2016: A year in review

2016 was a strange year for video games. Recent memory is dominated by a handful of high quality blockbusters that failed to excite people. But let’s not forget earlier this year, when a handful of superb blockbusters definitely did excite people. And I’m not just talking about Street Fighter, either (don’t @ me).

In researching 2016, I was surprised to find it jam-packed with video game stuff. Lots of things happened. Lots of people left developers. Lots of people joined developers. Some developers closed down. Some developers sprang into life. Lots and lots and lots of video games came out, mostly on Valve’s ever-bulging Steam. Most were crap. Some were good. But in the pursuit of some kind of meaning, some kind of trend, I was left frustrated. Video games continue to be very good, even though 2016, at its close, feels a little less groundbreaking than I’d liked it to have been.

January, typically a quiet month for video games, saw a number of high-profile developers move on. Marc Laidlaw, lead writer of the Half-Life series, . The move was seen as further evidence, not that it’s needed at this point, that Half-Life 3 is just not happening. Then we learnt Leslie Benzies, long-time leader of Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar North, after a 16-month sabbatical. He later sued Take-Two for $150m in a move that’s already aired . Will the parties settle? I kind of hope not.

The sounds of Madden NFL 17 come from an unusual source

Fans of EA’s Madden games would be forgiven for thinking that the game’s audio was recorded at an actual NFL match inside a huge stadium in the US.

It turns out that for this year’s game, a lot of the audio came from an unlikely source: Tupperware bashed to bits in the Scottish countryside.

Will Morton and Craig Conner left Rockstar North back in 2014 to to set up their own company, Solid Audioworks. Morton worked at Rockstar North for 12 years as a dialogue supervisor and senior audio designer. Conner was the music director at Rockstar North. He scored nearly 20 years at the company, composing the soundtrack for the original Grand Theft Auto in 1997.