2013 is almost over and it's time to reflect on this pretty amazing year. Today we bring Part 1 of our News of the Year awards (well, they not really awards, this is simply where we rank out top news stories of the year). If you haven't yet, check out our NOTYs episode of the DarkCast and stay tuned tomorrow when we bring you Part 2!
3. Xbox One and PS4 Launch 2. Fez II Cancellation 1. Star Wars Battlefront 3 Announcement
At this year’s E3, Stars Wars fans were given a new hope for a series thought to be dead with the official announcement of Star War Battlefront 3. After the years of screenshot, concept art and gameplay leaks but constant dismissals by LucasArts and supposed cancellations, a new entry in the short-lived series was unlikely. EA’s DICE studio will be taking the reigns for the upcoming sequel set to be released mid-to-late 2015 "coincidentally" timed with the new movie sequel. Despite almost nothing being shown, just this announcement has made this my most anticipated game for the next generation consoles.
3. EA apologizes, and apologizes… and apologizes again 2. Nintendo thinks Wii U name might be contributing factor in slow sales 1. Microsoft’s Xbox One DRM Reversal
If 2012 was the "Year of the Bow," then 2013 is without a doubt the "Year of the Walk-back." From EA having to apologize for a number of poor launches, Iwata coming out and saying that maybe the name Wii U has been a bit confusing to consumers, and Mircosoft pulling the mother of all reversals, 2013 proved that the big corporate ideal is no longer safe. Consumers have shown that they still have a voice, and while they don’t always employ it, when they do, they can effect change.
3. Fallout Teaser Website Hoax2. Persona 5 Announcement1. Steam Machine, Steam Controller and SteamOS Announcement
Although this didn’t include a Half Life 3 reveal, I’m glad it happened. I’ve heard rumors about it before and was relieved that I wouldn’t have to cry about it not being true. With the PS4 and Xbox One launches going on, the announcement completely shifted my focus and I realized that the chance of having a companion cube SteamBox in my house was close to a reality. I really hope to try out a prototype they’ll be sending out for beta testing, but that probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon. I’ve been lucky so far to have the ability to test out their Family Sharing beta, which has been awesome with these Steam sales. I look forward to see who gets to try these out, what kind of prototype works, and what kind of issues will be reported.
3. Steam Machine, Steam Controller and SteamOS Announcement 2. Penny Arcade Report Shutting Down 1. Fez II Cancellation
I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a trailer that showed literally none of the game. I can’t think of a time when a reveal for the title design of a game has caused more rampant speculation over what it even means in regards to gameplay and building on the themes of the original game. But Phil Fish had us all where he wanted, and after the unique, beautiful Fez last year, we were all willing to let him manipulate us any way he wanted. But there are few people in the industry more hot-tempered and divisive than Phil Fish, and after finally having the last straw, it was cancelled in a fit and Fish claimed to be leaving the industry forever. It was a shock. It was a disgusting reminder of how human developers are and how attacking them on Twitter isn’t yelling into nothingness, it’s affecting someone. And it robbed the industry of a great voice who clearly still had more to say, and now we’ll never know what it is.
3. Terrible Wii U sales 2. Xbox One and PS4 Launch 1. Microsoft’s Xbox One DRM Reversal
Forget the other stories -- Microsoft’s Xbox One reversal is the story of the decade. That is the first example that I can remember of the hardcore gaming element fighting back against something that they hate and finally winning. I have lost track of the number of anti-consumer policies and negative changes that have been rammed down the throats of hardcore gamers over their loud protests over the past decade. Protests that are never listened to, and are usually met with a disdainful “STFU this is the way that it’s going to be from now on” from both the major publishers and mainstream gaming journalists. Crappy motion controls, tacked on multiplayer, great franchises being destroyed to make them more “accessible”, always online single player, ripoff DLC -- the list goes on and on. The Xbox One DRM reversal finally broke the trend. It was an unmistakable sign that we, the early adopters who buy hardware at launch and buy dozens of games a year, still have some power in this relationship.
3. John Carmack leaves Id to focus on Oculus Rift 2. Steam Machine, Steam Controller and SteamOS Announcement 1. Xbox One and PS4 Launch
Was there really any bigger news than the start of a new generation? The new consoles didn’t really bring in a glut of incredible games (Nintendo picked up the slack on that one) but the 1 million + sales for each launch day finally serve as proof that people are still excited to play games on their home console.
Well, that does it for today's 2013 NOTYs. Check back tomorrow for Part 2. Until then, tell us what you think is the top news of the year.
Jonathan is the host of the DarkCast, DarkCast Interviews, and Gamers Read. He loves books, video games, and superheroes. If he had to pick favorites, they would be Welcome to the Monkey House, Mass Effect, and Superman respectively.