Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Question of the day: Have the head honchos at Nintendo and Square Enix lost their minds?

I ask the question above because of a pair of situations that have made headlines the world over in the last few days.

In regards to Square Enix's sanity (or lack thereof), there's Monday's announcement that the company's much-anticipated Wii (and now Wii U, too) title, Dragon Quest X, will be an online RPG. Not only that, but the game reportedly will require an online connection beyond its first few hours (i.e., after the game's introduction, you likely won't be able to play it off line). Oh, and the cherry on top of this bat-shit crazy sundae: According to an official press release sent out by the folks at Square Enix, Dragon Quest X will, in some form or fashion, make use of subscription fees--at least in Japan.

Man, that is one ugly peripheral, isn't it?

As for why I'm wondering whether the brass at Nintendo have lost their minds, consider the following: The current issue of Famitsu magazine includes a "secret scoop" that suggests Nintendo will soon release, alongside Capcom's Monster Hunter Tri G, a peripheral for the 3DS that will provide the portable system a second "circle pad" and a pair of additional shoulder buttons. Unsurprisingly, this reveal has both Nintendo fans and haters alike believing that the company will soon announce the imminent release of a 3DS "revision" (à la the DS Lite, DSi and DSi XL) that will incorporate all of the above-mentioned features.

So, what do all of you think? Do the situations detailed above suggest that the decision makers at Nintendo and Square Enix are a few bits short of a byte, or do they suggest the opposite?

(Via and


Darwin said...

I completely agree!

I rank the 3DS as my one of the worst console/handheld purchase, and this just seals it. And I hate myself because I would probably get the next revision of the 3DS :/.

As for the DQX announcement, it's just bizarre that it's still coming out for the Wii/WiiU when Nintendo has the worst online system. I guess it would be it's own thing, but signing up for FFXI through the Xbox wasn't all that intuitive.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Darwin -- thanks for sharing your thoughts!

I'm sorry to hear you're regretting your 3DS purchase, although I understand feeling that way. Are you thinking of selling your 3DS at this point, or are you going to hang onto it. Also, would you buy the peripheral mentioned in this post (if it's used in more than Monster Hunter Tri G) or ignore it -- and would you buy a revised 3DS that incorporates the same features?

Although I didn't see things turning out as it seems they're going to (a fairly substantial revision of the 3DS as opposed to simply a cosmetic one, a la the DS Lite), the strong possibility of any sort of revision hitting the streets in 2012 is what kept me from picking up a 3DS at launch. I'm really happy now that I made that decision, let me tell you! Still, I feel bad for all of the folks who bought a 3DS at launch and just saw it reduced in price by a large margin.

As for DQX -- I'm not at all sure what to think at this point. Part of me is excited about it, as I love the idea of such a grand, customizable, online RPG. On the other hand, I'm wondering if the Wii version will even be brought to the States, considering the Wii will be all but dead here this time next year. (I'd rather we not get just the Wii U version, as I don't plan on buying a Wii U at launch.) Also, I don't really like the idea of being forced to play the game on line. I also don't like what that could mean for the game's story (or lack thereof).

Really, I wish the folks at SE were making two Dragon Quests at the moment -- one, DQX, being a traditional RPG like its predecessors and the other, let's call it Dragon Quest Online, being the online, open-world RPG they seem to be going for here.

Darwin said...

I am going to hold on to the 3DS. You know I was really impressed when I first got it, and I think the apps it came with are fun. But a couple things just make me not want to carry it around:
1) Battery life - it doesn't even last a plane ride.
2) The way it renders DS games and the fact that the top screen is much larger than the bottom.

I probably wouldn't buy the add on. That thing is moving further away from being a portable device - it's like the 32x of handhelds.

Regarding DQX, I thought it was going to have a full single player campaign? Though I'm sure it's not the same if it was a dedicated one. I'm still hoping for a single player Phantasy Star game.

Motherplayer said...

Well personally i don't see this revision as a bad thing. May even show to be quite effective down the road, but for now I'll just have to wait and see what happens. And quite frankly something thats been urking me is people downtalking the 3DS or saying its a regretful purchase. Its in its first year still and people still expect it to be the next thing since sliced bread. Quite frankly I just think more people need to be patient and see what comes out. I was the same with with the old DS and now after all these years I've found some terrific titles for it. But then again what does a simple gamer like me know about taste?

Darwin said...

Well, its just my opinion. Didn't know there were other people in the same boat :).

Marcus said...

Speaking purely about the 3DS add-on... I think it's nice that Nintendo is attempting to address some issues that fans have been vocal about. Is the device though not also a battery pack? All those people who bought the Nyko battery pack thing are going to be angry if they still can't use that if they get this add on :(.

But seeing as how Nintendo doesn't really seem keen on the add-on market I'm sure a revision is already in the works. I don't think that should really be taken as a surprise though seeing all the GB and DS revisions exist. Because of that, it doesn't really bother me even if the next edition comes soon. I mean, I have my original DS and avoided all the updates and never felt "left out" of anything!

Marcus said...

Oopsie so apparently it does do extra battery life. I was wondering why it would be so huge otherwise. :P

Bryan Ochalla said...

Darwin: Oh, yeah, I forgot about the battery life. Well, that likely will be addressed (fixed) whenever a revision is released, so at least there's that.

As for how it renders DS games -- I've heard that complaint a lot, too, and that's why I'm going to hold onto my DS Lite for dear life :)

Oh, and RE: DQX -- Yes, it supposedly will have a single-player campaign, as in you won't need to interact with or join forces with other online players and you can play through the game by yourself (with NPCs as party members).

To me, though, that isn't exactly what I think of when I think of a single-player RPG. Yes, I know I won't have to interact with other players if I don't want to, but will they still be able to annoy me, get in my way, kill enemies/bosses I want to kill? I'm curious to hear the answer to that question.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Motherplayer! Nice to see you over here :)

Anyway, I agree with you to an extent -- especially in this day and age, folks who buy a game system (or any piece of tech) at launch have to expect it will be replaced by a revision at some point. All you have to do is look at how Nintendo treated the DS to see what they're going to do with the 3DS, IMO -- as in, the first revision will make it sleeker, increase its battery life, etc. The second revision, I imagine, will provide gamers with a bigger screen, etc.

That said, I can see why some folks would be at least a little irked by what has gone on recently in regards to Nintendo and the 3DS -- the price drop, the possibility of a revision less than a year after the original hit the market, etc. -- esp. considering these changes are coming much more quickly that usually seems to be the case for such products.

I also agree with your comment about the DS and how that situation could be seen as being similar to what the 3DS is going through, BTW. People had all sorts of problems with the DS "phat" hardware shortly after launch, as well as its software line-up, for instance. A few years down the road, though, and the system is considered pretty much the best portable system to ever hit the market.

As such, I think the haters and worriers should probably wait a while before claiming with any kind of certainty that the 3DS is dead, has no worthwhile games, etc.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Darwin: Please feel free to continue stating your opinion here. I appreciate everyone's point of view! Well, OK, I wouldn't appreciate someone's point of view if they were openly homophobic, racist, sexist, etc., but that's about it :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Marcus: Sounds like you and I are on the same page. I really think most of the stuff RE: the 3DS could have been expected, although the addition of a second circle pad is at the very least a bit surprising.

I'm going to be very interested to see the inevitable revision, by the way. Hopefully it's as sleek and sexy as the DS Lite and DSi/XL are :)

Darwin said...

Thanks Bryan :)

I guess I would just want to clarify that my complaint about the 3DS isn't about the games. I know there will be great titles coming down the line, and every console does go through this right after launch.

My earlier statement was about the fact that I don’t feel like I want to carry it around, since it’s a bit lacking compared to just having a DS. But aside from that, I am just a bit irked by the what Nintendo is doing. First was the huge price drop, which I can forgive because of the ambassador program. Then statements that they are putting less emphasis on 3D games. And now this extra stick.

I do give Nintendo credit for correcting itself early on. Considering how long the DS lasted, it's better to do it now. But as an early adopter of the 3DS, it is a bit frustrating.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, I fully understand where you're coming from, Darwin. Hell, I feel similarly -- and I don't even own a 3DS at the moment!

I think the most frustrating thing about the 3DS right now is that it seems like Nintendo didn't quite think everything through before they released it, which is quite strange given their history of releasing high-quality products.

I mean, there's the fact that they seem surprised that they're having a hard time marketing it -- since they can show people the 3D imagery via TV or print ads, for instance. Shouldn't that have been discussed and at least partially solved early on in the development cycle? Or maybe they figured, "It's the successor to the DS, and it has 3D -- it'll sell itself!"

There have been a host of other issues/problems associated with the system, too -- like the fact that the bottom part of the system sometimes scratches the top screen, or that the eShop wasn't ready at launch. And now we're hearing that they wish they had implemented a second analog pad from the get-go. All of this suggests they should have spent some more time on the system before releasing it.

Personally, I'm still planning to buy a 3DS, although I'm definitely waiting for the redesign/revision at this point. I can understand why some early adopters are irked, though, given all of the above.

Really, it's going to be interesting to see what happens when Nintendo eventually releases a successor to the 3DS. Will a lot of people avoid buying it at launch because of what has happened with the 3DS, or will things improve enough by then for people to forget the bad taste that's currently in their mouths?

Bryan Ochalla said...

BTW, I don't think I've shared my answer to the question posed in this post's headline. For the record, my response is: Probably not.

Granted, the brass at Nintendo certainly seem to be in a state of confusion and/or panic that they haven't experienced since the launch of the VirtualBoy, but I don't think they've completely lost touch with reality. That said, I hope they're learning all they can from the situation surrounding the 3DS so they don't make these same mistakes when they launch the Wii U and the 3DS' successor.

As for Square Enix, I think they're walking a razor's edge with DQX, but I can see why they're doing so. Of course, I wish they'd do so with a game called DQ Online and not with an actual, numbered entry in their vaunted RPG series, but what can you do? As long as the game looks and sounds fun, I will buy it, and that's all I really care about. Whether 10 million or just 500,000 other gamers also buy it doesn't much matter to me.

Viewtiful_Justin said...

They're bat-shit crazy.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ha ha! Very succinct. I like that :)

RetroKingSimon said...

Yes, both announcements sound ridiculous. The first one is a good example of why I'm not interested in modern gaming and the second is pretty typical of Nintendo I suppose so it sure wouldn't surprise me if 1) it's true, and 2) fans buy it by the truckload... :(

Bryan Ochalla said...

I understand, Simon. The 3DS peripheral is 100% true, by the way. Or were you talking about the potential/probable 3DS redesign/revision?

Viewtiful_Justin said...

The more I look at that peripheral, the more desperately fucking angry I become...

The DQ game sounds like a great step forward in terms of online capable games, but I don't like the idea of being forced to fork over more money to play it.

And having to fork over yet MORE money to get a "complete" 3DS after that comes out just makes my blood boil.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Don't get too desperately angry just yet, Justin. Although most people are suspecting/suggesting Nintendo will soon announce a 3DS revision that includes a second circle pad, it's not a reality yet. It's possible this attachment was made for Monster Hunter and Monster Hunter only, so you won't have to buy it to have the most "complete" 3DS, as you called it.

As for DQX -- I'm with you. I really like some of the things it's going to offer -- a huge, open world that can be explored by people from all over the world -- but I also dislike some of the other things that are on the table. Here's hoping the subscription fee, at the very least, is waived when the game comes to the US...

Viewtiful_Justin said...

Amen. I'd gladly pay more for the game if it made a subscription fee irrelevant.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Me, too! Regardless, I just don't see a subscription fee flying in the US, especially when you consider that Dragon Quest isn't the most popular of gaming series here. I guess we'll find out ... eventually.