Sunday, 29 March 2015

Artix Entertainment Review Extra 1.2

Previous extra: Click here.

Excuses, Schcuses.
I comment on the apparent opinion that chibi games don't work, then compare how you can break bad news tactfully or offensively.

Graphics, really?
When I was in contact with Cysero over Twitter, he claimed that "Nope. Artix considers the art style one of the multitude of reasons that HS flopped," (Source) when I asked him whether he would reconsider using the HeroSmash cast or art style in another short project.

This contact was after he posted his controversial article basically dismissing HeroSmash and Oversoul as unwanted ideas.

This would have been a reasonable response if Artix Entertainment hadn't just released a similarly super-deformed mobile game called BattleGems. Not to mention all the other disproportionate games out there with big heads and little bodies that are still being maintained.

Templates from HeroSmash.
Super-deformed is generally defined as skewed proportions where heads are big and limbs are short. Bodies may be much smaller to fit with the style.

The mascot of HeroSmash.
Graphics are important to the game, but they have to fit the tone. Even games with lackluster graphics can be a hit if its other features more than make up for it.

a) Nun Attack
A 2d mobile game about a group of super-powered nuns who have to take down one of their flock gone bad. It became such a success that a sequel and a spin-off were made, Run and Gun and Yuki's Silent Quest respectively.
Super-deformed with the backing of God.
Being chibi was not even a problem to cosplay. Cysero's assumption that chibi graphics were a factor in a game's failure is not true in this case. The game went beyond its graphical limitations to go overboard and tell a tall tale, as befitting a superhuman game.
Closeup of a Nun Attack character. (Source)
Nun Attack's graphics are the closest to HeroSmash as the characters in both games have extremely large heads, small bodies, and fine thin limbs.

b) SuperHero Squad.
This is a Disney MMORPG based on one of their Marvel retellings aimed at children. It is similar to HeroSmash in the sense that both games are about superhumans and in a super-deformed style.

The game is officially called Hero Up and was released in 2011. It is still maintained and updated, unlike a certain other superhero MMORPG by Artix Entertainment.
More super-deformed heroes.
In this game, you control a group of superheroes or villains that can either be recruited ingame or bought with real cash. These heroes are keeping SuperHero City safe from the villains, much like the show of the same name. A powerful artifact broke into pieces and the heroes now have to retrieve the pieces, which is one of the ingame currencies.

The characters of HeroUp don't have such big heads, they still have a generally short frame and stocky limbs. The HeroSmash characters have similarly short frames with stocky arms.

c) BattleGems.
A puzzle game with super-deformed characters. Unlike HeroSmash, though, Artix Entertainment is actually proud of it and not blaming the graphics. Hypocritical, anyone?
Both HeroSmash and BattleGems have large heads and short bodies. Both chibified. The difference is that the company is willing to focus on BattleGems because it's based on Lore, their medieval world.

It's all in the tone.
There was another game that Artix Entertainment abandoned before HeroSmash, but how they handled the abandonment and the news is vastly different from the way Cysero did it. Bear in mind that Cysero is not the project leader of HeroSmash nor OverSoul.

While Warpforce's development stopped in 2012 for similar reasons as in HeroSmash or OverSoul, the tone used by Galanoth was still optimistic. Galanoth suggested that fine-tuning might occur despite the end of regular updates:
It has been a while coming, and it hurts a lot to have to do this, but I have decided to wind down WarpForce's regular releases. It is highly unlikely that new missions will appear in the foreseeable future. We will occasionally release new items to fill gaps, or for holidays (like Frostval). We may make other changes or bugfixes from time to time. We may even remake the Novus questline finale. (Source)
The commentary in the Warpforce thread is supportive as the tone wasn't directly blaming the players or citing costs as an insurmountable barrier. This is in contrast with the defeatist tone and wry comments by Cysero on his article (Comments not in order):
I'm afraid it's not that simple. The issue is tied to traffic. We can't risk spending valuable time, developer resources and (of course) money on a game that is a proven failure. It would just be an amazingly poor decision on our part. We made the game and we were doing weekly updates WHEN everyone left. The players left first, which CAUSED us to leave. Coming back to something you guys already abandoned would just be foolish without a clear demonstration in actual numbers that people were willing to return to the game and support it. (Source)
We already have a large team of volunteers working on AQW, everything from artists to moderators. The reason that we don't pay all of them is that we can't. We don't make enough. See my post about Money. (This was in reply to someone asking to hire more volunteers, presumably HeroSmash, without the pay.)
A good story certainly helps but if it were really that simple, getting traffic would be a simple thing and no decently written game would die or get overlooked. (These kinds of things take time!)
All of Cysero's other comments state the similar opinion of advertising for HeroSmash as being too costly for a proven failure. Nothing about possible fixes or updates.

It's apparent that Cysero has given up on HeroSmash. It is unknown whether the other members of Artix Entertainment do think the same or if Cysero's trumpeting his thoughts.

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