Nintendo to Diversify Their Business
Holy shit has this week ever been a shoah for meaningful gaming news! At any rate, this initial story is still worth its ink insofar as it is a continuation of Nintendo’s downfall narrative, which Lusipurr.com has been forced to report on quite a bit of late. Much like the inept architects of the Europe experiment, Nintendo has moved this week to forcibly inject some hot diversity into the holes of their homogeneous product line. Nintendo’s big advantage is in their iconic IPs, which feature beloved characters who practically sell themselves. Nintendo’s great disadvantage however, is that they produce extremely unappealing hardware, which is further hobbled by the fact that Nintendo treats their consumers like babies. Newsflash to Nintendo: children do not buy your home consoles – your potential audience consists primarily of people in their 20s and 30s!
So what to do about this entirely self-imposed problem? Well obviously rather than fix the problem outright, Nintendo would prefer to take the path less traveled by leveraging their popular characters in mediums that are not video games, thus sidestepping the problem of not being able to make money off of their popular IP on account of being exclusively bound to unpopular hardware. So, how is Nintendo going about doing this? They are going to follow in the extremely successful footsteps of Squaresoft in the late 90s by making movies! On top of this they have restructured their business in order to produce medical equipment and software! This is not a joke. Nintendo has not yet revealed which IP is first up on the block, yet they plan on having it out in 2-3 years. In all fairness Nintendo IPs are, for the most part, more iconic than the Final Fantasy franchise, especially since Final Fantasy keeps changing its setting and characters. That said, the most elegant solution to their problems would either be for them to pull their heads out of their arses and create a platform that people actually want to use, else go third party and piggyback off the success of Sony and Valve. Making movies might provide Nintendo with the required revenue stream to prop up their ailing console business, yet it introduces just as much financial liability to the equation as it manages to mitigate. Movie flops are expensive, just ask Squaresoft.
Onward to Greater Diversity!
From one story of diversity to the next, Electronic Arts has identified the three largest genre segments of the gaming market [sports games, shooters, and action games], and has indicated their wish to have a larger share of this pie going forward. According to EA CFO Blake Jorgensen, the company is happy with their presence in the sport genre [after their predatory purchase of every viable sporting license under the sun], and they also feel well represented in the shooter genre, though they also feel there is still ‘a large space for opportunities’ here – with the ‘large space for opportunities’ in this instance being represented by the money that Activision makes from Call of Duty. The green-eyed EA has long coveted Activision’s FPS empire, and has thrown good money after bad in an effort to usurp their stronghold. Finally, the biggest genre segment that EA has virtually no presence in is the action genre – which includes everything from Grand Theft Auto, to Assassin’s Creed, to [probably] Uncharted [though games like Uncharted and Tomb Raider are pretty close to being accurately considered as ‘shooters’ too].
In an effort to reverse this position EA has made several large investments in the ‘action’ genre which they obviously feel are going to yield dividends presently. Firstly, in the wake of the very talented Amy Hennig being turfed from Naughty Dog by the SJW moviefags Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, EA snapped her up and set her to work over at Visceral Games, leading the development of an action adventure game set in the Star Wars universe, which is thought to be similar to her work on Uncharted. Secondly, EA has established a Montreal studio [Motive Studios] under the leadership of former Assassin’s Creed producer, Jade Raymond, which is tasked with producing action adventure titles. Finally, EA have listed the third tool in their action adventure drawer as being Bioware. Bioware were once leaders in the WRPG genre, yet have not produced anything relevant to roleplaying games since 2009’s Dragon Age: Origins – a whopping seven years ago.
This point marks the beginning of the end stretch of Bioware’s downward spiral within the standard lifespan of acquired studios under EA. Following an EA acquisition studios are often eager to adapt themselves to the parent company’s strategy in order to create greater job protection, yet over time they become less and less fit for purpose, until they are like Bioware and are no longer capable of producing the kind of games that were one their specialty. When tasked with creating an RPG Bioware is now only capable of producing an also-ran RPG-lite, which is easily brushed aside and eclipsed by the likes of The Witcher 3. Thus, a studio which once specialised in doing one thing well, now gets put on whatever project that EA requires a team for – until such a time as they no longer prove effective in this role, which will result in their decommission. It seems fairly certain that the ‘action’ title which Bioware are working on is the unannounced Star Wars project they have been developing, yet it could just as easily and accurately be claimed as being Mass Effect: Andromeda, as the Mass Effect series has been comprised of mediocre third person action adventures ever since Mass Effect 2. Hell, the only thing separating Dragon Age: Inquisition from being a shallow Ubisoft action adventure clone is the game’s borderline broken battle mechanics. The kindest thing for Bioware at this point would be to take them out the back with a rifle, and end their suffering.
Rumour: Capcom to Establish a Clean Slate With Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil was one of the biggest breakout hits of the PS1 era, which managed to consolidate this position with the release of the seminal classic Resident Evil 2. The declining popularity of the traditionally styled Resident Evil games during the PS2 era has been greatly exaggerated, mostly on account of being GameCube exclusives – yet the release of the action-friendly Resident Evil 4 inarguably spurred the series on to even greater success, and set it up to dominate the seventh console generation through a compelling blend of action and horror elements. Sadly, this domination was never to occur. Having experienced so much success at making Resident Evil moderately action-oriented, Capcom decided to double down by making it exclusively action oriented.
Resident Evil 5 at least had the same buttery smooth controls of Resident Evil 4, and managed to sell well off the back of Resident Evil 4, as series fans implicitly trusted that it would offer a similarly high quality experience – yet the co-op oriented campaign alienated a huge swathe of the Resident Evil audience, many of whom already thought that Resident Evil 4 went a little too far in the direction of action. If fans thought that the divisive reception of Resident Evil 5 would temper the series slide into shooter bro action then they were sorely mistaken, as the high sales of the game convinced Capcom to delve even further into this territory for Resident Evil 6. This time Capcom set an unprecedented massive team of seven hundred developers churning out a huge volume of action content for the game, obviously thinking they were poised to break into the territory of co-op mega-franchise. This time however, Capcom decided to jettison the silky smooth controls of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, replacing them with a new and expanded set of controls that could be charitably described as wonky as fuck [made worse still by one of the roughest cameras ever seen in a AAA action game]. Dissatisfaction with the previous game in the series coupled with dismal word of mouth accounts meant that after a strong initial launch day, Resident Evil 6 went on to sell roughly 3.5 million units fewer than Resident Evil 5. But this is all ancient history.
This week Dr. Serkan, a Tokyo-based games industry consultant, tweeted that Resident Evil 7 would be present at E3, that it would be looking to establish a clean slate by harking back to the horror roots of the series, and that Capcom had hired former Kojima Productions designer Jordan Amaro to work on the game.
“1) About Resident Evil 7: Yes, it’s in development. The entire game will go back to RE’s horror roots and (essentially) be a clean slate.
2) They will show it at E3. The RE7 team hired Jordan Amaro, a designer who previously worked on MGS V and P. T. at Kojima Productions. /end”
The hiring of Jordan Amaro is a pretty interesting prospect. He was a mission designer on Metal Gear Solid V, so chances are he played an equally prominent role in the development of P.T., which is a title largely regarded as the first sign of a heartbeat for Japanese horror since the mid-2000s, and the last gasp of breath from a moribund Konami. Perhaps something good can at last come from the ashes of P.T. The promise of a return to horror is also a tantalising prospect, though one hopes that Dr. Serkan is going off of more than just the claims of Capcom, as they have made previous promises of horror which never materialised. At any rate, Capcom do appear to have acknowledged their fuck-ups within the last few years, and the big success of REmake HD does make it seem fairly likely that they will try to turn back the clock on the Resident Evil series. Regardless, we will see what comes of these rumours anon, as E3 is just weeks away.