Question: what good does a news post announcing a game's release date do you, a reader? Anticipating games you already want can be fun, but for ones you're uncertain about or haven't heard of, how useful is a release date announcement? Might it be better to hear when a game is out, when we can all know and say more about it? I ask because two problems with these things are illustrated by two games released yesterday: Magic 2015 and The Nightmare Cooperative.
Consider this rambling both news that they are indeed out and me wondering aloud about my job. Tell me, dear reader, what do you want from video game news on RPS?
Posting about Magic 2015's release date I could speculate about what would inevitably to be the game's big problem: extra monetisation. Now the game's actually out and I've played a bit, I can note that its urging to spend money is unpleasant. Yes, having proper deck-building is great, but in practice I find it more frustrating than the old pre-built decks. See, you're given one not-very-good starter deck of your choice, then need to grind the same set of duels to unlock enough cards to make it any good or building something from scratch. Or you can pay to get them instantly. Certain cards are only available if you pay up too. It's a bad system. Bad.
But I'm news editor here, and big old Wot I Thinks and interviews and investigations and opinion pieces are beyond my purview. I write news so the rest have time to do those. I'd much rather write a news post about a terrifying fleshy sport or weird stealth game.
So, The Nightmare Cooperative. "That looks nice," you may have thought reading the release date post, but it's unlikely you'll have remembered that or noted it on your calendar. TNC looks an interesting game, and it's one I'll play when I can pull away from the flame of Magic 2015, but that's not useful news. However, now that it's out, you can read the critics' reviews and Steam user reviews and watch videos players have made. Being told the game's out now is useful news.
My first job as RPS news editor was, and still is, to figure out what the RPS news editor does and why. I'm working on it. I come from a very conventional video game news background, and I'm still sloughing. But if we can only write so many posts and cover so many games, the game news staple of "This is scheduled to happen" or "might happen" seems far less interesting and useful than "this has happened" or "is happening" or "didn't happen."
I'm still churning lots of thoughts and ideas and inspirations and concerns in this news noggin, yet to form a firm plan, but constructive feedback from you lot would be helpful too. What do you enjoy, find useful, and desire in your news posts?
For now, the news: The Nightmare Cooperative is out; Magic 2015 is out and monetised awfully.