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Bleszinski: Japanese Devs Should Focus More On Multiplayer

As the Japanese market continues to struggle to catch up to the popularity of many Western offerings, many designers have come forward with an opinion or two.

Ex-Capcom boss Keiji Inafune has been especially vocal in slamming the Japanese developers for not keeping up with the times and now, Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski recommends a healthier dose of multiplayer.

During a recent Gamasutra interview, Bleszinski said that his advice to Japan is that "in a disc-based market right now," you just can't ignore multiplayer. He did add that not every game requires the option, but he mentioned Shadows of the Damned, saying it was a "wonderfully crazy adventure," but it still needed multiplayer. He also said it was a "crime" that Platinum's Vanquish didn't have a multiplayer element.

However, to be fair, Bleszinski said some Japanese designers are doing some innovative things with multiplayer, such as From Software's Demon's Souls and Dark Souls; he called this unique approach to multiplayer "mingle-player," as there's no traditional boundary between single-player and multiplayer action.

But is the lack of multiplayer in games like Vanquish and Shadows of the Damned really the reason the Japanese industry is floundering? Is multiplayer so dominant that it can single-handedly dictate sales charts...?

Well, maybe.

Tags: gaming, japanese games, multiplayer, vanquish, cliff bleszinski

5/14/2012 10:25:58 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (53 posts)

Temjin001
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:36:23 AM
Reply

bullet time in multiplayer would be retarded

Last edited by Temjin001 on 5/14/2012 10:36:36 AM

Agree with this comment 3 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Clamedeus
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:38:47 AM
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I would rather have an excellent story in a game to multiplayer imo.

Agree with this comment 20 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

friction
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:40:28 AM

i'd rather just be connected and not have a single player aspect ;)

Agree with this comment 1 up, 16 down Disagree with this comment

Clamedeus
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:44:22 AM

You're crazy. xD

Agree with this comment 13 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:44:46 AM

I take pride in my ability to enjoy myself without the crutch of connectivity.

But multiplayer isn't a bad thing. So long as there are still well thought-out SP experiences, I'm happy.

If a game focuses on the MP and doesn't have a good SP experience, I likely won't be interested. But I have no problem with both being there in general.

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Clamedeus
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:58:51 AM

Indeed Underdog. They should focus on the single player so that isn't gimped, and then when that's finished, work on Multiplayer.

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Killa Tequilla
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 12:51:52 PM

Or multiplayer can be worked on to top notch, then add single player. Works both ways, nobody wins... Developers do what they want.

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Underdog15
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 1:55:04 PM

Imo, Killa, both should be worked on to completion. Neither should be done half assed. If there's no multiplayer, some people will automatically not want it. And if there is no SP, some people will automatically not want it.

As for me, strictly MP games will never be on my priority list.

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Teddie9
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 9:21:51 PM

@Friction

But games can be more than games... :( *tearing up at Friction's comment*

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Veitsknight
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:43:08 AM
Reply

Cliffy B, no. Just no....

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bebestorm
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:52:56 AM
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I've heard many gamers say they wish Vanquished had multiplayer. Im not into playing online but he's somewhat correct because we are seeing more and more games have multiplayer the latest being God of War!

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bigrailer19
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 11:05:06 AM

But the point is they don't need it. Will they benefit from It? Maybe. But GoW is one of my favorite franchises and never, NEVER have I said "I wish these games had MP". They don't need it!

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Killa Tequilla
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 12:53:23 PM

Personally, i think that god of war is now ruined. New developer plus the addition of multiplayer.... Ruined.

Last edited by Killa Tequilla on 5/14/2012 12:54:18 PM

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Underdog15
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 1:55:33 PM

@killa
It isn't even finished yet.

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Highlander
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 1:59:47 PM

Vanquish did not need multi-player. What it did/does need is a sequel.

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bigrailer19
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 2:22:06 PM

GoW doesn't have a new developer though, just a new director. And ever GoW entry has had a new director so, make of that what you will.

And yes you are right it doesn't need mp. But it won't ruin the game. But I've never, ever thought it for some reason needed mp.

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sunspider13
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 3:37:28 PM

@Highlander
Agreed. That is on my wishlist of future games I would buy in a hot minute.

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bigrailer19
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 11:00:19 AM
Reply

...and this is why lately Japanese developers have struggled. We have this guy spouting MP is what they need to succeed. ...and they are listening! But that's not the case. I'm not huge into Japanese games but I feel for the devs and what I see is them straying from what they've always done. Not because games like Vanquish don't have mp.

Vanquish could have had a great mp, but it's obvious the game was great with out it. Uncharted: Drakes Fortune is my favorite game and it didn't have mp. It's successors did and the mp is a lot of fun, but they didn't need it.

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Highlander
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 2:01:49 PM

Japanese developers struggle because their bosses listen to people like Inafune and CliffyB. Then their bosses tell them to add this, that or the other western style feature to their game, and to make their game more like this, that or the other western game. The end result is a game that is not really Japanese, and certainly isn't what the developers would have originally made. Sadly such mish-mashes of style and genre are not worth the cost of the packaging.

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bigrailer19
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 2:24:35 PM

Agreed. Western developers are having a huge influence on Japanese devs and why? I don't know. FF could be one of the best franchises this gen, and even though it's sold well, a lot of fans are upset, because of this influence.

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Beamboom
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 11:09:27 AM
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Wooot... No mention of COD? :D

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PS360
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 11:14:00 AM
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Multiplayer or co op games is a must for me. It's just more fun for me to hop on with a friend and beat a campaign than to play it myself.

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telly
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 1:10:42 PM

I believe online console co-op is the greatest contribution to game design this generation. I have plenty of fun playing games solo but teaming up with friends and executing strategies together is a blast. Gears of War does this so well. Playing Horde mode, with waves of enemies attacking, I can lock down one corner while my bro watches my back. It's the sort of cooperative play that I always dreamt of when I was a kid. And now we have it all over the place.

Does every game need co-op? Nah. But it's a great element, and something I appreciate greatly.

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frostface
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 11:18:25 AM
Reply

I could do without MP though I'd miss the craic the gang of us have at the weekends. But I wouldn't lose any sleep if a game didn't have MP, and the ones that do, I always play through the campaign first anyway.

But I am glad to see From Software getting credit for their innovative way of implementing MP into Demon's Souls and Dark Souls. They found a way to make the MP heighten the atmosphere of the single player campaign. Just the idea that at any moment someone could come in and invade your game and mess things up for you, thats almost more scary than the monsters you're up against.

So rather than having MP just tacked on for the sake it, if Japanese Dev's really do feel they need to add that extra option, take it and do something outside of the box with it. Or just focus on delivering a campaign that's so badass, people won't care if there's no MP.

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Kiryu
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 11:38:46 AM
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just shut up cliff.First let them make some single player stories for the ps3 era.The only jap dev that r doing it now is Yakuza Studio.
and yeah Binary Domain is better than ur Gears.

Last edited by Kiryu on 5/14/2012 11:40:03 AM

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___________
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 5:13:40 AM

sure, just like rouge warrior is better then uncharted!
at least gears delivers everything it promises!
bionary domain was such a disappointment, the developers should be glad they have not been sued for false advertisement!

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trumpetmon65
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 12:30:04 PM
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No, they need to focus on improving their plot development and making sure the engines they use to run their games are solid. Square did good with getting Eidos. American stability mixed with Japanese flare and imagination

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BikerSaint
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 12:43:12 PM
Reply

I say no only because I think they would start gimping the SP modes in favor of MP modes like some other developers are doing now.


Best of both worlds would be for them to just concentrate on making the SP mode the very beast it can be & only after that, then start to concentrate on doing any beastly MP modes too

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JLB1
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 1:15:26 PM
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I disagree with Cliffy, as always, but seeing as how things have been lately, he may not be wrong. Online play has just become the new thing. I haven't played the online Resident Evil game, but judging from what I've heard, it's not all that great. Even with that, it sold pretty well. I know, I know, I'm comparing apples to oranges right now. But, had the games he mentioned been online games as well, there's a likelihood that they would have sold more. And in todays gaming, units sold is far more important then whether or not the game was enjoyable.

Last edited by JLB1 on 5/14/2012 1:16:25 PM

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JLB1
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 1:16:31 PM
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I disagree with Cliffy, as always, but seeing as how things have been lately, he may not be wrong. Online play has just become the new thing. I haven't played the online Resident Evil game, but judging from what I've heard, it's not all that great. Even with that, it sold pretty well. I know, I know, I'm comparing apples to oranges right now. But, had the games been online games as well, there's a likelihood that they would have sold more. And in todays gaming, units sold is far more important then whether or not the game was enjoyable.

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jimmyhandsome
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 1:40:40 PM
Reply

This community in general (very broad speak here) is very pro-SP and neutral/anti-MP so a lot of the comments I'm reading are not surprising. However, I do believe that this community is also in the minority in terms of game sales. And if Cliffy B is speaking in terms of the Japanese developers not being able to afford to ignore MP because it boosts sales, he's probably right. I'm sure thats part of the reason the Uncharted games eventually added MP, and more recent GoW.

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BikerSaint
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 7:25:52 PM

Well, I for one will go on the record of not being anti-MP, as I feel everyone should be able to play the SP/MP included games any way they want to.

All I'm just saying that if a game has both SP & MP, they should concentrate all their efforts on the SP first, or separate their teams for each, so every SP or MP gamer can get "the best of the best" out of their gaming sessions.

But I fear that as more games start adding in MP too, that more & more lazy developers will forsake/gimp/shorten/etc/etc, my SP modes just so they can concentrate on the MP side instead.

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Lawless SXE
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 1:54:44 PM
Reply

Let the Western devs put multiplayer in everything they have to offer and the Japanese will put it in where they think it fits. I don't care.

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Highlander
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 1:59:03 PM
Reply

Once again a leading name in the western gaming industry demonstrates the art of the asinine.

Look Cliffy, first of all, you still haven't got a proper name, so I really can't take you seriously. Honestly with a name like CliffyB I expect someone who thinks that a social life means eating with Mom and Dad at the Cracker Barrel once a week. Either way, I can;t take you seriously dude, but when you start spouting self service BS like "Japanese developers should focus on multiplayer"....Well, to be honest, I think you are a total ass Cliffy. I mean, yes let's totally dilute the entire video game industry with the lazy man's choice in video games. Why bother with a story, or enemy AI when you have humans on both sides of the screen? As CoD proves time and again, you don't really have to do very much with a multi-player game except make it just good enough to get the addicts to buy it again each time.

Maybe you should try making a real game Cliff? You know, a game with characters, story, pacing, enemy AI, art, music, taste, pathos, intelligence...all those things that are unneeded in those multiplayer frag fests that you are clearly so fond of.

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PS360
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 3:36:16 PM

Gears 1,2, and 3 have a good story and awesome single player action.

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Underdog15
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 1:59:21 PM
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Yeah, but Cliffy, adding multiplayer isn't going to suddenly make Japanese games more popular, either.

Look at WKC2... it's multiplayer is really the bread and butter of the title, but it failed miserably in reviews. Oddly enough, the reviews focused on the story mode, which admittedly, SHOULD have been better (and longer would have made me happy). That's a good example of a traditional Japanese game that excelled at the multiplayer aspect yet suffered because it's SP wasn't up to snuff.

So, I really don't think adding a comprehensive MP feature will all of a sudden solve Japan's issues. WKC2's multiplayer is fantastic fun and well executed, large, and addictive. But it did nothing to prove Cliffy right.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/14/2012 2:01:13 PM

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Highlander
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 2:05:36 PM

Yeas, but, the Story mode of the game is far from awful, many reviews would have you believe that the game is barely functional. that game is not a good example in any way because a) the reviews were so pitifully written (with some shining exceptions such as PSX), and b) the online play is co-op, not PvP. Cliffy is not talking about co-op online play. If he were, CoD would not be the success it is. Part of the reason WKC2 does poorly with reviewers is the simple fact that you can't kill your friends in a spectacular online pvp arena...::barf::

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Rogueagent01
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 2:12:33 PM
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I would like to see devs push for more co-op in games. It is the best of both worlds! Games like Borderlands, Dead Island, and Sacred 2 have made for perfect experiences in my eyes. If you want to play them alone you can, but you always have the option to play with friends or even strangers with those games.

True multiplayer doesn't belong in every game and never will. And that coming from someone who loves multiplayer. So in a way I agree with Cliff and in another I think he is crazy.

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bigrailer19
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 4:08:46 PM

Ugh I was going to love sacred 2, but the fact that only the hosts missions save is a terrible way of implementing co-op. It's fun with friends, yes, but when I jump in a game with a buddy and don't have the missions we do save to my file, it's a waist of time.

Borderlands has the best co-op this generation easily. Everything was done perfectly for every play and party to get the full experience and it be enjoyable!

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Rogueagent01
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 8:53:29 AM

That didn't bother me at all. I played through bronze and silver on my own just to learn the game and get a decent character built. After that I started playing multiplayer and I absolutey loved it. If I wanted to press forward on my game I would just host rather then join anothers game. But when it came down to helping people, farming equipment, or just wanting to play for a little while I would join others games. For me it was perfect and I still play it from time to time.

I did enjoy Borderlands as well I thought they did a great job with it.

Dead Island is the only one that actually disappointed me and it wasn't the co-op itself, that was fine, it was the extremely bad way in which you would join someones game. I have a friend who lives about 30 minutes away from me who just got the game recently and we have only been able to connect a couple of times. We can play any other game with no issues, but Dead Island just has such a bad connection issue that we can never seem to play together and the worst part is the devs never even fixed it. For me I won't buy a sequel if they do one unless the issue is resolved.

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Miggy
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 2:13:56 PM
Reply

He kind of has a point. Now-a-days in order for a game to even be considered great/good it has to have multiplayer. It's what keeps a 9.0 rating from a 9.5. But then again even if the game does have multiplayer, chances are it'll just get compared to another game's multiplayer and get ridiculed for not being similar. It's a double edged sword.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 3:12:25 PM
Reply

Vanquish just needed better voice acting.

Cliffy needs to grow up and take his mood stabilizers. MP is a crutch and Japanese games need a time machine instead.

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Sogi_Otsa
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 4:42:47 PM
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NO! Multiplayer is ruining games

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Highlander
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 5:59:11 PM
Reply

To answer Ben's question at the end of the article;

"But is the lack of multiplayer in games like Vanquish and Shadows of the Damned really the reason the Japanese industry is floundering?"

I'd have to say absolutely not. The lack of multiplayer in such games is not what is hurting the Japanese game industry.

"Is multiplayer so dominant that it can single-handedly dictate sales charts...?"

Yes, multi-player is so sominant that it can dictate sales charts. Hell, CoD is so dominant that it can dictate sales charts. Is it really a coincidence that Sony wants CoD on the Vita? Is it really coincidence that the one major home console platform that lacks CoD has experienced an incredibly sharp drop off in sales and is already being phased out and will be replaced by WiiU later this year?

Multi-player is king right now. And to be honest it's not really just multiplayer, it's PvP shooter multi-player. Co-op based multiplayer without PvP isn't very strong, and head to head multiplayer racing in things like GT5 is great, but let's face it, it's not CoD. Shooters appeal to the lowest common denominator and allow people to vent their frustration and aggression at a virtual person/thing. It's no wonder that at a time of economic stress and high levels of stress in people's lives, shooters are popular. What is depressing is that fewer people than ever seem to be able to use less violent, co-operative games to release their stress and escape the mundane world. A pity that.

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jimmyhandsome
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 9:15:18 PM

I like online FPS because they're fun and provide a fast paced competitive environment that reminds me of competition found in sports. Not because I consider myself the "lowest common denominator" of society that's frustrated and stressed. You could at least try to acknowledge why people like those types of games without sounding so insulting.

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Highlander
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 10:57:51 PM

Sorry, no, your individual case not withstanding the general picture is as I laid it out. That doesn't mean that everyone that plays the game is part of the lowest common denominator any more than it means that anyone that likes a quarter pounder with cheese or Big Mac is a 500 lb stoke waiting to happen.

It's a generalization that covers a suitably large majority of those that do play CoD, and considering the many, many millions that do, there are bound to be more than a few people who will say, "Oi! that's not me you're talking about..." Well, perhaps, but I am very much talking about the other 20+ out of 30 CoD players around you.

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jimmyhandsome
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 8:35:46 AM

Well you made it sound like you were simply talking about people who enjoy online shooters in general as opposed to Call of Duty players.

Last edited by jimmyhandsome on 5/15/2012 8:36:01 AM

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Teddie9
Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 9:29:36 PM
Reply

For a shooter to survive unfortunately it is helpful to have a multiplayer component. Though I find that this discussion is too focused on whether singular or multiplayer experiences are better. The truth is sometimes is works and other times is does not.

In the case of Vanquish I could have imagined some pretty hectic (and totally awesome) multiplayer features, but in no way would multiplayer have been a good idea for Shadows of the Damned.

It was a game that based most the gameplay around the story and Environment - trying to lure you into Suda51's crazy daydreams. Albeit a flawed experience, multiplayer would not have made it any better

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LowKey
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 4:31:47 AM
Reply

How about worrying about the games that they already have out over here but refuse to support? Lv5 and White Knight Chronicles 2 for instance. If you live in Japan and still play WKC 2 you get a few quests almost every other week. But nobody outside Japan gets anything...

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Highlander
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 10:36:34 AM

There's a petition for that. It's got almost as many signatures as the Mass Effect 3 petition did - amazingly enough. I don't know if it will help, but if you play WKC2 at all and are interested in more quests or the Avatar story quests, you could do worse than spend two minutes on signing the petition...

I'll post the link below in a separate reply.

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Highlander
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 10:37:45 AM

Here's the link to the petition (660 signatures so far);

http://www.change.org/petitions/d3-publisher-level-5-inc-sce-japan-studio-release-downloadable-content-dlc-for-white-knight-chronicles-2-na#

Here's a link to the neoseeker thread created about it;

http://www.neoseeker.com/forums/49899/t1732642-petition-created-for-dlc-sign/

Last edited by Highlander on 5/15/2012 10:38:23 AM

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___________
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 5:33:14 AM
Reply

shadows would not suit MP, what are you going to do?
a hoard mode?
NO THANKS!
vanquish should of had MP though thats one game that would of suited it quite well.
but that said im happy japanese games not having MP.
they always release something really unique and different that portrays well to a campaign.
MP im not so sure.
however its becoming harder and harder to justify a 60 pricetag for a game that does not have MP when so many games are offering so much more for the same price.
sadly the industry has turned quantity over quality.
prime example GT5 had to cram in every mode possible, rally, kart, V8 supercars, you name it, EVERYTHING!
and because of that EVERYTHING turned out pretty meh.
as ive said a million times before give me 1 egg cooked by the iron chef, over 1000 eggs cooked by a bum any day of the week!
developers need to focus on doing one thing and doing it really well instead of doing 2 or 3 things but half assed.
BF3 prime example mediocre story and co-op, but good MP.
better off loosing the co-op and have great story and great MP.

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Highlander
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 11:06:24 AM

"as ive said a million times before give me 1 egg cooked by the iron chef, over 1000 eggs cooked by a bum any day of the week!"

You've never said that here before, that I can remember. I's certain that if you've said it a million times, some of those would have been here and I would remember, therefore you haven't said it a million times before!

I demand you post proof or retract!

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