Ask CVG Anything does exactly what it says on the tin. We ask followers on the CVG Facebook page and forums to send in their best game-related questions, and do our best to answer them.
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Suppose that what I like to call the "CVG Doomsday Scenario" occurs and for whatever reasons, Nintendo decide to go games-only. (Work with me here.) What happens then, after the fanboy rampage? Would Nintendo develop for Sony? Microsoft? Apple? All/none of the above? Would another manufacturer step into the empty slot, or would we see a two-party system? And how would their games change? - Balladeer
Chris - I'm sorry. I really don't see it happening. Nintendo operates in its own little bubble - whereas Microsoft and Sony's consoles have very similar software libraries with many multi-format games and the odd exclusive here and there, the Wii's library was very different - partly down to the power of the system, but also partly because the Wii audience was so different. I really don't think Nintendo would be able to release something like WarioWare or Pikmin or StarFox on a Sony or Microsoft console and expect to see it do any better than it would on one of its own consoles.
You only need to look at uDraw (even though it was third-party) as an example of this - it was a big success on Wii and make THQ a good chunk of cash, then THQ decided to release it on Xbox 360 and PS3 and it was a complete disaster, leading to 1.4 million unsold units and THQ's former president saying it was one of the "massive mistakes" which led to THQ's collapse. Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus together have sold over 43 million units worldwide - would they really do the same on the PS3?
In my eyes, only really Mario, Zelda and Pokémon would do well on other formats, and that alone isn't enough to keep Nintendo fans happy. I'm adamant that Nintendo will continue to make hardware because it's the relationship between its hardware and its software that makes Nintendo so well-loved among its fans.
Rob - Okay, it may not seem obvious to a hardcore games enthusiast like yourself (who probably plays games on several consoles), but Nintendo generally sells its games to a significantly different audience than Microsoft and Sony.
The massive debate right now is whether or not Nintendo's audience has walked away to other casual stuff like iPads. What I'm sure of is that, if Nintendo does leave the building, no company would be able to fill its very unique spot. We'd move to a two-party system in the console space and the casuals would distribute further out into smartphones etc.
The hardcore Nintendo fans are the ones who'll lose out, but there's only a handful of million of these people today anyway and I would imagine they'd bite the bullet and buy a PlayStation or Xbox.
Also, Nintendo's board of directors are incredibly proud people. And they are used to dominating market shares on their own platforms and enjoying the most stupendous royalty rates. The transition would be too severe for them, so I don't see them supplying software for other companies.
In short: If Nintendo messes up then its execs would rather kill the company than resurrect it as something else. That sounds counter-intuitive in business terms, but there are very few companies in the whole world quite like Nintendo.
(PS: Sorry for a boring answer to a colourful question!)
Tamoor - Rob nailed it; I think Nintendo would rather close than start producing games for other systems. I'd rather not dwell on this scenario, a world without Mario and Zelda is a world I don't want to be in.
Will the impending next gen be the last physical box we will buy for gaming, or is a case of Tomorrow's World getting ahead of itself? Scolding sneer if any of you are too young to know the reference! - jim2wheels
Tamoor - I loved that show. Anyway, I don't think boxes are going to go away, not for a really long time anyway. Of course, whether we'll continue to call them 'video game consoles' is a different matter. There's a great number of people that use Xbox 360s and PS3s for everything BUT gaming, both Sony and Microsoft recognise this and are building services to encourage it. As long as that continues, we'll still have physical boxes.
Rob - A lot of people who are saying this just want to sound big because they're making mobile games. Others are just making wild predictions based on little evidence. Who knows what tomorrow brings, of course, but the core gamer market has been with consoles for more than twenty years, and it's a segment that's still growing in size.
Chris - I'm torn on this one. I hope we keep getting physical boxes because I want games (and films, for that matter) to still have a physical presence on the high street and supermarkets. However, I also feel like a hypocrite in saying that because I've got a cupboard in my house full of empty game boxes that I wish I could just get rid of (I put all my games in a big CD wallet and lie it under my telly to save space).
So while I personally wouldn't mind going digital, I do hope physical media stays because I don't want to be in a situation where all the money I spent becomes useless down the line. Take PlayStation Plus for example - I've got something like 50 retail and PSN games on my PS3 hard drive that all become inactive when my PS Plus membership ends. I don't plan on ending it, but does Sony plan on still having PS Plus around in ten years' time? If not, all those games will just disappear.
Do you think backwards compatibility with new hardware is important? - Ashley Winterbottom
Rob - Who gets back from work/school and thinks "oh I really want to play that PS2 game"?
Tamoor - I do, Rob. What of it? I think it's particularly important early in a new console's lifecycle, when game releases are much slower.
Chris - Aye, I do like dabbling with old stuff from time to time. I like racing around Edinburgh in Project Gotham Racing 2 on the first Xbox every so often, for example, and I've still got GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas on Xbox disc and I'll be damned if I'm paying again to have them digital-only! Besides, if the PS4 and 720 end up being expensive (which seems likely), there are going to be some who'll want to trade in their PS3 or 360 to put towards the total cost. With so many great 360 and PS3 games due to be released after the next-gen systems are out, they're still going to want to be able to play them somehow.
Which games that have been canned or gone into development hell through the years would you like to see released? A few for me are Agent by Rockstar, B.C. by Lionhead/Intrepid Games, Star Wars Battlefront 3 by whoever was making it that week and This is Vegas by Midway. - El Mag
Tamoor - LMNO, just because Speilberg was involved with that. Foundation 9 was working on a Dirty Harry game at one point, I like the idea of a Dirty Harry video game. And Brash were doing The Flash.
Chris - I was always intrigued by Sadness, an early Wii survival horror game. We never saw more of it other than that interesting concept trailer, which is a real shame. Being a rhythm action fan I was also well up for DJ Hero 3D on 3DS. Oh, and I should probably do the obligatory Mega Man Legends 3 mention, so that none of the commenters can say it :-)
Rob - Great question! Ummm, I really liked the idea of The Outsider. I speak with David Braben from time to time and he's a real politics nerd. He kinda wanted to get that into the game and I'd love to see the outcome. Don't know what's happened to it now though :-(
What is the most underrated game of this generation? - Darrell Brannagan
Rob - Blur by Bizarre Creations. Better than half of all Mario Kart games!
Tamoor - Blur is a good call, Nintendo could learn a great deal from it. I'd add Binary Domain, The Darkness 2, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and DJ Hero to the list. Oh, you wanted just one? Well TOUGH!
Chris - People are probably bored of me bigging up Silent Hill: Shattered Memories by now, but it's that, without a shadow of a doubt. For the sake of variety though, I'll also throw in Excite Truck, Ridge Racer 6 (stick with it until you get the faster cars then it really gets going) and the Wii version of Sonic Unleashed (which had much less frustrating Werehog levels). Oh, and Earth Defence Force 2017 and, subsequently, Tank! Tank! Tank! on Wii U (which is more or less the same thing only with tanks).
Not sure if this has been asked, what's your favourite DLC? - TheLastDodo
Tamoor - Horse Armour. Took some serious cojones to put that out and charge what they did. Seriously though? Arcade Edition for Street Fighter 4, or Javik for Mass Effect 3.
Rob - Everything in Burnout Paradise. What a game.
Chris - Either GTA IV: The Ballad Of Gay Tony or Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. As a massive FIFA nerd I also liked that EA Sports made Euro 2012 an add-on for FIFA 12 rather than a full game. Oh, and Last Train To Awesometown in Rock Band 3, for obvious reasons.
Are there any games, mechanics or gaming standards you believe have negatively affected the games industry? For ex: the supposed Call of Duty effect (every game seemingly changing what works to try to attract the CoD crowd), personally I'd like to find the guy who invented QTE's and tell him he's a bad, bad man. - TheLastDodo
Tamoor - Hey! QTEs can be good when done right. Remember how bad ass it was during the first God of War, or throughout the entirety of Asura's Wrath.
Does cooldown timers in social/mobile games count? You know, the stuff that's like "You've played all your moves, come back in 40mins for more". If so, F**K THAT S**T.
Chris - I don't think any of them have affected the industry as such, they just make games slightly more annoying to play. My four bugbears are lengthy non-optional tutorials, rubbish unlockables (sound test tracks? Character model viewer? Um, thanks), unlockable difficulty levels (don't make me play through the story a second time if I don't want to) and cut-scenes that can't be skipped if you've already seen them, especially ones that take place just after checkpoints so you have to watch them over and over each time you die. I realise your cutscenes probably cost a lot of money to make but you aren't Woody Allen - one viewing is plenty.
Rob - I'm always impressed by some of the questions we get in Ask CVG Anything. Some of you guys come up with really deep, searching questions that kinda make me think for ages.
Don't really agree with what you mean by "the Call of Duty effect", but year there's loads of mechanics and standards in games that have an overall negative effect. Usually it's all about collecting pointless crap to extend the length of a game, or the attempt to recreate a Hollywood movie before realising that interactive entertainment kinda doesn't work that way.
Are Square Enix completely out of line labelling Tomb Raider a 'disappointment' sales wise, or do games really need to sell stupid numbers to succeed now? - DAEDALUS79
Chris - I do think it was ridiculous. I think Square Enix maybe still thought it was the late 1990s and that Lara Croft was still a relevant and much-loved character. The Tomb Raider name has taken such a kicking over the past decade due to a constant stream of disappointing games, so it was unrealistic to think one brilliant game would suddenly see it breaking sales records.
The simple fact is that until recently many gamers associated Tomb Raider with disappointment, and not with the feelings of wonder and adventure the name originally conjured. I used to adore Tomb Raider 1 and 2 but I wasn't interested in the latest game in the slightest - it was only when I saw all the good reviews that I decided to give it a go and I adored it.
Square Enix had to rebuild the public's opinion of Lara Croft and trust in the Tomb Raider name, and that fantastic reboot was the perfect way to do it and I have no doubt the inevitable next game will be far greater anticipated, and will sell many millions of copies as a result. But before it was released Tomb Raider's name was still mud, so a 6 million sales target for a game from a series that was considered long past it was an insane expectation.
Rob - In this case they were a bit mental. It sold about 3.5 million units into retail already. Halo 4 reached about four million in a similar same time frame. They really shouldn't be blaming a game if the underpinning business behind it is flawed.
Tamoor - I think they might have set their sights a bit too high, perhaps thinking that Lara Croft, or the Tomb Rader brand had much more pull than it does in this day and age. It's a great game, and it did well, I hope we get more.