New Year’s Day offers new promise for everyone. You are going to get that new job. We’re all going start jogging again. This year will be different.
For me, 2015 brings the excitement — and the worry — that accompanies the future of the rapidly growing video game industry. Will the bad trends continue? Will new, more positive ones form? And above all, will we get some great games and exciting announcements?
Here are some of my biggest hopes for 2015.
Gamergate and hacking groups find a new hobby
I hear basket weaving is a wonderful way to improve dexterity. Maybe try going outside and playing an organized sport? I don’t really care what these bored malcontents do; they just need to stop bothering people with their nonsense.
Net neutrality issues don’t cripple online gaming
Earlier this week, League of Legends players noticed some choppy gameplay issues due to poor server connections. Many people blamed Riot Games for hosting bad or too few servers, but the company is actually having its bandwidth limited by Internet service providers.
Netflix faced a similar issue and ended up having to strike a deal with the devil — the Web triumvirate of Comcast, AT&T and Verizon — in order to maintain a high level of service.
Net neutrality — the idea that all online data should be treated equally — is one of the most pressing issues in the United States right now, and the Federal Communications Commission’s decision on the matter could cost online gaming companies billions.
That would be a serious blow to any business.
Games and network servers work properly
This simple notion goes hand-in-hand with my first two wishes. I want $60 video games to work on day one, and I want to play them whenever I feel like it.
When I wrote my first column exactly one year ago, I never could have predicted that broken AAA games and hacked networks would be the major issue of 2014.
As everyone takes stock of their successes and failures in 2014, I hope the leaders in game development, publishing and network services learn from their mistakes and correct them in 2015.
“Fallout 4” is announced
The whispers and rumors surrounding a possible Fallout sequel have died down since the Electronic Entertainment Expo came and went without an official announcement.
About a year ago, I compiled a list of such rumors, which included a former Fallout voice actor’s subtle hints and the sighting of a Bethesda location scout in the Boston area.
I wouldn’t be shocked if “Fallout 4” is already in mid-development already, but I want an end to the speculation sooner rather than later.
The video game space race isn’t a dud
I discussed two exciting upcoming releases — “No Man’s Sky” and “Star Citizen” — in last week’s column, but those titles are only a fraction of the galactic game wave primed to make 2015 the year of space exploration.
“Evolve” should be massive. Two great space franchises — Star Wars: Battle Front and Star Fox — will get sequels this year. A dozen or more galactically themed indie games will fight for traction.
All this space travel in one year could get pretty tedious, so these titles will have to offer up some variety to keep the genre from growing stale.
The Halo franchise doesn’t embarrass us
Speaking of space, I hope arguably the most popular space franchise ever doesn’t ruin my adolescence by releasing another broken game or a terrible new live-action spinoff.
The series that undoubtedly brought first-person shooters to the pinnacle of the gaming mountain took a severe and unexpected misstep in 2014 with the damaged “Halo: The Master Chief Collection.”
I expect that developer 343 Industries will learn from this mistake for “Halo 5: Guardians,” and Steven Spielberg’s touch should keep the Web series far away from the circle of Hell designed solely for Uwe Boll’s game adaptations.
If both parties fail, a great franchise will likely die out forever.
Telltale Games adapts a novel
I envision a Charles Dickens adaptation released right after the season finale of “Downton Abbey.” I think “A Telltale of Two Cities” could either be the best of games or the worst of games.
‘Mortal Kombat X’ wins a flawless victory
“Street Fighter V” will not be released for the Xbox One. Expired licenses have likely ended the “Marvel vs. Capcom” series. It is time once again for the franchise so bloody it inspired an entire ratings system to carry the fighting genre.
I haven’t cared about a Mortal Kombat game in about a decade, but “Mortal Kombat X” looks great and will release on both the Xbox and Playstation console groups. I’ll always root for the franchises of my childhood.