Steam Charts: From France to San Francisco

Alec is away this week, following the Vengaboys around on tour. Or, if they’re not currently touring, just visiting places they’ve been, taking photos and placing them inside his scrapbook alongside some brief reflections. That means it falls to me to tell you which ten games were the best selling on Steam in the past week, and there are some pleasant games inside.

1. Planet Coaster

I’m glad to see Planet Coaster doing well, because I want to live in a world where management games are commonplace again. That said, I stepped off Frontier’s rollercoaster pretty quickly. I found it fiddly to build rides, both trying to work out how to attach entrances to them and for the left-click-to-add-new-track controls. I built half a coaster, turned it off and re-installed Cities: Skylines.

2. Total War: WARHAMMER – Realm of The Wood Elves

I’m not au fait with Warhammer, which means I hear “Wood Elves DLC” and have no idea where they place within the canon of Warhammer races. Are people excited to be leafy treedwellers, as much as they are goblins and orcs and dwarves and so on? It turns out, yes. Now that Time Commanders is back on TV, maybe we can get a special Christmas episode called Warhammer Commanders.

3. H1Z1: King of the Kill

Half price down to $10 for the last 5 days sees H1Z1 storm back up the charts. King of the Hill is the standalone spinoff, carved from the main game proper, in which players are parachuted into an open world that’s continually shrinking in size. You have to scavenge for weapons while being pushed towards the centre and the last player standing is the winner. It’s an exciting distillation of what makes a lot of these survival games fun, though creator PlayerUnknown has split from Daybreak to make a game based on the mode of his own called PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

4. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

I love Counter-Strike Global Offensive but even I’m surprised that there are people left who don’t already own it. Did the people who bought it this past week only hear of it recently? Just find the time to get round to it? Or were they drawn in by the Christmas jumpers placed on chickens? Hmm.

5. Watch Dogs 2

Word is that Watch Dogs 2 is selling only a fraction of what its predecessor did, which is probably a result of marketing more than anything else. By all accounts, Watch Dogs 2 is the better game, replacing the original’s drab main character and world with a likable cast and missions more based around tomfoolery than seedy human trafficking gangs. I’ve played a bit of it and was unreasonably annoyed that restaurants and hotels I like in San Francisco weren’t present in its nevertheless beautiful and impressive open city.

6. Rust

Another half-price sale to $10 saw Rust also re-appear in the top ten. A quick look at SteamSpy suggests Rust is owned by 4.5 million people, which, geez, is a lot – particularly given I don’t hear that much about it anymore, after all the initial stories of player-driven cooperation and horribleness. Are any of you playing it? Is Rust the DayZ-style survival game come good?

7. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

I’m thrilled this has broken into the top ten. I hadn’t heard of Shadow Tactics until it was released, but I loved the Commandos games back in the day and this is essentially a genre revival. An underrepresented set of ideas, some lovely level design, and you should read Tim Stone’s review to see why Shadow Tactics is this week’s outlier success.

8. Total War: WARHAMMER

A bump owing to the release of the Wood Elves DLC, above, and a couple days at a reduced price of $45. Also because it’s Total War and Warhammer combined and so this thing is just going to sell and sell until they make a new one.

9. Euro Truck Simulator 2 – Vive la France!

Oh, this is nice. We’ve seen Euro Truck and American Truck Simulator pop up in the top ten before, but it’s a pleasure every time. Vive la France is the latest expansion, which expands France with thousands of new roads and countryside and terrain much as the previous Scandinavian expansion did to that region. I’m a fan of this series – which people still think is a novelty or only enjoyed ironically, sadly – and need to find the time to get out my wheel and try this.

10. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

Like Planet Coaster above, I bounced off Civilization VI pretty quickly. I don’t think the game is the problem, I think it’s me; I think I just don’t like Civilization games anymore. Adam described the series as a race towards a finish line and I think that’s why. I’d rather play a grand strategy game that created a story than a 4X game in which I was racing blind towards victory or failure. Many other people feel differently, of course.

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34 Comments

  1. frightlever says:

    Watch Dogs 2 selling worse than the original, which had a white protagonist, while the sequel has a diverse cast? Sadly, given the state of politics right now I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

    • ran93r says:

      Maybe it’s just me but I feel like it’s the sequel nobody asked for.

      • Premium User Badge

        basilisk says:

        /raises hand

        I did! The first one was an unfulfilled promise which I thought really needed a sequel that would deliver on said promise (not unlike AC1 and AC2). And it mostly did. Not completely, but mostly.

      • A Wanderer says:

        Kinda not wanted, yeah. In fact, Watch Dogs reminds me a bit of No Man”s Sky, on a much lesser scale. The game was hyped beyond reason, and as it failed to deliver, people started hating on the game, as if it was the worst game of 2014. Wich it wasn’t, by a very long shot. There was, I think, a big disconnect between what people wanted and the real state of the first game, which was the kind of game that absolutely needed a sequel.

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          basilisk says:

          I don’t want to stir up too many emotions, but I don’t think that in the case of WD1 Ubi ever promised features that didn’t make it in. Unless you count some of the graphical bells and whistles, which angered the rather specific crowd who genuinely care if there’s volumetric this or super-sampled that. Other than that, the hype was mostly invented out of thin air.

          I think the game’s biggest failure was letting people play it like GTA instead of focusing on its unique aspects. Because many people did play it like a GTA, and concluded it was a crap GTA. Which it was, but that was completely missing the point. WD2 made this distinction much more clear, though the shadow of GTA is still lingering. It’s more of its own thing now; WD1 didn’t really understand itself.

          • Archonsod says:

            To be fair I suspect it’s biggest failing is that it’s yet another Ubisoft open world, icons on a map style game.

      • Chaoslord AJ says:

        RPS say it’s better than WD1. Yeah based my experience with WD1 I immediately “not-interested” it but removed the tag now and wait for reviews coming in.
        Many players will instantly dismiss this too.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      I think it being called Watch Dogs 2 has far more to do with it. As a contrast, consider how Mafia 3 is 2k’s fastest-selling game, whilst it being a story about a black man returning from the Vietnam war in 1968’s New Orleans. Errant Signal had a good piece on the game, and how it manages to pull political weight whilst also being an AAA game (spoilers!):

    • RaoulDuke says:

      I didn’t buy it because after watching several previews I didn’t think the gameplay was that good, it was filled with bugs and inconsistencies, the IQ/optimisation on PC is rubbish if you want locked 60 fps and don’t have a 10x series nvidia card.

      Maybe that’s the reason it didn’t sell well? If they were all white (or whatever it is that you think people want, “given the state of politics”?) would the dialogue have magically become better? Would the personalities of the characters NOT be cringe as all hell anymore? What nonsense.

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      alphager says:

      For me it has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with Watch Dogs 1, which was a mediocre game at best. Watch Dogs 2 is in my “If its cheaper than 10$” pile; I’m never giving Ubisoft full-price money again.

    • inspiredhandle says:

      This is a joke, yeah? What has that got to do with anything?

      Even if it was the whole “black protagonist thing” (there’s no way it is) that has put people off, I think it’s far more likely it would be from fear of the devs using tokenism to score progressive points, neglecting any real character development.

      • DelrueOfDetroit says:

        I don’t agree with frightlever buuuuut… you do realize that calling a non-heteronormative white characters tokenism and a diversity quota is exactly what they are talking about.

        • inspiredhandle says:

          I think you misundersand me. I’m talking about the often justified suspicion people have, when game devs include a protagonist that’s part of a marginalised group. Too much of the time the social justice agenda gets put before actual critical game elements (character development, plot etc.) This of course has the opposite effect in that it discourages consumers from diversity and inclusivity (due to it being obvious tokenism). It doesn’t seem to me to be the case in this instance though.

          The suggestion that the protagonist’s race has anything to do with reduced sales is laughable. Others that have commented on this article (I feel) have hit the nail on the head as to the reasons for low sales (unwanted sequel, open world icon-fest fatigue, anti-Ubisoft sentiment and so on.)

          • DelrueOfDetroit says:

            No, I completely understand your point and I am saying that the very idea that a black character is some form of tokenism is a mild form of racism. There is no justification to being “suspicious” as you say unless you feel white characters need to stay the norm. If somebody has a problem with a non-white character because they feel they feel it was forced into the game that is because of their own preconceptions that black people do not fit into certain roles. Nobody calls CJ from San Andreas tokenism because people can accept a black gangster.

            Again, I never said this game sales had anything to do with Marcus but suggesting that some might be turned off because they view a black character as tokenism is the problem and included in the reason frightlever gave. It’s not KKK levels but it has the same result of suppressing opportunities for black characters to be in media where their blackness isn’t the only reason they are there.

            Can you name any examples of this social justice agenda ruining games?

          • batraz says:

            GTA San Andreas did sell well didnt it ? Ok, discussion closed ;)

          • inspiredhandle says:

            😑

            No, having a black character is not necessarily a sign of tokenism (obviously, hence my point that this game is not an example of that), stop making out that that is what I am saying. The suspicion of which I am talking about is of the dev’s ability to authentically portray a minority as a protagonist (whatever that means), note that this is NOT my default assumption. It is only after reading reviews etc. that this becomes the case.

            I can’t help but feel you agree with me completely on this, and are now just point scoring. If I have been unclear at all however, I can only apologise.

            To answer your question by the way, the most recent example I can think of would be “Siege of Dragonspear.” I suspect we might have to agree to disagree on that though.

          • DelrueOfDetroit says:

            My point is that in the hypothetical situation you described where somebody doesn’t buy Watch Dogs 2 because they suspect tokenism played a part in there being a black main character is essentially the same as not buying it because the main character is black. This is because tokenism only applies to non-white characters. The Great Escape for example has token American characters, but nobody opposes that.

            Again, we agree that there are likely very few people who didn’t buy this game because of Marcus being black but I don’t agree with your assessment that somebody motivated by an opposition to tokenism isn’t in some way racial.

          • inspiredhandle says:

            Hopefully this will clear things up:

            -No, the great escape (American movie) doesn’t have token Americans. That is insane.

            -No, tokenism doesn’t have to be racial.

            -No, I never said it would be a justified suspicion in the case of watch dogs 2.

            -Yes, tokenism should always be frowned upon.

          • DelrueOfDetroit says:

            The Great Escape is a movie based on a historical event where a group of mostly British prisoners escape a POW camp. There were no Americans involved in that escape. Those three characters (Steve McQueen, Donald Pleasence’s BFF and… that guy who gets drunk and declares “No taxation without representation”) are entirely in the film to make the film more appealing to American audiences. That’s tokenism.

            No, tokenism is not always racial (in our example it was.) It can be related to gender, sexuality or religion. It however never applies to straight white male characters even when that is the case (see above.)

            “I’m talking about the often justified suspicion people have, when game devs include a protagonist that’s part of a marginalised group.”

            Except it’s not, it is only frowned upon when it challenges what people perceive to be the acceptable status quo.

            ANYWHO, we’re going around in circles. See you in the comments!

          • aerozol says:

            If someone makes some very valid points about “mild racism” that is a surprise to you/ doesn’t match your intent, it’s ok to just accept that even the kindest, best and most well-meaning of people can make adjustments and strive to do better. No one will mind.
            Thanks you DelrueOfDetroit for taking the time share :)

    • dongsweep says:

      You suggest too much. Sure, perhaps a sliver of people will choose not to buy the game based on the race of the protagonist but then why did Mafia 3 sell so well? I think you are stretching far too much with your suggestion.

      Anecdotally, myself and some friends looked forward to WD1 quite a bit back in ’14 and felt a bit unhappy about the purchase, that sentiment coupled with this game releasing at the end of the holiday season release schedule is why I believe the game is not selling as well.

      The first game had the ability to hype this new IP up and sell the idea, the second one a lot of people know what is up and either they liked it or did not.

    • Daemoroth says:

      You’re joking right? I mean, Mafia 3 exists after all, and do compare its sales before making such a ludicrous statement.

      I’m not interested in WD2 because I know I’ll find the protagonist and supporting cast grating, annoying and cringe-worthy, from all the previews I’ve seen.

      Top it off with a hypocritical motivation (Main character gets profiled as a ‘likely/high risk criminal’ and reacts by stealing innocent people’s money, swats random people, gets them run over by automated cars, hacking systems, and generally behaving like a criminal, proving the profiling 100% accurate and making him a petulant child having a tantrum).

      PS – I do apologise, hypocrisy REALLY gets up my nose.

  2. FurryLippedSquid says:

    “Alec is away this week, following the Vengaboys around on tour.”

    Well jel.

    • NetharSpinos says:

      My Gods, I didn’t think people actually spoke like that.

    • montfalcon says:

      I once saw the Vengaboys twice in one week, and again a couple of months later. If anyone ever gets a chance to see them perform (tickets were €15, I can’t imagine they go for more than £20 these days) I can only recommend it. There is something so unselfconsciously hyper about these gigs, people come purely to have fun. Well worth it!

      • Boomerang says:

        Can’t imagine many worse things, but glad you enjoyed it :)

  3. Botanicas says:

    i really appreciate that gta falls out of the charts the one week alec is away. he’s got to have made graham do it just for that, right? i’m really invested in the lore of this weekly steam charts list now for some reason~

  4. Premium User Badge

    kregg says:

    The only reason why CS:GO remains at the top of the sales chart is because of VAC bans. People get caught cheating, some like my nephew don’t actually cheat but still get a vac ban (I suspect some sort of mod or DLL triggered VAC), but honestly the game won’t be off the charts unless the CS:GO community dies.

  5. Premium User Badge

    garfieldsam says:

    My reaction to Watch dog’s SF as someone who lives there: “WHAT IS THIS? A SAN FRANCISCO FOR ANTS?”

  6. TWChristine says:

    Does anyone know what game the title picture is from? I know the France expansion for ETS2 had a castle added, but I’m pretty sure it’s nothing that elaborate.

    • April March says:

      I think it’s from Mario Kart 64.

      Seriously though, I think I recall seeing that picture here in RPS before; if it’s what I think it’s a Planet Coaster prop.

      Edit: I was correct, puny mortals. link to rockpapershotgun.com

      • TWChristine says:

        Ahh thanks! I saw the dragon (perhaps?) in the foreground, and with all the people walking up to the castle it looked like a theme park of some kind so I figured it wasn’t ETS, but at the same time I never even thought of those coaster/theme park games!

    • Ghostwise says:

      I’m not sure I’d call it “elaborate”. I’d prolly call it “some dude is trying very hard to compensate for something”.

  7. Marr says:

    I’ve noticed recently that the position in the Steam top sellers list and increasing ownership stats on Steam Spy have no obvious correlation. Games can be in the top three while apparently not selling any new copies at all.

    I think you’re probably reporting on which publishers paid Valve for sponsored search results this week.