Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Say it ain't so: Nippon Ichi Software

(Update 12/11: It seems that the original text was lost in translation! Whoooie what a relief! NIS President, Souhei Niikawa, was only talking about his job! Here's to your happy employment Mr. Niikawa!)

The vidya business can be a fickle mistress at times. You are never "guaranteed" a success. Your preorder numbers might soar off the charts, but that doesn't mean your game isn't going to be complete shit. Just look at Bungie and Destiny, the game had the highest preorders of ALL TIME for a new IP and even after the new DLC release is still hovering around a 6.3 average by users. Worse still is what a flop can do to your reputation. Gearbox had a huge hit with Borderlands only to follow up with the dismal Aliens: Colonial Marines. Of course they tried to shift blame to a 3rd party, but that mark still lies on their reputation.

Consumers may be "dumb", I mean fuck! Even I preorder some games. Which is fun like I've stated previously, and works out sometimes, but is completely retarded and is helping run the quality of games into the ground. Those consumers who were "dumb" enough to put their faith and trust into the dev only to have it embarrassingly thrown back in their face wont forget it. If you burn them too many times they will not support you. There's no chance that I'm preordering Battleborn, I'll be waiting for the reviews, which could potentially be a lost sale for the developer.You may be the hot thing in town, but serve enough shit, eventually people are going to stop eating it.

I've gone off on a tangent, but my point is that no dev is safe in this industry. It doesn't matter how big or small you are, you'll be filing chapter nine or hoping someone swoops down and saves your ass, which brings me to the sad sad news from one of my favorite developers from back in the day. Nippon Ichi Software. Today, NIS stated that they would need to sell 150k copies of the latest Disgaea game in order to stay in business.

I'm not saying that NIS has been making shit, not at all. They've had a hand in some amazing strategy RPGs like La Pucelle: Tactics, Phantom Brave and of course the Disgaea series. They've also published games in North America like Persona Q, Natural Doctrine and Dragons Crown. When I'm looking for a new game, if I find a box with the NIS logo on it, I'm more prone to buy it. Their games are often quirky and have unique style that you know is NIS as soon as you see the box art. It's like hearing that band that you love, you know when it's them even if you haven't heard the song before.

But it's a unique taste for these games here in USA, they often are raunchy and push the boundaries in a fun way with social subjects. I remember when I first saw the ad for Disgaea: Hour of Darkness in an EGM I was reading. The under dressed Etna standing in the middle, surrounded by Prinnys, Angels and Laharl shirtless in short shorts...I knew the game was for me. NIS may have been riding a one trick pony with strategy RPG titles, but I'm not ready to let them go yet. I'll be doing my part and preordering Disgaea 5, and if you feel the same I hope you do too!

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