#44: Everywhere

Well, there goes not-Gamescom. It’s been a quiet week on the whole, but there are certainly a few things worth discussing. First up: further evidence of a creeping return to the bad old days of pre-rendered trailers. Why are we doing this again, when today’s hardware is so powerful? Have these people seen videogames lately? They’re incredible! Look at this DokeV thing! That’s how you do a trailer.

Next is the fairly obvious observation that Q1 is the new Q4. The first three months of 2022 are going to be very expensive indeed, the most wallet-busting of all being a seven-day stretch in February in which Horizon Forbidden West, Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, Sifu and Saints Row will all make their debuts. Some slippage is inevitable, if not for development reasons then marketing ones, but for now I appreciate having something like this to look forward to. It’s been too long.

Finally, a question: is it time we worried about Geoff Keighley? Don’t get me wrong — I like him a lot. He’s always been kind and gracious when we’ve crossed paths or worked together. His heart is in the right place, I respect his hard work and hustle, and I find his inexhaustible pride at being Canadian rather sweet. But he is everywhere now, and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with one man holding so much power.

He runs E3 Judges Week, the attached Game Critics Awards, and The Game Awards, the closest thing the industry has to the Oscars. He runs a bespoke week-long event at E3, and is now firmly established as Gamescom’s headline act. His profile is such that Microsoft deemed his Gamescom event to be a better venue than its own to finally announce a release date for the biggest Xbox game of the year.

I talk a fair bit in Hit Points about the centralisation of power in the game industry, but when I do so I am normally fretting about corporations. This, however, is about one person. And while Keighley’s events are mostly enjoyable, highly celebratory festivals of hype, there is never any doubt as to who is pulling the strings, and who is the star of the show. The Gamescom event ended with an extended look at Death Stranding Director’s Cut, made of course by Keighley bestie Hideo Kojima — would Sony have closed out a PlayStation event with that? I’m not convinced — and then news that the man himself has a cameo spot in a forthcoming Disney+ show. “I can’t believe it,” Keighley said, his Disney-rendered visage on a huge screen over his shoulder. “Videogames! They’re taking me everywhere.” Mind how you go, Geoff. With great power, and all that.


  • App Store developers will now be able to advertise alternative payment options to users, after Apple settled a 2019 class-action lawsuit. While devs can’t do so directly within apps, they’re free to email their customers about alternatives, and any revenue raised in this way will not be subject to Apple’s usual 30% cut. Among other concessions made in the settlement are a commitment to publish “meaningful statistics” about its app review and rejection process.
  • 343 Industries says the reason it hasn’t shown gameplay footage of Halo Infinite because it is in “shutdown mode”, laser-focused on fixing bugs and ensuring the game scales properly across the wide range of platforms and hardware specs it supports, and has no time for such trifling distractions as, you know, letting potential customers see what the game looks like. Protesting too much, I fear.
  • Blizzard is changing the name of Overwatch’s gunslinging hero McCree, who was named after a member of senior staff at the centre of the studio’s misconduct scandal.
  • Netflix’s long-trailed move into games has begun, with the video-streaming giant offering mobile versions of two Stranger Things games to subscribers in Poland.
  • Lance Barr, designer of the US NES and SNES, has retired from Nintendo after 38 years. Happy trails, sir.

That’s a wrap! There will be no Hit Points on Monday as it’s a public holiday here in the UK. I will be spending the day travelling back from a weekend away, cursing at motorway traffic. Unless you’re a burglar, in which case I’ll be at home, lurking in a dark corner with a big stick. Have a good one, and I’ll see you on Wednesday.