Square Enix and the Hitman Ripoff

Shamus Young

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Square Enix and the Hitman Ripoff

Let's talk about risk. I'm sure you've heard that there's a lot of it in AAA game development these days. Video games are growing in popularity while becoming less profitable.

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BloodRed Pixel

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"Sure, you only got half a game, but you only paid for half a game"

this is the most stupid thing ever!

What would you say if you were thrown out of a movie midtime?

Half a game with no conclusion is all money and time lost.

And episodic game never worked worked well for indie devs.

TTG does NOT produce games in episodes - they release it that way!
They secured the money BEFOREHAND, damnit.
And this is why it does not work for anybody else, who does think it works otherwise.
 

Shamus Young

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BloodRed Pixel said:
"Sure, you only got half a game, but you only paid for half a game"

this is the most stupid thing ever!

What would you say if you were thrown out of a movie midtime?

Half a game with no conclusion is all money and time lost.

And episodic game never worked worked well for indie devs.

TTG does NOT produce games in episodes - they release it that way!
They secured the money BEFOREHAND, damnit.
And this is why it does not work for anybody else, who does think it works otherwise.
OH MY GOODNESS WE ARE SO ANGRY TODAY!

If you read carefully, you'll see that I was saying, "Getting half a game for half price is better than half a game for FULL price." I was showing that Square's new system is WORSE than the current one, not that getting half a game is wonderful. The new system is even MORE risky for the consumer.

I never mentioned TellTale, so I don't even know why you're angry about that. Or at all. Are you okay?
 

Robyrt

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Meanwhile, Activision embarks on the bold strategy of charging more money for their games. I've paid them $130 for Destiny, released on a rolling schedule over the course of a year, and with a similar total amount of content to a standard AAA game. I get my lavish graphics and new IP, they get my consumer dollars without having to sell eight million copies, everyone's happy.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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Sep 8, 2011
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It's only a ripoff if you buy into this stupid idea. And if you do it knowing full well that you won't get the full game for $60 you only got yourself to blame. I will get it when it's $10 and when the full game is released. This kind of practice needs to be punished.
 

Atmos Duality

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Wow.
So you aren't even getting you what you paid for; just part up front with a completely nebulous IOU attached.
That's a model that's destined to end in disaster. No question in my mind. Like, E.T. Atari 2600 disaster.

This is the end result of a cycle of growing mistrust between supply and demand.
It started with DLC practices in 2006, where companies started lopping off content to resale at a premium.
Customers responded by taking a more cautious approach; waiting for sales and GOTY bundles to avoid getting reamed on day 1.

Publishers responded in turn by increasing the proportion of premium content, cutting corners in development, and throwing even more money into the furnace engine that is mass-marketing. (also attempted an Always-Online Coup on the market; most of which failed, with only Blizzard making any real headway. *spits*)

All the while costs for raw development rise due to the fidelity wars.

By the time the 360/PS3/Wii generation is done with, major publishers have shrunk the diversity of their projects to bulletpoints: Mega-huge "blockbuster event games" and dirt cheap (worthless) exploitation titles on mobile devices.

Moderation is just gone from AAA now. It seems every year we're all waiting to hear which developers were axed from the publisher's roster or reassigned to crank out mediocre tripe (looking at you, Bioware).

Every year, the offerings get buggier, more bombastic, self-derivative, and less-for-more.
Small wonder the average customer has dug their heels in and refuses to pay more than 60 bucks up front.

It's like watching an enormous whirlpool swallow a ship. It starts out as rough water at the edges, but intensifies as it approaches the void in the middle.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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Playing Absolution and loving every minute of it. IP can only benefit from more games like that.
 

Neurotic Void Melody

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Well I didn't know this was squeenix's plan. I was even looking forward to this hitman game. Not anymore. They need the christmas release that badly? Can we find a way of physically backhanding the stupid cheek right out of them?
The best I can do is not buy the game and warn anyone I know who wants to buy the game what they are really paying for.
Let me guess, they're still taking pre-orders, right?

Thanks for the heads up, Shaman Shamus!
 

Xeorm

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Hopefully they crash and burn using this strategy. That's not good at all for the customer. If it does, any bets on them blaming it at all on the sales strategy, and not it being a bad game?
 

Shadowfury333

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I find this slightly odd, given that Square Enix has been publishing Life is Strange, and that was the typical "half price for the risk" season pass model. Apparently they've also been generally hands-off with the development. I guess (unsurprisingly) internal communication is not a strong point. That or they figure Hitman is such a big property that they can exploit it for all it is worth.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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Shadowfury333 said:
I find this slightly odd, given that Square Enix has been publishing Life is Strange, and that was the typical "half price for the risk" season pass model. Apparently they've also been generally hands-off with the development. I guess (unsurprisingly) internal communication is not a strong point. That or they figure Hitman is such a big property that they can exploit it for all it is worth.
Or the idiots have simply decided to take another step forward. Maybe they think that if gamers are likely to buy into episodic games like Life is Strange, they can do the same with a AAA game only charging full price in advance.

The saddest thing is that people have predicted this. I've predicted it years ago. And people told me what they say every time the publishers starts doing something awful. They say "that's slippery slope". There's no end to these quasi-intellectual wannabe logicians on the internet that are just waiting behind the bushes to say something "logical", using the most basic and shallow "logic" based on some bits and pieces of information available to them while completely ignoring critical thinking. Fuck I hate those people. This wasn't hard to predict. You just have to take into account the very nature and goals of a corporation and combine that with a bit of greed and stupidity.
 

Baresark

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Square Enix has turned into an abysmal publisher in the last decade or so. They have also moved towards a strategy that entails very little risk by constantly re-releasing old game multiple times over again. A huge portion of the development is already done because there is very little planning involved in those.
 

Sniper Team 4

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I don't play the Hitman series. Don't really care for it. But this does sound pretty shady. I honestly believe that Square will release the whole game, but if this method does catch on--which I would like to believe it won't because hopefully people are smarter than this--I can totally see the future that Shamus is worried about.
 

Rad Party God

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UbiSoft has been doing this for 4 years now, they're always saying that if "X sells well enough, maybe we'll consider doing Beyond Good & Evil 2". Fuck Squeenix for doing such a sleazy move, I hope they don't pull on this bullshit with the new Deus Ex.
 

gigastar

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Not really seeing the problem, and theres even one major problem with percieving it as a scam.

Primarily, if there was no commitment to finish the game then it defies all conventional reason to announce the game as an episodic thing when they could have just released what was done then add the rest later as DLC.

And not only that, while there is a risk that Squeenix might scrap the rest of the game and call it a day, but that would end up being a black mark on both thiers and IOs record like Aliens: Colonial Marines is for Gearbox.

Yes, SE plainly arent the brightest folk around, but i doubt theyre stupid enough to pull something that could up tanking thier prospects for more episodic releases in the future and having a negative impact on the sales of future releases like FF15, the FF7 remake, RotTR on PC/PS4 and whatever else is crawling through development hell over there.

But in all seriousness, at the most it just means ill defer on buying it until either they do release the rest of it or theres an inevitable Steam sale. Not as if there isnt already a couple dozen titles im looking at releasing in the next 6 months. Not counting books or movies, which would push that number close to 40.
 

josemlopes

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The mobile Hitman games were actually good though, Absolution on the other hand only had the rampage gameplay well made, the stealth was terrible.

I also doubt that if the game doesnt sell that well it means that they cancel the rest of the game. At most they drop down the budget. This is basicly a season pass without the base game where yeah, its shady but its not that new with episodic games (I never liked episodic content for games, it forces a terrible pacing).
 

llubtoille

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BloodRed Pixel said:
"Sure, you only got half a game, but you only paid for half a game"

this is the most stupid thing ever!

What would you say if you were thrown out of a movie midtime?

Half a game with no conclusion is all money and time lost.
Your analogy actually adds to his argument as movie theaters don't tend to proportionately reimburse when kicking someone out - which is the stance Squenix are taking, and the article is claiming to be bad for the consumer.

However going along with his quite, the interesting thing I've found with most games, and quite a few movies too, is that even when I pay full price I usually don't even reach the half way point before putting it down and moving on.
So while paying half price for half a story with no ending may bite me the handful of times I actually care about the plot, it would mostly just save me a considerable amount of money in the long run as I wouldn't have finished the games anyway.
 

Setch Dreskar

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Sorry Shamus but the whole Marvel thing actually was about their greed. Their greed lead to the collapse of the comic book industry, their greed single handedly destroyed everything leaving the industry in such a bad state that not only did few comic book publishers survive not to mention almost none of the comic book stores, but they do so because of a corporate monopoly, one that is only legally left in place because if that monopoly goes away the industry is gone. Marvel got absurdly lucky with its movies after it had declared bankruptcy as that actually got them the rights to Spider Man back, and allowed them to give him to Sony for a far better contract that may well have saved the company, it was a hail mary pass that came in just before Marvel was going to have to close its doors for good.
 

K12

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Setch Dreskar said:
Sorry Shamus but the whole Marvel thing actually was about their greed. Their greed lead to the collapse of the comic book industry, their greed single handedly destroyed everything leaving the industry in such a bad state that not only did few comic book publishers survive not to mention almost none of the comic book stores, but they do so because of a corporate monopoly, one that is only legally left in place because if that monopoly goes away the industry is gone. Marvel got absurdly lucky with its movies after it had declared bankruptcy as that actually got them the rights to Spider Man back, and allowed them to give him to Sony for a far better contract that may well have saved the company, it was a hail mary pass that came in just before Marvel was going to have to close its doors for good.
And they aren't equally greedy now whilst they're raking in the cash with the MCU?

It's greed + shortsightedness or greed + ignorance or greed + contempt for consumers that causes these sorts of issues.
 

wizzy555

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Remember that managing risk is the publishers job. ... Why should we give you all this power and money if you don't have anything to offer in return?
Seems to me they will slowly make themselves obsolete. The only cards they now hold is they own the IP, if developers go straight to kickstarter without the publisher they can make their own IP and sidestep the publishers completely. Or maybe the publishers will form an IP licensing system.

Not that this new arrangement is a "good" thing. The risk will all be on the customer. I've been complaining about this since the double fine kickstarters.