Recently, there has been a dramatic upsurge in the music industry with the fanbases of certain artists causing unnecessary stirs through what can only be described as obsession. I am, of course, referencing the utterly absurd ‘Cut 4 Beiber’ campaign that followed that artist being caught on camera in a compromising situation involving drugs. The deluge of erratic responses this received from his fanbase was absolutely insane, and the response from the wider public was obviously judgemental.
Thinking about this situation, led me to wonder about whether the gaming industry is just as crazy. I don’t mean like ‘cutting yourself in response to a bad game’ crazy (because self-harm is a genuine problem that should never be made light of), but gamers have our own type of insanity. We are very precious about our hobby, and we can verge on the crazy with our responses sometimes.
Perfect examples came in 2012; the first being Mass Effect 3, and the other being Resident Evil 6. Starting with Mass Effect 3; I can’t state to know the game (or the series for that matter), but I have heard something since it’s release that has mortified me. I have heard through the other lovely members of Team Z1G that people actually complained about the ending of the popular trilogy, and that Bioware have responded by releasing an ‘Extended Cut’ with an alternate ending.
Whether or not Bioware should have done this can be debated back and forth for hours, but I would argue that they shouldn’t have given in on this point. Any game (or any franchise), is the brainchild of it’s creator, like the product of any art form. I don’t think that any art form should be compromised because of the opinions of others, much less altered entirely. I do understand that any gaming franchise is nothing without it’s fans, but it should still be allowed to play out as the designers see fit.
The fans can argue, and they are right to do so, that the franchise’s ending completely contradicted the feel throughout the trilogy that the player’s actions had an effect on the outcome. So, from this standpoint, maybe Bioware (if they had intended the ending they chose from the beginning) shouldn’t have put such an emphasis on this ‘open-ended’ story. However, I still believe that the reaction from the fanbase was perhaps a little too extreme.
The other example I gave was on a game from a franchise that I know and love very well, Resident Evil 6. The latest in the survival horror franchise met various differing opinions on it’s release. Many called it a further move away from what made the series great, others applauded the moves that Capcom had taken to appease the fans of it’s multimillion-selling franchise after the disappointment that was the fifth instalment.
I would argue that, in places, Resident Evil 6 is a great game and a return to form. Sure, it can’t strictly be called a survival horror title any more (after removing all aspects of ‘survival’), but it is a fantastic action title. Also, sure it isn’t anywhere near the dizzying heights of horror perfection that were the first few titles (and, of course, the remake of the first). But unfortunately, as I said at the beginning, us gamers can become very precious of our favourite franchises so a lot of the community criticised the title.
As a final example; the recently released DmC: Devil May Cry, from Capcom. I have mentioned in a previous article that recently there has been an extensive amount of ‘reboots’ in the gaming world, and DmC definitely falls into this category. Capcom took the protagonist from the previous titles; an arrogant, but ultimately cool, and calm Dante. Then replaced him with a petulant, arrogant, and foul-mouthed teenage incarnation, and fans were furious.
The game has been very warmly received by critics since it’s release, but has not been as embraced by the gaming community as a whole. This can be clearly seen from the scores on Metacritic; not the cast-iron evidence of greatness that it is sometimes seen as, but the massive gap between the high reviewer scores and the low scores given by the users of the site is quite daunting. Whether this can be put down to people not agreeing with the new direction or not is just supposition. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this passionate desire for our favourite franchises to not change is behind a lot of DmC’s negative response.
As much as this all sounds very negative, I would argue that this is one of the greatest traits that us gamers possess. Some of the greatest, and most in depth conversations that I have had were with gamers. We have a very strong passion for what we love; this may result in us being progressively hard to please, but we are ultimately one of the most passionate communities around. We may have our wildly conflicting opinions, and our extensive arguments, but we are stronger as a group. So whether you are Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony, we are all gamers and I am very glad for our differences.
What do you think? Are us gamers hysterical, or just passionate? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me at @reubenmount.