Saturday, September 3, 2011


Been thinking about this topic for a while.  I'm playing devil's advocate here for a bit but this is meant to help you think.

Right now, if you're a game developer, you have to expect feedback.  Tons of feedback.  Most of it not good.  Every gamer out there is guilty of throwing their opinions out there, trying to get what is theirs.  "Make this, make that."  This isn't necessarily a bad thing--hey, I'm guilty of it too.  And ultimately, your ideas may be the right ones.

And what better a company to talk about than SEGA.  Sega, you suck.  No one really likes Sega anymore.  As a matter of fact, if you were to ask a bunch of people what they thought of Sega, the answers are not uplifting.  Sega takes so much crap it's not even funny.



But you have to think of game developers/studios differently.  You see, game devs are on a completely different level than you and I.  They have the intellectual and physical capacity to produce games.  They know more about the games they make than you do.  They are like a human-deity hybrid--they can create games like no one else can although they are fallible in many ways.  Since they're part-human, they aren't genies that can produce EVERYTHING you want.  Because you're not actually there to listen in and understand everything they say, your judgment may be wrong.  Hell, even I may be wrong!  This obviously applies to any private organization you're not a part of (like sports teams).

Why isn't Sega winning in the video games "arms race?"
You think you know, but you don't know, and you never will.


What am I getting at here? Let me cite an example--the comedy/drama film Bruce Almighty, starring Jim Carrey (Bruce) and Morgan Freeman (God).  In this movie, Bruce is a demoralized news reporter who frequently blames God for all of his misfortune.  A few moments later, Bruce "meets" God.  Since Bruce believes he can do a better job than God, he is given God's powers.  (Bruce = passionate fan; God = game company)

After spending some time using his new-found abilities on mischievous things (ex. turn his junker into a white Saleen S7, enlarge his girlfriend's breasts, and give himself countless promotions), he becomes paralyzed by all the voices in his head which turn out to be prayers.  So Bruce sits down at a computer and tries to answer all those prayers with his "Yahweh" e-mail service.  Unfortunately, even with his superhuman powers, he doesn't have the patience to answer the hundreds of millions of prayers.  So he lazily replies "Yes to all" to all prayers which is one of the things that later leads to his "downfall."  (Prayers = fan requests)

Eventually, after failing to reunite with his girlfriend (remember, he can't change free will) and ultimately realizing he's a crappy God, he has a coming-of-age moment and gains a greater appreciation of life.  He then helps God mop the floors of an abandoned warehouse.  And he gives up his super powers and becomes a super cool guy.  Or something like that.


Soooo.....about Sega.  You may drive to get what you want, but in the end, can it be done?  Is it the right thing?  Especially since you don't understand the ramifications of what you really want?  Listen, I really don't know what's going on in that Sega building.  I don't know what they're thinking.  I'd sure as hell love to get a job there and see what's going on.  Until then, you can't be 100% sure.  For every slanderous comment made towards Sega, there's probably some poor employee who reads it but cannot respond (because of NDA's and whatnot).  And thus, negative ideas like "Sega hates their fans" continues to propagate.

But thinking like a game developer...that'll help you get closer to the truth.  So go read a book on game design or something.  Get an idea of what goes on behind the scenes.

 Goldman's office!

Think about it the circumstances that Sega is in now.  They got jacked up back in the Dreamcast days.  Lost a ton of money so they dropped out the console race forever.  Yuji Naka and Yu Suzuki quit.  Toshihiro Nagoshi is an airhead.  Arcades, once one of Sega's strong points, are toast.  The game industry is being run into the ground by Call of Duty, Halo, and other grey-skied games.  So what's Sega to do???  Can they revive every single classic IP and become a front-runner in the game industry again?  No it's not as easy as you think.  But can they do something easier--such as port my favorite game to XBL?  Maybe, but EVERYONE wants their favorite game ported to XBL so you might have to bear with us. 

These are my three theories as what Sega is thinking:

1. They aren't listening to their fans and are completely content with barely getting by.  Possibly.  Sega's more of a publisher (see Bayonetta, Vanquish, The Conduit, etc.) than a developer nowadays.  They've left a lot of existing IP's out to dry.  And their inability to produce a quality Sonic title in the last 10+ years really questions their integrity as a game developer.  They may have adopted a bad work culture over the years.  Not every company works at top performance.  Sega may be massively dysfunctional as far as we know...

2. They ARE listening to their fans but are unable to cater to everyone.  I don't think any game company is as unfortunate as Sega when it comes to IP's.  They had the Dreamcast which died and left a lot of series uncomplete (particularly Shenmue).  So Sega can't really afford to make a new Shenmue, a new Jet Set Radio, a new Seaman, a new Daytona because they are financially/skillfully inept.  Remember, they lost a lot of money last quarter so it's gonna be tough.  They're still producing big-name titles like Sonic and Yakuza which are sure-bets in terms of profits (EDIT: Turns out Dimps is still making Sonic games so Sonic Team is still inept, how sad).  And they're also giving us a few ports from games like OutRun 2, Sega Rally, old-school Sonic, Virtua Fighter 5, Crazy Taxi, so they haven't completely forgotten...

3. Regardless of whether they're listening, they think they're making great games and that the problem is with YOU, not themselves.  Hey, they are giving you good Sonic and Yakuza games, why won't you play those?  And they got new IPs on the way, such as Rise of Nightmares (which has the potential to be the first "good" Kinect game even though it's not HotD), Binary Domain, Aliens, and Anarchy Reigns.  So you want a new Daytona or Shenmue, GET OVER IT.  Go dust off your old consoles or fire up the emulators and leave us alone...

So which is it?  I don't know--just something to think about.  But maybe our complaints are correct.  Maybe Sega deserves the blame.  Like I said, game companies are flawed and they do stupid things that human beings are often guilty of.  More coming soon...Part 2.


  1. don't forget, sega hasn't actually developed their own sonic game in a long while... it's been farmed out to dimps corporation with oversight from key sonic team members. if it's not the majority of the original sonic team, it just won't be the same.

  2. @Anon 12:24
    Dimps handles handheld versions of Sonic games and their ports. For example, Dimps handled the DS version of Sonic Colors and PS2/Wii versions of Sonic Unleashed (according to Wikipedia, most of their work there centered around level layout), so your statement, while not wrong, is not entirely true.
    Though Sega is known for "farming out" their franchises... the upcoming Shinobi game for the 3DS isn't even made by Sega, but some mysterious company noone's ever heard of called "Griptonite".

    As for the article, as it is now, the fanbase is just impossible to please, the best example being the Sonic fans. You know how they all wanted Sonic games to contain speed and no unnecessary secondary characters? They got a nearly perfect blend with Unleashed (well, the werehog parts were unnecessary, but these weren't all that bad, not as boring as gem hunting in Adventure 2, that's for sure) and guess what, in many cases they don't even consider the game worthy to take a shit on.

    Even now, after Sega dropped the idea of including silly gameplay gimmicks in the upcoming Sonic Generations, fans still whine and criticize Sega because their favorite stage is not included or that they don't like the design of this or that... They don't seem to understand that a single developer can't please everyone in the world. The fanbase really should lower its expectations a little bit and start appreciating Sega's efforts (but not by blindly accepting ANYTHING they release, of course!).

    Also, I think Sega does listen to their fans. I mean, they listened when they made Unleashed. They listened when they made Colors. They listened when they released Dreamcast classics (which aren't really ports of the Dreamcast versions, all of them come from other platforms, but that doesn't matter). They always listen, but there are many factors that make it impossible to realize everyone's wish, the most important one being the lack of funds to fuel game development, which is why Sega's own IPs are developed by third-parties so often. Sad stuff.

  3. Wow, thanks for your informative post, that's insane, man.

    I'm not too informed on the Sonic games but I had assumed Dimps worked on the handhelds/Sonic 4 and that Sonic Team did the rest. But not even Sonic Team can handle a Sonic game anymore--what a joke. Although I'd rather if Sega hired some second/third-party studio to make a Sonic game than to get no Sonic game at all.

    I do think the Sega fanbase is rather delirious. There's no way Sega can revive every old IP and have it sell for a profit. At this time, they seem more of a publisher than an actual developer which is really sad.

    I still would like a new Daytona game although I can't see it being that intense of a project considering most the assets (cars and tracks) are already there--it's just a matter of polishing it all off and putting it together.

    Still, Sega needs help and a lot of the fanbase seems perfectly content with doing little "hit-and-run" comments like "sega sux they wont make a dreamcast 2" while contributing nothing to help encourage the fanbase. That's pretty sad.

    That's just my two cents. We wish Sega well.

  4. @Anon 7:53
    ah, that explains why dimps is credited in like every single recent sonic game, makes sense.

    yeah, sega can't win. the old fans are hung up on nostalgia and will just hate everything that isn't what they grew up on, and the new generation just doesn't give a rip about the company. the only way they win is if people suddenly become smart and realize that sega IS actually trying.

    also, they can't really make a true daytona game anymore since they lost the daytona license. sega racing classic was a huge bummer without the iconic "let's go away" theme song in the game.