Games Are Terribly Expensive

For about 0.042 seconds, I was thrilled to discover that a new Vampire: The Masquerade role-playing game is in the works.

The original VTM: Bloodlines, released in 2004, was what I believe the kids these days refer to as ‘a hot mess’. Immediately appealing in terms of its presentation and scope, it was still fiercely bugged and didn’t sell as well as it really deserved to – not initially, at least. It proved the undoing of its developer, the already troubled Troika Games, and was the last title they put out. Which is a shame, because Bloodlines was by far one of the most atmospheric games around. In fact I’d argue it still is, and it’s had a lasting effect on me — not least by instilling in me a very complex aesthetic sense relating to fairy lights (thanks, Clan Nosferatu).

So, yeah: dead keen (or should that be undead keen AHAHA) on the idea of a follow-up game, even fifteen years later.

But then…

… the Steam advert.

(I should mention that, yes, Steam has for various reasons been making me feel a little bit itchy of late — but for the moment its usefulness, not to mention my existing library of games on there which Steam lays claim to, just keeps me from abandoning it.)

Three things leapt straight to mind when I saw this.

First, holy shit it’s over fifty quid wtf. Now this brings a couple of accompanying thoughts. First it’s now considered the acceptable norm for so-called “Triple-A” games to cost US$60. This still doesn’t sit well with me because when I started buying games as a kid, with my pocket money, they came on cassette and cost £1.99 from Codemasters and Mastertronic, so get the fuck off my lawn. But, apparently, sixty bucks is normal and okay, so fifty quid is presumably okay too, and when the pound drops below the dollar it’ll look even more dizzying, but that’s okay.

After all, games are terribly expensive to make, aren’t they?

It’s not okay for me, though.

And what’s especially not okay is that your fifty monies will only get you the basic framework of the game. You’ll notice three different ‘editions’ for sale there on the ad. This is common practice now too, with developers releasing ‘editions’ at different price points. The edits usually made to create these ‘editions’ are the removal or gating-off of content in the less expensive versions — content that, it’s worth noting, was probably written in to start with and then had to be actively removed or disabled in those lower-tier releases.

To get the full game experience in VTM:B2, you’re expected to stump up seventy actual quid.

And all of this is for a game you won’t be able to have until 2020 anyway.

Maybe you’re okay with all this, and that’s fine. It’s your money, do with it as you please. But do bear in mind as well that even if you’re willing to pay that £70 for the aforementioned Full Game Experience, you’ll no doubt still be expected to pony up for various DLC packs later on.

Personally, as much as I loved the original Bloodlines, I think I’ll be giving this one a miss. At least until and unless it shows up on a Steam sale at an 80% discount or something.

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