Hello Malstrom. It’s me again from that Lords of Shadow email. Thank you for the response.
For a time, I always thought of Viral marketing like that old spice guy, not really being industry shills online. I don’t want to immediately assume that the people who massively hype these games as being shills, but the estranged statements and desire to crush any and all forms of criticism in regards to the games (and transformers movies) make it a little more absurd to simply think these people are just falling over themselves in the name of Gabriel Belmont.
And now I think back to the whole fiasco with the Wii.
So many years of people justifying third parties reluctance for not developing or porting games over to the Wii because it’s an underpowered console. And for a long time, I had accepted that as a viable argument. Who would want to spend time, money, or resources to downgrade a game just so it could work on the Wii? And looking at Dead Rising, the process would be cumbersome and tiring. They used the RE4 engine for the game and no one really liked it. So, I came to accept the reality that all those “wonderful” HD games would never be ported to the Wii properly.
Then, I played Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes.
I’m not aware of the development history, but as far as I’m aware, this game used MT Framework. The same engine used for Dead Rising, RE5, and other capcom games, namely SF4. Now, I have this game for the Wii as well, and from booting it up, I’m treated to the words “MT Framework Lite”.
“How did Capcom go about developing a game to be multiplatform across PS3 and Wii, given the vast differences in hardware? By constructing a PC version on a scaled-down MT Framework, the engine that most of Capcom’s high-def games run on.”
So, I’m confused. They could develop a lite version of MT Framework that could work on the Wii… and the only games we could get on it were… a beat em up and a rail shooter? Being a 2010 game, it’s probably excused for being “created too late in the life span”, but if this was possible, we could’ve gotten some ports of these titles. The Wii went ignored.
And then they ported friggin SF4 to the damn 3DS. A system that is, for all intents and purposes, underpowered compared to the Wii.
Then, I played Sonic Colors.
Several people declared that the HD versions of Unleashed would never run on Wii because it wouldn’t be able to handle it. Colors uses this exact engine, and while the Frame rate suffered, the game can still run on the Wii. No one bothered bringing this up.
The excuse of “being underpowered” seems like an oxymoron at this point. Both Sega and Capcom have managed to make a few of their games work on the Wii (and then to the 3DS itself). If half the internet was aware of what these developers were capable of, I would expect Wii owners to be more than pissed. It’s hard for me to even deny the possibility of there being viral marketers to be swarming the internet in droves in regards to the Wii, and probably so toward Lords of Shadow.
And when I think about it, developers seem more and more anxious to silence dissent more than ever. When it came to LOS, Dave Cox and retaliated against fans who felt that LOS didn’t live up to the Castlevania namesake (and if ask me, rightfully so). Most developers seem to be getting this kind of mentality that customers have no right to complain about their purchases. And these “viral marketers” are used to further the “self-entitlement” meme to silence dissent even more so than before.
With this recent backlash against fans (something I actually agree with), I think the industry will have some more fuel for their justifications on why they just shouldn’t care.
I honestly wouldn’t think that the gaming industry would stoop so low as to manipulate public opinion as much as Fox or CNN would in regards to issues with figureheads within the business. But, I suppose naivete is just as good a weapon as ignorance.
And this last question might be a little off topic, but if Other M didn’t focus so much on it’s story, do you think it could’ve passed for an average Metroid game? I mean, in more ways than one, it feels like a decent transitioning of Super Metroid in 3D, and provided one of the better control schemes for a 3D action platformer. Not so many buttons, but you could do so much with limited controls. And while many people hated it, I thought the use of missiles was pretty good, switching from pointing to normal orientation was actually not as hard as people made it out to be. I think the gameplay is decent, but people ignored it largely for the story.
To Metroid, people would not have accepted Other M’s “gameplay”. Sakamoto’s problems with Other M were the final evolution, not unlike the evolutions of the Metroid (Other M was Sakamoto’s Omega Metroid). Prior steps to that evolution can be seen with Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission. Very few people remember but Super Metroid did not actually live up to Metroid’s legacy. Super Metroid being such an easy game made it more accessible to the future gamers.
Sakamoto’s idea of Metroid gameplay was nothing more than cliches: backtracking and tributes to previous Metroid locations and items. And all of it is wrapped up in an Alien Movie Theme Park Experience.
Metroid actually was an experience designed for experienced gamers. This is why the NES Metroid was always marketed with the NES Advantage as the NES Advantage (joystick for those who played in the Atari era) was aimed at these types of gamers. The NES had all sorts of games. Where is it written that every game must be simple, easy, and not frustrating? Metroid was a very frustrating, very demanding game which required high gameplay skills. The game had great value because of this as you could buy it and it would take you a long while to finish it. Keep in mind that Defender, in the arcade, shocked the arcade industry because such a hardcore game sold so well where the trend was to make more Donkey Kong and Pac-Man like ‘friendly’ games.
Gamers LOVE a game that tests their mettle as a gamer. Dark Souls is a game that performs that job today. While various NES games did it then, Metroid was one of them. Any child could beat Super Mario Brothers and Legend of Zelda (though the Second Quest was another story). But beating Metroid? Good luck.
I think Sakamoto was under pressure to widen the demographics of people who want to play Metroid to include women (girls play Mario and Zelda but no girls play Metroid). This might have been the reason why Sakamoto went the ‘maternal instincts’ direction was to bring in female gamers.
I think Nintendo is completely offbase with trying to make every single game do the same exact job as Wii Sports or Super Mario Brothers. Different games should do different jobs. The job of Metroid is to test the mettle of the experienced gamer. The Metroid Primes did this in part.
The way how people talk about Dark Souls today is exactly how people talked about Metroid back in the day. Metroid was such a difficult game complete with fake bosses and getting trapped in lava. Unlike a tough shmup which requires memorization and reflexes, Metroid required MORE than that. It required exploration and coming up with ways to get around obstacles. It was the thinking man’s game in addition to requiring good reflexes and memorization. No such game like it had ever been made which is why it made such an impression.
About the viral marketers, yes, they are everywhere online. Not sure what more I can add to your comments. Street Fighter 4 was also ported to the iPhone. I remember the Gamecube never having these third party games and a big reason why is because Microsoft was spending money for these companies not to release it on the Gamecube. Obviously, they couldn’t prevent many from releasing it on the PS2 with its large install base. There is a reason why the PS3 got short handed with multiplatform releases in comparison to the Xbox 360 with many titles.
I remember Street Fighter 2 being ported to the Commodore 64. Let’s take a look:
Above: If 16-bit games can be ported to the Commodore 64, ANYTHING can be ported to the Wii.
There is no reason why Monster Hunter 4 or 3 is not on Sony’s Vita. Nintendo has also started to play the game to pay the company money to not publish the game on a competitor’s console.
What I despise so much about viral marketing is how much it dehumanizes the gamer. We become nothing more than sheep, animals to ‘corral’ to the opinions that best financially reward the company.
Game Industry ran the numbers over the two possibilities:
-Make the best game possible.
-Make everyone believe it is the best game possible.
Which is cheaper? It is the second one.