It’s funny when anyone on the internet flips out, but no one does it better than the video gamer. When the issue involves someone not getting what they want, when they want it, at the price they want it — and you yourself don’t want it — it’s entertaining as hell watching someone break into a Rumplestiltskenian fit on the way to a total meltdown and an Internet petition or two. It’s like going to a dunking booth and seeing actual hate in the clown’s eyes. Boy, that guy is unhinged.
Fans of Bayonetta took a soaking last week when they learned that the game was getting a sequel — exclusively on the Wii U. This type of thing is not unprecedented, as the Final Fantasy cohort was quick to remind. But on further review, they have a point — if inelegantly expressed. And it’s been a hell of a week for that, too, but I digress. Maybe Bayonetta didn’t sell enough to get Sega interested in publishing a sequel. These things happen.
But these are the people who did buy the game. And this isn’t Dynasty Warriors, Bayonetta scored very well in critical reception. I think the Xbox 360 version pulled a 90, with framerate problems on the PS3 dragging down the overall average. Critical acclaim plus boutique sales is a recipe for a cult following.
And the reward for their loyalty is to be told the game they want effectively costs them $US360 or $US410. I try to think about how I’d have felt if, say, Red Dead Redemption was an exclusive on a console I didn’t own, or didn’t yet exist, and I’d probably burst a blood vessel.
It’s because the constituency is being used in a pretty cynical way, even if Nintendo stepping as publisher is likely the only way this sequel gets done. But Nintendo isn’t doing this out of altruism for the series, they want to sell consoles, and give their machine a chance with a type of gamer who needs a good deal of coaxing to buy a second console — especially one that comes so late in its hardware generation.
It’s not hard to think Nintendo was banking on an implied vouch from Bayonetta fans, and instead it became a backlash against Bayonetta‘s developer, Platinum Games. And I keep coming back to the fact that if you enjoyed the original and want the sequel, it’s going to run you six times what’s usually paid for a video game, turn key.
None of this excuses the extreme hatred and circus-floor dung hurled at Platinum, or the Twitter tantrums, or laughable revenge fantasies such as this one. This guy doesn’t call for a straight-up boycott — which I think a lot of disaffected fans would go for. He said that the only copies of Bayonetta that should be bought are used copies, because that will rob Nintendo of sales. How those copies are supposed to get into the secondhand market in the first place, I’m not sure, and it still ignores the real and valid gripe here: The need to buy a console, even a used one.
Yes, this is not the worst we’ve seen, theoretically. Final Fantasy jumped to PlayStation with Final Fantasy VII, a landmark title both in that series and in video game history, and for what it did in that console’s rivalry with the Nintendo 64. Bayonetta 2 is unlikely to have a legacy anywhere close to that.
There’s also something to be said for the health of Square and the Final Fantasy series at the time. That game was going to be published, it was a question of which side offered Square the most potential. But then again, this situation unfolded before the Internet had become the kind of megaphone it is today for the gaming community. Everybody remembers how berserk some went when it was announced at E3 2008 that Final Fantasy XIII was going to the Xbox 360, and that wasn’t even a console-exclusive situation.
So, though I think Nintendo bought a client list more than it did a video game series, there’s no implied right either to a sequel or to a sequel on the platform for which the original was made. This is part of the bargain when you’re dealing with the carnival of closed systems in modern gaming. You steps up and you pays your money. Just be careful around the clowns.
Hey folks, Something Negative is a rant. Love it or hate it, we all need to blow off steam. Let yours out in the comments.