Victory Lap X 8
If you are planning to pick up a physical version of Octopath Traveler, then you might want to get a move on. Square Enix underestimated the demand for their SNES inspired JRPG hit, and consequently produced far too few copies.
Within the span of a week Amazon sold through their entire stock and will not be able to fill new orders for at least a month, Japan sold out of stock in most regions, and American brick and mortar stores are beginning to sell out too. Physical copies will be completely sold out in a very short period of time, and there will be no prospect of hunting down a copy until Nintendo is able to produce some more. Square Enix had this to say:
“We are sorry that some of the shops are out of stock … You can also consider the DL version.”
Of all the patronising nonsense! People know that they can purchase the game digitally, but they wanted a physical version. If square Enix wanted these people to buy a copy of their game, then they should have printed more copies. By treating these people as idiots, Square Enix is just adding insult to injury!
Around the turn of the century Square Enix convinced themselves that traditional JRPGs were no longer popular. They had no evidence to base this decision upon, and it happened right on the heels of the release of Final Fantasy IX, which is one of the greatest traditional style JRPGs ever made. Square Enix stopped producing traditional style JRPGs while the genre was still popular, and we have had blue balls ever since. And so Square Enix, drunk on their own narrative, has produced too few units, and have thus limited the success of their game. If there is a silver lining to the game selling out, it is that a sequel will almost certainly be given the ‘go ahead’ after this massive success. This is the perfect graphical engine for JRPG development, as it does not require mocap, facial animation, or complex camera work – yet the game looks fantastic. This frees up time for working on actually compelling content. Priorities!!
No More Refunds for Star Citizen Backers
Star Citizen is such an obscene disaster that almost no TDT employees have sunk their money into the project. It was very obvious to most of us that these “flim-flam men” would never actually churn out a usable product, and so we tightened our purse strings almost to a man, withholding our funds. Not every customer is similarly disciplined however, and some people have managed to spend tens of thousands of dollars on the project.
There has been some bad news for these imprudent gamers this week, as it now appears to be impossible for customers to get their money back. Ken Lord, in his infinite wisdom, decided to spend $4,495 on Star Citizen during 2012-2013. The game was supposed to release in 2014:
“They said two years, I figured it would probably be maybe three, possibly even four, which would have put us in 2015, 2016. Since it’s Chris Roberts, I figured he has a good handle on how to make a video game.”
Chris Roberts does not have a good handle on how to make a game!
The reason why Star Citizen‘s development time has blown out, is also the reason why the game is no longer fit for purpose to Ken Lord: feature creep. The game was initially presented as a passive space sim, yet as time went by it would eventually pick up compulsory FPS segments. This made the game unusable to Lord, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, which has made it so that his body is not robust enough to successfully play through fast paced shooters.
“I have [multiple sclerosis]. My hands shake badly. I have tremors…They just recently confirmed that you have to do the first-person shooter thing to get through Squadron 42. I can’t do that, I just can’t do that. So my money’s stuck in a game I can’t possibly play.”
Thus, when the company failed to respond after numerous attempts to contact them for a refund, Lord was forced to initiate legal proceedings in order to get his money back:
“If you don’t respond to the mailbot, it marks your ticket as solved and closes it and says you don’t want to refund anymore. If you do respond, it just takes a couple more weeks and it will send you another of the same message. I’d never heard of anything that remotely slimey before. If you have a policy, just state the policy and enforce the policy.”
Sadly for Lord, the judge has now dismissed his case without prejudice on account of Star Citizen‘s EULA saying that backers have no right to a refund. The problem here is that Lord gave money to the project years ago, while the EULA revision which denies refunds only came in this year. Regardless, pointing this out does not seem to have carried much weight with the judge.
The door now seems to be fairly tightly shut on refunds now. There is a lot of vindication in all this. the TDT team has been stressing since the Kickstarter boom began that donating to projects cannot be looked at as a conventional retail purchase. If backers end up getting a product then that is great, however the people taking your money are not ever obliged to furnish you with what you thought you were buying. Ken Lord still does not seem to realize that the four thousand dollars that he showered upon Chris Roberts never actually constituted a purchase. He said that he felt insulted that the Star Citizen lawyers repeatedly referred to his financial transaction as a donation, yet that is precisely what it was. Kickstarter is a donation platform – it simply hides this fact by ostensibly offering material ‘rewards’:
“Like they were some sort of charity, or like I just gave them $4,500 because I like them. I gave them $4,500 because I wanted them to give me a video game.”
Despite Lord’s seeming ignorance of the true nature of Kickstarter, he nevertheless seems to have learned a valuable lesson from this situation: Kickstarter cannot be relied upon to provide a product in exchange for money.
“I feel like I made a mistake. I shouldn’t have backed a Kickstarter like that. It’s the first time I’ve ever backed a Kickstarter software project, and it will certainly be the last.
They’re bad people. I try to be a good person, so I’m not going to let them throw me off my game because they’re flim-flam men.”
Do not throw your money at snakeoil salesmen in ignorance. There are some interesting projects on Kickstarter, but know the score before donating!
Konami Finds a Way to Cancel P.T. Again!
There is no limit to the amount of salt that Konami is willing to spill when it comes to Hideo Kojima. When Konami parted ways with Kojima in 2015 the ill will had grown to such bitterness that they scrubbed his name from the Metal Gear games he developed, and then used his employment contract to forbid him from attending The Game Awards in order to except a game of the year award for Metal Gear Solid V. At the time of his firing, Kojima was also working on Silent Hills, which was pretty quickly cancelled.
A lot of the momentum behind Silent Hills was due to a well received playable proof of concept called P.T., which stands for playable teaser. Konami were so vindictive towards Hideo Kojima that they completely expunged P.T. from PSN. They did not merely withdraw the availability of the game, but rather they completely deleted it, removing access from people who had already downloaded it.
The popularity of P.T. combined with its unavailability has since caused a huge amount of demand for the game, which has led to multiple projects seeking to recreate it with various levels of accuracy. One of the most accurate recreations of the game has been PT for PC. A seventeen year old named Qimsar has spent hundreds of hours extracting assets from the PS4 game, and using them to recreate the experience on PC. That was until this week, when Konami contacted Qimsar to demand that the game be pulled.
This has not led to any ill feeling on Qimsar’s part. In this instance Konami has acted with more care and restraint than most dick swinging publishers tend to, by plying the kid with a bunch of swag along with an internship. That being said, it really goes to illustrate the animosity that Konami Japan still feels towards Hideo Kojima. Konami are never going to make any use of P.T., so the existence of PT on PC does no harm to the company. Literally the only reason that Konami Japan want the project to be killed is because they do not want anything tied to Hideo Kojima to exist.