What do you think of, when you think of game publishers? You may consider them greedy, which is certainly valid given all the season passes and microtransactions we see shoved into games. You might suggest they are opportunistic, rereleasing the same games over and over again with minimal changes as “remasters.” Does considerate ever come to mind? It might have to, thanks to an outpouring of support shown by the companies behind some of 2018’s biggest games. More and more often, we are seeing people reach out to loyal customers in the most dire straights to grant final wishes, and that is a lovely, albeit heart-wrenching, thing.
In 2018, we keep seeing companies do things for fans who won’t live long enough to play one of their major releases. In September 2018, Bethesda Assistant Director Matt Grandstaff and some of the Fallout 76 team went to go visit Wes, a 12-year-old boy with a stage-four neuroblastoma who might not have lived long enough to play the game. (He had discontinued treatment.) Wes got to play Fallout 76 with the developers and get his very own prototype Power Armor helmet replica signed by Todd Howard. Since Wes had to stop treatment, this was a chance for him to play something he had wanted and waited for.
A similar thing was done for a Red Dead Redemption 2 fan in October 2018. A fan going by the name of Jurian was suffering from Neurofibromatosis Type 2 and also made the decision to stop treatment. This meant he might not be able to play the game he had been waiting for. His father managed to get in touch with Rockstar Netherlands, which got in touch with Rockstar and led to a private demo session with the developers for Jurian. Once again, someone got to do something they loved before the end, savoring a thing they had been waiting for.
Even Nintendo got in on it. A 21-year-old named Chris Taylor is a bedridden, three-time cancer survivor who again is unsure if he will be around when Super Smash Bros. Ultimate officially launches. He took his case to Twitter, hoping he might get to play the game he had been waiting for. Nintendo delivered, sending the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate E3 2018 demo on a Switch with two representatives so Chris could play it with his friends and family. Again, it was heartwarming and gave someone a chance to do a wonderful thing.
Perhaps this could lead to some sort of official program for the greater good. We already have organizations like Make-A-Wish Foundation. It might be nice if some of the larger publishers made more of an effort to work not only with that charity, but perhaps form some sort of site that allows other people who might not fall into Make-A-Wish’s criteria to be considered for some sort of last hurrah. Of course, it would be unreasonable and impossible for every dream to come true, but maybe we could see more good news like this happen.
We definitely could use more positive stories out of the gaming industry. With all the outrage about whether a game is historically accurate or not due to the inclusion of women, companies shutting down without notice or severance for their employees, and questions about publishers, we could use a bit of good that we could point to and show that, while not 100% great, maybe people who are devoted fans could be honored and appreciated when they really need it.