Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The9 Bids for Development Rights to cGE - Implications?

Original inspiration for this entry from DeSanggria's Rumors on cGE

Original news piece, as quoted in the blog post, from RedlineChina's Rumors of The9 Attempting to Attain Development Rights to Granado Espada

Okay, let's quote that news article in full, since it's no more than a few sentences long.

"According to insider sources from The9, the company has agreed engaged in talks with Hanbitsoft and Granada Espada IMC to attain developing rights to Granada Espada. The9 is hoping to improve upon Granada Espada and alter the game to fit Chinese tastes if it acquires the development rights."

Aside from quibbling with the content of the report - how much does it take to write the game's very title properly? - I'm with DeSanggria on this one: there are several questions arising from this report, and from The9's efforts. Let's talk about just the stuff that appears in that article.

1. Define "attain developing rights". Does this mean that The9 alone will have the ability to modify Granado Espada to the tastes of Chinese gamers? Will there be no more oversight from Hanbitsoft and IMC Games?

A related big question might be: What does Kim Hakkyu think of this? Remember, he had been CEO of Gravity Co., Limited, and was the mastermind behind
Ragnarok Online - but he left in a storm of internal political conflicts that had to do with other Gravity people tampering with his baby. I hope he talks about these plans considering that he's put a lot more effort into GE.

2. Define "improve". Does this mean modifying the game according to the players' tastes and requests, or according to what the company thinks will make more money? The first option is commendable but understandably far-fetched; the second is probably just my cynicism talking but is more likely to be true.

3. Define "alter the game to fit Chinese tastes". What happens if, in coming expansions, GE runs afoul of the Chinese censors? Are The9 really going to step in and dilute the game just to pass muster?

Just remember, The9 has already bent over backward to appease the censors with one of its other games - you know, the one that just happens to be the most massive MMORPG on the planet right now? There was such a flap last year when The9 actually changed the appearance of the Undead race in
World of Warcraft: the Undead used to be part flesh, part skeleton, with bones sticking out, but in order to get around a censorship review, The9 modified the Undead models to show no more skeleton.

The move, predictably, infuriated the Chinese WoW community, the more so because it was such a sop to Chinese president Hu Jintao's statement about "[purifying] the internet of anything that might affect 'national cultural information security' or undermine [attempts] to promote a 'harmonious society'".

Read more about this flap here and here.

So, I myself am looking at this piece of news with apprehension because wow, way to dilute the game much? And to one of the largest potential GE audiences in the world ever at that? What happens if The9 screw up? Scary, scary thoughts.

Discuss this!

EDITED TO ADD 29 AUG: Oh, look, more commentary on the issue! The MMOtaku, occasional GE pioneer, comments on The9.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the quote that says:

“Although Granado Espada is considered a content-rich game, Chinese players are unable to feel it because the content is too deep for them.”

Holy effin' hell WHAT? "Too deep"? So maybe I should get angry, after all. If The9 intends to actually dumb down Granado Espada - I say we all take to the barricades. Viva Granado Espada!


Anonymous said...

oh well, altering GE will be in big mess!why do they have to change it, GE is GE

PJ Punla AKA Nine Moons said...

@ anonymous

SOME alterations are for the best, though. way back in CBT there was a very strict process for creating character names. not only did your family name have to be unique - but so did all of the first names!

ex. the Smith family in Cervantes had characters named John, Jane, and Richard. no one else on Cervantes could then use the first names John, Jane, and Richard!

IAHGames went ahead and took the community's concern with this back to IMC - and received permission to alter the game so that first names were not unique any more.

maybe you're more worried about alterations that don't come from the community?

but i very much agree with your statement of "GE is GE". you're VERY right about that.

ascoth a.k.a. Chinensis said...

I will not wonder if the characters will have Chinese features (and the Elementalist melons will be downsized for that purpose) =P

PJ Punla AKA Nine Moons said...

@ ascoth chinensis

do you know, i thought of mentioning the possibility of a change in the eles.... thanks for bringing it up!