Nintendo Does It Again!
I think we can all remember Nintendo’s hypocrisy over ROMs. In recent years Nintendo has made a name for itself by being a massive dick to ROM archiving sites, suing Love ROMs into oblivion, and taking the site’s owners for twelve million dollars in damages. At the same time Nintendo’s own game preservation initiatives are borderline non-existent, so it would be laughable to think that anyone at the company actually has access to a virgin archive of their own past software titles. This is why Nintendo is also completely reliant on the ROM archival sites that they so hate. Nintendo no longer has access to the source files for Super Mario Bros., so when it came time to release the game for the Wii Virtual console they took the path of least resistance and just downloaded an ‘illegal’ ROM dump from the internet.
Now Nintendo has done it again. This time they have not sourced their ROMs from the internet, but rather they have taken somebody’s character sprite artwork from Deviant Art and put it straight into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Smash Ultimate features spirits which are represented by retro character sprites. Nintendo evidently no longer has access to the source files of Mother 3, because when they needed a character sprite to represent a masked man from that game, they decided to take the sprite artwork from a Deviant Art user by the name of WarpstarX.
So on the face of it this already looks bad for Nintendo. Anti-consumer Nintendo, who sues people on the internet and never gives away a single thing for free to customers, has had to source their own spritework from some guy online – but is is at least all their own original intellectual property, right? Well, no actually. The image that Nintendo took from WarpstarX featured his own personal spritework recreation of the character in the middle, which was then flanked on the left and the right by two different versions of the legit Nintendo spritework of the character as points of reference.
The character sprite that Nintendo uses in the game is indeed their own intellectual property, but they made no effort to properly omit WarpstarX’s spritework when they cropped their official sprite, and as a result about a quarter of WarpstarX’s own spritework has made it into the game. That is to say that WarpstarX’s own personal artwork is contained in a bestselling commercial game for which he remains uncredited and uncompensated. So now Nintendo are themselves guilty of what they accuse video game archivists of: the theft of intellectual property. Hypocrites.
China Puts Western Poz On Notice
Over the past few years we have seen numerous developers hang their Western fans out to dry in order to court the Chinese market. Player Unknown was too cheap to setup bespoke servers for the Chinese market, and simply allowed multitudes of laggy Chinese players to join the American PUBG servers. Player Unknown then accused anyone who complained of being racists. Meanwhile Blizzard used to be the darling of the PC world, with beloved franchises such as Diablo leading to multitudes of people actually paying Blizzard hundreds of dollars just to stream their Blizzcon conference. Blizzard then paid back this devotion by shifting all of their most popular franchises to mobile in order to appeal to the Chinese market. On top of this Blizzard has of late taken to banning people from their games (Overwatch) based on their conduct outside of said games. One would have thought that Blizzard have fully discharged any obligation they may have had for maintaining a ‘harmonious’ culture around their game, but no.
Readers may recall that the release of Monster Hunter World caused a mini crisis in China, and the country has not been issuing approval for video game releases since March 28 of this year. The good news for the Western game industry is that the Chinese government looks like it is ready to begin approving games again. The bad news for them is that a handful of major games have been banned, while a number of others have been put on notice to cut out the degeneracy.
The most delicious outright banning has undoubtedly been for PUBG. Player Unknown absolutely destroyed his game in the West in order to appeal to China, and now his game has been banned in China for being too violent. Player Unknown blown the fuck out! PUBG is also joined by Fortnite and H1Z1. In terms of games that have been put on warning to remove degenerate content, Blizzard is heavily over represented. Overwatch, Diablo, and World of Warcraft have all been put on notice. According to the Chinese Overwatch is guilty of having visuals which ‘promote incorrect values’, which sounds a lot like Blizzard being told to cut the poz. To make matters worse Overwatch is also accused of having an ‘inharmonious chatroom’, meaning that Blizzard’s moderation is not strict enough. They already ban people based on their social media conduct outside of the game – just what additional standard of moderation are the Chinese expecting? Regardless, it is great to see the Western game industry put into such a precarious position after they already threw out much of their Western audience with the bathwater. Good luck with Diablo Immortal!
Suda Strikes Out
When has it ever been a good idea for a developer to tell their audience: ‘if you want us to make game [Y] then you must first buy game [X]’? It matters not whether this is the literal truth of the situation, because it speaks to a lack of confidence they have in the game they are currently trying to flog, and it just sounds really mercantile in general. It is not a winning tactic either, as most gamers simply are not going to purchase a game they do not want just to get at a game they do want, even if this means that the game they do want will never be made.
The No More Heroes franchise has been strongly associated with Nintendo hardware ever since it debuted on the Wii. Aside from Killer 7, it is also the franchise for which game developer Suda 51 is perhaps best known for, so it is little surprise that Suda would want to put a new series installment on Nintendo’s hyper popular newest piece of hardware, the Switch. When people first learned that Suda 51 was making a Switch game featuring Travis Touchdown they were excited to get another entry in the No More Heroes franchise, but excitement turned to disappointment when it became apparent that Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes looked like mobile schlock rather than a console action game. Worry not though No More Heroes fans, because Suda 51 is already working on No More Heroes 3. All gamers need to do to get their hands on this game that they want is to buy the game that they presumably do not want:
“Nothing is set in stone yet, and of course it’ll depend on the success of Travis Strikes Again, but I am working on an outline for No More Heroes 3 – a proper direct sequel for the series – and it’s going to be connected to Travis Strikes Again in a big way. Because, in No More Heroes 3, Travis is going to go up against crazier adversaries than he ever has before it’s going to be bloodier, more intense battles between assassins it’s going to be kind of like The Avengers – Thanos levels of crazy villains.”
So, Suda 51 wants to get a No More Heroes game made for the Switch, but it is really hard to convince publishers to finance a full sequel. It is not hard to see how this situation came about, but it seems ultimately self-defeating, especially if the production of No More Heroes 3 is contingent upon the success of Travis Strikes Again. Travis Strikes Again looks like shit, so if the production of No More Heroes 3 is really being held ransom to the success of Travis Strikes Again, then production of the latter seems rather short sighted, since its failure may well kill the series dead.