Knowing Where The Line Lays
Gamers have rights. That’s something that many tend to forget. When you’re paying money for a game you’re paying for what the company has promised you. If you don’t get that, then it’s in your rights to complain and demand accountability. But there are limits to what you’re owed and what is simply desired.
Warriors Orochi 3 (WO3) is Tecmo-KOEI’s latest release in the Warriors franchise. A great addition to the line-up, combining characters from the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series. These games are massive hits in Japan, making the company a fortune. However in North America the games are more of a niche thing. They make some profit, but it’s only a fraction of what they make in Japan.
Naturally, this means that their funding for projects in North America is limited. Things which are easy to produce in Japan because the costs associated will quickly be made back don’t work quite as smoothly in the west. So with the release of WO3, they decided to leave it with Japanese voice acting and English text. The game is fully playable in this manner, conversations all have subtitles and in battles there is clear text showing what officers have to say and relaying the events of the battle.
But some people are not satisfied. In the wake of the huge success the petitions against Mass Effect 3’s ending have had, some gamers started petitions to try and force KOEI to give them the English voice acting they desire. There’s just one problem with that; it’s not the same situation.
With Mass Effect 3, while the ending was considered by many to be “bad”, that wasn’t the driving force behind the petitions. It was the fact that Bioware had made promises about the ending reflecting the player’s actions through the three games. How it would tie everything together and give each player their own ending based on the actions they took. And in the end, that didn’t happen. All players ended up with the same endings that had nothing to do with any of their choices through the games. So naturally the players were upset and the petitions and outrage poured in.
After much negative press and a whole lot of angry comments, Bioware announced that they would be releasing some downloadable content that will hopefully allay some of the negative views.
Ray Muzyka, CEO of BioWare Corp commented on this issue. “Building on their research,” said Muzyka, “Exec Producer Casey Hudson and the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey.”
Hearing this news definitely gave gamers a newfound sense of power. But has this power corrupted already?
The demands being made of KOEI to add English voice acting to their game goes beyond gamer upset over not being delivered what they were promised. KOEI never said that the game would contain English voice acting. And with the niche market that it is, many gamers and fans are simply happy that they release the games here at all.
So where is the line? While gamers have their rights, they also need a fair share of reason. Had KOEI promised the game in English then naturally these petitions would be justified. But as it stands, KOEI gave gamers the best they could within their budget. The English voicing would have simply made the game a loss for them financially and as much as they respect their fans no company is going to shoot itself in the foot just to release a version of a game to please everyone.
If a company promises you something and doesn’t deliver then you should stand up and make your voice heard. If it’s simply a matter of taste or preference then feel free to let the company know what you would like to see, but don’t demand they ruin themselves or change their game just to suit your tastes. You have to know where the line lays.
As a gamer, you need to stand up for your rights. But at the same time, you have to make sure you know just what your rights are and what crosses the lines into demands. It can be frustrating not to get exactly what you want. What you have to do is take a look at what the options are. The choice with WO3 was to either get the Japanese voiced game that KOEI provided or to not get the game at all. Pick your battles, enjoy the little victories and learn when to lead the charge.