I can understand why a gamer would hold a certain regard for a game designer who is able to create a consistently high standard product, I really do. I can also understand why a gamer would have a certain amount of affection for any Developer/Publisher who is seen to promote a high standard of software, it is only natural that we should support the people who do the right thing by us, and contribute to the health of the industry. But how far should our loyalty and affection extend? Should we continue to defend their good name when they haven’t made a good game in the last ten years? When a corporate mouthpiece makes a proclamation which on the face of it is a self-evident falsehood, should we become angry and argumentative and then cry like babby when no one else believes them? When corporate management decide to sack all of your favourite designers and appoint experts in the field of homosexualism to ensure that your favourite franchises no longer share even the most superficial similarities to the prior games in the series, are you placated because someone who once produced one of the games is flown out to Canada two or three times in order to ‘oversee’ the project. Well allow me to answer my own line of questioning; this is the overwhelming reality for far too many gormless franchise fans.
Why would anyone continue to support a series that no longer bares any resemblance to the series cannon, while at the same time managing to be completely awful in its own right? The last Bionic Commando game was farmed out to a western studio, the last Dead Rising game was farmed out to a western studio, the next Devil May Cry game is being farmed out to a western studio, and within the last twenty-four hours the rumour mill has been churning with suggestions that Slant Six, the makers of SOCOM, will be developing the next HD Resident Evil game. I think it’s safe to assume at this point that Capcom is in the process of liquidating all domestic development in favour of an international development strategy (please look forward to Mega Man FPS).
The reason I mention this is due to the fact that the philosophical and structural changes that have occurred within Capcom over the last few years have rendered it such a manifestly different entity that I cannot comprehend how consumer goodwill toward the Capcom brand circa 2005 can be extended to the Capcom brand circa 2010. There is a disconnect there, though hapless Capcom tragics seem blinded to all but the branding when determining their vocal support. This is why these dreadful people are placated when some random person who worked on one of the previous games is trotted out by Capcom to announce he will be overseeing production of DmC (in this case ‘overseeing’ being a euphemism for ‘ doing fuck all’). Another personal favourite line of fanboy reasoning goes: ‘Capcom can do what they like with their series’, this of course is true, but when read in its correct context it is meant to suggest that whatever Capcom sign off on is cannon because they make the game. Never mind that the creator of Devil May Cry was sacked. Never mind that every significant Capcom director, producer and designer has either been fired or quit over the last five years. Never mind that the people making the decisions about the DMC series’ future direction are first and foremost accountants. No, it is cannon because Capcom have given their say-so, and they make the games …
… And speaking about collapsing institutions no longer in the business of making cannon titles, Capcom is as small-fry next to the obtuse and decadent might of Enixsoft. Enixsoft employees lie so frequently that it must surely come as naturally to them at this point as game design by focus group. There is not now, and can never be, a logical basis for taking Enixsoft’s word when a more likely scenario is plausible (hint: the root cause of their every motivation is laziness; mental, physical, financial). Take for instance their missed deadline for Final Fantasy Tactics’ release on iOS devices. Now, Enixsoft swore until they were blue in the face that apparently every single western site was USING THE WRONG RELEASE DATE. I happen to be of the firm belief that parsimony is a virtue, that usually the most intuitive and straightforward explanation is the correct one, and this story reeks of the most feculent, watery bullshit. Assuming that the western media were using the incorrect release date (protip: they weren’t) Enixsoft still had many months to correct this misunderstanding, instead they cobbled together an eleventh hour wildly implausible excuse in a bid to avoid looking like a comically incompetent and dysfunctional corporate backwater (protip: the ruse was unsuccessful). The really surprising observation to come out of this episode however, is the fact that the Enixsoft fanboy plebeians are still trotting out the company line as though it were the very clarion call of truth. Such blind and gormless trust for this most unsound of corporate entities, and brace yourself for blind and witless rage should you point out to them this most manifest truth.
This isn’t so much an isolated incident, as it is a pattern of behaviour for Enixsoft fanboys. Most recently they were clamouring that Final Fantasy Tunnel Run was a very deliberate and inspired design choice (as had been the company line) right up to the point wherein Yasanori Kitase in a rare moment of candour admitted that team Tunnel Run didn’t even have a game design until they were forced to produce a demo, and before that there was the curious case of Yasumi Matsuno’s illness, which caused FFXII to come down with a case of Vann as lead character. And please do not even get me started on Final Fantasy XIV, an entire editorial (nay, an entire series of editorials) could be devoted to that issue and I would still scarcely scratch the surface of that rabbit warren of weasel words, half-truths, flagrant lies and Horse-Birds.
So, what manner of arcane reasoning allows uncritical fanboys to be uncritical fanboys, and not feel the shame and self-loathing that they surely should? This is one of those nebulous questions where even I hesitate to venture an answer for the simple fact that such a state of unreason appears entirely foreign to me … but then I wouldn’t feel right leaving you on such a wishy-washy note, and so must once again look to parsimony to show me the way, and thus; wishful thinking + really low standards = INDUSTRY!!!
But then I most certainly do not hold all the answers on this subject friends, so what is your prognostication for this dire malady? What are some of the more ridiculous corporate statements that you have heard to excuse utter incompetence? What are some of the funnier instances when you have encountered fanboys defending the indefensible?