Last week CTR Nitro-Fueled‘s first Grand Prix event ended. I have to admit – I thought it was great. Not only did it provide a great reason to get back to the game but the variety of challenges and the wide range of unlockables made it feel really worth it. Yesterday, we got the news that the previously announced second Grand Prix Event: Back N. Time would be launching later this week – August 2 running until the 25th. The announcement trailer really showed there was tons to look forward to. Not only was there a cool new prehistoric track, but a range of unlockable karts, characters and character skins (including, of course, Baby Crash). It all just looked really great.
Unfortunately, my happiness was curtailed rather substantially due to a small bit of info (not included in the video) that appeared in Activision’s blog post about the upcoming event. In their words (highlighting my own):
As always, the Pit Stop will be stocked with new and returning characters and cosmetic items, which players can unlock using Wumpa Coins. With all this content available, there will also now be a way for players to fast-track their Wumpa Coin collection if they like. Starting in early August, players will have the option to purchase Wumpa Coin bundles from their game console stores to supplement the Coins they earn by playing. This option won’t change the game’s core mechanics – players will still earn Wumpa Coins by playing the game in any mode, just as before. They will just able to purchase additional coins if they choose.
I have to admit this really bums me out. Of course, they do mention that the addition of what is essentially microtransactions in the game won’t affect the game’s ‘core mechanics’. However, one of the things I absolutely loved about the remake is the addition of the content-filled Grand Prix events. Despite their slightly grindy nature – you really had to work for your Wumpa Coins – it made unlocking new karts and characters feel special and due to your own skill. Sure, the microtransactions will be ‘optional’, but now, whenever I see an opponent in a rare kart I’ll wonder whether it was earned or just ‘purchased’. When I unlock a new character skin will it still feel like I’m wearing a badge of honour? I somehow doubt it.
Now before I get too negative, I guess it was somewhat inevitable that we were going to continue to get the massive amounts of new content without Activision wanting some coin back. And as I mentioned above, there is really a lot of fun to be had and a lot of stuff to look forward to. Unfortunately, maybe it’s the old man in me but, despite some real excitement, I am also really disappointed that they’ve chosen to go the microtransaction route. The whole industry seems to be going in this direction no matter the game and no matter how much we argue against it and it kinda makes me sad. And while there’s no much else I can do… I for one will definitely be ‘yelling at the cloud’ while power-sliding through the new course next month.