamesMaster magazine and ended up getting the Star Letter for the Month.

I received a game of my choice, which I cannot remember what it was. When I hadn’t received my game after a few months of waiting, I rang GamesMaster up. They apologised and sent the game and a USS Enterprise alarm clock which I absolutely loved! This was at least 18 years ago now and I can’t remember GamesMaster’s response and some of my recollection is a bit fuzzy but it’s one of my fondest memories in gaming!
SolidPete82 (PSN ID/NN ID)

Street Fighter All-Stars

I’ve been a fan of the Street Fighter series ever since the release of Street Fighter II Special Championship Edition on the Mega Drive.

Since then countless games have been released after this but we have never seen any single Street Fighter game have every character in the series playable in one single game.

If every character was included this would increase the endings as well as music, and could even allow an impressive theatre mode that allows everyone to listen to in-game BGM view endings and even give players a great challenge to unlock all of these.

It would give great replayability to the game as well as allow some incredible storylines. This is what I feel the next Street Fighter game needs.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

Insufficient data

With regards to games profitability nowadays, and raising the retail prices. I know games cost more to produce now, yet still sell in the same price range as they did 20+ years ago, but is the potential userbase much different now to what it was back in the day?

How many do blockbuster titles sell now compared to Mega Drive and PlayStation 1 titles? Are games making more money simply through selling in greater numbers?
Dan

GC: That’s hard to say because publishers never release sales figures. But lists of top selling video games still have plenty of older titles in them, and console sales – which we do have figures for – have only seen a modest overall increase across the generations.

Half remembered

My brain is a bit foggy at the moment, but did you guys – either in a review or preview – compare a game’s sense of humour to Police Squad? Or did I imagine that?

On an unrelated note, I heard the voice of Prince Laharl pop up in Persona 5 playing a little boy called Shinya. The kid who helps you get better with guns. Looking into the actress, her name is Barbara Goodson and she’s nearly 70(!) Pretty weird to be playing children when you’re eligible for your free bus pass – but hey, she does it well…
DMR

GC: That was our Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 review, which was only 10 days ago. You should get some more omega-3 in your diet.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Regular read

RE: Simundo Jones. Nice to see the same guy writing in day in day out with a lot of thought. I like his letters it’s a good read.

Sainsbury’s is doing Wolfenstein II for £21.99, but I did write it a while ago and took a holiday to play that game it was always going to happen. Will buy the season pass when I buy it back.

Just like to say thanks to you guys at GameCentral you have guided me over the years, it’s still the best read more than ever.

Now to find me a Nintendo Switch. It’s killing me not being able to play Mario.

I do still play Zelda everyday though on my Wii U. What a game!

If anyone owns both versions of Zelda, is it a good idea to play it again? Already done everything in normal and Master Mode. Are any improvements apart from the supposed sound boost significant enough? Is the portability worth the extra?
Nick the Greek
PS: Used to be good friends on Mario Kart 8 on Wii U that I met from here. He’s called Hot rod online but can’t find him. Made some excellent Super Mario Maker courses. Among the best in my opinion.

GC: Sadly, given what it means for the game’s success, almost everywhere is doing Wolfenstein II for between £20 and £25. Zelda on Switch is exactly the same game but it does run a little more smoothly, and portability is certainly a great bonus.

Inbox also-rans

Very glad to see the new Valkryia Chronicles actually looks like the first one, but given that was the only good one to me this is really just Valkyria Chronicles 2.
Sen

Not sure if GC has seen these but Street Fighter Transformers are now a thing. I don’t know why they’re a thing, but they are…
Coldblue

GC: That is really weird. The Chun-Li/Arcee one does almost work though.

Games Inbox: How is Black Friday affecting your backlog?

This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was inspired by reader billystanley71, who asks what’s the most difficult story-based decision you’ve ever had to make in a game?

Games like The Walking Dead and Mass Effect popularised moral decision-making in games and now they can be found in all sorts of different titles, from Life Is Strange to Wolfenstein. But which have you found to be the toughest and why? Did you stick with your decision or go back and try and change it?

Do the decisions you make in games generally follow your real-life sense of morality, or do you play a character – perhaps one that is the opposite to your real self? What’s been the most significant consequences of a decision, and how did you feel when you realised what you’d done?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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