Summer of gaming: The highs and lows


This summer was an interesting one for video games. It was a nonstop steam-engine supplying enjoyment, anger and sadness for the entire gaming industry. Earlier this year, 2015 seemed like it would be a fine year for gaming, but following summer events, it turned into a year that will not be soon forgotten.

It’s only appropriate that we start things off with the biggest gaming event of the year, E3 2015, which took place mid-June in Los Angeles. Sony stole the show and refused to let up. They trotted out their first party “The Last Guardian,” which was originally revealed at E3 2009 and not heard of since.

This was a pretty big shock considering every year since its original unveiling, fans have submitted to the idea that this game was lost in purgatory and would never be heard from again.

Following that blockbuster was another, the beloved JRPG “Final Fantasy VII.” It’s getting remade, a complete overhaul with next generation graphics. “Final Fantasy VII” is a pretty big piece of gaming history, and is considered the greatest role-playing game of all time by many.

Originally released in 1997, the game will be returned to with much anticipation. Developer Square-Enix has not yet issued a release window for “Final Fantasy VII Remake.”

Finally, when fans thought nothing could top this conference, Sony introduced Yu Suzuki, creator of the beloved “Shenmue” franchise. “Shenmue” had two previous entries, the first in 1999, and its sequel in 2003. The game has a diehard fan base still yearning to see the conclusion of the story.

Suzuki announced that “Shenmue 3” was finally happening if the Kickstarter amount could be met. Needless to say, fans had the Kickstarter goal funded in less than 24 hours, and it finished with over six million dollars raised.

The stories of the summer did not all revolve around E3, though, as rumors and allegations ran wild regarding the once dominant video game development and publishing company Konami. The creator of the “Metal Gear” franchise, Hideo Kojima, was relieved of his duties at the corporation.

This came as a pretty huge shock as “Metal Gear” has always been Konami’s bread winner, and Kojima himself played a very important role to the company.

Both sides still refuse to comment on the situation, leaving imaginations running rampant as to what happened.

To make matters worse, Konami scrubbed Kojima’s name from the company completely, going as far as removing his name from the box of his newest release, “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,” which is the climax of his 30 year series.

The nightmare summer for Konami continued into early August, when an employee spoke out to Nikkei, a Japanese news source, about the flat-out immoral work environment regulated by the company.

According to the report, developers working on “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” were forced into an office with no internet connection, and could only send messages to each other.

Employees who were late or took a long lunch break were publically shamed through an intercom system throughout the entire building.

Cameras were also installed to track movements and actions of the employees during the work day, as opposed to security.

The report goes on to list several other downright degrading and demoralizing claims. There’s no word on if these reports are true, or if they stem from a disgruntled employee with an axe to grind.

Lastly was the death of Nintendo president Satoru Iwata at the age of 55.

Iwata began working in video games more than 30 years ago, while still attending university. In 2002 he became the fourth president of Nintendo, and the first that wasn’t of the Yamauchi bloodline.

Iwata brought something to the table that had not been seen before. He himself was a character, which made him such a great fit for Nintendo.

Iwata proved that the man behind the scenes in the business suit doesn’t have to be made of stone. He loved gaming and interacting with fans.

He even helped bug-test “Super Smash Bros. Melee” when his actual position in the company at the time was much above that of a bug-tester.

This is a tradition his competitors, Sony and Microsoft, would adopt as they discovered the best way to run their business is to be directly involved in it.

The industry came together as a whole after Iwata’s death and remembered him in beautiful fashion. Although he is gone, his impact on the industry will always remain.

These, along with stories such as the abysmal PC release of “Batman: Arkham Knight;” Time magazine scaring everyone away from virtual reality; a resurgence of once great games like “Rock Band” and “Tony Hawk Pro Skater;” and the announcement of “Fallout 4;” culminated to create a memorable summer.

After all, it had to be busy when the last thing mentioned is “Fallout 4.”