Monday, June 15, 2015

Why You Shouldn't Back Shenmue III's Kickstarter

Put the pitchforks and torches down, you unruly assholes.

I love Shenmue. I've played the first one several times. I think it's one of the finest games ever made. It's elegant in its simplicity and beautiful in the way it gives you an illusion of a living world. I didn't enjoy Shenmue II to the same extent, but I still want to know where things go from here.

Why? Why would I say "don't back Shenmue III" then?

Well, why should you? Sony apparently wants this game on their platform. They know that Shenmue fans are ravenous. They know that people will want to get in on this game just from all of the hype and desire over the years. They know people want it so much that they put aside time for it in their press conference and brought Yu Suzuki on stage.

There's a big fucking problem here. Sony stands to make money off of Shenmue III's existence, especially if it's only on PS4 and PC. They'll get a cut of every copy sold on the PSN store, and they know that a lot of people who were undecided will likely be swayed to a PS4. Sony will probably make more than $2 million in this exchange of money. So... why couldn't they just toss Yu Suzuki $2 million?

Well, why would they?

This is an experiment, and it's a dirty one. It's also already working, Shenmue III is almost at 1 million dollars as of 8:30 PM PST. Sony just pimped a game that it won't have any financial investment in on their grandest stage and they're going to get money off of it. Of course there were other games that they didn't have any financial involvement in... but every game there had some kind of funding for it. This? This is just free money and good PR for Sony.

Since you're blinded by the hype, let's look at some business basics. In the business world when you invest in something, you expect a return on investment. So if I give someone $1 million to sell a new product, I'd like to get money back on that. That's why I'm investing. I'm not just giving $1 million away for fun. As a Kickstarter backer, you get nothing back other than whatever tier you went into.

Sony just created a tidal wave of hype. Shenmue III will be forever associated with PS4, and they did it with nothing other than 2 minutes of time. Watching that dollar amount tick up on Kickstarter is proof that game companies can continue to do whatever they please.

Their deadliest weapon is hype and their easiest target is you, eager eyed gamer. Your wallets couldn't come out fast enough. No thought was put into the implications of this Kickstarter. Gamers have no impulse control, we're conditioned on the instant gratification that so many games provide us.

"I can 'donate' some money here and get Shenmue III? COUNT ME IN!"

Don't fund Shenmue III. Hold on to some bit of dignity and self respect as a gamer. Sony has clearly been in the loop on Shenmue III, but apparently $2 million was too much. This is a transparent ploy to see if Kickstarter can generate enough funds to build a large and impressive game. This is a test to see if Sony can successfully associate a game with the PS4 as an exclusive and not pay a dime. Instead, you pay for it.

Don't let this future exist.

E3 2015 Day 1 Wrap Up

It's that magical time of year where studio executives get to waltz onstage and try to act cool. Sony just closed out their press conference, which means we're basically done for the day. And... what a non-event it was. We'll just skip past Bethesda's "Fallout 4 is better than you guys initially thought, honest!" conference last night.

It seems like the theme of the day was who exactly could be more boring.

Microsoft trotted out the same E3 staples they've had for the past 8 years. Halo, Forza, Fable, Gears of War. Who cares? It's so fucking predictable at this point in time. It's like clockwork. All of those games are usually great when they come out, but can we get a bit of variety? They've found a winning formula, but we need more here.

After a lot of discussion about Rare finally doing something great, that something great appears to be a collection of 30 Rare games for $30. Sea of Thieves got a trailer, and nothing more. Sony manages to appear to have disappeared up their own asshole any time they bring a developer on stage to discuss a game (the hyperbole would make you think they've cured AIDs), but at least they talk about the game. About all we know about Sea of Thieves is that it is a game. That goes right along with the Keiji Inafune game, ReCore. We got a trailer with no context and no discussion.

Some indie stuff, some shoot shoot shoot military HU AH bullshit and some Minecraft.

Oh, and HoloLens. Why is anyone getting excited about that? It's another high concept Microsoft product that will never materialize. There's been a lot of those throughout time. And... Xbox 360 backwards compatibility. Okay, guess you're realizing you don't have much of an Xbox One library to go off of here.

Microsoft also thinks you're stupid enough to pay $150 for a fucking controller.

Ubisoft and EA apparently had press conferences as well, but I'm not sure when I ever gave a fuck about Assassin's Creed and I'm guessing that EA is making Madden 16. I'm not sure though. Is there going to be another football season after that tragic Seahawks interception or was that the end of football?

On to Sony.

While you could accuse Microsoft of lacking passion, Sony seems to have taken cues from every prior Microsoft press conference and managed to be utterly boring. There wasn't any sense of triumph like when the PS4 was announced. There wasn't any sense of things to come like last E3. It was just sort of Sony existing at a press conference.

The Last Guardian! It's back again to prove that it exists. All of the people who work up a half boner when discussing ICO or Shadow of the Colossus are pleased.

Some kind of weird Monster Hunter looking game from Guerrilla Games, Horizon: Zero Dawn. This has kind of a cool art style. It looks like it controls like The Last of Us though, which could suck. E3 2015 is apparently the year of the post apocalyptic game.

Street Fighter V... I've got a lot of thoughts on that. We'll just say that it exists here. No Man's Sky had an incredibly boring showing. The game looked slow and uninteresting. An amazing concept, but we'll see if it works. It'll probably turn out like StarFlight. An amazing concept, but not quite an amazing game. Very good, though.

Media Molecule were so far up their own assholes that they almost sucked me in as well.

World of Final Fantasy actually looked interesting. And it's getting a Vita version. I'll take one, please. Final Fantasy VII remake... why? Why does everything have to be remade? Play the original, enjoy it. If it has problems that you think are so bad they need to be rectified by a remake, then maybe that original game isn't so good. Or if you're so much of a graphics whore that you need it to be remade in HD, maybe you're playing games for the wrong reasons.

The absolute worst part of the night? Sony announcing Shenmue III's Kickstarter. What the fuck? So, Shenmue III is a property that you'd like to have on PS4 to the point that you will help promote a fundraiser for the game? Jesus, you can sneeze and a stray bit of spit will hit a stack of bills amounting to $2 million at Sony HQ. Fuck this Kickstarter. I love Shenmue, but I will be damned if I put my money towards something that was just promoted on a stage like that, but Sony can't spare the $2 mil.

Some VR bullshit, some Disney Infinity bullshit, some other bullshit. What a bunch of bullshit.

Oh, and Uncharted 4. Yay? We.. want more of that? Okay.

What a dismal opening day. I may not even write about any other things because everything was so boring that this was boring.

The race to see if the Xbox One or PS4 will become an interesting console first continues.