Friday, December 2, 2011

"Skyrim" Fans, This is Your New Favorite Thing Today

I'm inclined to think that Nintendo may have made a substantial mistake in releasing "Skyward Sword" (which I'm loving, don't get me wrong) opposite "Skyrim" - but then, who could've realistically predicted that a new "Elder Scrolls" game would be THIS big of a hit (which is in itself good news) in age of COD?

Anyway, here's a cartoon from Harry Partridge:


Mads said...

who could've realistically predicted that a new "Elder Scrolls" game would be THIS big of a hit (which is in itself good news) in age of COD?
I don't know, maybe anybody with any sense? Certainly any industry observer.

Fallout 3, Bethesdas last release, sold 4,7 million in it's first week, and Skyrim has been gestating ever since the release of Oblivion 5 years ago. It looked absolutely massive before release, it demoed fantastically, and the trailers have been terrific and full of reminders for players of past installments of why they oughta enjoy this game. Fallout is an excellent brand, but the elder scrolls have always been a bigger name than fallout in terms of sales.

Even more importantly, it would be obvious if you've played the recent bethesda releases that they've by and large gotten much, much better at various types of storytelling.

Skyrims success didn't come out of the blue, and if you think it did, you're either blind, or you just don't care to look.

Also, shooters doing better than rpgs? That's not a recent event. I will bet you 100 bucks that wolfenstein 3d sold more copies than lands of lore back in 1993; and for every rpg released since then, I'll be able to find a shooter released the same year that sold better.

People just prefer shooters. Yeah. It's that simple. It doesn't eat up the market for RPGs, and conversely, for every shooter you would care to mention I will also be able to find an RPG that can be said to have been a big success released the same year.

There are no turns or swings here; no trend. Just because a few formulaic games get released every so often, there's no implication that only those games will be made and be successful. At all. That's something you and a lot of other game commentators have made up, because your favorite genres are slightly undersupplied compared to your personal consumption.

Antonio Black said...

So..."Happy" Harry Partridge is doing 90s merchandise-driven cartoon parodies now? Uh Huh......

Popcorn Dave said...

Yeah, what Mads said. How can anyone be surprised at Skyrim being a hit if they've been watching the hype? Did you just forget how HUGE Oblivion and Morrowind were when they came out?

But it is very gratifying, I'll grant you. I especially loved your pal Jim's take on it.

Antonio Black: 90s? I think it's more a riff on the 80s Dungeons & Dragons show. He loves his 80s cartoon parodies... everyone should check out the awesome Saturday Morning Watchmen if they haven't already.

Mads said...

To be fair, the early 90'es are home to a ton of cartoons that match the style found here very well.

The turtles are the prime example; while originating with the late 80'es, most of the run took place during the 90es.

Another good one is the super mario brothers super show, also a primarily 90'es cartoon.

Obviously the kind of weird slapstick humor those two shows possesed is what Harry is going for, and obviously it isn't exclusive to the early 90'es - the real ghost busters ran somewhat earlier and had the same brand of humor going.

Just saying that labeling it 90'es-inspired probably isn't inaccurate.

Although conversely, the 90'es are home to a ton of good shit with immensely higher production values and quality than much of the 80'es stuff. Fortunately, liking the 90'es is slowly becoming ok, now that it's been a while =P

Also, I agree. Jim's take on it, while he presents it in the most dickish fashion possible, is absolutely correct. People can point to it and tell activision and EA to go blow themselves if they insist multiplayer is any kind of necessity... but then, the pc went through this back in the late 90'es, and it was discovered that no, multiplayer is not necessary. That it doesn't actually determine sales. So everybody already knew this...well everybody who knows their videogame history.

There was so much pressure for it back then that Ion Storm Austin, in 2000, released Deus Ex in the autumn (to massive critical acclaim), and subsequently felt pressured by their production company to add some type of multiplayer, and did so with a followup patch. For free, because that's how people rolled back then.

Similarly, System Shock 2 also had multiplayer added after the fact, and for some gaming magazines, multiplayer made up a substantial portion of the grade they awarded games.

And then, Morrowind was released, and it was discovered that oh, no, you don't f'in need multiplayer. And Neverwinter Nights was released, as was Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament, and it was discovered that actually, multiplayer only products are generally risky, and relying too much on multiplayer is a massive gamble for any game that doesn't have an existing demand.

So we already knew all of this. Well, some of us, anyway.

Joe said...

I'm not entirely sure how a Wii-exclusive, story-driven family-friendly title with motion controls is in any conflict with an M-rated, sprawling open-world oldschool first-person RPG available for all major platforms except the Wii (and really favouring the PC), but okay.

The early 80s were when the restrictions on merchandise-driven children's programming were lifted, which is why most of the cartoons from the 80s were 22 minute toy commercials. The 90s continued that trend, but the writing had less of that earnestness (also, they didn't do many public service announcements) and a lot more self-aware snarkiness.

Mads said...

Releasing opposite of Skyrim is not so much a problem in terms of audience, as it is a problem in terms of coverage.

Skyrim is a game massive in scope. All the other games that were released during the same week got pushed away by reviewers focusing on Skyrim.

The obvious excitement around the game in the gaming press must also have been a huge distraction for players.

Even if many players only have access to the wii, every single reviewer has access to something that plays Skyrim, and every professional reviewer is doubtlessly going to try it out; it's a must, since it's such a phenomenon.

Also? I suspect that the cross-section of gamers between Skyward Sword and Skyrim encompasses a lot of Skyward Swords playerbase, simply because Skyrim will doubtlessly appeal to many of the Skyward Sword players, regardless of different genres and consoles.

Anonymous said...

Apparently if I entered Harry Partridge's 80's TV version of Tamriel I'd become a hideous water-breathing lizard man.