1. You're entitled to your opinion (I really liked Octopath) but a lot of the stuff you're saying is more about the overall quality than whether or not it was a risky venture.
2. I disagree.
3. Because the conversation wasn't about representation, it's about risk. I believe your argument was that making a game with a female lead is risky because most of the best selling games are males and male led games tend to sell better and therefore having a female lead is not the surest path to success. Likewise, most games do not feature sprite based graphics and those that do tend to sell less than games that don't, so following the same logic, choosing to do so would similarly be brave or risky.
Basically, for pretty much every game, you can come up with 4-5 ways that it doesn't follow the most successful industry trends. I chose to use Octopath as an example for consistency's sake, but for most games I could probably come up with 5 things it does that don't follow the most successful trends.
4. The thing that's most relevant to whether or not the project is risky are the things that would have a pronounced effect on its sales, and that would be mostly what is visible to prospective buyers. The thing that is most prominent in the game's marketing is the timeloop mechanic (which sort of implies multiple playtrhoughs will be required to get the full picture). I'll just grant for the sake of argument that the story is on the whole very unique and creative and excellently done. I still don't know why it would logically follow that the game was especially risky and brave for Sony to publish.
5. I thought the point of the list was to demonstrate how Returnal was a sign that Sony is particularly brave, risky, and gives devs creative freedom? If your only point in mentioning the price is that Sony overpriced the game, then ok, but I feel like that's kind of off topic.
As far as Nintendo goes, I don't think I ever suggested that you dislike them. But I don't agree that Nintendo is overall less brave or risk averse than Sony, or that you've demonstrated that to be the case.
What I want is what I've asked for. Some intelligible way to determine to determine when games are risky or brave. Doesn't necessarily have to be objective (would be nice though), but it would have to be something more than what's given. What we have here are three examples of very different games that are considered risky and somewhat contradictory reasons. Basically I get that you're arguing that developers/publishers should make more games that are like the three you mention, but I can't figure out what that is.
If you can't really explain what makes games brave/free/risky and are just basing it on gut feeling, then fine. You're entitled to your opinion, but there's just no further conversation to be had. Based on my personal feelings, I think Nintendo is the braver/riskier developer. Is there a way to determine who's opinion is better supported or is it just my feelings vs yours?
K, finally down to the last message I wanted to respond to.
I'm looking to wrap up my part in this conversation since it doesn't really seem to be going anywhere. I'm not going to waste my time with another itemized response that's just going to be dismissed anyway. I just wanted to say that heart is what I value in a game the most. Like I want people to make games that they want to play, not games that are made primarily to sell. Production for use, not production for exchange. If a game conveys that feeling to me, I can appreciate it whether or not it achieves everything it sets out to and regardless of whether I agree or not with any thematic message it may contain. It's the method that made this medium decades ago before there were all these focus groups and development costs shot through the roof. I don't know how to gauge that objectively, it's just a feeling that I get and look for signs for. Asking me to quantify that in a strictly objective way is impossible. Just doing what I can.