Considering how much the typical AAA game costs these days, it's difficult to fault video game enthusiasts for their outspokenness.
It is annoyingly frequent for publishers to make cynical, money-grubbing judgements concerning their games that irritate gamers before they ever get their hands on the product.
Hence, despite the likelihood that 2023 will be one of the most stacked years in gaming history, many planned titles have alienated a large number of prospective consumers.
From games receiving an obviously unreasonable price increase to titles with highly dubious political choices behind the scenes to publishers treating players like walking ATMs, these games have all angered a large number of people before their release.
It is very conceivable that some of these games may survive the pre-release debate unscathed, and everything may turn out to be rather exaggerated.
Yet, the majority of these concerns are at the very least reason for alarm, if not an encouragement to wait for reviews before purchasing...
1. SkateAs thrilled as fans were when EA finally confirmed that a new Skate game was in the works, they probably should have anticipated difficulty when EA revealed last summer that the game would be free-to-play.
Playtesters reported the inclusion of loot box mechanisms in the game just days after the announcement, with "Swag Bags" implying that this would be a monetised component to justify the free-to-play model.
Considering that EA had previously said that Skate would not have any paid loot box content, many assumed it was merely an old function that had been left in the game's code.
In January, though, playtester interviews showed that not only does the game have loot boxes, but that EA expects to ultimately monetize them.
EA continues to assert that the game would not have paid loot boxes or pay-to-win mechanisms, but it wouldn't be the first time a publisher blatantly lied only to backtrack after reviewers released their reviews.
It is more probable that EA will be technically accurate, but will nonetheless tie loot boxes to monetisation in some way. In any case, the murky waters have made many diehard Skate fans dubious of this otherwise long-awaited release.
2. RedfallRedfall, the newest game from the creators of Dishonored, is without a doubt one of the most anticipated Microsoft-exclusive releases of the year.
And although it's a given that you'll need an Internet connection for the multiplayer section of the game, Bethesda's recent announcement that the game will need players to be continuously connected to the Internet even while playing alone infuriated the Internet.
Considering that Redfall may be played in its entirety as a single-player game, requiring players to remain online feels like an excessive control mechanism, preventing players from continuing to play if they have connection troubles or choose to play offline for whatever reason.
Furthermore, this implies that when Redfall's servers are ultimately shut down, the game will be rendered unplayable. Simply explained, the obligation to constantly be online is horrible for game preservation.
Despite the fact that Redfall will premiere on Xbox Game Pass and may be played for a nominal membership cost, it seems like a particularly poor effort to combat piracy on the part of publishers.
3. Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice LeagueA few weeks ago, a screenshot of the user interface for the forthcoming open-world superhero game Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League from Rocksteady was leaked online.
And it would be a significant understatement to suggest that the crowd reaction was hostile.
The picture, which Warner Bros. has sought to erase from the Internet, seems to reveal that the game will have prominent live service components, since the user interface contains references to a Battle Pass, an in-game shop, and what looks to be six distinct currencies for players to acquire.
Within minutes of the leak, DC fans started comparing the game to Square Enix's previous live-service superhero disaster Marvel's Avengers, which failed because the publisher prioritised monetisation above appealing content.
In addition, the user interface of Suicide Squad is crowded and disorganised, which was also a significant critique of Marvel's Avengers.
Yet the fact that Warner Bros. has not yet provided a comprehensive gameplay analysis for Suicide Squad, despite the fact that it will be released in less than three months, just makes prospective buyers more doubtful and angry about how the game may end out.
Prepare yourself for yet another DC video game in the manner of Gotham Knights.
4. Final Fantasy XVIThe development of the next Final Fantasy XVI seems to have gone quite easily compared to the series' norms, since the game is scheduled to be released in June of this year.
There is not a single Black or non-white character among the inhabitants of Valisthea, the game's central setting. This has sparked tremendous fan backlash.
The game's producer, Naoki Yoshida, was asked about this by IGN late last year, and provided a statement that disappointed the fanbase:
Ultimately, we felt that while incorporating ethnic diversity into Valisthea was important, an over-incorporation into this single corner of a much larger world could end up causing a violation of those narrative boundaries we originally set for ourselves. The story we are telling is fantasy, yes, but it is also rooted in reality.
Final Fantasy XVI, a highly fantasy and "unrealistic" game replete with absurd monsters and magical powers, attempts to mimic the ethnic demographics of mediaeval Europe in a "plausible" manner, which understandably irritated many.
Even discounting the fact that non-white people undoubtedly did exist in mediaeval Europe, this is a lame excuse for one of the most popular games of the year's shocking lack of diversity.
5. Tekken 8Fighting game fans are notoriously fickle and difficult to please, but even the most casual Tekken fans must have scoffed at the redesigns of classic characters in Tekken 8.
Namco has first and primarily destroyed the appearances of two famous characters. Although many of the characters in Tekken 8 look rather good, there is no excuse for what they did to Paul Phoenix and Marshall Law.
Paul seems like a ghost of his former self due to his awful hairstyle and Mad Max costume aesthetic, whilst Law appears to have been given a dosage of steroids equivalent to a weapon.
Given that Law was intended as a tribute to famed martial artist Bruce Lee, a guy formidable despite his diminutive size, it seems absolutely foolish to remake Law to be an extremely ripped beast.
Although there's no question that Tekken 8's gameplay will be as slick and addicting as ever, you also want to enjoy looking at the characters too, right? Hopefully, the game will provide the couple with some great alternative appearances.
6. Diablo IVDiablo IV is nearly out, and it seems like it will be an absolute fun. Yet despite the fact that Blizzard has obviously learnt a few lessons from Diablo III's rocky debut, such as removing the real-money auction house, the sailing is far from smooth.
Diablo IV will be always-online like its predecessor, and according to a new beta leak, the controversial Smart Loot system from Diablo III will return.
Although Smart Loot adjusts loot to the player's attributes, many believe it also reduces the social side of trade and the excitement of experimenting with alternative builds.
And as if that weren't enough, The Washington Post reported late last year that Diablo IV was being developed under extreme time constraints.
At than a dozen Blizzard developers reported being severely overworked to fulfil the June 2 delivery deadline. One developer even said:
We're at the point where they're not willing to delay the game anymore... So we all just have to go along and figure out how much we're willing to hurt ourselves to make sure the game gets released in a good enough state.
Beyond that, the article discussed weak management at Blizzard and some of the game's problematic narrative choices, indicating that the highly anticipated sequel may be in a worse state than the publisher would want to acknowledge.
7. Star CitizenGiven that Star Citizen's pre-production started in 2010 and its crowdfunding campaign celebrated its 10-year anniversary in September, it's a little strange to use the term "already" in reference to the science-fiction epic.
Star Citizen has raised a mind-boggling $500 million - yes, half a billion dollars - via crowdfunding, but the game has yet to be launched.
Many supporters have been disillusioned with the project due to the fact that the space commerce and warfare simulation game remains unfinished after so many years, despite the fact that portions of the game have been delivered to backers.
Some have referred to Star Citizen as a victim of scope creep, claiming that the game got more ambitious as more funds rolled in, while others have gone so far as to label it a hoax.
Whether or if Star Citizen ultimately delivers on its high promises, it is difficult to fault individuals who invested when Margaret Thatcher was still living and have nothing tangible to show for their investment.
8. Silent Hill 2 RemakeFollowing almost two years of persistent rumours, Konami officially confirmed in October 2017 that a remake of Silent Hill 2 was in production and released an absolutely stunning teaser.
The announcement that Silent Hill 2 Remake will be created by Bloober Team, whose previous titles include the contentious horror titles Layers of Fear, Observer, Blair Witch, and The Medium, significantly dampened early anticipation.
Whilst Bloober Team clearly understands how to design engaging aesthetics and an intoxicating atmosphere, its touch on gameplay is far less secure, and thus putting them in charge of redoing one of the most popular survival horror games of all time sounds like a dangerous notion.
We'd all want to be surprised by Bloober here, but given their track record, it's difficult to get too enthused about what might easily become an aesthetically spectacular but otherwise disorganised reworking of a genre classic.
Out of all the possible developers to recreate Silent Hill 2, Blober was chosen. Really?
9. Beyond Good and Evil 2Following years of speculation, Ubisoft revealed Beyond Good and Evil 2 for the first time in 2008, and then remained radio quiet on the game for over a decade.
Beyond Good and Evil 2 was ultimately presented at E3 2017 with a highly spectacular, attention-grabbing theatrical trailer, but in the years that followed, updates were few.
The departure of director Michel Ancel from the firm in 2020 heightened the industry's doubts over Ubisoft's ability to execute on the game's open-world claims.
Early fan enthusiasm also waned as a result of the protracted production and mounting fears that the project would never be delivered or, at worst, would be a failure when it did.
In October of last year, Beyond Good and Evil 2 became the longest-developed AAA video game in history, surpassing Duke Nukem Forever, the previous record holder.
At this point, most fans of the first game are thoroughly fed up with the protracted development cycle of the sequel, to the point that enthusiasm has essentially gone.
10. The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The KingdomThe Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom looks absolutely beautiful, but with the recent confirmation of its May 12th release date, Nintendo also disclosed that the game would be the first Major Nintendo product to cost an exorbitant $70, or £60 for UK gamers.
Sony began increasing their prices to $70 beginning with the current gaming generation in 2020, and Microsoft is about to begin doing the same. However, Nintendo maintained a more competitive price point for their new releases, which made perfect sense given the relatively underpowered nature of the Nintendo Switch.
Hence, the choice to charge so much for the next Zelda infuriated many fans, particularly considering the performance troubles that several previous Switch games have experienced owing to the console's age, and the probability that Tears of the Kingdom may not be fully devoid of technological compromises.
They anticipate an almost flawless, silky smooth experience for $70, so it is difficult not to regard Nintendo's price increase as selfish.
Despite Nintendo's insistence that $70 is not a standard pricing for all future titles, it seems apparent that they are only testing the waters to see how far they can go.
If Tears of the Kingdom sells like hotcakes, as it will undoubtedly do, expect every big AAA Nintendo game to cost the same going forward.