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Forums - Sony Discussion - Creative freedom, bravery, and risk in games development/publishing

Mnementh said:

I have to say, I disagree with you on this one. Sony is in my opinion the least innovative they have been since entering console gaming. Just let me add: I don't think games like TLOU2 or Ghost of Tsushima are bad games, on the contrary. But they are games based on safe formulas.

Sony has the PSVR, it's along with the Switch the most innovative thing in console gaming last decade, but Switch is just hardware while PSVR is both hardware and new software experiences.

However I think PSVR still far too expensive to be a mass market product, plus their games needs to be designed exclusively for it, making very hard to create AAA games for such niche market, that's why I can't see VR gaming gaining much traction. Innovation per se isn't exactly something to be celebrated if don't make it accessible, at least in entertainment industry



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Jaicee said:
JWeinCom said:

This is kind of confusing. It states that Nintendo has less Game of the Year Awards, and that is because they don't give their developers creative freedom. And I have no idea how we got from point A to point B.

The games that have won game of the year over the past five years are TLOU 2, Death Stranding, God of War, Breath of the Wild, and Uncharted 4. Death Stranding is the only one that wasn't part of an established IP. TLOU2, Got of War, Uncharted 4, TLOU 2, and BOTW are all sequels to hugely popular franchises. Doubt the devs had to twist Sony or Nintendo's arms to get them to make it. Aside from Death Stranding, and maybe BOTW, none of them were especially risky in terms of gameplay. Looking further into the games that have won GOTY awards, most of them were fairly safe choices (Skyrim, Oblivion, Dragon Age, Uncharted 2, RE:4, Halflife 2, etc.)

The specific examples highlighted, aside from the potential cherry picking issue, don't make a ton of sense to me. TLOU2 was a sequel to an incredibly popular franchise. Doubt Naughty Dog struggled to get Sony to greenlight it. Death Stranding was a divisive game, but it had a huge name behind it and a ton of buzz from being Kojima's first game since his leaving Konami. Don't see how it was inherently more risky than publishing something like Wonderful 101 or Astral Chain. I don't really see what's inherently risky about Returnal either. Haven't played it yet but from what I've seen it's a Rouguelike (or rougelite) style game that's mixed with a shooter. And, I'm not trying to knock the game, but I don't see anything hugely risky about it.

This thread is kind of all conclusions without anything defined or explained. What makes a game risky, brave, or creatively free? How do we tell when games are such? How did you conclude that GOTY awards are signs that games had creative freedom? Why are putting gamers first and giving developers freedom contradictory? How risky and brave are Sony's titles outside the small segment of games that will win GOTY awards? Nintendo's?

For most of this (because I don't feel like repeating myself), I'll refer you to my reply to mZuzek above.

For the bolded part though, some of the commercial risks I see connected to Returnal:

1) It's a roguelike type game. In a AAA space. With an actual budget. That doesn't exactly happen very often for a very real reason: the difficulty level of such games tends to be fairly high since they tend to lack many modern conveniences people are now used to (e.g. by forcing you to start over after every death), which can be a turn-off for many people.

2) It's an original IP, so it doesn't come with a pre-established fan base attached that's guaranteed to buy it.

3) It's got a female lead (with short hair and everything), which also tends to reduce sales since most gamers are male.

4) The choice of story structure and themes here. Enough said.

5) The unusually high starting price tag. This one I don't sympathize with.

It seems like cumulatively these were just too many chances to take for even most PS5 owners. I can think of one that might've been better scrapped, but I still like the game and can't help feeling like Housemarque clearly had the creative freedom they wanted to make exactly the game they wanted to make. Now that doesn't by itself make a game good by any means, but to me it sure makes a difference anyway. And I hope that, in the aftermath of Returnal's commercial failure, Sony will still be willing to maintain their relatively hands-off approach to the content creators they subsidize.

Your response to MZuzek doesn't really address what I said. It just continues to assert that GOTY is somehow relevant to the point of creative freedom. And apparently, also to artistic achievements. These are assertions that need some sort of demonstration.

And if we're saying TLOU2 is risky because female led games don't win overall GOTY too often, then that really makes no sense. Assuming that being female lead lowers your chances of being overall GOTY, then all Sony risked was not getting the overall GOTY. In that case, was Animal Crossing a huge gamble? I mean, how many past GOTY nominees have been village building sims with an animal cast? How about Mario Odyssey? How many overall GOTY winners feature a chubby italian plumber? Or are platformers? Looking solely at past GOTY winners is a really bad way to determine risk (again, unless you're speaking of the risk of not being overall goty).

When you're limiting the universe of games to literally one game per year, then you could probably look at literally any game and find some way it is unique from all others. Hell, I can say the new Call of Duty was a brave risk that demonstrates the high degree of creative freedom Activision offers its publishers. After all, how many of the last ten overall GOTY winners have been multiplayer focused military shooters? None.

As for Returnal...

1. You are assuming this is the reason, but there are many other potential reasons. I would say the biggest reason is because there is much more incentive for a smaller dev to make rougelike games, as they allow you to create games that can be played for a long time while minimizing the the amount of resources you need to create. At any rate, this genre has become well established. Taking something that is already fairly popular and boosting its budget is not what I would classify as highly risky, nor is making a difficult game, as there is a decent market for those as well.

2. Yes... but new IPs aren't all that uncommon. 

3. And that's not all that uncommon either. Metroid, Control, Tomb Raider, TLOU2, Resident Evil (around half the time), Mirror's Edge, etc. Less common than male lead games, but still not something that unusual. I would say virtually every major developer has some female lead games.

4. I don't know the story that well, but the core concept doesn't seem too far out there. Hades, Death Loop, and even now in movies like Boss Level. Kind of becoming a thing.

5. Ehhh... selling a game at standard price is now considered risk taking? Nintendo's selling 1-2 Switch, a five year old mini game collection with virtually no actual assets, at 50 bucks. Those daredevils. 

Basically, it comes down to, this is an AAA game (maybe) in a genre that is more popular among smaller devs, and it has a female lead... which really doesn't scream "RISK! BRAVERY! CREATIVE FREEDOM!" to me. Since you singled out Nintendo, I'm not sure why something like Octopath Traveller (new IP, unique narrative structure, sprite based classical JRPG with 1/2 female main characters being sold for full price), Codename S.T.E.A.M. (new IP steampunk SRPG featuring steampunk versions of classic literature characters and aliens being sold at full price, for the 3DS at least), ARMS (new IP, motion controlled 3D fighting game with bizarre deformed characters), Ring Fit (New IP that is controlled with a Pilates ring), LABO (games played using DIY cardboard controllers), Splatoon (new IP, new spin on team based shooters with tons of new game modes), or so on wouldn't count. If having a female lead is enough to qualify, what about Bayonetta 2 and 3? If anything, a female led sequel to a game that sold around a million copies across 2 consoles is WAAAAAAY more risky than a female lead sequel to a game that sold 17 million copies (17 times more risky to be precise, assuming budgets are equal). Or Bayonetta 1 for that matter.

It kind of feels like we're working backwards starting with games you intrinsically feel are risky and then creating a set of unintuitive rules to justify that (i.e. looking at GOTY winners which I still have no idea why we should do).  So, again, how are you determining which games are risky and brave and which aren't? Is there any objective criteria we can use? Why does GOTY matter if we're talking about risk? Cause otherwise, all anyone can say on this matter is...

Last edited by JWeinCom - on 27 June 2021

IcaroRibeiro said:
Mnementh said:

I have to say, I disagree with you on this one. Sony is in my opinion the least innovative they have been since entering console gaming. Just let me add: I don't think games like TLOU2 or Ghost of Tsushima are bad games, on the contrary. But they are games based on safe formulas.

Sony has the PSVR, it's along with the Switch the most innovative thing in console gaming last decade, but Switch is just hardware while PSVR is both hardware and new software experiences.

However I think PSVR still far too expensive to be a mass market product, plus their games needs to be designed exclusively for it, making very hard to create AAA games for such niche market, that's why I can't see VR gaming gaining much traction. Innovation per se isn't exactly something to be celebrated if don't make it accessible, at least in entertainment industry

I'm not sure how PSVR is the most innovative thing in gaming considering how long VR tech has been around, and that Sony was not the first one to market a home version (Oculus and Samsung Gear VR preceded it). 



JWeinCom said:
IcaroRibeiro said:

Sony has the PSVR, it's along with the Switch the most innovative thing in console gaming last decade, but Switch is just hardware while PSVR is both hardware and new software experiences.

However I think PSVR still far too expensive to be a mass market product, plus their games needs to be designed exclusively for it, making very hard to create AAA games for such niche market, that's why I can't see VR gaming gaining much traction. Innovation per se isn't exactly something to be celebrated if don't make it accessible, at least in entertainment industry

I'm not sure how PSVR is the most innovative thing in gaming considering how long VR tech has been around, and that Sony was not the first one to market a home version (Oculus and Samsung Gear VR preceded it). 

Never heard of any of them. Which console used either?



IcaroRibeiro said:
JWeinCom said:

I'm not sure how PSVR is the most innovative thing in gaming considering how long VR tech has been around, and that Sony was not the first one to market a home version (Oculus and Samsung Gear VR preceded it). 

Never heard of any of them. Which console used either?

They were compatible with PC. 



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Mnementh said:

I have to say, I disagree with you on this one. Sony is in my opinion the least innovative they have been since entering console gaming. Just let me add: I don't think games like TLOU2 or Ghost of Tsushima are bad games, on the contrary. But they are games based on safe formulas.

I also have to say, that Game of the Year awards are a bad indicator. That is because reviewers these days tend to prefer one pattern of game: games like movies with elaborate plots, awesome visuals and safe well-known gameplay finely polished. These games are fine - but if they always end up with the GOTY, it gets a bit predictable. For four years the game awards were won by the winner of the action adventure category, and all fit more or less the description I gave above: BOTW, God of War, Sekiro and TLOU2. Again, all are fine games, but where is the innovation, if it is always an action adventure, always with the same basic patterns of focus on plot and probably dark themes.

One of the most innovative, risky and creative games of all time has to be Katamari Damacy. But I don't see todays reviewers showering it with GOTYs. More innovative or creative games of the last years are games like Minecraft, Undertale, Return of the Obra Dinn, Persona 5, Dragon Quest Builders, Untitled Goose Game, Among Us, Outer Wilds, Octopath Traveler. These games tried new things - in gameplay, plots, visual style. The likes of TLOU2 and God of War are great games, but not exactly innvoative, brave or creative, as they follow a formula that jibes well with reviewers.

Jaicee said:

This post is inspired by the recent article posted on VGC's main page concerning PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan's philosophy on nurturing creative talent, which (I'm glad!) met with wide discussion and broad approval. In the referenced interview with Stephen Totilo, Ryan said that...

"In terms of areas we have improved, I'd call out the delivery schedule for PlayStation Studios games. Nurturing creative talent is not as simple as throwing money at it. You also must give them the freedom to be creative, to take risks and come up with new ideas. Just look at Ghost of Tsushima from Sucker Punch. This was not the game we thought they were going to make, but we are not overly rigid or corporate with our talent. We want them to use our hardware as their creative palette."

And this is a joke of Ryan. Sony was in the past way more willing to support creativity. Gravity Rush, Loco Roco, Parappa the Rapper and the absolutely lovely Patapon. There are these games today? Sony just isn't willing to risk anything anymore. It's the next Naughty Dog game and Santa Monica game, which looks gorgeous, no question, but is playing the same formula.

And because you mentioned Nintendo is about the fanservice. Actually Nintendo is doing all of this risky and creative stuff still today. Games like Arms, 1-2-Switch, Labo, Game Builder Garage or Ring Fit Adventure are showing off, that devs at Nintendo indeed have a lot of creative freedom to come up with new ways to play. A lot of it is hated by 'classic hardcore' gamers, because it is different, weird, quirky. But different, weird, quirky are exactly properties of creativity. And sometimes that ends becoming a Splatoon.

But hardcore gamers usually love the more safe games they are used to, like TLOU2 and God of War. And reviewers are in the end hardcore gamers that play for a long time. But the reality of gaming these days is, that we have more and more gamers that don't fit that classic hardcore gamer box. They don't care if you now murder another human being with more realistic blood spatter, they want a fun exercise experience like Ring Fit Adventure, or feel their creativity with Minecraft or lie to their friends in Among Us.

So, all your rant is telling me is that you are finally a hardcore gamers that looks down on all these new gamers that have fun with games taht you see as inferior. Welcome! I am a hardcore gamer for quite some time now and I know the feeling. But I also learned, that it is quite wrong. If people have fun, let them. And letting it go to see the inferiority in some games, I found stuff I loved as well and wouldn't have touched because of my core gamer instincts.

EDIT: Oh, by the way, Death Stranding has indeed some interesting ideas, probably the reason it is hated a lot.

First and foremost, I have a technical question: How did you do that with getting the quote box to appear in the middle of your post rather than defaulting to the top where you can't type above it? That could be very useful knowledge to have in the future if I wish to like quote from a news article sometime without having to use the spoiler boxes that hide the text unless you click on them.

Secondly, well obviously I'm a hardcore gamer or else I probably would be here on a dedicated forum about video games. Doesn't mean I've got something against casual games. I don't! I play a bunch of them myself! Crypt of the NecroDancer. Cadence of Hyrule. Flower. Proteus. Robot Unicorn Attack 2. Super simple games made to be played in short bursts; games designed for anyone to just jump right into and out of again on a whim. I get the appeal. I don't gauge a game's awesomeness in degrees of complexity! I'm also (obviously) not against Nintendo and can appreciate the cleverness of franchises like Splatoon and the childlike wonder of gimmicks like Labo. I do have personal limits with gimmicks though. Collecting amiibos, for example, is not for me. Well anyway, it's a fair point you make really. But it's also totally disingenuous to characterize games like The Last of Us Part II as a "safer" to make than these examples. You know what I'm getting at. Games like that don't just generate passive dismissal from core gamers or something like how many casual games are treated, they face active rage, up to and include death threats against the creators. Wii Sports never got that reaction, I guarantee you.

You have also followed many of my threads and know full well that honestly, in general, indies like Untitled Goose Game and Return of the Obra Dinn and Butterfly Soup and What Remains of Edith Finch and Spiritfarer and Hades and Undertale and There Is No Game and so on usually do tend to be my favorites. I don't know why you seem to feel that the existence, creativity, sincerity, and overall excellence of these games, however, should preclude me from also appreciating that of Naughty Dog's titles just because they fall into the AAA landscape. TLOU2 is one of the most audacious games ever made for only a million different self-evident reasons that we've discussed at-length on this forum innumerable times (typically with the conclusion of the thread getting closed) and you know it. It's just ridiculous and highly dishonest to suggest otherwise.

I feel that many of Sony's modern titles have a depth to them that the sorts of older titles you mentioned liking better from them didn't and that's certainly part of the appeal to me. I enjoyed Parappa the Rapper and Katamari Damacy as much as the next person, but it doesn't preclude me from also appreciating Returnal or Death Stranding even more. I see the latter sorts as boundary-pushing titles in ways that go a little deeper.

I'd keep going, but I've lost track of what it is we're even arguing about here because it's too stupid.

Last edited by Jaicee - on 27 June 2021

There's nothing special about it.

Jaicee said:
Mnementh said:

I have to say, I disagree with you on this one. Sony is in my opinion the least innovative they have been since entering console gaming. Just let me add: I don't think games like TLOU2 or Ghost of Tsushima are bad games, on the contrary. But they are games based on safe formulas.

I also have to say, that Game of the Year awards are a bad indicator. That is because reviewers these days tend to prefer one pattern of game: games like movies with elaborate plots, awesome visuals and safe well-known gameplay finely polished. These games are fine - but if they always end up with the GOTY, it gets a bit predictable. For four years the game awards were won by the winner of the action adventure category, and all fit more or less the description I gave above: BOTW, God of War, Sekiro and TLOU2. Again, all are fine games, but where is the innovation, if it is always an action adventure, always with the same basic patterns of focus on plot and probably dark themes.

One of the most innovative, risky and creative games of all time has to be Katamari Damacy. But I don't see todays reviewers showering it with GOTYs. More innovative or creative games of the last years are games like Minecraft, Undertale, Return of the Obra Dinn, Persona 5, Dragon Quest Builders, Untitled Goose Game, Among Us, Outer Wilds, Octopath Traveler. These games tried new things - in gameplay, plots, visual style. The likes of TLOU2 and God of War are great games, but not exactly innvoative, brave or creative, as they follow a formula that jibes well with reviewers.

And this is a joke of Ryan. Sony was in the past way more willing to support creativity. Gravity Rush, Loco Roco, Parappa the Rapper and the absolutely lovely Patapon. There are these games today? Sony just isn't willing to risk anything anymore. It's the next Naughty Dog game and Santa Monica game, which looks gorgeous, no question, but is playing the same formula.

And because you mentioned Nintendo is about the fanservice. Actually Nintendo is doing all of this risky and creative stuff still today. Games like Arms, 1-2-Switch, Labo, Game Builder Garage or Ring Fit Adventure are showing off, that devs at Nintendo indeed have a lot of creative freedom to come up with new ways to play. A lot of it is hated by 'classic hardcore' gamers, because it is different, weird, quirky. But different, weird, quirky are exactly properties of creativity. And sometimes that ends becoming a Splatoon.

But hardcore gamers usually love the more safe games they are used to, like TLOU2 and God of War. And reviewers are in the end hardcore gamers that play for a long time. But the reality of gaming these days is, that we have more and more gamers that don't fit that classic hardcore gamer box. They don't care if you now murder another human being with more realistic blood spatter, they want a fun exercise experience like Ring Fit Adventure, or feel their creativity with Minecraft or lie to their friends in Among Us.

So, all your rant is telling me is that you are finally a hardcore gamers that looks down on all these new gamers that have fun with games taht you see as inferior. Welcome! I am a hardcore gamer for quite some time now and I know the feeling. But I also learned, that it is quite wrong. If people have fun, let them. And letting it go to see the inferiority in some games, I found stuff I loved as well and wouldn't have touched because of my core gamer instincts.

EDIT: Oh, by the way, Death Stranding has indeed some interesting ideas, probably the reason it is hated a lot.

First and foremost, I have a technical question: How did you do that with getting the quote box to appear in the middle of your post rather than defaulting to the top where you can't type above it? That could be very useful knowledge to have in the future if I wish to like quote from a news article sometime without having to use the spoiler boxes that hide the text unless you click on them.

Secondly, well obviously I'm a hardcore gamer or else I probably would be here on a dedicated forum about video games. Doesn't mean I've got something against casual games. I don't! I play a bunch of them myself! Crypt of the NecroDancer. Cadence of Hyrule. Flower. Proteus. Robot Unicorn Attack 2. Super simple games made to be played in short bursts; games designed for anyone to just jump right into and out of again on a whim. I get the appeal. I don't gauge a game's awesomeness in degrees of complexity! I'm also (obviously) not against Nintendo and can appreciate the cleverness of franchises like Splatoon and the childlike wonder of gimmicks like Labo. I do have personal limits with gimmicks though. Collecting amiibos, for example, is not for me. Well anyway, it's a fair point you make really. But it's also totally disingenuous to characterize games like The Last of Us Part II as a "safer" to make than these examples. You know what I'm getting at. Games like that don't just generate passive dismissal from core gamers or something like how many casual games are treated, they face active rage, up to and include death threats against the creators. Wii Sports never got that reaction, I guarantee you.

You have also followed many of my threads and know full well that honestly, in general, indies like Untitled Goose Game and Return of the Obra Dinn and Butterfly Soup and What Remains of Edith Finch and Spiritfarer and Hades and Undertale and There Is No Game and so on usually do tend to be my favorites. I don't know why you seem to feel that the existence, creativity, sincerity, and overall excellence of these games, however, should preclude me from also appreciate that of Naughty Dog's titles just because they fall into the AAA landscape. TLOU2 is one of the most audacious games ever made for only a million different self-evident reasons that we've discussed at-length on this forum innumerable times (typically with the conclusion of the thread getting closed) and you know it. It's just ridiculous and highly dishonest to suggest otherwise.

I feel that many of Sony's modern titles have a depth to them that the sorts of older titles you mentioned liking better from them didn't and that's certainly part of the appeal to me. I enjoyed Parappa the Rapper and Katamari Damacy as much as the next person, but it doesn't preclude me from also appreciating Returnal or Death Stranding even more. I see the latter sorts as boundary-pushing titles in ways that go a little deeper.

I'd keep going, but I've lost track of what it is we're even arguing about here because it's too stupid.

Just quote like normal, and click above the text. When you do so, at least on Chrome, the little blinking thing that shows where your text is (that's the technical term for it) will look like it is giant and to the left of the quote box. Just start typing and it should push it down.



I disagree with one of the basic premises here - that Sony has taken particular risk with their first party lineup.

Sony has released quite a few great games in the last several years. But, I see no more risk-taking than Microsoft or Nintendo, or even some of the big third-party publishers. That's not to say that they're taking no risk. It's just not outside of the norm for the industry. Everybody tries some new stuff, evolves their existing franchises in different ways, and the like. And, everybody relies in large part on their existing big series'. Sony is no different.

The only difference lately is that Sony has cranked out a string of great games. That's good, and they deserve high praise for that. But, let's not pretend it's an act of bravery. They're just doing what the industry has always done, and they've managed to get it right a lot more often than not, recently.

Last edited by VAMatt - on 27 June 2021

I also can't figure out how to do some things because they are too obvious. But once it becomes apparent....



...to avoid getting banned for inactivity, I may have to resort to comments that are of a lower overall quality and or beneath my moral standards.

JWeinCom said:

Your response to MZuzek doesn't really address what I said. It just continues to assert that GOTY is somehow relevant to the point of creative freedom. And apparently, also to artistic achievements. These are assertions that need some sort of demonstration.

And if we're saying TLOU2 is risky because female led games don't win overall GOTY too often, then that really makes no sense. Assuming that being female lead lowers your chances of being overall GOTY, then all Sony risked was not getting the overall GOTY. In that case, was Animal Crossing a huge gamble? I mean, how many past GOTY nominees have been village building sims with an animal cast? How about Mario Odyssey? How many overall GOTY winners feature a chubby italian plumber? Or are platformers? Looking solely at past GOTY winners is a really bad way to determine risk (again, unless you're speaking of the risk of not being overall goty).

As for Returnal...

1. You are assuming this is the reason, but there are many other potential reasons. I would say the biggest reason is because there is much more incentive for a smaller dev to make rougelike games, as they allow you to create games that can be played for a long time while minimizing the the amount of resources you need to create. At any rate, this genre has become well established. Taking something that is already fairly popular and boosting its budget is not what I would classify as highly risky, nor is making a difficult game, as there is a decent market for those as well.

2. Yes... but new IPs aren't all that uncommon. 

3. And that's not all that uncommon either. Metroid, Control, Tomb Raider, TLOU2, Resident Evil (around half the time), Mirror's Edge, etc. Less common than male lead games, but still not something that unusual. I would say virtually every major developer has some female lead games.

4. I don't know the story that well, but the core concept doesn't seem too far out there. Hades, Death Loop, and even now in movies like Boss Level. Kind of becoming a thing.

5. Ehhh... selling a game at standard price is now considered risk taking? Nintendo's selling 1-2 Switch, a five year old mini game collection with virtually no actual assets, at 50 bucks. Those daredevils. 

Basically, it comes down to, this is an AAA game (maybe) in a genre that is more popular among smaller devs, and it has a female lead... which really doesn't scream "RISK! BRAVERY! CREATIVE FREEDOM!" to me. Since you singled out Nintendo, I'm not sure why something like Octopath Traveller (new IP, unique narrative structure, sprite based classical JRPG being sold for full price), Codename S.T.E.A.M. (new IP steampunk SRPG featuring steampunk versions of classic literature characters and aliens being sold at full price, for the 3DS at least), ARMS (new IP, motion controlled 3D fighting game with bizarre deformed characters), Ring Fit (New IP that is controlled with a Pilates ring), LABO (games played using DIY cardboard controllers), Splatoon (new IP, new spin on team based shooters with tons of new game modes), or so on wouldn't count. If having a female lead is enough to qualify, what about Bayonetta 2 and 3? If anything, a female led sequel to a game that sold around a million copies across 2 consoles is WAAAAAAY more risky than a female lead sequel to a game that sold 17 million copies (17 times more risky to be precise, assuming budgets are equal). Or Bayonetta 1 for that matter.

It kind of feels like we're working backwards starting with games you intrinsically feel are risky and then creating a set of unintuitive rules to justify that (i.e. looking at GOTY winners which I still have no idea why we should do).  So, again, how are you determining which games are risky and brave and which aren't? Is there any objective criteria we can use? Why does GOTY matter if we're talking about risk? Cause otherwise, all anyone can say on this matter is...

I'm not a man, bruh.

In my response to Mnementh, I addressed the good point you make about the risks involved in marketing more casual and just plain clever and quirky games in the console business today like Arms and Splatoon and gimmicks like Labo that are fair enough. No need to get all hysterical on me. I'm not an unreasonable person and you should know that by now.

But on Returnal though, we're going to disagree.

1) The genre is an established niche in the indie market. It is not so much within the cultural mainstream of gaming. I mean I don't run across all kinds of roguelikes on store shelves, I don't know about you. I typically have to download them.

2) New IPs are rule in the indie market. They are definitely the exception in the AAA landscape, NOT the rule, and that's even more true for games that sell large numbers of copies and manage to turn a profit.

3) It's uncommon enough that there are like five times as many games released in a given year that use male-only lead characters. Pointing to a handful of exceptions that didn't sell half as well doesn't exactly make much of a case. Seriously, Horizon Zero Dawn and the 2013 Tomb Raider remake are the best-selling female-led games of all time and they've sold like 11 or 12 million copies. This is the basis your argument here stands on. You don't have one, in other words.

4) To counter my point, you highlight a smaller, indie game of different thematic material, a game that hasn't been released yet, and a movie I've never heard of before. *shrugs* I think you're just going out of your way to be disagreeable rather than even trying to make an honest argument because you don't have one. There's no one video that can explain Returnal's entire story because it's a little bit subjective, but here is what most of the internet (including me) feels is the single best Returnal story explainer out there.

5) $70 is the price tag that was charged, and it was a stupid decision to make, particularly given all the other risks the game already takes. It was also just the wrong decision.

Okay, it's past midnight here and I didn't get three hours of sleep last night. I'm headed to bed.