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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

On why we need to start attributing games to their directors, rather than their developers


Game theory by Matt S.

Just before Christmas, Square Enix published a demo for the upcoming NieR: Automata. In a year that includes Persona 5, the sequel to my favourite turn-based JRPG ever made, and Blue Reflections, a game from my favourite game developer (Gust) featuring some of the most beautiful girls ever drawn into a game (and thus a game that very much appeals to me), NieR: Automata is effortlessly my most anticipated game of the year.

Indeed, after playing the demo myself I came away fully expecting that it would replace its predecessor, NieR, as the best game ever made.

What impressed me more than anything is that, unlike with the original NieR, I’m not standing almost alone as a critical voice in praise of the game. Automata’s predecessor was a cult game at best; it performed miserably at retail, to the point that Square Enix never bothered releasing it digitally and has shown no inclination of doing a HD remaster, despite that being a good idea in the lead-up to the sequel’s release. The critical response to the game was middling at best. It would be an almost forgotten release, but for whatever reason the game’s reputation has grown as time has gone on, and the reputation it has now would place it as a real classic. It’s almost - almost - like how Citizen Kane was almost completely forgotten, until it was rediscovered and has subsequently become one of the most important films of all time.

What is odd about the write-ups I’ve seen of NieR: Automata, however, is that far, far too many of them are attributing the game as a “Platinum” game. Platinum was involved in the game, yes, but this response has reminded me of a rather significant issue that we have with how we attribute games in the industry.

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On why we need to start attributing games to their directors, rather than their developers
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