Hottest Mess Waiting Room 2019

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hermes

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I feel like the crunch and layoffs should be in a different category. I think it diminish the gravity of the situation when the staff has to compare it with things like "no man sky was kind of boring" or "fallout 76 is broken". I also get that the categories are more for laughs, and even hottest mess have an air of banality to them, so it is more entertaining to talk about the latest Pitchfork debacle than about the soul crushing stories of the lives of people that make the games that we love.

It felt a little weird when the discussion last year was "What was a hottest mess? Telltale closing its doors and leaving hundreds without social security (including people that had just moved in), or Bethesda not delivering vanity items to premium buyers?". So I am proposing crunches, layoffs and other incidents that affect the real life of people outside of gaming to be placed on a special category, be talked about, say something like "and the winner is... no one. Because no one wins in these situations" and rule them out of the hottest mess.

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meteora3255

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Mario Maker 2: For as great as that game is, Nintendo still hasn't figured out to handle searching for and surfacing levels. This game didn't even launch with the equivalent of the bookmark site they eventually added to MM1.

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BladeOfCreation

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@hermes: Yeah, this was exactly my feeling about it during the discussions last year.

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Darkaileron

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Pitchford. Fuck him.

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niko_of_death

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It's too bad the crew doesn't follow esports very closesly, because that entire industry is the definition of a hot mess (and getting hotter by the year). From all of Riot's issues both in their actual esports practices, as well as all their corporate issues that seemingly everyone is willing to turn a blind eye to because you gotta get some money from that esports thing, to Activision pumping up the bubble with industrial strength to ensure it collapses as soon as possible, to the countless scam tournaments, and 1000 other things I can't think of off the top of my head because there's too much trash in the industry to keep track of.

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MonkeyKing1969

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Bethesda is in a very early and sizable lead on this.

My guess is that as the fall rolls around we will see some big games arrive that will be 2019 hot messes and/or more employment woes.

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pappafost

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Randy Pitchford should definitely win, HOWEVER, he is a magician, and experience dictates that you should DEFINITELY not mess with magicians. Nominate at your own risk, lol.

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Shiftygism

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#58  Edited By Shiftygism
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dudeglove

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This is more video game adjacent and/or me being old man yells at cloud, but I'd like to give an honorary nomination-then-immediately-take-off-the-list to random heckling.

Various events, not just the embarrassment that was the hooting from the E3 Bethesda conference, but SGDQ and some others this year have had way way too many people bellowing unfunny things from the audience. If you're one of those people, please stop.

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dudeglove

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#60  Edited By dudeglove

Okay this doesn't involve Pitchford (one hopes) but it does involve Borderlands 3

https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2019/08/08/2k-sent-hired-goons-to-a-youtuber-over-borderlands-3-info-leaks/

Short version is, a youtuber called SupMatto is (or was) a massive Borderlands fan, and made videos about the games. He has also "leaked" some minor information in the form of publicly available screenshots about the next game (which were discerned from live stream previews of the game and other preview events). Take-Two/2K's response to this fandom was to not only publicly admit that they have had a 10-month long investigation into SupMatto, but also that they did in fact send two men posing as private investigators to his home in an attempt to interrogate him about his activities. Soon after this, his discord was taken down and multiple copyright strikes filed against his YouTube channel.

Not even the first time Take Two have done this either. They did it to a GTAV modder too.

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-11-10-take-two-sends-private-investigators-to-gta5-modders-home-report

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BladeOfCreation

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#61  Edited By BladeOfCreation

@dudeglove: What the actual fuck. I hope 2K gets sued and fined out the ass for this.

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Rahf

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Second instance could be grounds for a cease-and-desist, since it involves quite heavy tampering with the game code.

First instance is bizarre.

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dudeglove

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@dudeglove: What the actual fuck. I hope 2K gets sued and fined out the ass for this.

What do you think the chances of a youtuber with about 140k subs versus a company whose total assets are somewhere about 4.2 billion dollars? But don't worry, there's a boycottborderlands3 hashtag.

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BladeOfCreation

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@dudeglove: That's why I said "hope" and not "believe."

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MerxWorx01

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I have to say, based on all that has happened in the past few months this list will probably triple by the end of the year.

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chaz934

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I thought Anthem had it by a landslide until the ESA leak.

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slaughts

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The ESA journo leak definitely is going to be on the Top 3 this year for Hottest Mess unless something worse happens.

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Gundato

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I think the ESA leak will be similar to Mucin from last year: it will get a fair amount of play and impassioned discussion. And it is probably what a lot of the staff would want to pick, but it doesn't really affect most gamers directly

I think Anthem or "Randy" are still the front runners with my current money on Anthem. Because Randy may be a shitshow but Borderlands 3 is going to sell like hotcakes. EGS might get a bit of time, but I don't think any of the staff feel particularly inconvenienced by it and I suspect it may just be one talking point in the general "stop fucking harassing people" conversation.

I do expect unionization and crunch to get a pretty big emphasis, but suspect it won't win for reasons similar to ESA: Most of the audience don't think they are affected by it.

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Joshakazam

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Boy, I thought the ESA & Randy had this category locked down until last week.

Now I can't really see anyone besides Blizzard winning it.

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Captain_Insano

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Blizzard has made a very strong surge to take the win here

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Nodima

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As the year rolls along, Anthem has two things building in its favor:

1) It happened, by year-over-year standards, a really long time ago.

2) At the end of the day, it's just a bad video game and a broken promise. Those things happen.

By contrast, some of the latter-year fuck-ups are on a far more human scale than attempting to create an entertainment product and failing to hit the mark.

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ichthy

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Gonna be a real "quality" over quantity fight this year.

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Spice

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Just when Randy had it in the bag, in comes Blizzard off the top rope!

I can't wait to hear how this category goes down with the duders.

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north6

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Shut it down, this is over. The only question is can they drop some more authoritarian nightmare truth bombs at Blizzcon. No comparison, except maybe google / apple for getting scrubbing their app stores of Hong Kong protest apps, but I'm sure they'll get a pass since they're megacorps that only dabble in gaming and crushing democracy.

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TheFlamingo352

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#75  Edited By TheFlamingo352

Yeah, Blizzard has pulled out to a strong lead here. I'll put side bets on Anthem and Randy getting in at 2nd and 3rd, but thoses messes feel like they happened years ago now.

Edit- Damn I already forgot the ESA doxxed every games journalist. What a year.

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ripelivejam

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It's really weird how Randy lost all the attention suddenly, hah. Though I'm pretty convinced that he's just a weird douche who lacks proper social skills and that's that. Still got Borderlands 3 despite all the semi-bullshit as I've played a goddamn lot of Borderlands and don't intend to stop soon.

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YEAHbrother

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What’s that??? BAH GAWD IT’S WWE 2K20’S MUSIC!!!! (And numerous ways this game is broken as hell)

But also - Fallout 1st flying in as well!!

Late game contenders for what will be quite the category this year

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TobbRobb

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If the Randy collection is considered one big feature I could've seen it as a sure winner. But MAN Blizzard is really not letting anyone else compete here huh.

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DasaKamov

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#79  Edited By DasaKamov

Blizzard's "Whatever you say, Daddy Jinping" attitude is certainly a top contender -- but really, FO76's pre-order bonus came with the threat of actual, literal, slow-painful-death-by-fungal-infection.

I don't think anything else can really compete with the possibility that *numerous people nation-wide* could have died or had their health put at severe risk due to marketing gimmicks.

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SkullPanda1

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I thought the Fallout76 moldy helmet was a separate item that GS sold and not one that was part of a Fallout76 SKU.

I feel like a US company carrying water for a repressive regime kinda has to take this category.

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development

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#81 development  Online

Hottest mess is always my favorite bit, but damn...

Gonna say they might not do it this year on account of all the very traumatic and serious issues that came up in 2019. For instance, giving the "win" to 'Labor Issues' underscores sexual abuse, and vice versa. Then again it's more that we're more aware as a society than all of this being anything new.

But corporate bloodsucking is the winner as usual: from Blizzard siding with business interests over human interests; to Gearbox not shitcanning Pitchford; to Bethesda being tonedeaf literally every step of the way on Fallout 76; to Bethesda not releasing any kind of statement saying they're removing ties to Jeremy Soule whatsoever (although it seems he's not returning for the next Elder Scrolls anyway?); to layoffs after layoffs after layoffs; to lootboxes. Hey maybe capitalism suuucks?

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DasaKamov

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@skullpanda1: You're correct; I didn't realize that GameStop has a different source that produced their FO76 bonuses. Guess I'll change my vote for "winningest-loser" to Blizzard, then!

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DarkeyeHails

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As much as I never thought I would say this, I miss the days when people legitimately believed that "Game was bad" was not only a contender for hottest mess but the winner.

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Casepb

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#84  Edited By Casepb

I think Bethesda is set for 1st place this year. Not only did they release one of the worst games of 2018, but they just keep building on the shit show. And this website https://falloutfirst.com/ is my new favorite thing of 2019 now.

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dudeglove

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Pitchford's Meltdown May seems quaint just a few months on compared to other things that have happened since.

I'm thinking I'll probably re-do the original post to be a monthly chronological list of the things that were noticeable, if only to give a better indication as to how frequently companies were appearing in some cases every month.

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paulmako

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After THQ Nordic's 8chan event, everything that came out around sexual abuse allegations, and Blizzard finding themselves in the conversation about political oppression, I would be really disappointed if hottest mess just goes to something like Anthem or the continued debacle of Fallout 76.

I was already quite disappointed that labour issues did take it last year, which seemed like a real inflexion point for wider awareness of conditions in the industry.

But then as others here have said, does that become a different category? How would you even talk about ranking stories of sexual assault vs associating with child pornography vs aiding totalitarianism?

At the same time, it would feel dishonest not to talk about them. I think an unranked top three or five or even just a general discussion with no winner would be the only way to go.

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Rahf

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It is Hottest Mess, which all these things are. It is a mess, and it is hot this year.

Anthem dodged a fucking bullet.

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EvilMonkeySlayer

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@casepb said:

I think Bethesda is set for 1st place this year. Not only did they release one of the worst games of 2018, but they just keep building on the shit show. And this website https://falloutfirst.com/ is my new favorite thing of 2019 now.

Disagree, it's Blizzard with a bullet.

Bethesda was pissing gamers off, Blizzard was literally siding with Chinese repression and silencing people for their political views.

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ClintDriftwood

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Definitely. Microtransactions, crunch, and layoffs are pretty much the 21st Centuries' Hottest Mess. Man. What a hot mess.

The difficult thing about Hottest Mess is a lot of the best candidates are often ongoing issues in the industry. The big problems tend to be the most pernicious, so they don't appear within the course of a year, and disappear before the next; they're more long-term than that. Along those lines, the widespread, never-ending crunch that has happened over the course of 2019 is probably the worst thing so far, and even if that doesn't fit the spirit of Hottest Mess perfectly, maybe it deserves to be the pick because it would draw more attention to an already desperate problem in the industry. If we're picking a disaster more specific to this year, however, it's gotta be Pitchford. I've never seen anyone that high up in the industry spiral out of control in the way he has. I still can't quite believe it's happened.

I think the Blizzard/China thing has to be on there. Heck, it could even just be Hottest Mess: Publishers. Blizzard, Epic, EA & Riot have had one heck of a messy year.

On the horrendous allegations of abuse, is hottest mess even the right thing to call it? I mean it absolutely needs highlighting and condemning from every opportunity, but maybe there needs to be a whole new category with Soule, Kennedy, Holowka, Pitchford, et al. Hottest Mess seems slightly disingenuous to the victims of these men.

On the Beastcast this week Alex lamented how hard it is to get 10 games for his 2019 list, and honestly, I'm on the same page. Yet if we were to make a Top 10 for Hottest Mess it'd be almost impossible to keep at only ten. What a state this industry is in.

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MrGreenMan

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Bethesda, Blizzard And the Randy Pitchford saga are very close for me. Fallout 76 is just the gift that keeps on giving well over a year into it release and at this point it more than funny and sad, like a drunk uncle. Randy Pitchford is just scum and a awful person who continues to be rewarded for being awful. What Blizzard has done is just fucked up and has real world implications, so Blizzard is on the top on my shit list.

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TheRealTurk

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#91 TheRealTurk  Online

It's got to be Blizzard for me simply because what went down was (a) preventable and (b) required multiple fuckups by multiple people to get that bad. Pretty much the only way they don't win is if Blizzcon finishes out by having Blitzchung come out on stage and publicly scourge Bobby Kotick while dressed in a Winny the Pooh costume.

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WickedCobra03

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Thank you for putting this list together. Man, coming up to the end of the year, you forgot just how much craziness went on. My vote goes to Randy Pitchford or Anthem. I can't even believe that Anthem shipped.

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dudeglove

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Right so I've updated the original post, adding a chronological list of the (subjectively speaking) hot messes as they happened per month. I was going to go through the backlog of the year's news anyway for entirely separate reasons, so it's not much hassle for me to have done this. You're welcome, I guess. Before you ask, Blizzcon isn't quite done with yet, but I'll compile the various messes, or you can probably just wait for crowbcat to do a youtube video on it.

A few things I'd like to point out going through the headlines that aren't really surfacing as much as more notorious recent incidents:

- Several governments across the world from South Korea to EU have taken the WHO classification of "gaming disorder" extremely seriously and legislation is being drafted citing this classification as a basis.

- Trump's proposed 25% trade tariff on Chinese made electronics (i.e. every single console you own) could actually be the biggest hottest mess of this year. As far as I know, that tariff hasn't been abandoned, only delayed until December 15th. You might be seeing a significant price hike on games consoles come Holiday season

- Starbreeze studios has been a constant mess financially, with it seeking extension after extension and recently reintroducing a la carte DLC for Payday 2 ten months after supposedly canning it.

- It feels like it's all but been forgotten but don't forget the ESA leaks of E3 attendees.

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gkhan

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My feeling is that Blizzard's gonna take it easy, with ESA leak and Randy Pitchford trailing. Anthem was a mediocre game, but it's nothing compared to those three.