On Steam recently the latest official Babylon’s Fall patch notes went online that could hardly be sadder. On the dark gray Steam page, the three words seem abandoned and depressing: “End of service”. With Patch 1.4. So the developers of Platinum Games are closing what is perhaps the most sobering chapter in the studio’s 17-year history.
The offline switching of the servers comes as no surprise. In the Test turned out to be Babylon’s fall last year unfortunately as a listless “Games as a Service” compulsory exercise, with a whole series of shortcomings. And this despite the fact that the studio has developed action hits like Bayonetta, Vanquish, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance or Nier: Automata in the past. It’s not the first time that an experienced games company with a strong CV has implemented a “Games as a Service” product for Square Enix and the quality has fallen well short of the usual quality.
Something similar happened to the developers of Crystal Dynamics a few years ago. After they were able to make a really strong comeback with the reboot trilogy for the Tomb Raider franchise, they should develop a “Games as a Service” title for the Japanese publisher, with which one can ride on the wave of success of the Marvel series. can ride along with movies.
The result was the half-baked Marvel’s Avengers, which while having a well-directed campaign, with plenty of references, details, and playable characters, the work also suffered from tedious missions, lots of recycling, technical quirks, and a half-baked endgame phase, via Square Enix wanted to bind us players to the service for a long time. The attempt flopped. It was followed by Sale of Crystal Dynamics to Embracer Group and In September 2023, support for the game is to be finally discontinued.
So my thesis is: Even experienced studios with a great gaming résumé all too often produce games for the bin if they are supposed to focus on “games as a service” instead of the greatest possible gaming fun. Other examples of this can easily be found. I had already omitted myself several times about the career of Blizzard Entertainment, most recently at the 32nd birthday. Sure, I had fun with Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Diablo 3, too. I can’t deny Overwatch’s qualities either. And In fact, World of Warcraft is the best game of all time for me.
Nevertheless, I would like more from a studio that has released milestones such as Warcraft 1 to 3, Starcraft 1 + 2, Diablo 1 + 2 and WoW over many years. better. Not just “Games as a Service”. Instead, there was even the previous “service low point” with Diablo Immortal last year, with one amoral best of Free2Play mechanics. The old motto “Gameplay first” is no longer valid at Blizzard.
From my point of view, the chances are unfortunately quite good that we will State of Play by Sony on February 23, 2023 saw the next notable victim. As is well known, the developers of Rocksteady have been working on Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League for several years, which had to be postponed last year and is now scheduled for release this year, on May 26, 2023.
When I think of Rocksteady, of course, I immediately think of the fantastic Batman games Arkham Asylum, Arkham City and Arkham Knight. In the first trailers, I still had hopes that Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League could have similar strengths, just with different (and more) main characters. However, what was shown at the “State of Play” worried me. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will also be a service game, with a long-term content plan, forced online soloists, level-based loot, and a Battle Pass. And since, to top it all off, the fights didn’t look that much fun, I’m already afraid of a second Marvel’s Avengers.
Looking at all of this, I’m glad Xbox Game Pass is here in its current form (who knows what Microsoft may be planning in the future). In order to provide the subscribers with the widest possible range, the associated games catalog not only contains all kinds of service games, but also wonderfully old-school single-player experiences that no publisher would probably finance anywhere else these days.
I mean games like Obsidian Entertainment’s Pentiment or Tango Gameworks’ fantastic Hi-Fi Rush. Hopefully we’ll keep seeing gems like this in the future, and hopefully more publishers will fall flat on their faces trying to force some kind of service game project on big-name studios. So that at some point they can simply develop the best possible games for us again, with only one thing in the foreground: the fun of the game. One can still dream…