First off, let me say thank you for that blog post “6 years later”. I couldn’t have said it any better than that on my feelings of gamers and their self-imposed business analysis of the video game market.
I had purchased a Wii in December of last year, and so far, it hasn’t dissappointed. Skyward Chore literally meant the death of Zelda for me, but I have bought several games for the console, this I can look passed without so much as a care. Before, I never wanted the game because while I didn’t hate Twilight Princess, I didn’t have any interest in that game. But I bought it for my sister since she is in love with Twilight Princess, but even though she tries to deny it, she absolutely HATES Skyward Chore. It doesn’t even feel like a game, but rather than an overblown tech demo for a 2 year old peripheral device that was essentially Nintendo admitting their motion controls were not good. And the controls were still awful (especially flying, AMMA I hated flying).
But that brings me to my next point. Video games….. don’t feel like games anymore. They feel like expensive once in a lifetime events that you pay a large sum of cash for… just to get at least a week’s worth of enjoyment out of the game. To me, if I buy something at full price, I expect it to last me a long time. Xenoblade is a good example of this. I payed full price, and it at least lasted me 2 good months. It’s a very simple game but it’s also very addicting. Not to mention it’s frickin long by itself. Long games in general aren’t bad considering the prices that they go for these days. But at the same time, if the game is gonna be long, then dammit, make it fun! That’s the entire problem with Skyward Chore. You literally have to force yourself to play that game because it’s not fun. It’s a wet dream for masochists.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow falls into the same trap. And this pains me even more than Zelda as Castlevania was a series I could ALWAYS go back to. It doesn’t matter what the games were, I just had to always go back to them and lose myself in the games. They’re so addicting and fun, it’s almost a crime for them to be less successful than this Frankenstein of a game LOS turned out to be.
See, Castlevania had a distinct look and feel to the series that I felt was enhanced by Symphony of the Night. No other game in the WORLD could come close to matching the atmosphere, addicting gameplay, and the music of this series. Castlevania was a beast of a franchise.
Unfortunately, when Judgment came out, I knew that Konami was going to kill it for more money. LOS is the realization of that fore-knowledge. To think that after so many years of what we came to know as Castlevania being a slight parody of horror films into being the gothic grand daddy that it was with Igarashi’s games, the fanbase has literally accepted LOS as a “legitiment” Castlevania title over vague similarities such as Gabriel’s armor being the same color as Simon’s armor on the cover of Simon’s Quest for the NES.
I don’t like fanbases in general because they tend to make me hate games that I enjoy (Sonic and Pokemon come to mind), but the Castlevania fans have placed this disgrace of a reboot on a pedestal and declared that anyone who does not like it should just suck it up because “it made more money”.
Money is good. There’s no denying it. But how big was the price?
Overly long melodramatic cutscenes courtesy of Hideo “story over gameplay” Kojima?
Gameplay that makes you feel nostalgic about a game that came out literally 8 months before it’s release!? (GOW) And not anything resembling Castlevania games?
A world more reminiscent of Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, or some other medieval fantasy “epic” not yet released at a theater near you?
Boss battles that could only be explained by the Birdman Fallacy you came up with?
Puzzles involving carrying around a giant lever for no reason than to add some tedious element to the game and daring to call it “variety”?
Quick time events for even the simplest of actions such as turning a pully to open a gate!?
Dull “western” designs that make even the most appealing of characters come off incredibly generic and boring to even consider having any emotional value that the narrative tries desperately to convince you to have!?
A game that is 20 hours long for gameplay that is more suitable to 5-6 hours tops!?
Backpadding!? (Backtracking used as a means for padding out the game length). No, really, you have to go back to the beginning levels to pick up some random item that is needed to progress the game in one of the later levels. That is NOT good design. That is there just to piss people off.
An enemy library that doesn’t move beyond Goblins, Werewolves, Vampires, or “large” monsters that do nothing but have a punch, a ramming attack, and a ground smash that makes a shockwave. I can vividly remember Peeping eyes, Medusa Heads, far more creative Skeletons (blood skeletons for example), flying horse heads, corpse weeds, une’s, fleemen, fish monsters, ectoplasms, etc. Of course, the fan’s excuse is the villain isn’t Dracula, and he doesn’t exist until DLC. So you mean to tell me that Satan, the ULTIMATE EVIL of the world, can do no better than rehashing creatures from a book by J.R.R. Tolkien!?
And most of all, Dave Cox himself stated “The game may appeal more to those who liked the original games’ style than those who liked Symphony of the Night, because it’s much closer to the originals.” I can’t think of a more blatant lie. These games feel nothing like the old Castlevania games aside from having stage by stage progressing. And I don’t remember having to GO BACK to the first level for any other reason except getting my ass handed to me by the actual game, not some old relic that I wasn’t aware I needed until I was told so VERY LATE IN THE GAME!
And the mind boggling thing is…. people like this?! I feel like the little online trolls who are confused by the Wii’s initial success. It just doesn’t make sense! Games like this shouldn’t be encouraged or praised for being some cinematic drek of a video game that had artificial hype. And the actual fanbase as well as reviewers slobber over, viciously defend, and apologize for a derivative 3D action game that does nothing what Cox proclaimed it would. And that was moving the franchise forward. You don’t move things forward by copying off of other non-games and removing everything that’s relevant to the actual franchise. But I guess one of Cox’s goals was achieved.
“The hope is to broaden the brand’s appeal for today’s audience.”
Today’s audience is apparently easily pleased.
I feel like it was only yesterday when I was pressured into “defending” my opinion of the Transformers films being…. well… shit. And it became so clear that I’m not supposed to look for “oscar winning performances” or deep storylines because a summer movie is supposed to be “just big and dumb”. That’s exactly what’s happened here. Lords of Shadow is the very definition of the “summer movie” in the definition that “today’s audience” spells out for all. It’s not supposed to win awards or have a deep storyline (even though the game desperately tries to have such, and has gotten awards for god knows what reason). It’s nonsensical, poorly strung together, and through all logic and reasoning, has easily captivated a large percentage of the population. I had no idea the industry had lowered standards so much that we’re willing to accept the degradation of yet ANOTHER franchise from the 8-16bit days.
Hollywood has a bad habit of remaking classics for the sake of cash while they slaughter them like little lamb. Now they’re remaking Total Recall for god knows what reason. I feel the same thing is being done this generation, especially with Capcom reviving (and degrading) everyone of their franchises for cold hard cash-ins. Nintendo ran Metroid into the ground with Other M and did the same with Skyward Chore, and they still think they’re geniuses, like some illogical mental disease is preventing them from realizing how much they’re pissing off everyone from their shallow attempts at creativity.
Castlevania was probably one of my last domains of sanity in the world of video games, but now it is dead. And the industry claims it as a victory while great games are ignored. And this has to be fact for it now has not one, but TWO sequels being made. And neither will play anything like Castlevania. Even the 2D game will just be an alternate version of the 3D original. And people are falling over themselves in anticipation simply because “a person named “Alucard”" is in the game.
Bomberman survived an Act Zero, and that is the only franchise left that actually keeps me happy. Everything else has died to the Hollywood syndrome that is destroying video games. Why are developers running franchises into the ground just to create what they call “epic experiences”?
Your gut instinct is likely to be more correct. One of the priorities for marketing when it concerns reboots is for viral marketers to handle the original fanbase. When the Battlestar Galactica reboot came out, the viral marketers got frustrated with the original BSG crowd especially concerning the subject of Starbuck turning into a woman (buck means male deer anyway). Their way of handling it was to repeat: “This is the LAST TIME we’ll see BSG on the air. We must get it to succeed.” The viral marketers all have techniques and strategies. I am absolutely sure there were viral marketers around when you felt alone with the Castlevania game or the Michael Bay Transformers movies.
The thing I’m amused with the game industry is that they want to eat their cake and have it too. There are pros and cons for a game company to make a sequel. The pros is that the sequel already has a pre-installed sales base due to fans of the original. The cons is that the sequel must fit certain expectations. The game industry doesn’t like you or me. They don’t like having to fit certain expectations. They see you as a problem to be neutralized with the company they hired to perform viral marketing.
Instead of hiring these viral marketers and doing all this, wouldn’t it just be easier to fit certain expectations? But then I realized they would admit the control is in the consumer’s hands if they did that. The longer I live, the more it seems like these people just want to do whatever they want and get you to pay for it.