Monday, May 21, 2012

A Nintendo Fan's Thoughts on Sony's Playstation All Stars Battle Royale

I'm going to take a break from reviews today to discuss my thoughts on Sony's upcoming Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale. I know I'm extremely late to this, but I still have an opinion on it and I want to put it out there. There are numerous Nintendo fans that feel like Sony's fighter is a rip off or blatant copy of the Super Smash Bros. series, and that Sony doesn't have the characters to pull off a crossover fight like Nintendo. I'd like to address these fans.

First off, I'd like to say that I don't like saying that anything is a rip off or blatant copy of another product unless it's so obvious that you can barely tell the difference between the original and product being accused of copying, especially when it comes to games that aren't released yet. The reason being is because even though something may look similar on the surface, the gameplay and functions may be completely different.

And this is the case with Playstation All Stars Battle Royale. Yes, it certainly looks similar to Super Smash Bros. Brawl graphically, but all the information we've heard about the game proves that it doesn't play anything like Nintendo's crossover fighter. While in the Smash Bros. series you're racking up damage and trying to knock other characters off the stage, in Battle Royale, you can only kill other characters using specials. There's no falling off stages and no damage to rack up. Every journalist who's played the upcoming PS3 game has said that it doesn't feel like Super Smash Bros., and I think we should all take their word for it. It's not like any of us have played it.

If Battle Royale looked like Street Fighter or BlazBlue instead of Super Smash Bros., Nintendo fans probably wouldn't be screaming about Sony copying Nintendo. I find it ironic that the graphics of Battle Royale are causing these accusations considering Nintendo fans are always the one saying that graphics don't matter and it's the gameplay that counts. You guys need to take your own advice.

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is being accused of being
a blatant copy of Super Smash Bros.

Did Sony get the idea of a crossover fighter from Nintendo? Probably, but if no one in the gaming industry could take ideas from another company, then this industry would be a lot less interesting. Games like Metroid Prime and Halo probably wouldn't exist because Doom was the game that popularized the idea of first person gaming. Okami wouldn't exist because that took a lot of ideas from Zelda. BlazBlue and King of Fighters wouldn't exist because Street Fighter was the game that popularized the traditional 2D fighter. A lot of Rare's games from the 90s wouldn't exist because they took ideas from games that were well received. I could go on and on, but the point is, many of your favorite games took ideas from a similar game because they worked. Taking ideas from a concept that works is good for the industry, not bad like many Nintendo fans would have you believe.

Then I see the argument that Sony doesn't have any characters that anyone cares about, which is ridiculous to me. I think the main thing that people seem to not realize when saying Sony doesn't have memorable or iconic characters is the fact that there are people in their twenties today who started gaming with the Playstation. The original Playstation came out in 1994 or 1995 depending on where you lived, and the people who were turning 5 or 6 during that period and who were just starting to play games are now adults. Those people grew up with characters like Sweet Tooth, the Pipo Monkey, Jak, Daxter, Sly, Ratchet, Clank, and Parappa. And based on the sales of the Playstation 1 and 2 in relation to their competition, there are tens of millions of people out there who only owned the Playstation 1 and 2 as they grew up.

Sure, Sony may not have a Mario and Pikachu, who even people who don't play games can recognize, but they have characters that gamers recognize. Even if you've never played a game on a Playstation console, you probably recognize Sweet Tooth, Jak, Daxter, the Pipo Monkey, Ratchet, and Clank. You may not even know their names, but if you saw pictures of them, you'd say "Oh, I recognize them." Hell, there are people who don't even know what Link's name is, and he's one of Nintendo's most iconic and memorable characters.

You could argue that Sony only has a handful of memorable characters, and Sony already including Fat Princess and Radec proves that they're scraping the bottom of the barrel. But let me ask you this: Other than the hardcore Nintendo fans, who really recognized Ness, Lucas, Captain Falcon, Marth, Ike, Roy, Pit, ROB, Ice Climbers, and Mr. Game and Watch? Very few people. You could have even potentially thrown Samus into that mix of characters back during the first Super Smash Bros. The only reason people recognize them now is because they were in Smash Bros. In fact, North America and Europe didn't even see a Fire Emblem game until 2003/2004. That's a full two years after Melee was released. No one but hardcore Nintendo fans recognized Marth and Roy.

You could have argued back during Melee that Nintendo was scraping the bottom of the barrel with characters like Dr. Mario, Pichu, Marth, Roy, Ice Climbers, Young Link, Ness, and Game and Watch. They were either blatant clones of characters that looked exactly like them (Dr. Mario, Pichu, and Young Link), or random characters that the average person who bought Melee wouldn't recognize. That's eight characters out of 25, or one third of the entire cast. I guarantee you, if one third of Battle Royale's cast is made up of obscure characters like Dart and Sir Daniel Fortesque, you'll hear people saying how Sony had to scrape the bottom of the barrel just to get a roster of around twenty characters.

Sony does have memorable characters, such as
Jak and Daxter.

Sure, Pipo Monkey, Jak, Daxter, Ratchet, Clank, and Parappa may not hold a special place in your heart because you grew up with Donkey Kong, Mario, Link, and Kirby, but there are millions of people out there who couldn't care less about Donkey Kong but care deeply about the monkeys from Ape Escape. Does Sony have a Mario or Pikachu? No, but they do have loved characters.

Let's not forget that Sony also has a good relationship with third parties and they've already confirmed that third party characters will be in the game. While they aren't characters owned by Sony, Spyro, Crash, Snake, and numerous Final Fantasy characters are associated with the Playstation brand. They could easily get a few of those in to round out their roster, just like how Nintendo got Snake and Sonic in Brawl to round theirs out.

Overall, I guess I'd just like to say that while it may look similar on the outisde, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale has been confirmed to play a lot differently from the Super Smash Bros. franchise. On top of that, it's a game that Sony fans have been asking for for years, so really, it's just Sony giving their fans what they want. And the argument that Sony doesn't have a good enough roster of characters to pull off a fighting game like Battle Royale is absurd because they do have nostalgic and memorable characters.

I honestly believe that if this game was being made by anyone other than Sony, Nintendo fans wouldn't be screaming about some company copying Nintendo. In fact, they would probably be excited about it. They didn't seem to care when Sega made their Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, which is just as much of a "rip off" of Mario Kart as Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is of Super Smash Bros.

And in the end, is it really worth getting worked up over this game if you don't care for it? If it fails and doesn't make any money, then you'll probably never see another Sony crossover fighter again. If it succeeds on the other hand, the only affect it would have on Nintendo is it would potentially make Super Smash Bros. an even better series since it would actually give Nintendo's own crossover fighter a direct competitor for a change.

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