Extra Punctuation

Extra Punctuation
MMO Adaptation Will Ruin What You Love About Your Favorite Franchise

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 29 Apr 2014 16:00
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Maybe this indicates that the natural partner to the MMO is the superhero comics universe, where status quo is also carved in stone and all moments of interest and adventure must eventually return to the default state. But in that case, why was DC Universe Online so crap?

I can see how it might be an attractive proposition to creator and fan alike. MMOs are attractive to an investor in theory because the really popular ones make completely absurd amounts of money, and the fans may be finally given the opportunity to dive into and explore the world they have so much investment in. But those dreams die swiftly when we see how so few new MMOs attract a loyal audience, and the wonderful world of the franchise is presented through the medium of latency issues and incredibly stiff characters standing perfectly still making gestures only tangentially related to the words they're saying.

Elder Scrolls Online is the kind of thing which, when announced, causes a lot of people to say "That could be interesting." And the use of that phrase is something I have decided to petition to be banned, alongside describing yourself as "fun-loving" in your online dating profile. Nobody doesn't like fun, dumbass. I'm trying to figure out if my definition of fun syncs up to yours. Do you like playing violent games while holding a vibrating controller against the front of your trousers? No? You don't sound terribly fun-loving to me.

But I digress. "That could be interesting" is a phrase I keep hearing in video game previews and when discussing new announcements, and it doesn't mean anything. You might as well be emitting white noise from your mouth. Of course it 'could be interesting'. The international chess championship loser's bracket 'could be interesting' if the Martians from War of the Worlds invade and set fire to all the competitors with their deadly invisible heat beam, but I don't hold much stock in potential scenarios. It's like when I criticize a game and someone argues "Well, it would've been really good if it had just fixed X, Y and Z". Oh shit, you're right, 9 out of 10. No wait, let's take this to the logical conclusion - this game would've been really good if it'd been a completely different game called Silent Hill 2. 10 out of 10.

It's such a wishy-washy statement, "it could be interesting". It goes hand-in-hand with a pre-rendered trailer with no gameplay footage; something that tells you bugger all and exists only to fill space, so that whatever it's selling can occupy your attention for just a little bit longer. So please join me on this campaign. If you ever hear anyone use the phrase "That could be interesting," with no further embellishment, immediately ask "Why's that, then?" And do not let them leave or change the subject until you have a satisfactory answer. Hopefully they will then be given cause to analyze their words, and then themselves, and eventually become better people.

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