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Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Most trusted video game companies

A name to trust (pic: FromSoftware)
GameCentral readers reveal the game publishers and developers they trust the most… and the ones they don’t.
The question for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Trantor, who asked who you trust most in terms of being honest with customers and putting out a good product the majority of the time.
Since it was a question of trust, not loyalty, many were happy to name companies such as Capcom, Nintendo, and Rockstar Games as companies they give the benefit of the doubt to. Although most people were careful to point out that trust is always easier to lose than to earn.
 
From the heart
At this moment in time, and with Elden Ring coming up (at some point!) I would say that FromSoftware are my most trusted games company. Since Demon’s Souls I have not been disappointed with a single one of their games and even when anticipating them have not been let down.
The closest was Dark Souls 2, which I think everyone would agree is the worst one, but that’s because Hidetaka Miyazaki did not direct it. That’s a pretty good lesson that there’s not really any point being ‘loyal’ to a company because even if you know the developer is the same it’s down to the individuals to make a great game, or to inspired the different between a good one and an amazing one.
But the fact that From still put out a good game, despite their star talent not being involved, makes me trust them even more as they clearly still cared about putting out a good product. And that’s really all you can ask I think, especially as that attitude can be very rare.
Cable
 
Hero worship
The word trust is an interesting one because I’d say I trust Sony, but that isn’t the blank cheque it might sound like to some people. I trust them to make good games, to not make stupid Xbox One style decisions, and to generally be a safe pair of hands but that’s all. And to be honest I think that’s all you can ask for.
Anything else gets into the realm of hero worship and ‘loyalty’, where you start thinking the company is your friend and they’re doing things to please you. When they’re just doing things to make themselves money. Which is their job.
Sometimes I think gamers expect to much from games companies and forget they’re a business. I’m sure the people making the games care about what they’re doing but for the execs the nature of the business really isn’t important at all – it could be making games or selling life insurance, they don’t care. And neither should you beyond the basics.
Kantona
 
Quality control
Trust is too strong a word. I do not trust any company, gaming or otherwise. There are however gaming companies that seem more reliable than their peers.
Naughty Dog, Nintendo, Rockstar, and CD Projekt Red seem to have a pretty good quality control and can generally be relied upon to release a decent product, even if in CD Projekt Red’s case The Witcher 3 required a large number of patches. They have also created decent DLC, even if Rockstar never got around to making story DLC for GTA 5.
Yet even with these companies Nintendo has been rather exploitative with some of its mobile titles and GTA 5’s online component has also sounded a bit dodgy at times as an outside observer.
PazJohnMitch
 
Going overboard
Sadly, the one company I probably would’ve nominated for this a few years ago was Blizzard, who I have always admired since the Warcraft days and have always enjoyed their games. I’ve felt they’ve been going downhill in the last few years though – putting out less games and less imaginative ones – but the whole thing with banning that Hong Kong guy and their response to it put me off for good.
They were pretty terrible with the Diablo mobile game too and while I think the fans went overboard on that one Blizzard’s response seemed arrogant and out of touch. And how do they respond to that? With more sequels meant to smooth things over.
Overwatch has been the most interesting thing they’ve done recently but I don’t like how they’ve updated it recently and I have little confidence that the sequel is going to improve things or expand it in the way I hoped they would. So yeah, trust is a hard thing to earn but an easy thing to lose.
Malky
 
Losing trust
When it comes to hardware, I tend to review the information available and talk to friends before deciding which way to jump. Past performance doesn’t really factor in, as a previous console isn’t always that indicative of the next, at least in part due to the length of time between generations.
Software though, is more complicated. As well as the quality of recent, previous games and the honesty of the developers, I’ll also factor in their ethics, business practices and transparency. While Nintendo have a good store of goodwill with me in terms of game quality, their pre-order policy and lack of transparency and predictability means that I remain cautious.
Companies like Double Fine are a bit more idiosyncratic in terms of output quality, but I’m willing to take a chance on them because of their transparency and size. How good a company’s recent games are is important, but it isn’t everything. If it’s enough to gain my trust, I’m more willing to pre-order and buy DLC. Obsidian and CD Projekt also have a good chunk of my goodwill at present.
In terms of losing trust, probably the most recent example for me is the Battlefield series. Part of that is the loot box debacle from the closely associated Battlefront, but it’s more to do with the design decisions. At present the game seems more heavily geared towards rewarding individuals such as pilots, tank drivers or snipers, with few worthwhile counters to them (which there have been in previous games).
There is also less of a focus on objective-focused modes like rush, at the same time as creating too many game modes, which is resulting in the population being spread too thinly, and the map design for those modes feeling poor or rushed. Increasing the number of players on a map is also not helping.
It’s a vicious cycle with each drop in popularity prompting EA and DICE seemingly to double down on the direction that is causing the lack of popularity (at least for me) in the first place. I’ve gone from pre-ordering the game and DLC, to just pre-ordering the game, to just buying the game. And next time, maybe not even that.
It’s always worth being cautious when considering a game’s pedigree and reputation, as often individuals within a team move on, or they have expertise on a specific platform, or game engine that doesn’t translate to a new generation. Microsoft discovered this when they bought Rare, and it could be an issue for Bethesda if and when they finally move on from their Creation/Gamebryo engine.
If you can, it’s always best to wait for trusted reviews.
Matt (he_who_runs_away – PSN ID)
 
Always predictable
I don’t think it’s what you meant but I know I can absolutely always trust EA… to take the most cynical… anti-consumer options whenever the chance is given to them. I don’t mean that just as a joke either, they seriously seem to relish going for the worst option in every single instance. And they act all wounded and hurt when it’s suggested to them that people don’t like them!
If they make a game that’s really good – which they haven’t for a long time – it wouldn’t put me off buying from them but if I’m on the fence I’ll always err on the side of not giving them my money.
Koffee
 
Occasional patches
The company I trust most in terms of quality, fun entertainment, and not too many problems with any of the gaming mechanics, plus bugs kept to the minimum, is quite simply Nintendo! Now I can’t say I have played a lot of their games recently but from what I have read on this website and heard from colleagues, no such problems seem to have been encountered. Patches are kept to a now and again scenario and are pretty much rare in general.
Last E3 a bunch of dates were given for games but how many of those game dates have been kept?! I don’t personally care that the dates aren’t stuck to. I have games to play and I agree with the reader who said Bethesda would have released a game on time with an uncountable load of bugs, but other companies like CD Projekt and Square Enix want to make sure the finished product is player friendly and does not test the patience of its loyal fan base.
Rockstar Games make sure large complicated games are pretty much on par or close enough regarding quality and I don’t encounter many problems in any annoying sense at all.
Release dates, bugs, proven IPs, and game series of a good reputation are remedied in my mind by holding back games to iron out the flaws and releasing patches maybe if the odd something is missed.
Shoddy game design and lazy developing with no care about their product is in my book a stay away company and my house is free of them. I am careful in what I buy and take time to research to make sure my money is well spent on a game I am sure to enjoy.
GameCentral and its readers always help me with that, so there should be no excuse. Cramming a whole bunch of games into the same tight release schedules at certain times of the year! Well, that’s a whole other argument, which will never be understood or rectified till the end of times.
Alucard
 
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