OPINION: Fatal Frame Isn’t Under Attack

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

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The following opinion piece is part of a debate of sorts about Fatal Frame and Nintendo. To check out the rebuttal, be sure to click here. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not reflect the opinions at large of Operation Rainfall.

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water - Smile

A picture’s worth a thousand screams! EHEHEHEHEHEHE!

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water came out in America this Halloween, and while I haven’t finished it, I am enjoying it enough to possibly call it my favorite game this year. (Granted I’ve been using 2015 to play catch-up with older games like Valkyria Chronicles and Folklore) It’s atmospheric, spooky, and the use of the Wii U Gamepad to take pictures adds a level of immersion that makes it very spooky.

Of course, the game has been no stranger to controversy, or at least as controversial as a fringe game off of the worst-selling console of the generation can be. We’ve had an article here by Azario Lopez detailing his grievances with how Nintendo has handled the release of the game. There’s also the debate in the comments section that I’m not reading because I’m pretty sure it would mean that oprainfall would have to start offering me hazard pay. There are parts of it that I agree with, specifically wishing for a more wide release of the game, but his overall statement — that Nintendo of America is trying to kill Fatal Frame in the west — is one that I find hard to get behind.

Fatal-Frame-Wii-U-Dated-EU

Okay yeah that looks nice, I won’t lie.

The thing is, for all their good or ill, Nintendo is a company with profit as its sole motivation. Attempting to ‘kill’ something isn’t in their purview. If NOA really was against Fatal Frame being a franchise in the West, it’s more likely they’d never release it in the west. Even in the tragic event that the newest Fatal Frame was never released in the Americas, I would simply see that as Nintendo not releasing it because they didn’t think it would be profitable.

It’s important to note that horror games, especially now, are not in vogue. Established horror games like Resident Evil have simply become action games with zombies in it, and it didn’t even take Dead Space the five games it took Resi to become a straight-up action game. The most popular horror games haven’t been high-profile console games but cheap — in the price sense, thought some may argue in an artistic sense as well — jump-scare-based games like Five Nights at Freddy’s or Slender. I’m reminded of Capcom’s rather ridiculous optimistic prediction of six million units for Resident Evil 6 to release, only to fall woefully short. Heck, the only Resident Evil game to release since then was done digitally first as well. If your job depended on how much money a company made, how confident can you expect Nintendo to be in this market? Physical copies take up shelf space and cost more to produce. It’s simply a higher cost-gamble and, considering that’s it’s been a decade since the last Fatal Frame game saw North American shores, there’s no way Nintendo could have been expected to have the confidence that this game would do as well as a Mario or Zelda would.

Now, it’s worth noting that the localization work was done by Nintendo of Europe, and if not for them and the digital store the Americas might not have gotten the game in the first place. This is… probably true. However, I don’t see it as a particular problem or a sign of malice from the company. It comes down to cost-effectiveness. NOA taking advantage of their European associate’s work is just clever and symbiotic business practices. Localization costs money, and the goal of localization is to make money; and, as we’ve covered, Nintendo of America has every reason to be wary of putting work into a horror game on a financially troubled console. This isn’t a question of personal feelings, it’s one of cost-effectiveness.

And as much as I’d love a pretty case and disc to sit on my shelf of horror games, I can’t say I see it as a desire to shunt the franchise away. Steam’s digital release format has made it a juggernaut in the gaming scene, and in the past Nintendo’s reticence to embrace the way the internet changed the way gaming works was on full display. To me, this looks like Nintendo is working to learn from its past mistakes, testing the waters to see how a game they release would fare on a purely digital format. Also, the fact that they released a rather sizable demo on the week before Halloween says to me that they’re trying to catch a wider market than just the diehard horror fans that will buy it no matter what. I’m wondering, what can we expect Nintendo to do? How much of a push can they be asked to give for a game with an uncertain future?

Fatal Frame V

Now there are companies such as Atlus and NIS who have proven that they can make a profit off of niche titles with physical releases by setting realistic goals (the opposite of what Capcom did with Resident Evil 6 or EA did with Dead Space) but the problem is those companies aren’t Nintendo. As odd as it may seem, Nintendo is too big to be able to afford the level of care and focus those companies can, because they also have to make sure they’re releasing more sure things like Mario and Pokemon. Every dollar spent on this game would have been a dollar not spent on higher profile titles.

oprainfall prides itself on being about niche video game news. What that unfortunately means is that many times the things we love won’t be as available as the more popular things. We’re blessed to live in an era where the internet and digital distribution can make things as possible as they are. Would I love a physical copy of the game? Of course, but the times are changing and video games have moved beyond a physical medium, so I have to roll with the newest technology.

I’ve also heard about complaints about the marketing, which were… less than stellar. The use of awkward memes and silly attempts at comedy did strike some as cold. Here, I say to adhere to a simple rule: do not assume malice where incompetence will suffice. We’ve seen plenty of games that have had questionable and some outright stupid attempts at marketing. ‘Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2’ from a few years back strikes me as a particularly dumb attempt of EA’s to use social media to drum up publicity. By comparison, I find the use of ‘spoopy’ to be a simple flub, and honestly one I find more cute than bothersome. “Uncle Nintendo found tumblr! He’s trying to use memes now!”

There’s also the question of if they could have marketed more. I suppose they could have, but to what avail. Many seem to be under the impression the game would do better with more of a marketing push, but history has proven that isn’t always the case. Resident Evil 6 once again proves to be a perfect example. There should be a consideration of diminishing returns, and with the way the Wii U itself marketing push has been done in the first place, it’s not likely that TV spots or a serious viral push would have made a significant difference.

Fatal Frame: Oracle of the Sodden Raven

Don’t know what the hood’s for. No one’s gonna be looking at her face

Okay, now let’s talk about the topic of censorship: Sexy censorship! I have to admit I’m baffled at Nintendo’s choice to take out the bikinis. Honestly, this isn’t out of any moral outrage. I maintain that as Nintendo of Europe has the right to make edits to property under their copyright purview and it only becomes an issue of artistic expression once developers — not fans — claim this hurts the integrity of the art. Granted, as a fan, you in turn have every right not to purchase it, but art is ultimately decided by the creators and editors. Like it or not, art is not a by-popular-vote process and we need to stop treating it as such.

No, the thing that confuses me about this game is how sexual the game already is. The Fatal Frame games have already always had a sexual tint to them. The women in the game are dressed and designed to be attractive with clothes that don’t suit the situation or the mood of the game. Fatal Frame is hardly the only franchise to do such a thing, but it’s still something I need to get over, especially since it doesn’t really match the tone of horror the game has been going for. Arguably more character-relevant is when Fatal Frame 3 had a pair of women who gaze at each other in enticing ways, though there’s no denying that was for male viewers more than out of any desire for character study or sexual diversity. Maiden of Black Water actually ups this a notch. If you follow the press releases, you may realize that water plays prominently and your avatars get wet. What this also means is that your characters’ clothes will cling to their body, showing the contours of their body off in immense detail. Certainly to an extent this is what water does to clothes, but there’s no denying that there’s an intent to show off a form pleasing to the male eye.

So why did Nintendo remove them? I think there are a number of reasons. The first could be greed; withholding it to be DLC later. Considering that Project Zero 2 on the Wii also had similar edits, that isn’t the most likely case. The other could be disc space, wanting to have those Metroid or Zelda costumes instead. The Wii U — despite having an online store — isn’t the most accommodating to high-data releases. That hard drive is only 32 gigs — there was also the 8GB version at console release, which would mean certain Wii U buyers may need to buy external memory to play this game, but people who bought those releases probably did not intend to deal with the eShop in the first place — so it’s possible that they wanted to save as much data as possible. A Wii U disc holds up to 25 gigs and while I’ve been unable to discover exactly how much of that space the physical edition of Fatal Frame 5 used, it’s not unlikely that some data crunching had to be done to get it to be that low.  Another likely choice — the most likely I find — is that they simply wanted to avoid controversy as possible. The subject of objectification of women has been a hot topic in video game discussion lately and it could be Nintendo just felt removing those costumes would make the game less of a target for that.

On the flip side, why does Japan have these outfits? A lot of games in Japan add things like bikini outfits to help sales. Visual Novels often have sex scenes — some incredibly out of place — simply because they wouldn’t sell otherwise. That’s what strikes me as off about everyone being upset about the edits as the complaints imply that this is some sort of artistic butchery that harms the vision of the game. What’s being removed is marketing, something created not to improve the game, but to move units.

fatalframebiki

Probably not an outfit conducive to ghostbusting.

I have to ask why fans are mad, though. Obviously for some games, such as Bayonetta, Catherine, or pretty much everything Suda51 has ever made, sexuality is an inherent and important part of the game and we’d be rightfully angry to see content cut out of those games. From a moody ghost story? If there had never been any bikini costumes announced, would anyone be playing this game thinking “Man, this would be so much better if they had swimsuits on!”? Does it make the game scarier? I’d argue the contrary. Does it affect the game in any sizable manner? If the ability to see scantily clad women is a harsh determiner for whether or not you buy a game, there are plenty of alternatives, some of them a lot of fun. However, for a game like this, I can’t see it being a decisive factor for many.

Obviously, if these are factors that are too much for you, the choice to not buy the game is yours. However, this would be due to a failure of Nintendo of America’s attempt to court your dollars rather than a genuine attempt to turn you away. You may not think Nintendo respects you — and they might not — but they do respect your greenbacks, and the success of Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water depends on the moving of them. Nintendo of America has made a risk here, a calculated risk, but a risk to be sure. Whether it pays off or not is now in the hands of the public.

About Jerry Hrechka

Jerry Hrechka is a writer and journalist. He was born in the Catskill mountains and now resides in Georgia, still trying to work out how exactly that happened. His work can also be found on nerdstock.com as well as on his horror podcast 1001 Frights.




  • Heriel

    Good Reading and very true, people tend to forget that nintendo’s job is to make money, that’s why they make games in the first place.

    And let’s face it, this franchise has never made that much money, not even in the ps2 days. I actually think that nintendo buying the rights was a smart move for tecmo, if this franchise stayed in PS/Micro consoles it would be dead since long ago (like every other Horror game in those consoles). I really think we can see this games (and the last 2 ones, at least in japan), thanks to nintendo.

    On the other hand, I admit I was somewhat mad about nintendo changing costumes, but for different reasons. I don’t think of this as censorship, but as a business desicion, they want to sell more by selling this to classic nintendo fans (which is why they used zelda and samus costumes), what annoys me is, why try to sell this game to people who don’t care about this franchise? zelda fans don’t care, metroid fans don’t care, those people are more interested in a boring dumb pokemon snap. Why try to cater to them? Wouldn’t be more reasonable to try to sell this game to Tecmo fans? And we know tecmo fans like that kind of stuff (bikinis and such). It’s just… I don’t think it makes sense (business sense), I hope at least that these costumes help to sell more, but seeing they did nothing in bayonetta 2, it makes me grind, the last thing I want is to see this franchise dying.

    • SullenSamurai

      Honestly, I think the costume changes were done for a little bit of both reasons. Nintendo of Europe and America probably thought the original costumes were not reflective of their projected family-friendly image (even though we were already dealing with a game that was definitely not family-friendly) and thought that if they swapped them out with Nintendo-themed costumes that not only would people not be bothered, but that they might woo over some people on the fence in the process. Cover your ass and sell more copies in one fell swoop. Of course, I don’t think they really succeeded on either front.

  • JDobbs

    I’m proud of you for writing this article Jerry. It’s better to see it published late than to never see it published at all.

  • Thom

    Huh. Really good article. I’m a fan of Fatal Frame 2 from god knows when. You’ve now convinced me to buy the new FF. With the naive hope that Nintendo will listen.

  • SullenSamurai

    Honestly, I’d take targeted malice over incompetence from a company as situated as Nintendo of America just about every time. At least then I’d know they set out to do what they intended. In situations like this, I just have to wonder what they actually wanted or expected.

    Also, I’ll never agree with the concept that the removal of “gratuitous” content is somehow acceptable because said content was out of place or “shouldn’t have existed to begin with”. It doesn’t matter what the intended purpose of the content was, whether or not it was befitting of the whole, or anything of the sort. All that really matters in “localization” is whether or not the content left in the localized title is as close to the original’s as possible — and in this case, it clearly wasn’t. Of course, NoA has a very different definition of “localization” than I do, and it has become progressively more and more clear.That’s one of the primary problems here: NoA loves to overstep their boundaries as a publisher.

    As long as Nintendo of America thinks it’s alright for them to jettison or alter stuff because they don’t personally like it (which they’ve always done, much to my chagrin), and as long as they keep putting money over their fans (I get that they’re a business and always have been, but you can’t tell me they’ve always been this bad; I’ve been watching them closely since at least the SNES days and I can assure you they’ve gotten worse), I’m going to continue second-guessing every product they put out.

    • Infophile

      All that really matters in localization is whether or not the content left in the localized title is as close to the original’s as possible…

      Let me pose to you an example. In the Japanese release of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, there was a group of NPCs clearly riffing off of Yakuza stereotypes. The average North American likely wouldn’t get this (at best, they’d think about tattoos and chopped-off pinky fingers, if they know anything about the Yakuza), so NoA instead changed them to be a riff off of Mafia stereotypes, which North Americans would easily get.

      This took the material away from the source, but made it more accessible for the target audience of the localized version. It changed a cultural reference to one the target audience was more likely to understand (in addition to the whole process of changing the language to something the target audience was more likely to understand).

      In this case, is this change alright?

    • SullenSamurai

      Hard to say, really. In such a situation you’d have to gauge just how much of the original intent got through. Because, yeah, we’re swapping two radically different languages so even in the best of cases something is going to be lost. But I’d have to see the scenes(s) for myself to give a good opinion. Sadly, I never got to play The Thousand-Year Door.

      But if entire scenes were rewritten from the ground-up with no bearing on the original scenes, regardless of the quality of the rewritten scenes, I wouldn’t be a fan of the changes. I rather take a creative work in as close a state to the original (and potentially have a few things go over my head or bother me) than have it altered to make it easier on me or, more realistically, a third party’s (likely incorrect) idea of me.

      I’m a bit of a purist, for better or worse. I know my feelings on the issue aren’t indicative of the whole, but they are my feelings. A Japanese game — or really any creative work from another country — even when translated or “localized”, should still be indicative of the country, culture, and/or environment that crafted it; that’s part of the appeal, I think. It’s one thing to translate Goethe’s Faust; it’s another thing entirely to alter the names of the characters, the setting, and/or to tone down satanic imagery because some may find it offensive.

  • Nicholas Patrick

    You bring up Resident Evil 6 as an argument against physical releases not selling well, but I think that’s an outstanding case. RE6 is not a horror game. It has it’s roots in horror, but it was pretty much a pure action game. And for Capcom to expect it to sell 6 million copies is market speak for “we’ve made our game more western so we should be making more money”. With the parade of endless shooter competition out there, it had no chance of that.

    Which is why Shinji Mikami created The Evil Within, which was a million seller across multiple platforms (although was beaten in it’s first week by Bayonetta 2). The internet was set ablaze with the PT demo and Silent Hills would have easily blasted beyong millions in sales with Hideo Kojima behind the wheel (similar to what happened with the original Castlevania Lords of Shadow). Fatal Frame was a part of that legacy just behind RE and SH. It was never as successful, but the excitement was building when the game was confirmed for North America and #FatalFrame was frequently trending on Twitter (hell it still is). Another series from that era Clock Tower was getting a spiritual revival on a successful Kickstarter called Project Scissors! Suffice it to say that survival horror was making a comeback, even Capcom went back to basics with Revelations 2 and the HD Remake of the original RE.

    The most publicity Fatal Frame was given at E3 was a Treehouse segment, it wasn’t even in the digital event. Ironically Devil’s Third wasn’t even mentioned, but it will be getting a physical release even though Nintendo has almost completely dropped support for that game. I got into a long discussion on Miiverse about this with a person who stuck up for Nintendo and never budged an inch on his unwavering support. It almost broke my heart to see someone who thought that fans made no difference in bringing the game westward at all. However there can be no argument that the game wouldn’t sell better with a physical release, any statistic can show that physical outsells digital anywhere from 70-90%. And with the Wii U’s limited memory it would have been a no brainer… fans would have paid extra for the limited edition that Europe received! And the game is great, it took all night for my Wii U to download it (even though I deleted dozens upon dozens of games and save files to allow it) but it’s one of the creepiest games in recent memory… perfect for Halloween!

    Maybe Nintendo did the correct thing in a business sense since the Wii U is all but dead now, but we’ll never know how much better it could have been with a regular release. But it does punish 8gb Wii U owners who can’t even download the free demo, let alone buy the full game without a second $50 purchase of a Nintendo approved hard drive. And I don’t think that the digital only future is set in stone like so many speculate. If that happens gamers who remember classic genres like Survival Horror might roll backwards to consoles that allowed physical releases… hell many already have, and the retro game business is booming. The landscape of modern gaming will change so much that it will become a fad, with dudebro and ladybro gamers only interested in what games IGN and Gamespot are paid to give 8s or higher… 8 being their standard for average. Already they’re defending Halo’s pay to win microtransactions, good for them… they’re killing their own hobby.p

    • TrueWiiMaster

      Evil Within sold millions, but considering its pedigree, hype, and availability, it did pretty poorly. It sold significantly worse on 5 platforms than the first couple Resident Evil games did on just the PS1, while certainly costing much, much more to make.

      I would also say that, while sales would increase with a physical release, with a game as niche as Fatal Frame, whose sales would likely be in the tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands no matter how it was released, any increase would be small, even if it doubled the sales.

  • Melody

    Nintendo may be a company trying to make profits. But it is clear they don’t know how. For every effort they make that is genius, they make 3 others that make me question whether they want my money at all. Many businesses rise and fall, and while it can be said you need balance, within a competitive market the ones that float are the ones that give the customers what they want. Catering to your customers and trying to make a profit are not mutually exclusive. A lot of the time they are directly tied together. Only in a market without competition can a company survive while giving their customers the middle finger so often. If I put out a game with 100% of the content and somebody else puts out the same content but with only 90% of the content and we sold them side by side for the same price, most people would buy my version, because they want the whole package. Not only that, but many people don’t have a Wii U with more than 8Gb of space, and when they do, it’s only 32 GB of space. From the beginning this was a big F*** you to people because the competing consoles have hard drives. Because of the small Hdd space, many want to buy the physical version because having to always delete a game to make room for another game is not just inconvenient, but also wears out the storage quicker, and with content still being essentially locked to the console, if it dies many are sol.

    Despite their appearances, Nintendo has always been one of the most anti-consumer businesses out there. Region locking, small space PLUS making large games digital only and for many people impossible to download without buying an external hdd. But even then it sucks because the Wii U uses usb 2.0 and so that leads to slow load times and everything. All of this for a console that costs just a bit less than the competition. The region locking is a very big problem, it was a very big problem last generation for them as many great games were made for Wii that never made it out of Japan. Even games that don’t really require any knowledge of Japanese never made it over. But on the competition, you can buy games from overseas and play it without buying the console twice. I know they like money, that why they sell their consoles at an inflated price. That’s why they sell 15 different iterations or upgrades of one handheld But I’d rather my money go to actual games with actual content. You generally pay a bit extra for console games compared to pc games (I should know, I buy and play a lot of pc games). Consoles are usually subsidized. But Nintendo consoles are not subsidized, you get none of the pros and all of the cons in terms of the costs and their games are more expensive than the competition anyway so the cons are even worse. If I’m paying a premium, I’d at least want a premium experience, but most of the time they gimp their games and so I am getting a subpar experience. People have their heads up their rears and think somehow Nintendo is a perfect developer, and while their quality is generally high, there are other developers with just as high of a quality.

    When you’re trying to make money, you generally appease the customer (within reason). Give them what they want. You don’t need to be anti-consumer to make a good profit. If anything, while anti-consumer tactics may work well within a short term, they fail in the long term, and can destroy years of trust. Nintendo may not have intended to kill off Fatal Frame, but they have shown they can’t be trusted with it. I know they worked well with Bayonetta 2, but that is an outlier. Everywhere else suggests they can’t handle working with more maturish or adultish IPs without censoring them. I’d suggest selling the IP to somebody that won’t abuse it.

    • alex9234

      “Nintendo may be a company trying to make profits. But it is clear they don’t know how. For every effort they make that is genius, they make 3 others that make me question whether they want my money at all.” – You actually posted this nonsense! Wow!

      “Not only that, but many people don’t have a Wii U with more than 8Gb of space, and when they do, it’s only 32 GB of space. From the beginning this was a big F*** you to people because the competing consoles have hard drives.” – This doesn’t even make sense and is just your opinion. You do know that Wii U games don’t require installation, right? And if storage is such a big deal, just go and buy an external hard drive. Is that so hard? I can easily afford one and I’m a low income person.

      “Nintendo has always been one of the most anti-consumer businesses out there.” – This here, is a lie. Do not repeat it again. Sony and Microsoft make Nintendo look like Mother Teresa by comparison:

      -http://www.consumeraffairs.com/home_electronics/sony-playstation-3.html

      -http://www.wired.com/2013/02/sony-ps3-promises/

      -http://www.consumeraffairs.com/home_electronics/xbox.html

      “Region locking, small space PLUS making large games digital only and for many people impossible to download without buying an external hdd. The region locking is a very big problem, it was a very big problem last generation for them as many great games were made for Wii that never made it out of Japan.”- Oh god, and you don’t even know what anti-consumer means. As for region locking, which is a bullshit argument, every company, especially ones outside the gaming industry, practices region locking. But it’s only bad when Nintendo does it. Double standards. But I’ll add my own to this. Why am I being charged $30 for a demo? Why am I paying for online? Why am I being charged money for a replacement console when my old one breaks down? Why am I being charged $60 for games that last only 5 hours and I get charged for 200 dollars for dlc? Thats anti-consumer. Does Nintendo do any of this shit? No.

      “But Nintendo consoles are not subsidized, you get none of the pros and all of the cons in terms of the costs and their games are more expensive than the competition anyway so the cons are even worse.” – Please, where are your sources? I don’t believe you so you better have a credible source.

      “When you’re trying to make money, you generally appease the customer (within reason). Give them what they want.” – No, you don’t. Word of advice: NEVER listen to your fans in business. They simply don’t know what they want.

      “We want Fatal Frame! No, not that Fatal Frame…”

      “We want Xenoblade X! No, not that Xenoblade X…”

      “We want something new! No, not that something new…”

      You don’t listen to fans who constantly complain about EVERYTHING, regardless of what you actually say. Nintendo is well aware of this, and knows that nothing gamers complain about on here impacts their bottom line at all.

      “Everywhere else suggests they can’t handle working with more maturish or adultish IPs without censoring them. I’d suggest selling the IP to somebody that won’t abuse it.” – Yet they constantly allowed Rare to release Perfect Dark and Conker’s Bad Fur Day, both uncensored. And they’ve allowed Mature games on their consoles since Mortal Kombat II. Plus, they didn’t censor anything in the GameCube Resident Evil games. Or MGS: The Twin Snakes. Or Eternal Darkness. When Nintendo “censors” something – which is debatable at best and stupid at worst, it’s because of cultural differences. It’s not censorship. I get it dude, you hate Nintendo.

    • Titangamecube

      Im really getting sick of people who pass themselves off as Nintendo “fans” as a way to push their faulty ass agenda. I know that Nintendo isn’t a perfect company (seriously, listening to their fans and trusting third parties was a huge mistake), but to make exaggerations and lies just pisses me off. Region Locking is really not a problem at all and in fact, the arguments against region locking have much more to do with prices, rather than actual not releasing a game overseas due to lack of interest but don’t tell people that. Its fucking hilarious that people are wanting more hard drive space despite the fact that storage space is much cheaper then what sony and microsoft are offering and the fact that most Wii U games don’t even go past 10 gigs. Nintendo is anti consumer? More like, it doesn’t listen to fan wishes. I find it funny these pretendos want Nintendo to be even MORE anti consumer. And I want to talk about Mature games for a second. Nintendo doesn’t want to CREATE Mature games (Though Pikmin, Metroid, and Zelda are the most mature franchises from Nintendo). They will however publish them. This notion of censorship is bullshit because the Xbox version of Conkers Bad Fur Day is CENSORED. Yes, big ole mature Xbox censored that game. But thats okie dokie.

    • Melody

      Wii U games would benefit from an installation, but don’t require them because the Wii U has so little space. Not being able to install data from the disc leads to longer load times. Not all of my ps3 games require installation, but they generally allow you to optionally do so and it greatly cuts down on load time.Not being able to install is just as much of a con as being forced to. You are wrong however anyway. While not mandatory, Xenoblade has 4 downloads meant to make the game run playable. Altogether the game needs up to 10 GB if you are playing on disc. If you own a 8GB Wii U you will not be able to get all of the install data meaning the game won’t run as smoothly. And if you have a 32 GB Wii U, it takes up a third of the drive, unless you get the digital version in which case it pretty much takes up the whole space. To be fair, if you get the digital version it has the install data included. On the other hand, whereas most modern consoles include the data on the disc, on the Wii U you have to download the data from the eshop. Buying an external hdd doesn’t even solve the problem either, it just shifts it. Have you ever tried to play a game from usb 2.0? USB 2.0 is too slow to get good performance on many games, it leads to longer load times especially and if the game is made to stream data it can lead to bad performance. Then there is the fact that you have to spend extra to get what the competitors have been including. You also can’t just get any external hdd, it has to ideally be one that uses an external power supply, because using a usb powered external hdd is a recipe for terrible in-game performance. While prices aren’t always the same, when I bought a new external hdd a couple months ago a 1 TB hdd would have costed me ~$90 (I got a 2 TB for $107). And a 500 GB one was ~$85, only 5 dollars cheaper or so than the 1TB. Add to this that the HDD is formatted to be used only by the Wii U, and if you want to use it with other things it needs to be reformatted again (which means you lose your wii u stuff on it.) The Wii U doesn’t just store the game though, it stores the game data (whether digital with dlc and game patches or just the dlc and game patches, basically anything to do with the game) along with the save data. And so when you connect a hdd it uses that for the save data. If the external hdd dies, you lose all of your progress. the 8/32 GB space is completely ignored for save data if you are using an external hdd.

      Both the Xbox One and PS4 are region free. You can buy games from other regions and play them on those systems regardless of region. You can even sign up for a psn account for another region and buy games made for it on the ps4. The ps3, psp, and psvita are all region free. Their accounts are also region free, though for the vita at least you can only have it formatted to use one region’s psn at a time. But even if your region is set to use the US psn, you can still buy out of region physical games and play them without formatting the system. This is something that Nintendo is the only one doing now a days. At most, during the last gen, there was one game that was region locked, and that was Persona 4 Arena. It wasn’t looked upon too well, but fortunately Atlus has not done so for any other game, the game itself was released in all regions and was not censored for any of them. I also disagree with the region locking of the game anyway. So there you have it, one game on the ps3 that is censored. Sure the 360 was region locked, but even Microsoft stopped doing that. Currently no modern console or handheld outside of Nintendo’s is region locked and outside of that one specific case I mentioned there are no region locked games. Yes, most if not all console publishers have at one time or another been guilty of region locking. The ps1 and ps2 were region locked. But just because others did it doesn’t make it right today. Sony wronged ps1 and ps2 owners with region locking. They stopped that with the ps3 and psp games (though umd movies were region locked). Microsoft wronged xbox and xbox 360 owners with region lock, but they removed it with the xbox one. Everybody has moved on from region locking consoles/handhelds but Nintendo. If the only excuse for it is that others have done it in the past then you’ve lost that argument.

      As for cost, Nintendo is not perfect about these things either. Personally most of Nintendo’s games that I own don’t work online. I can connect to the internet from the Wii U, and I can do the Network Links in HW. There are also some 3ds games I can play, but none of them are actually multiplayer, they just connect to the internet like Bravely Default and Fire Emblem Awakening. I bought splatoon, but unfortunately it does not work online for me. I tested it with a vpn however and found it does sort of work. Unfortunately a vpn cost 70$ a year. PSN+ cost 50$ a year and I get “free” and cheaper games. Yes, I said “free” with quotes because they technically aren’t free. But I get enough games added to my account that I like that it more than makes up for paying for access each month. I’m mostly a pc user though and so in terms of how cheap it is, I am well aware that it isn’t that great, but it’s still much better than with the Wii U’s prices. On sites like Steam or GOG I get really good prices that put console prices to shame, but in terms of console/handheld I get the most value for PSN+. That’s why I have many more games for my vita compared to my 3ds, because over time the prices of games do get cheaper for those systems.

      Don’t even get me started on dlc though. Nintendo WAS good about dlc, WAS. Hyrule warriors has really good dlc, and Mario Kart 8 has good dlc, and both are good value for the cost. But Smash 4 is just as bad as many other AAA games. Splatoon had content locked behind amiibo. While I mentioned Hyrule warriors above, it also had a problem. It cost 13 to add one weapon. Clearly the Link amiibo didn’t add enough value compared to it’s own season pass (which cost 20$ for essentially 4 adventure mode maps). The amiibo themselves have found themselves in a strange place. Many games barely use them. Outside of the Link Amiibo, they generally just give me a few rupees and bronze materials. I got really unlucky yesterday when I got 4 rupees and 10 rocks in Hyrule warriors. While clearly yesterday was an outlier, I’ve never gotten more than 50,000 rupees and some weapons to sell in the game which you can get just by playing a level or two. You can easily spend hundreds on amiibo just by buying them at their retail price. Add to that making it so easy for scalpers to sell them at inflated prices, not to mention keeping stock low to drive up demand. And while I am aware of a port strike, that is not the only reason, Nintendo has a habit of doing this and the strike only exacerbated the problem rather than create it. It was just as bad in other regions and worse in others. In the end though, I don’t buy games with bad dlc practices most of the time. I can’t think of a single game that I bought where I paid more than something like 10 or 20 for dlc unless you count Hyrule warriors and smash. I paid 20 for the HW dlc +13 for the weapon. And for smash I bought the 4 characters, the stages and I got 2 more amiibos, so all in all for it I paid over $50 for smash dlc. In Fire Emblem Awakening, there is over $50 of dlc. I haven’t bought all of the dlc but a lot of it. And to bring up Hyrule Warriors again, Hyrule warriors Legend has content that you can only get by buying the 3ds. Buying it is supposed to allow you to transfer the content to the Wii U version. While portability is nice, my 3ds has a crappy battery life so I would just end up playing the Wii U version whenever anyway. I’m hoping for cross save support but it seems unlikely. And since I’ve put in a lot of game time in HW, I highly doubt I will go through all of that for the 3ds version making it mostly $40 dlc. Again, portability is nice, but I’d much rather just be able to buy the dlc as I know I wouldn’t really play the 3ds version unless it has cross save support with the Wii U version.

      Really, I buy more dlc for Nintendo games than I do for other games, and when I do buy dlc for non-nintendo games the dlc or the goty is on sale. Like recently I bought shadow of mordor goty from steam for $17. I paid less for the complete package of that game than I did the dlc for one of my Nintendo games. $17 is isn’t even the general price I have to pay most of the time, as most of the time games are on sale for several dollars cheaper. I buy a lot more indie games which tends to lower my cost, though I recently subscribed to theindiebox and get an indie game a month for $20. These games are boxed copies with a usb card with the game, a steam code, some cool stuff related to the game, and a manual. This month (my first) was axiom verge and it came with a neat little head statue, a map of the game, the manual, a sticker and a bit more. Axiom verge has no DLC at all. it’s a complete game. Last month I went through Ittle Dew (which is also on the wii u, it’s a pretty good game) and oceanhorn. They’re inspired by Zelda games and pretty good. Really though, all platforms have games that have dlc and games that don’t. Nintendo is not a saint when it comes to dlc and even though there are undoubtedly worse publishers and developers, this is not a valid excuse. As I said earlier splatoon didn’t entirely work online for me, and I don’t exactly feel like paying for a vpn to play the game. So in the end I ended up with just the single player campaign. Splatoon isn’t that long either. I personally don’t mind short games in and of themselves. I bought Ys chronicles I and II and the first one is short. But that said, Ys I and II chronicles is not that expensive, it’s $15 (though I got it cheaper on sale) and the second one is much longer (the first is more of like a prologue to the actual game, and at least for the nds version of the games the two are combined into one game since Ys II is a direct sequel, happening right after Ys I. It’s sort of like how Xenosaga I and II got combined on the nds).

      Ironically one of the complaints I always hear about the Wii U versions of games is that they don’t have all of the dlc.People bitch when there is dlc, and bitch when there is less or no dlc. For what it is worth I’d actually rather have the ability to pay for the things that are cut than not be given a choice for what it is worth. Sure, it may suck having to pay extra to get the full game, but like I said, it could end up being the full game. If the stuff is outright removed however and not sold as dlc then no amount paid will get that stuff back. It’s generally not been a problem on pc however, because modders would usually just mod it back in anyway as long as there was enough desire to, that or if there was a version without the censorship, one could buy that instead.

      And yes, consoles are usually subsidized. That’s been one of their selling points for a long time. Nintendo is the only one I know selling consoles for a profit. This has somewhat started to turn around as pc hardware is becoming cheap enough that you can build a pc that is on par if not better for around the same price as a console, but it was especially true last gen how much was spent on making console hardware. http://www.pcworld.com/article/127906/article.html It was costing Sony over $800 to make each ps3 due to the nonstandard hardware. Even at release they were selling at a loss. It took them years to get the cost down enough to profit and they also cut the price a lot to get people to buy it. Microsoft wasn’t in much of a better place when comparing cost to make with selling price. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/24/xbox360_component_breakdown/ The cost to make the ps3 and 360 has long been a point for why Nintendo did so well last gen. http://seekingalpha.com/article/34357-game-console-wars-ii-nintendo-shaves-off-profits-leaving-competition-scruffy http://web.archive.org/web/20100815075610/http://www.gamedaily.com/articles/features/report-nintendo-makes-about-49-per-wii-sold-in-us/70921/?biz=1

      Buying consoles for cheaper than the hardware is one of the main pros of consoles. People bring up the cost of pc gaming, because it has a higher cost to enter, though as I’ve stated the costs have gone down to be more competitive. That said, I’ve been a pc gamer for several years and I’ve definitely seen a difference in what I have to pay on pc verses console.The largest online store for games is steam. On steam there is always something on sale, usually many games on sale at once. Before release, many games are sold at a discount. After release, they tend to get put in sales that have smaller cuts. You can easily find a new AAA game on sale for 20% off within the first month. Within a couple to a few months it is easy to find newer AAA games for 50% off. Every week you can usually find many games on sale for even 75% off. those price cuts are common. PC doesn’t really have a used game market. I was heavily into that when I was predominantly a console player. Even then I never really got as many console games because even used they cost more for me than pc games. I’ve bought used games at stores like gamestop, pawn shops, flea markets, and even online, and my money never went to the developer or publisher. But even on sale, my money does go to developers. Developers have actually spoken about how much sales actually help them, especially in the long run. Developers can make money even on really old games, but on console, unless they reprint it and sell it as greatest hits or something they don’t really make much money in the physical game market. Sure, digital games are sold but they don’t go on sale as much as on pc.

      The reason games on console cost more is because of licensing. It costs money to make console games and I mean beyond paying the people making them. It costs money to patch games. While Microsoft did eventually drop the cost of patching a 360 games, I am uncertain if they did so for xbox one games. I haven’t seen any evidence Sony stopped doing so, so I would imagine they haven’t. How much does it cost? Well according to Tim Schaffer of the developer Double Fine, it cost 40,000 to release a patch on console. To be fair, I think Nintendo doesn’t charge that much or at all for a patch, so I don’t count them in that, but even the Wii U is not free to develop for. If I wanted to develop a game for free or cheap, pc would be one of the only legitimate platforms I could do that. There is no licensing for pc games, though any store your game is sold in gets a cut of the profit. That’s to be expected, but with consoles there is that plus the licensing. That keeps costs up higher.

      That is a con for the consumer. Console gaming in general is more expensive in the long run compared to pc, it’s really only cheaper if you buy only one or two games. But at the cost of the console, that’s an expensive way to play those one or two games. But if the cost of the console is a bit cheaper, it could even out the differences a bit. Not so with Nintendo. Every one of my Wii U retail games I got full price because they hardly ever go on sale. Every once in a while, retailers like target or walmart will put them on sale for a few dollars off. It isn’t really worth it imo to hawkishly stalk store ads for a few dollars off on console, but as I’m not made of money, that also means that I buy less Nintendo games. Similarly, I have much the same problem with 3ds games. Games that on the vita would cost me $20 full price still cost $40. For both of Nintendo’s current platforms, if the game is on another platform, chances are I’ll get it on one of those platforms, especially if it is on pc through steam, gog, or humble bundle/humble store. I have much more space on most of those platforms anyway and many times they are cross buy. When i buy vita games, I get ps3 and/or ps4 games as well much of the time. I know of two games on Nintendo platforms that have cross buy. In another way though, because I have a vita and a vita tv (I needed a new controller and they had a bundle for cheap so I though what the heck since it wasn’t much more expensive. All in all I got it for like $20) and many vita games support it, I can play them that way as well.

      And yes, not listening to fans has done Nintendo so much this gen. When told “Hey, your console is not appealing to hardcore gamers” they think “Let’s try to bring in mobile gamers, you know the ones that abandoned them once smart phones and tablets became a thing. The ones that wouldn’t really pay more than a few dollars for a game. And Nintendo selling their games at such high prices is supposed to draw them in. Never mind that these markets draw different types of consumers with different types of games. What I mean by “Within reason” is – PC is doing well, the market appeals to their customers. Sony is doing well with the ps4. They at least somewhat listen to customers. Microsoft is doing with with the xbox one. They listened to their customers when they first revealed the xbox. The customers all spoke that they didn’t like their restrictions and they were removed, despite Microsoft saying they couldn’t. Valve once said that piracy isn’t a pricing issue, but a service issue. They should know because they managed to turn one of their least profitable markets into one of their most. Despite how easy it is to actually crack steam and pirate games, they have managed to do so well that piracy is not a concern for them. Publishers themselves do manage to listen as well. When Unity was announced and there wasn’t a female playable character, fans expressed their desire to play a female character. They made excuses, others called them out on it. Now Syndicate has a female playable character, now look at that. Bethesda and valve tried getting mod makers to make paid mods. People spoke against it, they went back on that decision. Fallout 4 is currently doing very well. Notice that as time has gone by, Nintendo consoles have sold less and less? Sure, they have done well on handhelds, but their handhelds have strong third party support. Sure they did well with the Wii, but the wii’s success cannot be attributed enough to the casual audience they tapped into. That audience has moved on and their trend has continued where it left off on. The gamecube sold around 22 million units. The n64 sold around 33 million, the snes sold almost 50 million units. If Nintendo’s strategy is to not listen to their customers, you could kind of add third party developers into that as well, Nintendo has always been known to not really listen to third party developers. This has repeatedly cost them game after game. In a way, Nintendo does the best with a monopoly. The nes sold over 61 million units. And while devs still made games for the snes, many jumped at the chance to make sega games because of how they had less of a grip on their platform. The snes was also more competitive. When the n64 came out, cartridges were what cost them many games. Games like FF7 moved from the n64 to the playstation because of the ps1’s use of discs. This cost Nintendo one of their bigger developers. Nintendo lost many other developers with the gamecube’s use of mini discs. And despite the Wii’s success in it’s life time, the ps1 and the ps2 has still managed to outsell it. This is largely because it appealed to everybody and their grandmother. While I had a ps1, I generally was a Nintendo only person and so rarely played my ps1. The PS2 was where I was at during most of that generation.

      You seem to think I have something against Nintendo. On the contrary, I see it like how I would see a friend going down a dark path. As a gamer I’ve come to enjoy the progress competition brings and if Nintendo or any other company were to go bankrupt it would harm the gaming market. I’d much rather Nintendo improve their products and services than go away. This isn’t some doom and gloom prediction. Nintendo could very well survive the next few years doing absolutely nothing. But it is clear this has left them arrogant. Like how the ps2’s success made Sony arrogant. But whereas Sony turned around after facing big losses, Nintendo hasn’t quite reached that point yet. Nintendo still needs to learn to focus on what console gamers want rather than what mobile gamers want unless they want to become a mobile gaming developer and get out of the console business. They’re doing quite well with the 3ds, but they still haven’t figured out how to make the Wii U quite as successful because they haven’t actually been listening to their customers. The Wii U was made to try to bring back hardcore gamers who felt burned with the Wii, but Nintendo clearly was trying to rely on the casual market. They never realized that the casual market moved on already. They then had to shift their focus to be more hardcore friendly, but at the same time they are just one company and it has proven quite difficult to keep a console afloat with just first party titles. The end result is that the Wii U is their worst selling console unless you count the Virtual boy. Clearly not listening to gamers is working out so well for them.

      It’s not that I am ungrateful that more niche games are localized. But I am anti-censorship. Other platforms release games uncensored, and often when given a choice on the same platform, the uncensored ones do better. On pc, some developers release a patch to turn the censored version of a game into the uncensored version.

      Nintendo whether they want to complain or not have made their own bed. They can’t complain about stirring controversy because they have created their family friendly image and have done so for years. They can’t complain when they’re still censoring games, they’re not the only ones making games and those games draw in many gamers without needing to be censored. As a matter of principle I don’t just draw the line because something doesn’t affect me, I consider that hypocritical and unprincipled.

  • Louis Polite

    Good stuff, thanks for having a more niche developer supportive viewpoint.

  • Nicholas Perry

    “It’s simply a higher cost-gamble”

    That’s why you learn how to niche good sir. Plenty of publishers have been surviving on doing just that for a very long time now.

    It’s time for the big boys with too high of expectations learn how to do the same.

  • Fighunter

    Curious, you address the costumes as fanservice marketing, but you never seem to address the plot relevant cutscene that included one of said cutscenes and was also censored.
    Do you stand by the point that with or without alteration, that scene still delivers its message across? Because personally, I found those edits made it far, far less impactful, almost silly even, and damaging to characterization.

  • Travis Touchdown

    If NOA wanted to kill Fatal Frame, they would never have brought it over here at all. It’s that simple.

  • Dalton McClain

    Wow, you may be the first person to ever convince me against your point in your own article. Azario did a much better job in his and made much more sense. This may be one of the most shoddily written things that I’ve ever seen on any gaming website, and I’ve seen Kotaku and Porygon’s articles. Also, you may be the most sexist human being alive, arguing that the “clad” costumes, while at the same time demeaning males by portraying them all as sex crazed lunatics who can’t control their hormones. The only sexist thing I read in this entire article was your incessant babbling about not being able to do something because it will be, as you put it, pleasing to the male eye.