If there’s one thing the video gaming industry knows, it’s controversy. Video games have often been targeted as the “fall guy” whenever someone does something horrible. Folks will say, “He played violent video games” and use that as justification for the person’s actions. While this has been a pervasive problem in the media for decades, the theory that violent video games make people violent has been repeatedly debunked. Regardless, the controversies persist, but they don’t always involve taking up arms in imagined combat. Occasionally, controversy in video games surrounds the creators, the content that may not be appropriate for everyone or even some choices the creators made that help them earn a little cash. Whatever the reason, the industry gets a lot of flack.
The year is halfway over and there have already been some amazing (and controversial games) to come out. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few more waiting on the horizon that people have taken issue with. Whether it has to do with the oft-vilified Loot Boxes or the very nature of a game, the rest of 2018, and 2019, are filled with future game releases that people are complaining about. Granted, this isn’t a problem that is going to go away, and many people are looking forward to most of the games on this list. That being said, they aren’t without their controversy, which is why we have included them in this list of the 15 most controversial video games coming out in 2018-19. Sound off in the comments if you know of any we may have missed or just let us know which game you are looking forward to the most!
War. War never changes… but Fallout games do! Nobody has ever released a Fallout game without bringing up one controversy or another. Bethesda has once again surprised fans with an epic reveal and a good half of the people are excited while the other half are angry. What’s to be mad about with a new Fallout game you might ask? The game is 100% online, all the time.
That has angered a number of fans who enjoy the storytelling of the single-player adventure Fallout is best known for. Others are excited at the prospect of playing their favorite franchise with (or against) their friends. Even with the controversy, the game will certainly be huge, which is why it is selling like crazy in pre-orders (which automatically grant you access to the Beta in October).
The controversy surrounding Cyberpunk 2077 is a little out of left field seeing as it is coming from William Gibson, the man most recognized as being the father of the Cyberpunk genre, thanks to his book Neuromancer. While the trailer released at E3 2018 blew most people away, it left Gibson wanting more with a comment he took to Twitter.
Gibson said, “The trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 strikes me as GTA skinned-over with a generic ’80s retro-future, but hey, that’s just me.” Seeing as Gibson is a big part of the genre, his words have influenced potential players of the game. If the guy behind the genre isn’t on board with your new property, you may have some problems at launch.
POKEMON, LET’S GO, PIKACHU!
There are people all over the world who absolutely love everything about Pokémon, while there are others who are so die-hard, they don’t want to see anything changed in the franchise. When Pokémon Go came out, people derided the game for its lack of trading and other features, which have since been added. That’s not to say these new games aren’t popular, but they do come with some controversy.
For Pokémon, Let’s Go, Pikachu!, fans are getting upset online due to the removal of a feature Pokémon games have had since the beginning: wild Pokemon encounters. The game appears to be a recreation of the very first, but without this feature, a lot of fans have been turned off to the newest edition to the franchise.
Sometimes, a controversial video game hits the market, but comes back to bite consumers in the rear when it is released years later. Granted, Night Trap — first released in 1992 on the ill-fated Sega CD system — was controversial for its time; however, it isn’t as controversial in today’s environment.
When the game was first released, it was more of a cheap and horrible slasher film the player “sort of” played through to get to the end of the game. It was derided for its use of violence, which forced Toys R Us to pull it from its shelves. Sega famously removed the game from its library following a hearing by the Senate Judiciary and Government Affairs hearing on violence in video games. Even with all that, the game has been reformatted and is coming to the Switch in 2018.
Normally, a Madden game is released with a great deal of fanfare and there is little to no controversy surrounding it. Unfortunately, recent events in the NFL have trickled down and caused problems for EA and their flagship title, Madden 19. In 2017 and beyond, members of the NFL have taken to protest during the National Anthem by “taking a knee,” which has caused considerable controversy.
Aligning with the controversy, which was initiated by Colin Kapernick, EA removed his name from a song lyric included in the game. It was noticed and commented on via Twitter, which garnered a lot of negative attention for EA. The company has since corrected “an unfortunate mistake” and returned Kapernick’s name to the soundtrack.
When the first Crackdown game was released, it was incredibly well received, which garnered a sequel, Crackdown 2. That game was also well received, but the format was changed in such a way that many players criticized it. In many ways, it was too similar to the original game and the enemy AI wasn’t challenging. It’s been eight years and developers are banking on a return to glory with Crackdown 3.
The new title has garnered some controversy simply because fans are concerned it will rely too heavily on the structure maintained in the first sequel. An additional reliance on the bankability of their spokesman, Terry Crews has concerned some fans wary of a celebrity endorsement. Regardless of the issues some fans have taken with the game, it is still highly anticipated and will likely sell well.
THE LAST NIGHT
The Last Night is an upcoming game for the PC and XBox One from Raw Fury. The game offers a beautiful 2.5D cinematic platform experience that looks rather amazing. It involves a player taking on the role of Charlie, a person from a low-class environment who must traverse a city of much higher class and leisure that has handed over most of the necessary labor to robots.
The controversy surrounding the game has little to do with the game itself and everything to do with its creator, Tim Soret. Soret has been linked to Gamergate and is suspected of being an antifeminist. Because of this, he has had to go on the defensive while promoting the game, which has also been somewhat aligned with his views. The controversy has been fueled thanks to a meme called the Milkshake Duck.
SIX DAYS IN FALLUJAH
Six Days in Fallujah is a fully-developed game expected to release sometime in late 2018 or 2019. The game is the first to focus directly on recent events in the Middle East, which is why it has garnered controversy. As that conflict has yet to be fully resolved, many have taken issue with the creation of a first-person shooter that takes place around true events that happened very recently.
During the conflict, the operation in Fallujah, Iraq was particularly devastating to the United States Marines fighting there. The game follows a squad from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines during the Second Battle of Fallujah. The game has been criticized for being insensitive to the Marines who fought in the battle, which led to Konami abandoning its initial planned release.
The Battlefield franchise has never been without its controversy, thanks to things like Loot Boxes and other cash grabs, but its next iteration is receiving a lot of flack for a much different reason: women. The game features female soldiers fighting in the battles of World War II. While this is seen by some as a way of including (or possibly enticing) female gamers, the developers have taken a lot of heat over it.
Featuring female soldiers during World War II is not only historically inaccurate, say its detractors, it is also perceived as a move towards political correctness. When it’s finally released, the gameplay will speak for itself, but given its otherwise accurate portrayal of the conflict, it has upset some players that the game alters the gender of soldiers while still maintaining it is still historically accurate.
SUPER SMASH BROS. ULTIMATE
The Smash Bros. titles have quickly become some of the most anticipated and highest selling games for Nintendo, but one small choice by the developers has landed their next title in a pit of controversy. Fans were quick to note there was someone missing when Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was announced… where was Waluigi?
When fans noticed their favorite anti-hero was absent from the title, they began a campaign to bring him back. Nintendo may have listened thanks to a Direct Presentation, which featured the games director, Masahiro Sakurai sitting in front of a purple and green chair. The hint/Easter egg has excited fans who believe Waluigi may appear… but it could have just been a couple of chairs. Fans are eager to have him added, but Nintendo has yet to commit… though they could simply be toying with us.
Star Citizen is one of those games most people have probably heard of but never played. That’s likely due to the fact that it has raised hundreds of millions of dollars by selling digital content for the game. Players can spend real-world cash to acquire amazing ships. The only problem… the game has yet to be released, even though it has been in development for years.
The game was first launched via Kickstarter in 2017 and has since gone on to raise more money than every other game on Kickstarter for two years combined. With all that cash, it’s a wonder to many why the game has yet to be released. The current projection is that it will finally see release in 2019, but it’s anyone’s guess if this will actually happen or not.
MY FRIEND PEDRO
If you’re in the market for a game that is so far over the top, it requires a new classification, My Friend Pedro is for you! The game is set to release on Steam and the Nintendo Switch in 2019, but it will likely bring forth some controversy thanks to its over-the-top violence. The game is like the movie Shoot ’em Up only it’s playable, more violent and bound to anger a lot of people.
The game is being developed by Devolver Digital and it has already received positive acclaim. By all accounts, it’s going to be a successful game, but its depictions of violence have already angered a lot of people online… granted, there are still more than a few players looking forward to the over-the-top violence set to debut in the first quarter, 2019.
THE LAST OF US: PART 2
The Last of Us: Part 2 is a sequel to one of the most successful games in the genre, so it should come as no surprise that the game will stir up some interest as it is one of the most anticipated games pending release. When the first trailer dropped, fans were treated with far more violence than they were prepared for and this has led to controversy surrounding the release.
The trailer has been described as being “incredibly brutal” and there are those who may avoid playing it as a result. There is another aspect some people have taken issue with from the trailer and it’s to do with a gay couple. Granted, most players aren’t raising a fit over the inclusion of otherwise marginalized characters, but there are always those who get in a tizzy over such things.
After BioWare released a significant amount of gameplay footage for its upcoming title, Anthem, fans became eager to play the new title. While the game is heavily anticipated as a new franchise from a popular developer, many are wary that BioWare will repeat the mistakes made with its release of Mass Effect Andromeda, which was rushed to market with a number of problems.
There is a fear the same will happen for Anthem, but even more concerning is the fact that BioWare teamed up with EA. It’s not that EA isn’t an amazing developer that’s the problem, it’s its inclusion in a new property like Anthem that has many fans concerned. Much of the controversy may just stem from a lot of people’s fears the game won’t be as good as they hope, but only time will tell for sure.
The game Standoff began its life titled Active Shooter. It is easily the most controversial game to potentially find release, but it has been plagued with countless problems due to its content. The game was famously removed from the online digital game retailer Steam, but after being re-branded, it will likely still find a release sometime withing the next year.
The game is controversial due to the fact that it places the player in the role of an active shooter within a school. The controversy with that is evident, thanks to the events that have gone on in the United States’ schools in recent years. While the developer insists the game doesn’t promote violence, he hasn’t convinced anyone and it remains the most controversial potential release out there.
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