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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Among the big Japanese publishers, is Nintendo the least creatively risk-averse?

shikamaru317 said:

Eh, I'd still say they're pretty risk averse. They're still afraid to release a 1st party M/18/Z rated game. They're also afraid to put a AAA budget behind a Pokemon game, instead choosing to make safe, iterative AA Pokemon games.

 

There’s not really anything that indicates they’re afraid to do any of that. AAA games are generally iterative... Is an “AA game” even a thing? What you have to look at is what they are doing, not what they aren’t: otherwise you  might as well say “Nintendo is afraid to make cars.” because they don’t do it: or “Nintendo is afraid to have a party in Oslo” or “Nintendo is afraid to realease an ARMS colouring book aimed at adults.”



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VAMatt said:
I generally agree with the OP. But, it must be remembered that Nintendo's whoring out of Mario is in a whole different ballpark than everyone else in gaming. They shoehorned him into racing, fighting, sports, turn based RPGs, action RPGs, puzzles, party games, and just about every major genre out there, excluding shooters. I'm surprised Splatoon isn't set in the Mario universe, frankly.

Nobody else does anything like this. So, in some senses, Nintendo is the least adventurous.

You’re conflating branding with conventional mechanics. They’re two separate things. Also, Nintendo has one of the widest arrays of brand success, criticizing them for not expanding that further is silly.

In addition, saying other Japanese companies don’t do anything like this is blatantly false. Most Japanese companies will highlight their brands across multiple different sorts of games, there are even Final a fantasy fighting and musical rhythm games.



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Jumpin said:
shikamaru317 said:

Eh, I'd still say they're pretty risk averse. They're still afraid to release a 1st party M/18/Z rated game. They're also afraid to put a AAA budget behind a Pokemon game, instead choosing to make safe, iterative AA Pokemon games.

 

There’s not really anything that indicates they’re afraid to do any of that. AAA games are generally iterative... Is an “AA game” even a thing? What you have to look at is what they are doing, not what they aren’t: otherwise you  might as well say “Nintendo is afraid to make cars.” because they don’t do it: or “Nintendo is afraid to have a party in Oslo” or “Nintendo is afraid to release an ARMS colouring book aimed at adults.”

AA is definitely a thing. Generally speaking, AA games have budgets below $50m and usually the size of the development team is below 100 developers. While we don't know Pokemon's exact budget per game, we do know that Game Freak is not a big studio, I definitely don't consider any Pokemon game made to date to be AAA. I want to see a Nintendo who would be willing to make a huge, Breath of the Wild-esque AAA Pokemon game, but instead they play it safe making highly iterative Pokemon games with relatively small budgets because the profit margin on a AA game that sells 10m+ copies is really high. While the budget on a truly AAA Pokemon game would be higher and therefore a riskier inestment for Nintendo, the potential reward is also higher imo, as I believe that AAA Pokemon game on Switch could be the first Pokemon game since Gold/Silver to top 20m sales.

As for a M rated 1st party game, while it is true that there is no evidence that they are afraid to make one, I find it hard to believe that nobody at Nintendo has ever pitched an idea for an M rated game after all this time. Nintendo sadly seems to want to protect their squeaky clean, family friendly image at all costs, the closest we will probably ever get to an M rated 1st party game from them is the 2nd party Fatal Frame. 



Jumpin said:
VAMatt said:
I generally agree with the OP. But, it must be remembered that Nintendo's whoring out of Mario is in a whole different ballpark than everyone else in gaming. They shoehorned him into racing, fighting, sports, turn based RPGs, action RPGs, puzzles, party games, and just about every major genre out there, excluding shooters. I'm surprised Splatoon isn't set in the Mario universe, frankly.

Nobody else does anything like this. So, in some senses, Nintendo is the least adventurous.

You’re conflating branding with conventional mechanics. They’re two separate things. Also, Nintendo has one of the widest arrays of brand success, criticizing them for not expanding that further is silly.

In addition, saying other Japanese companies don’t do anything like this is blatantly false. Most Japanese companies will highlight their brands across multiple different sorts of games, there are even Final a fantasy fighting and musical rhythm games.

Please provide an example of any IP that comes anywhere close to the whoring level of Mario.  



This is one of the oddest OP's I've read in a long time. 

What makes Nintendo an innovative company is up for debate, but it's almost always due to two particular aspects: How they evolve their "cash-cows", and how they evolve their consoles/peripherals. 

Since the OP is strictly about software, that makes it extremely odd that you point out how other companies continue to use their cash cows, when Nintendo does the same thing. You acknowledge this, but you don't really refute it. The problem here lies in the fact that you seem to think just using a franchise repeatedly means that said franchise can't be innovative. If that were the case, Nintendo would be one of the least exciting companies in the gaming industry. Yet people continue to flock for their games, not just because repetition breeds comfort, but because knowing their IPs so well allows them to do unique things with each entry. 

Honestly, a game like Monster Hunter World is not that far off in terms of innovating a franchise from something like Super Mario Odyssey. The only real difference is that the former is mostly known as innovative to people who have played the previous games, which in the west is a very small amount of people, and thus the improvements go mostly unnoticed. Whereas the latter belongs to a franchise which is extremely popular worldwide, that hasn't seen a bold new game since 2007, and the central mechanic (that being transforming into different characters) hasn't been used in a popular 3D platformer game since Banjo Tooie. Both games are not really innovative enough to change the gaming market (in Mario's case that's partially because of the relative lack of platformers, but it's also in large part because the transformation concept is not new), but they are innovative enough to make their franchises feel extremely fresh. Capcom's handling of the Resident Evil franchise has also been miles better than it has in the past. While I wouldn't say something RE7 is "innovative" for the industry, it is a new take on the series. It's similar to other projects that have come out of the horror genre, but looking at how the OP is written, you'd think Capcom was still making safe choices for the franchise ... like continuing down the 3rd person action shlock route. Really they're doing the opposite for the most part.  Hell, the fact that Capcom is even sponsoring a Mega Man or Devil May Cry game (especially a DMC game with a huge ass budget) is shocking. 

The entire comparison is just odd though, because it's not like Nintendo is just another Japanese company. Why even bring nationality into it in fact? This is just the natural relationship between third parties and console manufacturers. Developers of consoles have to create software that tries to bring something new to the table so that they can fill niches that get people to buy their platforms. Even something like Uncharted which at it's base is a pretty standard third person shooter, has something that separates it from other games like it. The amount of risks Nintendo makes is not even necessarily much higher than other console manufacturers from a software standpoint. Third parties on the other hand focus strictly on making as much profit as possible on software. They don't necessarily make games to sell consoles. 



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John2290 said:
It'd seem that they are trying to keep things a bit more traditional the last two or three years but who can blame them to think conservatively after the last few years, I know for a fact though, that if their plans to mobil-ify the switch does not pan out they have some new device out that will be said to be pushing boundaries. My guess is a cost efficient yet high quality VR/AR like platform when that becomes feasible and they can manufacture HMD's of high enough quality but costs effective enough for local MP and Co-op. I know people will call me crazy but if they are going to start gambling again, it'll be on mixed reality. I suspect somewhere mod next generation, in the mid 2020s when they can keep costs down yet have the tech needed.

As long as it's not like this again:



VAMatt said: 

Please provide an example of any IP that comes anywhere close to the whoring level of Mario.  

How about the seemingly endless Final Fantasy spin-offs, sequels, and sequels to sequels. Or the failed spin-offs and gimmicks that Sega has done with Sonic over the years. Even Capcom during their peak years, put out like 2 or 3 Mega Man games a year in one of the different series. Nintendo whores out Mario, but other companies do the same thing. There's nothing wrong with this either, provided you have plenty of other kinds of games to supplement regularly, which Nintendo does. 

AngryLittleAlchemist said:

This is one of the oddest OP's I've read in a long time. 

What makes Nintendo an innovative company is up for debate, but it's almost always due to two particular aspects: How they evolve their "cash-cows", and how they evolve their consoles/peripherals. 

Since the OP is strictly about software, that makes it extremely odd that you point out how other companies continue to use their cash cows, when Nintendo does the same thing. You acknowledge this, but you don't really refute it. The problem here lies in the fact that you seem to think just using a franchise repeatedly means that said franchise can't be innovative. If that were the case, Nintendo would be one of the least exciting companies in the gaming industry. Yet people continue to flock for their games, not just because repetition breeds comfort, but because knowing their IPs so well allows them to do unique things with each entry. 

Honestly, a game like Monster Hunter World is not that far off in terms of innovating a franchise from something like Super Mario Odyssey. The only real difference is that the former is mostly known as innovative to people who have played the previous games, which in the west is a very small amount of people, and thus the improvements go mostly unnoticed. Whereas the latter belongs to a franchise which is extremely popular worldwide, that hasn't seen a bold new game since 2007, and the central mechanic (that being transforming into different characters) hasn't been used in a popular 3D platformer game since Banjo Tooie. Both games are not really innovative enough to change the gaming market (in Mario's case that's partially because of the relative lack of platformers, but it's also in large part because the transformation concept is not new), but they are innovative enough to make their franchises feel extremely fresh. Capcom's handling of the Resident Evil franchise has also been miles better than it has in the past. While I wouldn't say something RE7 is "innovative" for the industry, it is a new take on the series. It's similar to other projects that have come out of the horror genre, but looking at how the OP is written, you'd think Capcom was still making safe choices for the franchise ... like continuing down the 3rd person action shlock route. Really they're doing the opposite for the most part.  Hell, the fact that Capcom is even sponsoring a Mega Man or Devil May Cry game (especially a DMC game with a huge ass budget) is shocking. 

The entire comparison is just odd though, because it's not like Nintendo is just another Japanese company. Why even bring nationality into it in fact? This is just the natural relationship between third parties and console manufacturers. Developers of consoles have to create software that tries to bring something new to the table so that they can fill niches that get people to buy their platforms. Even something like Uncharted which at it's base is a pretty standard third person shooter, has something that separates it from other games like it. The amount of risks Nintendo makes is not even necessarily much higher than other console manufacturers from a software standpoint. Third parties on the other hand focus strictly on making as much profit as possible on software. They don't necessarily make games to sell consoles. 

Yes, But the difference between what Nintendo does with Mario vs what say, Sega does with Sonic is that Nintendo constantly re-invents and Mario and puts him and his friends in various unconventional games. Sega has done almost nothing but lame gimmicks with Sonic for years, but Nintendo adds genuinely fun and creative gameplay twists to the Mario formula. It also helps that Nintendo only releases a mainline Super Mario game once each generation usually, while Sega releases 2, 3, sometimes 4 mainline Sonic platformers each generation, so it usually doesn't feel tired or worn out since the longer time between main series games gives more room to try and be creative for the next entry.



pokoko said:
I don't see much point in that comparison, to be honest. Nintendo has far more money to spend, a build-in platform for pushing their own content, and a need to produce software to sell their console. Not even close to the same starting point.

And as far as comparing game budgets between third-party and first-party efforts, first-party titles do not have the same overhead. It's not the same situation and people need to stop acting like it's not going to be more expensive for a third-party publisher to produce the same content.

Besides, you can't much fault companies for Yakuza or Monster Hunter when Nintendo has developed over 11,000 Mario-themed games in the same timespan.

Not to forget that 3rd parties pays royalties so the number of games solds needs to be much higher than 1st party on the same investment.

Jumpin said:
VAMatt said:
I generally agree with the OP. But, it must be remembered that Nintendo's whoring out of Mario is in a whole different ballpark than everyone else in gaming. They shoehorned him into racing, fighting, sports, turn based RPGs, action RPGs, puzzles, party games, and just about every major genre out there, excluding shooters. I'm surprised Splatoon isn't set in the Mario universe, frankly.

Nobody else does anything like this. So, in some senses, Nintendo is the least adventurous.

You’re conflating branding with conventional mechanics. They’re two separate things. Also, Nintendo has one of the widest arrays of brand success, criticizing them for not expanding that further is silly.

In addition, saying other Japanese companies don’t do anything like this is blatantly false. Most Japanese companies will highlight their brands across multiple different sorts of games, there are even Final a fantasy fighting and musical rhythm games.

Sorry, but no company uses as much as Nintendo the image of one of its protagonists.



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TheMisterManGuy said:

Yes, But the difference between what Nintendo does with Mario vs what say, Sega does with Sonic is that Nintendo constantly re-invents and Mario and puts him and his friends in various unconventional games. Sega has done almost nothing but lame gimmicks with Sonic for years, but Nintendo adds genuinely fun and creative gameplay twists to the Mario formula. It also helps that Nintendo only releases a mainline Super Mario game once each generation usually, while Sega releases 2, 3, sometimes 4 mainline Sonic platformers each generation, so it usually doesn't feel tired or worn out since the longer time between main series games gives more room to try and be creative for the next entry.

I didn't even mention Sega once in my comment, and you didn't really refute that what Capcom is doing with their mainline entries for their games is not really just recycling the same ideas over and over again. Aside from ports (which Nintendo does as well), DMCV, Mega Man 11, Monster Hunter World, and RE7 are all very risky endeavors.

Mega Man 11 is mostly risky just because of the lack of an audience, but if we're talking about not being risk-averse, then that game still fits the bill. DMCV is pretty risky because not only is it a huge game with a massive budget despite the franchise having a very small audience, but there's three separate protagonists with very different playstyles in one game. RE7 took some inspiration from Outlast but after RE5 and RE6 made bank on shlocky action, it's pretty crazy Capcom listened to fans and even went in a horror direction again, not to mention one that wasn't just reusing RE4's gameplay style. And as I've already said, Monster Hunter World is a pretty massive step forward for the franchise.

I guess the biggest problem with your OP is that you're essentially juggling three separate ideas and trying to make them mutually exclusive: Innovation, Risk, and Creativity. While all these ideas gel pretty well together, it makes for an incredibly hard to discuss point. Because any time someone could say "Hey, X company does this pretty well also" you could easily just pull any of the three qualifiers out and say "Nah, they don't fit this specific one". Most indie games are not very creative, but there's still incredible risk in the amount of units the game can sell. When you have a game like Monster Hunter, where the innovation is mostly franchise-specific, well it may fit the bill of Innovation and Risk (it was a huge risk not to stick to handhelds), but does it fit creativity? Not really. But then again, most Nintendo games really only focus on one or two of these aspects, and not all of them combined. In fact, a lot of the Nintendo games that focus on all three end up failing or are quite obscure. Dillon's Rolling Western is pretty obscure, though it has some following. Codename Steam is very obscure. Arms did not sell very well despite initial shipments making it seem like a big new IP. It didn't do bad, but it didn't do great either and it says a lot that Nintendo games which were more creatively bankrupt games ended up selling a lot more. The only big example of this would be Splatoon I suppose, although I would probably put that closer in the "creative" category than the "innovative" one.

Nintendo really does not focus very much at all on their games being both risky, creative, AND innovative at the same time. A lot of their titles fit one bill, or even two, but not all of them. And on that front, a company like Capcom is not that different. Besides their fighting games, they've actually been on a bit of a roll recently.  And really, while I focused too much on the Capcom comparison, the ultimate point is that console manufacturers are generally a bit more risky in their game development than other companies. Even Microsoft to some extent. That doesn't mean that Nintendo is very comparable to other companies as the be all end all of anti risk-aversion, it just means they're doing their job as a platform holder. 



OP should have defined what he meant by "creatively risk-aversed".



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