Another holiday shopping season is here, bringing with it the grim realization that, once again, the game industry has failed to learn its damn lesson. Just like every other year, seemingly every game publisher on the planet has decided to shove its biggest releases onto store shelves for the holidays, confident that they won’t be buried under the avalanche of every other publisher doing the exact same thing. Of course, “buried” is exactly how a lot of those games will end up, including some of the high-profile, high-quality ones that we’ve all been salivating over for months.
Realistically, most gamers (or their parents) can’t afford to just run out and buy everything they want this season, especially when you stop to consider the looming global economic holocaust. Even those who can buy whatever they want will be busy enough with work or final exams that at least some of the games they buy will sit unplayed for some time. Tough choices will have to be made, whether they’re with money or time, and some of the hottest holiday releases will inevitably be ignored until either a price drop or a lull in activity make it possible to pay attention to them.
Above: Think you’re going to get all this before New Year’s? Guess again, Rockefeller
So, rather than taking the usual, boring tack of pointing out the “overlooked gems” of this holiday season, let’s take a look at seven games that – despite being triple-A, high-profile titles – are doomed to be shoved aside for the time being. Yeah, you might already have played one or two of them, but the mere fact that there are seven on the list means that most won’t find their way into your consoles this month. You’ll probably get to them eventually; it’ll just be a while, is all.
Edged out by: A userbase that’s apparently less interested in creative, Nintendo-style 2D platformers than originally anticipated.
Why it’ll have to wait: As much as we love developer Media Molecule’s platformer/insane level-creation tool, it hasn’t been burning up the charts quite the way publisher Sony had hoped. That prompted Sony’s UK PR chief to remark that, had it been released at any other time of year, LittleBigPlanet would top sales charts. Unfortunately, that notion didn’t stop Sony from dropping LBP into the bloated, crowded holiday season, where it could slug it out with monsterweight franchises like Call of Duty and Guitar Hero.
Above: Somehow, this hasn’t been as popular as we all thought it would be
Making matters worse is LBP’s TV ad campaign, which completely ignores the game’s biggest selling point – fun, easy level creation – in favor of repeating the mantra, “If fun didn’t matter…” Yes. Great. We’re sure that’ll do wonders to sell a game that appears to the casual observer to be little more than a side-scrolling, multiplayer platformer. Especially the casual observer who wonders why it’s considered THE must-have title for a $400 game console.
That said, we can assume many of you reading this aren’t casual observers. You’re probably clued into the buzz surrounding LittleBigPlanet. Maybe you even own a PS3 to play it on. However (and this is excepting those of you who’ve bought LBP and are currently creating your own levels and commenting angrily at the end of this article), is a make-your-own-side-scroller really what you want right now?
If it’s a choice between the novelty of LBP and the lure of, say, Fallout 3 or Prince of Persia, are you really going to pick the simple, cute, wholly unique game that actually demands that you put a bit of work into it? Or are you going to glom onto a more familiar, immediately exciting experience and put off buying LBP until you’ve calmed down a bit? Yeah, that’s what we thought.