Well…This is a little different, is it not? Hello you lovely people, Joe here again with another…Interesting article; moreso a discussion rather than flat-out opinion…
I’ve been a fan of mystery / investigation games for a long…Long time…Starting off with Ace Attorney, I first got introduced into this genre with Ace Attorney: Justice For All, and spiralled down a deep, dark addiction to the franchise and genre…However, with one franchise in this closely knit circle, Zero Escape, not really doing too well sales-wise, I decided to take a look why, despite the massive fanbases behind each franchise, they still fail to deliver and innovate, and fail to pull in sales.
As you can probably tell from the title, I suspect it’s due to a lack of community engagement – These games have hundreds of dedicated roleplay groups that participate in fictional and custom spinoffs of these games in a text format, yet…For a lot of them their ideas are never materialised; unless you’re artistically adept or technically knowledgable, you have no way of playing out these scenes other than in your head.
This leads to fanbases becoming bored, creating the same old characters, falling to the same old tropes, until they eventually get bored of the series and move onto something new. Take Danganronpa for instance – The series is nearing it’s 4th major game and…Yet…With the exception of Ultra Despair Girls (Or Danganronpa 1.5 as I call it), nothing’s really been…Added. It’s just the same old ‘Someone gets murdered and a Trial is held; here’s some basic gameplay elements and a flashy execution’. Now I love, and I mean LOVE Danganronpa, heck, I was even part of an old roleplay group a few years ago where I frequented for a month or two! However, the series is, admittedly, looking a bit stale upon Danganronpa V3.
Hence why I believe that community creation tools are the way forwards. What if games like Phoenix Wright gave their fans a tool they can use to create their own court cases? Import their own custom music and sprites? Hell, even developers could prod at it and create their own forms of gameplay; it’d be a swan-song for these franchises, requiring a medium amount of development time and money, and wouldn’t compromise on the main line series games – Hell, they could even charge full retail price for it! I know I’d pay £30 for a Danganronpa Custom Editor!
Now, I can also see the detriments of something like this – I’d imagine these tools would be rather complex, with some form of learning curve, and not to mention that they’re parts of somewhat ‘niche’ franchises already adds a layer of difficulty to selling the darn thing in the first place; another issue would be legal restraints too – Would uncopyrighted music be allowed to be used? What about sprites? Would offensive content be filtered? All of these questions stack up to a considerable pile, that can quite literally reach an office ceiling, which is why I’d imagine something like this hasn’t been developed yet….
However, one point that I have to say is this – In all actual reality, I personally believe that, if the thought did cross these companies’ minds, they’ve deterred it because they fear that a fan of the franchise would make a better game than they could. Obviously that’s a bold statement, but it’s not like we haven’t seen this before – Nintendo, for example, with their constant swatting down of community fan projects like Pokemon Prism or the fan-made Metroid project speak volumes as to how companies react to high-quality, worthwhile fan works, and is in all reality rather scary to think about.
Would I love to see a custom creator formed for Danganronpa, Ace Attorney, or Zero Escape? Of course I bloody will.
Will it ever be a reality? I highly doubt it.
Will the franchises of the ‘Mystery Genre’ still be declining in sales with or without these tools? Who knows? For all we know there could be a huge mysterious surge in sales..!
What do you think of the above piece? Got your own thoughts? Let us know down there in the comments!!