Jimquisition: An Industry Of Pitiful Cowards

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I'm glad Bravely Default did well enough to smack some sense into SE, but some questions come to mind. Why did it take Nintendo outright BRIBING SE to get it localized? Is it's success too little, too late? Will you EVER stop trying to force goddam Lightning down our throats? (Only tangentially related, but I really despise Lightning)

Oh, and will they finally admit their loses in recent years were their fault, and not "underperformance" by their western dev teams behind Tomb Raider and Sleeping Dogs? You know, two games that are pretty highly regarded while FF14's launch is viewed as the biggest disaster in MMO history.

I actually kinda' liked RE6. I get that it wasn't survival horror, but it was fun. And what, 6 million sales in the first week? A couple of other people had to as well.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but its personal greed on the part of the CEOs that caused such a decline in games, right? They try to create COD or something, its wildly successful, and they get a big bonus, stock options and when they leave to start their own small time game company, they get a six or seven figure severance package. Its all short-sided 'I want to be a millionaire by next year' blind hope that lightning will in fact strike the same place 6 or 7 million more times.
Same logic that drives social media sites these days - the need for the next Facebook or twitter. The billion dollar idea that requires very little actual work. That self-same spirit drives these game companies; what is the least amount of work we can do for the greatest profit? And then we retire with a few million and pretend we wanted an in-depth character driven horror game with a small-breasted lesbian in sneakers the entire time.

Oh wait...Greenlight...

Good video Jim.

I actually think its not fear at all. I think its the obvious answer, greed. Plain and simple greed.
Think about it. In marketing and advertising we are taught about the power and influence of brand recognition. I think what happened is that as brand recognition got big, so did egos.

Then the big gaming boom happened. Games were finally selling millions and millions of copies. Executives were being promoted and eyes started turning towards gaming in the business world. With such a big increase and the happening of the Wii there were more new gamers than ever. They knew from experience that most new gamers wouldn't easily buy into niche/deep games.

They wanted that new money so bad they could taste it. However, they needed to keep the old money too or else they wouldn't make more, just the same. This is where brand recognition reared its ugly head. They believed so deeply that people would stay attached to a brand no matter what that they thought they could do anything to appeal to the new audience with no repercussions from the old audience. It worked for a short time, but people got fed up quick. Then all this mess in recent years happened.

The fact is that they had a choice. Nintendo/EA/Activision/Microsoft/Sony etc. made there choice. They should have kept going with the slow, sustainable growth. They should have used smart advertising and marketing to slowly ween in new gamers over time as to not lose the quality of games. Convince new customers that what you have is great and show them why. Similar to how FromSoft and Bamco tried to advertise a hard game (Dark Souls 1 & 2) instead of turning into something else.

Instead they made the quick and easy choice. The rapid unsustainable growth. And it costs many studios and publishers BIG time.

Jim I agree. I think their scared... now. They weren't scared when they made the decisions that got them here, but they are now that they finally realized they failed.

Uriel_Hayabusa:
I don't quite agree with Jim's comments regarding JRPGs. On other forums I visit, Japanese games (and their RPGs in particular) get a lot of flak for "refusing to evolve" or "not going with the times". I can't help but suspect that FFXIIII and its sequels were attempts from Square-Enix to respond to that criticism.

I think that those comments are directed more at the battle system.

What JRPG fans still want is to explore an interesting world with endearing characters. Most long-time-JRPG-fans-but-detractors-of-recent-Final-Fantasy-games will tell that that is what FF has been lacking.

A bunch of executives got together, asked how they could increase profitability in their companies, teabagged sustainability, and then started making studies and decisions based upon bullshit about what they could cut and 'focus' on. Cus y'know, experts told them that the kids like multiplayer.

Never realizing that the world is made of all kinds of different flavors and all marching toward the same golden goose egg is going to leave you with nothing but yolk and alot of ruined company reputations.

*closes book* And that's my fairy tail for the ages.

But Jim, Game Theory made a case for how well these games were doing!

Hazy992:
It baffles me too, I honestly wonder what it was that set this mindset off. There must have been a catalyst surely?

A bunch of shooter games made a lot of money, so a bunch of companies looked at their money, decided they wanted that other money, and changed.

That's about it. MOAR MONEY! The battle cry of the executive.

LordOfInsanity:

I'd say the issue with Nintendo is they have a "Don't fix what isn't an issue" mentality and it has become a problem. Mario, Zelda, Pokemon are not broken so they incrementally improve the games, while adding some innovation.

But they don't change things even when Mario doesn't sell well.

Jim makes an excellent point; why is there no MediEvil 3 yet? They know he exists because they used Dan in Allstars.

Also: turn-based combat -> bring it back, immediately!

castlewise:
I think part of it is that "doing fine" isn't good enough for large shareholder driven companies. You always want to be doing better, growing etc... So in some ways this is Square giving up and saying we aren't going to get "big market" money.

Yeah that's kind of the problem with business. Infinite growth doesn't exist. But these suits wish it did. Its just rampant addiction, plain and simple.

The question I would like answered is, "How will these revelations affect games that are about to be released?"

For example, Square realized that fans don't really like FF13 and the whole Nova Chrysalis or whatever. 13 Versus is now 15, but it still has 13 lore and it is action combat. While none of that inherently makes a new untested game bad (I'm stoked for it), it does beg the question if this attitude shift won't be seen for another five years. Square just recently made this announcement, but how long ago did they really start to realize this - 1 year ago, 2 years, 3? Perhaps they only said it now, but have been retooling everything. It could be why most SquareEnix made games have been 3rd party recently with their internal games overly quiet.

It might be wishful thinking, but their words due imply a complete re-overhaul of games and design.

Here's a big recent example.

I remember when the president of 2K games, the HEAD GUY, was fending off criticism of XCom: The Bureau (before XCom: Enemy Unknown was started), publicly claiming that "turn-based strategy games are dead" and that a shooter "was a safer investment".

Fast-forward a year and a half, and the RTS game sold well, earned critical acclaim, was fondly received, and even won some game of the year awards. The shooter? Barely registered with gamers, mediocre scores, sold poorly.

That still boggles my mind. There are people out there, fans of genres, starving for quality survival horror games, adventure games, point-and-click games, strategy games, JRPGs, platformers, and so much more. But so many companies just decided one day that, "well, they sold well... but let's scrap it all and chase after SHOOTER money".

Their strategies didn't pay off.

TiberiusEsuriens:
The question I would like answered is, "How will these revelations affect games that are about to be released?"

For example, Square realized that fans don't really like FF13 and the whole Nova Chrysalis or whatever. 13 Versus is now 15, but it still has 13 lore and it is action combat. While none of that inherently makes a new untested game bad (I'm stoked for it), it does beg the question if this attitude shift won't be seen for another five years. Square just recently made this announcement, but how long ago did they really start to realize this - 1 year ago, 2 years, 3? Perhaps they only said it now, but have been retooling everything. It could be why most SquareEnix made games have been 3rd party recently with their internal games overly quiet.

It might be wishful thinking, but their words due imply a complete re-overhaul of games and design.

Oh, I HOPE they got the message.

Both Bravely Default AND the port of Final Fantasy X/X-2 outsold Lightning Returns. That's got to be extremely embarrassing that their biggest new release was outsold by a decade-old port of a PS2 game and a new portable IP that plays like a game from the 90s (in a good way). It doesn't matter how many polls Lightning wins on their forum boards, at the end of the day the money stopped going to Lightning and her crew.

Square Enix themselves didn't even have faith in Bravely Default to release it in the west themselves. Nintendo had to localize and release it themselves. Square Enix CONTINUES to keep Final Fantasy Type-0 (which I've heard is a very good game) stuck in Japan (despite being ANNOUNCED in America). They even managed to screw up an iPhone port of FF6.

Still, I hope the worst is behind us. We had Final Fantasy 13, original Final Fantasy 14, and All the Bravest almost all at once, and it was awful. FF13 is now "over" (we can hope), FF14 has been relaunched to acclaim, and I haven't heard of much worse than All The Bravest lately. Square Enix's most recent success and acclaim has been, again, Bravely Default and Final Fantasy X HD... both of which revel in and celebrate an era of game development and game design that Square Enix seemed scared of returning to.

FF15 does look nice though... but I'll never lose my love for their more traditional JRPGs.

*video starts*

"Ok, new Jimquisition. And this one, Jim Sterling promised is gonna be special. Let's see..."

1:03

O_O

*pauses video*

*FACEPALM!!!!!*

*stands up, and runs around the house screaming*

*comes back on his pc*

WHAAAAAAAAAAAT????????

No, no, no.

Sorry, I know this is not proper behavior in a forum, but I just had to pause the video on that, and make this rant.

And to that I have to say...

YOU THINK, SQUARE???

13 YEARS!!!

It has been 13 years since we last got an rpg from you that had the "classic feeling", before Bravely Default.

FOR 13 DAMN YEARS fans were begging you to go back to the old style, and you had to wait until you saw sales numbers before you change your minds?

Aaarrgghh...let's continue with the video...

That Square Enix interview is truly astounding. You really don't see corporate types being that candid very often.

Oh really? You mean you really didn't see us telling you that FF13 sucked for years as you tried to shove them down our throats? It took the release of a game you had NEVER INTENDED to localize (and were still too lazy to do so so you pawned it off onto Nintendo) to make you realize that everything you've done in the last 8 years has been wrong? REALLY?

What I think happened is that people saw the success of COD and Halo near the start of the console generation, and in their omnipresent greed tried to figure out what the people who like bro shooters like, so they did their crappy focus groups. The results?

They like action games
They like shooting stuff
They hate RPGs
They hate strategy
They hate Survival Horror
They hate any kind of simulation game
They hate adventure games
They hate story focused games

And so the new age of mainstream actionification began. All chasing an audience they never should have looked at to begin with. It's the same thing you saw from Bioware while they were making Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2. No, really I'm not kidding:

http://www.nowgamer.com/news/919569/bioware_we_want_call_of_dutys_audience.html

How absolutely pathetic is that?

RaikuFA:
So it's the MTV excuse huh?

Back in the early '00's they got rid of a channel called MTVX which played rock and metal 24/7. They canned it in favor of a fifth rap station and their excuse was "well, no one likes rock music at all." Then they just eliminated all programming involving rock or making sure rock didn't play when they did blocks of videos. It has gotton to the point where if that Miley Cyrus thing didn't happen, the biggest controversy would have been them doing the best rock video of the year backstage before the show even started.

Sounds a lot like how the games industry with everything that isn't trying to copy CoD.

In the UK it was called MTV2 and it was awesome. How I miss it.

Chemical123:

Space Sim genre is dead outside of X series, Eve online and possible hope of Star Citizen

Daemascus:
The same happened to space fighter games... The industry dropped them cause they thought they weren't popular, after great stuff like X-Wing versus Tie Fighter and Freespace 2. Right up till Star Citizen proved them 41 million dollars wrong. And still counting.

It's indie(as in a single guy programming the whole thing), but Vice of Star Wraith 3D Games has been coming out with new iterations of his space sims every year or so for the past decade and a half. He's added some neat features over the years, including seamless atmospheric entry. It isn't as pretty as the X series, but it's still pretty enjoyable.

Thanatos2k:
That Square Enix interview is truly astounding. You really don't see corporate types being that candid very often.

Oh really? You mean you really didn't see us telling you that FF13 sucked for years as you tried to shove them down our throats? It took the release of a game you had NEVER INTENDED to localize (and were still too lazy to do so so you pawned it off onto Nintendo) to make you realize that everything you've done in the last 8 years has been wrong? REALLY?

What I think happened is that people saw the success of COD and Halo near the start of the console generation, and in their omnipresent greed tried to figure out what the people who like bro shooters like, so they did their crappy focus groups. The results?

They like action games
They like shooting stuff
They hate RPGs
They hate strategy
They hate Survival Horror
They hate any kind of simulation game

And so the new age of mainstream actionification began. All chasing an audience they never should have looked at to begin with. It's the same thing you saw from Bioware while they were making Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2. No, really I'm not kidding:

http://www.nowgamer.com/news/919569/bioware_we_want_call_of_dutys_audience.html

How absolutely pathetic is that?

Wow, that's just sad. I've never seen that article. Yeah lets make RPGs into shooters... I mean who the hell will care right?

Demonchaser27:

castlewise:
I think part of it is that "doing fine" isn't good enough for large shareholder driven companies. You always want to be doing better, growing etc... So in some ways this is Square giving up and saying we aren't going to get "big market" money.

Yeah that's kind of the problem with business. Infinite growth doesn't exist. But these suits wish it did. Its just rampant addiction, plain and simple.

Indeed. The problem is that the new, post modern age capitalism (whatever the heck it's called) is different than it's humble foundations. The idea of capitalism more or less used to simply mean having control of your own goals, and it still echos that in small business. For big business however, it's much more like Game of Thrones. There's a "Most Profitable Company" leaderboard, and you either win or you die. Every big business feels like they have to commit 150% to toppling the big giant and take the crown, but in doing so they all lose.

For a small business the word Diversify is used to describe a way to keep your company stable in the event part of your business is lost. For big business, it's viewed that the only way to not lose that business is to shut out all competition, but that means that they think and do the same thing, which leads to the arms race described.

Square might feel like they're admitting defeat, but its a really a smart move. "The only winning move is not to play"

Captcha: I think I can!
No Square, you can't

NuclearKangaroo:
dunno about that, what about the total war series and company of heroes?

THQ went under. While Relic did resurface, COH 2 was heavily panned (for all the wrong reasons**) and as a result wasn't as successful as everyone hoped (DLC'ing the game into oblivion hasn't helped matters), and so everyone went back to playing the original COH. It's doubtful we're going to see a COH 3 or even an expansion pack anytime soon.

Total War is also a niche genre within a genre - called grand strategy*. It is also currently the ONLY grand strategy title out there, with nobody else daring to jump in (and has schizophrenic enough quality to drive off everyone else).

*Not to be confused with 4X Games like Civilization, Galactic Civilizations and Age of Wonders. Turn Based Strategy in itself is turning into a healthier market.

** Mostly comments about it's historical accuracy because they dared to depict Order 227, over things like the game having crappy optimisation and (as mentioned) the DLC'ing.

Silentpony:
Its all short-sided 'I want to be a millionaire by next year' blind hope that lightning will in fact strike the same place 6 or 7 million more times.

"Want to be" a millionaire? Most Chief Officers of publicly-traded companies are already millionaires many times over.

Silentpony:
And then we retire with a few million...

Retire on a few million? In most Western countries, a decent house in a good location starts around a million dollars. A few million isn't going to last very many years of retirement unless you live a very frugal lifestyle.

I think you have your financial scales way off. Being a single-digit millionaire is hardly being rich any more. It's basically being middle-class.

Thanatos2k:
That Square Enix interview is truly astounding. You really don't see corporate types being that candid very often.

Oh really? You mean you really didn't see us telling you that FF13 sucked for years as you tried to shove them down our throats? It took the release of a game you had NEVER INTENDED to localize (and were still too lazy to do so so you pawned it off onto Nintendo) to make you realize that everything you've done in the last 8 years has been wrong? REALLY?

What I think happened is that people saw the success of COD and Halo near the start of the console generation, and in their omnipresent greed tried to figure out what the people who like bro shooters like, so they did their crappy focus groups. The results?

They like action games
They like shooting stuff
They hate RPGs
They hate strategy
They hate Survival Horror
They hate any kind of simulation game

And so the new age of mainstream actionification began. All chasing an audience they never should have looked at to begin with. It's the same thing you saw from Bioware while they were making Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2. No, really I'm not kidding:

http://www.nowgamer.com/news/919569/bioware_we_want_call_of_dutys_audience.html

How absolutely pathetic is that?

That interview REALLY bugs me. I still LIKE Mass Effect 2 and, for the most part, ME3, but I would have greatly preferred DEEPER RPG mechanics. Instead, they gutted the games.

Going after Call of Duty players? The two audiences are not mutually compatible. That's like saying you want tween girls that love Twilight to go see The Avengers, so you add a sparkly mopey vampire with bad hair to the crew... just because. Or you want grandmothers that love Hallmark movies to see that new horror movie, so you ensure it has a sappy, predictable, sentimental ending where everyone learns to love each other.

Go after the audience you have and build FROM it. So many companies spit in the faces of their fans this generation, and we've seen them and their franchises suffer (probably none more so than Mega Man and Resident Evil).

From Devil May Cry, to Final Fantasy, to Resident Evil, to SimCity, to Diablo III, to Metroid: Other M, to so many more... the more they altered a winning formula to try and mutate a series into something it never was intended to be, all in favor of "expanding" the audience, the more the series actually SHRUNK and alienated their more loyal fans.

Let's hope the coming years give other developers more "captain obvious" epiphanies. I'm glad Square Enix figured it out, even if they never should have had to do so in the first place.

TiberiusEsuriens:

Demonchaser27:

castlewise:
I think part of it is that "doing fine" isn't good enough for large shareholder driven companies. You always want to be doing better, growing etc... So in some ways this is Square giving up and saying we aren't going to get "big market" money.

Yeah that's kind of the problem with business. Infinite growth doesn't exist. But these suits wish it did. Its just rampant addiction, plain and simple.

Indeed. The problem is that the new, post modern age capitalism (whatever the heck it's called) is different than it's humble foundations. The idea of capitalism more or less used to simply mean having control of your own goals, and it still echos that in small business. For big business however, it's much more like Game of Thrones. There's a "Most Profitable Company" leaderboard, and you either win or you die. Every big business feels like they have to commit 150% to toppling the big giant and take the crown, but in doing so they all lose.

For a small business the word Diversify is used to describe a way to keep your company stable in the event part of your business is lost. For big business, it's viewed that the only way to not lose that business is to shut out all competition, but that means that they think and do the same thing, which leads to the arms race described.

Square might feel like they're admitting defeat, but its a really a smart move. "The only winning move is not to play"

Captcha: I think I can!
No Square, you can't

Yeah, it would be great if capitalism were going that way. In fact I would feel a lot better about it if it was a more peaceful and welcoming place as you described. Too much of this death and despair "survival of the fittest"/black and white bullshit. I agree man.

PS: LMAO! What luck with that Captcha.

Demonchaser27:

Thanatos2k:
http://www.nowgamer.com/news/919569/bioware_we_want_call_of_dutys_audience.html

How absolutely pathetic is that?

Wow, that's just sad. I've never seen that article. Yeah lets make RPGs into shooters... I mean who the hell will care right?

To be fair, it worked in the short term. ME2 is the best rated Mass Effect title, both by fans and critics, and it got that massive boost in sales. While ME3 wasn't the strongest (I still liked it), BioWare successfully got CoD players to care about RPG elements, showed what actual characters in games were, and the character powersets highlighted how drull modern military shooters can be.

The hope here is that BioWare has learned their lesson about what made their games so good back in the day. When ME4 or whatever it is comes out, so long as the story doesn't suck balls they will have a HUGE audience.

Uratoh:
Are we sure the 'refocusing on traditional RPGs' etc thing from Squeenix wasn't just an april fools joke? Because they sure picked a day to announce it on.

I thought it was an April fools joke as well: another instance of a game company being snarky in exactly the wrong way.

OT: I was going to add something about the follow-the-leader all-or-nothing mentality in the wake of CoD's runaway success, but it seemed kind of redundant since Jim has mentioned it in previous videos. Between greed and different standards of success (games being required to sell millions of copies by publishers), the industry seems to have jumped feet first into the idea of mainstream: they seem to have forgotten that it was being a niche hobby and appealing to different markets that made it popular in the first place.

Titanfall being deemed a success before it was even released is a great example of what I think is the bigger issue here: game companies deciding what we want without any real input from us. They decided we didn't want turn-based jrpgs, survival-horror, etc. They decided we liked microtransactions. They decided we only like to play games certain ways. They've made these decisions because they thought it would benefit them and we would just go along with it. Surprise surprise, it hasn't worked.

As a good counterpoint, however, game companies weren't the only ones to decide that we didn't like flight sims anymore: flight sims having an insane insistence on overly complex controls and 'realism' helped bury that genre. Wings of Prey having more functions than there are keys on the keyboard is good for the hardcore enthusiast with a $150 flight stick, pedals, and throttle, but for someone like my dad that just wanted to plug in a simple joystick and start dogfighting it was simply unplayable.

There can be too much of an emphasis on the niche market, but companies seem to have forgone niche appeal altogether rather than risk losing money on it. Ironic given that they lose even more money in process. I also find it amusing that while people claim games are getting easier in order to appeal to a larger audience, cheat codes have almost entirely disappeared.

the Megaman franchise to falls into this because capcom think no one wants it, well I watched this the other day and it made me sad a little.


People want a Megaman game, the market is there but they won't give it, Now Inafune is creating the Mighty No.9 clone and I bet it'll be successfull.

I very rarely disagree with Jim. His points are cogent, as always, and are never poorly thought out. However, in this case, I think what really drove game companies to forsake 'the good old games of yester-decade' was their increasing success and eventually the profit motive for those public companies. Check out MatPat's video on this very topic. I think this provides a very interesting counterpoint to Jim's video.

Hazy992:
It baffles me too, I honestly wonder what it was that set this mindset off. There must have been a catalyst surely?

Much as I lament the complaints about Call of Duty that always pop up around here, this is one time where I actually think the rising success of games like Call of Duty and Halo and the subsequent push for online play was likely the trigger. What we were seeing wasn't so much "Single-player doesn't sell anymore!" like the companies interpreted it as, but rather "Those games make way more money than ours do!"

Then say hello to the panic as they try scrambling to attract an entirely new audience instead of continuing to make games for the one they had obtained years earlier, with a steadily growing fan-base caused by word of mouth. Though in the cases of Resident Evil and Final Fantasy it really is quite an anomaly.

Arnoxthe1:
Well hold on there, Jim. I remember saying a long time ago that even though the core of Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts was good, the whole game wasn't actually a Banjo Kazooie game at all and I recommended that the core of it should have been put into a different IP entirely.

But you said no. You were saying that that was a good thing that they were experimenting around and trying new things with the brand even though it didn't match the brand at all. OK, that's fine. But then, you say in this video that the action RPG that Square Enix was making was a mistake even though it was trying new things with the brand.

Explain!

Well, I don't have the context of the discussion you're talking about, but people do change their opinions over time. Or, beyond that, trying new things isn't inherently bad. It depends on the expectations of the developer, publisher, and consumer. In the case of Nuts & Bolts, it probably would've been regarded much better in general if it had simply been billed as a spin-off and Microsoft hadn't completely dropped the brand afterward. But it wasn't a case of Microsoft approaching Rare and saying "3D Platformers are dead, make it a shooter instead!" In fact, much as I don't like it simply based on principle, Nuts & Bolts is a pretty ambitious title all things considered. Final Fantasy XIII was more like Square Enix's attempt to appeal to everyone except Final Fantasy fans.

Though, on the subject of Banjo-Kazooie, I am sad that basically every AAA publisher decided 3D platformers and collect-a-thons are dead too. There was a brief sputtering of life between Psychonauts and Alice: Madness Returns, but only Nintendo and Sega even still seem to be touching the genre, and even they're not doing much in the way of unique or new titles anymore.

I happen to like the solid white background. It makes you look more professional, though I'm not sure that is exactly what you want to hear.

Single player being irrelevant to gaming? Ive been gaming since Atari, 29 years of gaming and 99% of that was single player games with online gaming (not PC) being last gen mainly. I think its because there is more effort and money in making a decent single player game than a multi player online game. Really, who bought the new Tomb Raider for its online multiplayer?

Trishbot:

That interview REALLY bugs me. I still LIKE Mass Effect 2 and, for the most part, ME3, but I would have greatly preferred DEEPER RPG mechanics. Instead, they gutted the games.

Going after Call of Duty players? The two audiences are not mutually compatible. That's like saying you want tween girls that love Twilight to go see The Avengers, so you add a sparkly mopey vampire with bad hair to the crew... just because. Or you want grandmothers that love Hallmark movies to see that new horror movie, so you ensure it has a sappy, predictable, sentimental ending where everyone learns to love each other.

Go after the audience you have and build FROM it. So many companies spit in the faces of their fans this generation, and we've seen them and their franchises suffer (probably none more so than Mega Man and Resident Evil).

From Devil May Cry, to Final Fantasy, to Resident Evil, to SimCity, to Diablo III, to Metroid: Other M, to so many more... the more they altered a winning formula to try and mutate a series into something it never was intended to be, all in favor of "expanding" the audience, the more the series actually SHRUNK and alienated their more loyal fans.

Let's hope the coming years give other developers more "captain obvious" epiphanies. I'm glad Square Enix figured it out, even if they never should have had to do so in the first place.

Woah now... hold on. What did they do to DMC other than make the main character less of an embarrassment? It still has DMC mechanics, and was one of the few games with actual decent platforming. The others I understand, but they didn't change DMC's genre... they just removed 90's loose-cannon cringe-worthy Dante from the equation.

TiberiusEsuriens:

Demonchaser27:

Thanatos2k:
http://www.nowgamer.com/news/919569/bioware_we_want_call_of_dutys_audience.html

How absolutely pathetic is that?

Wow, that's just sad. I've never seen that article. Yeah lets make RPGs into shooters... I mean who the hell will care right?

To be fair, it worked in the short term. ME2 is the best rated Mass Effect title, both by fans and critics, and it got that massive boost in sales. While ME3 wasn't the strongest (I still liked it), BioWare successfully got CoD players to care about RPG elements, showed what actual characters in games were, and the character powersets highlighted how drull modern military shooters can be.

The hope here is that BioWare has learned their lesson about what made their games so good back in the day. When ME4 or whatever it is comes out, so long as the story doesn't suck balls they will have a HUGE audience.

And yet, as an RPG fan, Mass Effect 1 is still my favorite game in the series. They left some of their old audience behind to chase others. In this case it wasn't hard to trick CODers into playing a game about Space Commander Marines and shooting people, but it did NOT work when they tried similar things in Dragon Age 2 - and Dragon Age 2 is near universally reviled. It's not a coincidence.

Zachary Amaranth:
Snippity doo dah

shrekfan246:
Snippster Act 2: Back In The Habit

But the industry has always had those sorts of popularity booms for certain genres, hasn't it? Just look at JRPGs in the 90's. How come this is so different?

Pat Hulse:
However, I think the problem was less about fear and more about greed. Yeah, JRPGs and survival horror and other such "niche" markets never really stopped being successful, but the problem was that executives at Square-Enix and Capcom and Konami, etc. all saw "Halo" and "Call of Duty" making way more money than they were and deciding that they could be just as successful if they did the same thing. Rather than remaining content with the modest success they were enjoying, they decided to try and out-Call-of-Duty "Call of Duty", and as a result, they alienated the market they had and reported losses.

I think this is most of it, but I don't necessarily think it's totally greed-based. If games like Call of Duty did anything, it was set the bar on what constituted a successful game, and Call of Duty put that bar waaay up there. So, if a company wanted to think of their game as successful, they had to do as good/better than Call of Duty. I feel like this is an issue with a lot tech companies--they have to beat the last quarter's most successful new thing, or they've failed.

The way this works out in the games industry is kind of sad and hilarious--if some genre over performs (fps), everyone jumps on that bandwagon and ditches other genres. In the tech sector, this makes sense: if smartphones are popular because they're extremely easy to use, building a super-customizable command-line-based smartphone is probably not the right direction to go. However, the darned games industry is a creative industry too, so it'd be like every movie being a bland teen romance because Twilight was popular. The movie industry knows it has an audience (maybe not as huge) for excessively violent horror films, so it keeps making them. The games industry needs to actually recognize it's not a strict tech industry and capitalize on all of its niche audiences already.

Hazy992:

Zachary Amaranth:
Snippity doo dah

shrekfan246:
Snippster Act 2: Back In The Habit

But the industry has always had those sorts of popularity booms for certain genres, hasn't it? Just look at JRPGs in the 90's. How come this is so different?

Well, the world is much more inter-connected than it was in the 90's, for one. Information is, in general, easier to obtain than ever before.

The companies were arguably much more "relevant" back then, as well. I wouldn't exactly say Square Enix or Capcom have no relevance in the modern gaming industry, but in the late 80's and early 90's their names were pretty much synonymous with "The best of the best and you probably won't find anything else like this, buddy", which is why they're still around today while whatever competition they had has largely been forgotten in time. Today? They're much smaller fish, or they're in a much larger pond. Or both. Who knows?

I think there are two factors playing into this:

1) Rising development costs. It's been known ever since the last gen started that the cost of developing "AAA" games has had developers worried.

2) The success of Call of Duty. In the middle of the fear over rising costs that I mentioned above developers saw the earth-shattering financial success of the Modern Warfare franchise and came to the conclusion that there was an easy way to solve the problem: follow the leader. They took on a strange, almost magical-thinking attitude that simply aping the trappings of Call of Duty would somehow replicate its success.

At the same time, in the minds of executives CoD's astonishing piles of launch-day cash somehow went from being a once-in-history outlier to the new normal. It's like they thought "oh, video games make billions of dollars now! Well we can massively over-inflate our budgets then since we'll just make it all back on day one. A hair-rendering engine for Lara Croft's ponytail? Sure why not! Spend spend spend!"

I think this is the real origin of the weird "x genre doesn't sell" stuff. What they actually mean is that x genre doesn't sell *as well as Call of Duty*, which is now treated as the baseline for success instead of the game development equivalent of winning the lottery eight times in a row. They thought they were blasting off to the stars on a multiplayer-powered rocket and all of those older genres that never made back their development costs five seconds after launch were now obsolete

Of course the reality is that this is all insane nonsense and a far more responsible reaction to the problem of rising dev costs is to keep budgets under control and try to hit new markets (the option Nintendo and mobile devs went with) instead of sticking multiplayer and bald guys talking about how the LZ is hot in all of your games.

Companies say a lot of things. While it is a good thing that Square Enix wants to go back to its roots we'll see what Final Fantasy XVI looks like (I say 16 since 15 has been in production for a very long time). We'll see if what Square Enix says is true when the games start coming out.

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