Question of the Day, May 22, 2010

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Question of the Day, May 22, 2010

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Game developers often design their games for specific audiences and tweak when trying to appeal to other demographics. Nier is the latest game to feature two different protagonists: one for Japanese consumers, and the other for European and American consumers. Do you think games should completely change fundamental characters in order to appeal to their target audiences?

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Sure, as long as its done well. Not a shoddy job.

The one done in Nier is quite well done, and it slotted in well with the story.

I think it should be done if the developer wants to and if it doesn't kill the game, if it does then it's pointless.

It really depends what they do I guess. I haven't played Nier but I don't think I'd have been bothered to find out that my protagnist was different to the one they got in Japan, provided the rest of the game was the same. It's a shame there's no real way to find out what the difference in sales and customer satisfaction would have been had we all got the Japanese guy. Personally I don't think anyone would have cared.

There is that thing where they alter the difficulty for different audiences or perhaps otherwise alter the content, and while I don't know too much about it myself I gather some people have been quite annoyed that they got a "dumbed down" version.

Of course. It ought to help sell more copies of the game.

As long as it doesn't end in something horribly pink and shiny.

Nier proves it can be done, but developers should be careful when trying to do it. It can ruin the story and be less appealing to people who are actually looking to play the game in its original (say, Japanese) setting. Not to mention, there are people out there who actually like the creepy bishonen protagonists...

But sure, I'd like to see different versions of of the same game. Would be very interesting to see how they turn out.

Games, just like any other product, need to be adapted for their target market so that they can appeal to a wider audience and work in different markets.

i dont see a problem with it its just a way to sell games and thats what the devlopers are in it for right however the dev's need to be sure they are not making a shoddy product out of a good one

Depends on the game, really. For Nier, the change fit.

It is not financially comprehensible.

A game, book, film, TV show, porn film must appeal to the widest target audience it possibly possibly can.

Remember their primary objective: Making money.

I said "it depends on the game," but I really feel like it depends on the reason. Nier was fine, but there wasn't a very good reason to change it. Bethesda or whoever, on the other hand, changing Fallout 3 so that it would be released in Australia was a good reason.

I think Nier suffered some from having an old main character in a midlife crisis just for american and european audiences.

No. Seems to me it would increase sales at the cost of also increasing homogenisation. I'd much rather companies took chances on giving their customers something a little different.

I want to play the character which will best complement and fit in to the story. So, for the most part - no.

It's a bit of a cop out answer, but it does depend on the game.

Obviously some games you'll want the one character or setting or story to be set in stone.
But of course like Nier when it comes to what the audience may prefer, then yeah it's totally acceptable.

However I don't like the idea of the choice being made without the audience's input.
A better way to maybe handle it is to put both characters in the game and let the player choose which one they'd prefer to play as.
Sure it'd take up disc space and cost twice as much in voice acting and you'd need a few little differences in script and visuals but if you've already decided t sit down and revise your lead character simply so the audience will be comfortable playing as them then you won't mind spending a little bit more for the full experience and element of choice.

I guess they should if it's what they think will sell more games

I said depends, but if it ever happens to every game the it'll be the end of cultural diversity if everyone uses characters that are popular in certain regions.

It already happens. Every game is made with a target audience in mind.
So everybody who voted no wants games that aren't on the market :)

With videogames being big business nowadays, it's only logical that serious developers would make videogames for their intended audience, not just because they think it's a cool idea.

Still, as I said in the Nier thread, it's better to just focus on making a good game than to worry about how cool the protagonist is or isn't.

As long as the devs actually have a clue what the audience theyre trying to appeal to really want and dont want. Also they should maybe make the 2nd version if its a protagonist like nier available after youve finished the game so you get both experiences if you want.

Depends on the game, but i think leaving the original Nier hero for a western release would have been a nice experiment. On one hand, i think it's an awesome gesture that shows care for the tastes the (western) audience, on the other, would it hurt too much to experience something foreign or different, or does everything really have to conform to our needs (talking in general, nor only about Nier)?

I don't think so. I want to play the game the way the studio has intended. I don't want it to be catered specifically towards me. I'm not that important.

Well, yeah. I thought that was the point already? O.o Not everyone is going to like the same game, so don't treat it as so. (I thought that developers were already doing this? Unless I missed something.)

Sure, Isn't that why localization was invented? Isn't it to alter a game to fit in with the local norms? It's not like one set of standards fits with every group so why not have different version for different markets? It's not as if you can't get any copy you want in today's internet age anyways.

I'd rather games weren't tweaked. Thanks to the wonder of internet, I've got friends all around the world and I'd like to know that we're actually playing the same games. I understand why developers would tweak their games and for some games targeting certain markets it's not such a problem, but I wouldn't want it to be the way for all games.

Like most of us here (possibly) I've only heard of Nier because of Yahtzee, but imagine if this was done to a higher profile release, like FFXIII. Fanboys would go crazy.

It feels a little like a cop out answer, but it really does depend on the game.

localisation is exactly this sort of thing.

Even humble washing machines get massive changes based on country of sale. ie: Germany and Japan like devices with lots of buttons and dials and in the UK a single dial with crude pictures to show function and a big 'ON' button is the ideal.

TV series and Films can get completely remade for different audiences. (although I consider most of these audience friendly remakes to be abominations myself)

If an audience will buy a particular hero image over another then there is no good reason not to give it to them. Want to please everyone? make the original character an unlockable or optional item I know I'd choose the original but have no issue with spoon feeding the mass market something palatable.

Well, at least they didn't turn any of the characters into jive-talking african-americans for the sake of racial equality this time. Poor Persona.

Why not just make multiple characters in every game, and allow people to choose their own? Why the extensive obsession with complete linearity in every aspect of their games?

I thinknit all depends on the game and such.

Some games would better appeal to others...but, it's all genre

Nah! For better or for worst, I want to play the game the the developers originally had in mind.

Well, I suppose it'd be okay, but it'd also be a good idea to sell the different versions world-wide. Therefore, if you wanted to play the JRPG stereotype version of Nier and you were in America, you could.

As long as it's done well and is carried out in every aspect of the game.

For example if switching a typical jRPG protagonist for a typical wRPG protagonist, it wouldn't make sense to have all their dialogue and character interactions being the same, so you'd have to adjust a fair bit of the game in order to make it sell.

The less I have to play as a girly emo-kid, the better. Of course, there's nothing wrong with a girly girl.

It depends on how. That thing about Nier sounds nice, but other things are just plain annoying.

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