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Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: If you were the boss of your favourite games company
Star Wars: Battlefront II – what would you have done about it?

Readers discuss what they’d do if they were suddenly the CEO of a major video games publisher, from Nintendo to Ubisoft.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic asked what would you do if you were in charge of a console manufacturer like Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo; a third party publisher like EA or Activision; or a developer like Naughty Dog or Bungie. What would you do in terms of commissioning new games, working on hardware, and dealing with issues like loot boxes and games as a service?

Thanks to their Labo announcement in the middle week almost half the responses we got in were about Nintendo, but we also got plenty of people wanting to stop EA from selling loot boxes or forcing Telltale to invest in some new technology.

Are you gonna go my way

I like probably a lot of readers would like to become EA. The first thing I would do would be to completely rework the progression and loot box system in Star Wars: Battlefront II. If I couldn’t remove them at least make them cosmetic-only. Honestly, at this point I think they may just need to incinerate this version, take the base assets, and make Battlefront III without the loot box progression or grinding to buy heroes.

My second act would be to save Anthem from the same predatory microtransactions that plague Battlefront II, before it’s too late. Microtransactions don’t need to be absent from the game, but they have to take the Warframe approach where nearly everything is available in game and they don’t pressure you into buying anything if you don’t want to.

If they go the more Destiny route, with a shallow initial game needing DLC to flesh it out and more loot boxes, it’s doomed to failure. I sure hope EA goes the route I would with this game, though I have a lot of doubts they will. I fear BioWare will pay the cost and possible even go the way of Visceral Games.
KeeganatorPrime (PSN ID)

One exception

I wish I was in charge of Konami. Heck, I wish there was a Konami to be in charge of, the way they are nowadays. First thing I’d do is sack whoever got rid of Kojima, although I don’t think it’s worth even pretending that he could ever be brought back. I’d then commission From Software to make a new Castlevania and Epic Games to make a new Contra in the style of Gears Of War.

For a new Silent Hill I’d draft in Amnesia: The Dark Descent makers Frictional Games, and Treasure or Platinum for a new Gradius. I’d try to get others to pitch in ideas for a new Bomberman, Suikoden, and Sparkster. Konami have got a ton of great franchises they’re not using, including all Hudson’s stuff, and I’m sure there’s plenty of indie developers and the like who would come up with ideas for working on them.

What I wouldn’t do though, is try and continue Metal Gear (or Zone Of The Enders). I just don’t see the point without Kojima and it just goes to show how badly Konami are messing things up at the moment that that’s the one they’re trying to continue. Never mind me, my mum could run the company better than them.

Surprise me

I’d make sure Nintendo had plenty of new games for the lifetime of the Switch, maybe giving some of their younger developers free reign over lower-budget indie-ish games of their choice. But with a bit of guidance from the likes of Miyamoto who have the benefit of experience.

But then they announced their Labo toys and I realised I like the surprises too much, I’d much rather be a customer.

I can’t be the only full- grown adult who’s excited about these things. Given the popularity of Lego and colouring in books and well, video games amongst adults I don’t think I am.

Even if they are just novelties, novelties are fun! If you spend two hours building a piano and one hour playing with it – that’s a really memorable and satisfying three hours! With four more such toys in the pack that could certainly work out being good value for money.

Gone a bit off-topic there…
PS: I work with children and can definitely see that some children would destroy the things in minutes and other children would relish sitting constructing the thing, spend ages colouring it in then get the most out of playing with it and look after their creations.

Root of the problem

The first company that came to mind for this is Bungie, but as upset as I am with them lately I honestly don’t know what to really suggest. They’re obviously in knee deep with Activision, with no way out for at least the next sequel.

I’d like to blame all the lies and secrecy on Activision but I honestly doubt it’s them. I can’t see some bean counter from Activision wandering around their offices telling them to hide secret rules about how the game works. Emphasise microtransactions sure, but not in the pointlessly underhand way they’ve been doing.

Or maybe they do, I don’t know. The end result is I’d get Bungie to severe all times, move on from Destiny, and become a proper indie developer. I think they got too addicted to working on big budget mega games. They need to get back to their roots and make something that relies on gameplay, not behavioural scientists.

The plan

Given the chance to hold the reigns at Nintendo for 2018 there would be a few things I’d do.

Firstly, I’d ensure that Metroid Prime 4 was given a definite release of late autumn subject to no major issues and giving the developer all the resources they need to achieve this. Throughout the rest of the year some strategically-placed releases of new games and enhanced Wii U games which most people didn’t get to play. I’m thinking Captain Toad, Super Smash Bros. and we are already getting Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. These, along with the likes of Bayonetta 3, Wolfenstein II, and Dark Souls would give a good spread of releases over the year.

I’d also ensure the eShop is still offering a good selection of indie games on a regular basis and actively engaging with developers to keep their support.

Grand Theft Auto V would be the big Xmas 2018 release on the Switch and would be one of the first games to use the extra capacity game cards Nintendo have been slow to introduce.

Looking at the sales results for the 3DS more games have to be released for this year, but in all honesty I doubt this would happen as the games aren’t in development and I imagine the sales results were a bit of a surprise for Nintendo.

I would also get the Virtual Console up and running ASAP and allow gamers transfer their previous purchases over to their current console. After all, it is hardly fair to have to keep paying for the same thing over and over again!

The 2018 Nintendo Classic Mini would be the original Game Boy, it would be pre-loaded with games, have a backlight as an option; as well as a cartridge slot to allow you to play your original cartridges. It would obviously have Monster Max as one of the inbuilt games!

Finally I would promote the Labo range by getting It into schools, science museums and ‘pop-up’ road shows. Make some education-specific packs to engage children with their education tied to subjects in the curriculum. Get them excited about creating something which they can see as a tangible item.

Labo feels like the right product, made of the right materials, with a lot of potential opportunities which has come to the market at the right time. Who says Nintendo only has to be about video games!

Logical move

If I were to be put in charge of one of the biggest game companies to ever exist, what is the first thing I would do? We’ve just had one of our finest years, critically and commercially. Now the world is looking to us to see how we are gonna follow it up.

Now it might seem like he obvious answer but… flat-pack, DIY cardboard peripherals, of course! Oh, wait…

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Knock their heads together

I would like to be in charge of Capcom. Then I would have them merge with Sega. Heh, heh. I know that’s cheating but hear me out: the industry is so bad at preserving its legacy. And Capcom and Sega have been very bad with neglecting theirs.

Why was it that a Power Stone collection only appeared on the PSP? Disgracefully lazy. Bring them over to current consoles, including the Switch, yesterday. And the Rival Schools series. Seriously, I still vastly prefer Power Stone 2 to anything that Super Smash Bros. has yet done. And that’s because it’s 3D and knows how to fully utilise all three of those dimensions. And there is literally nothing crazier and more charismatic than Rival Schools 2: Project Justice. Power Stone 2 and Rival Schools 2 also feature some of the very best soundtracks of their genre too. Oh, and let’s throw our American cousins a bone and put out a Mega Man collection for the current consoles as well.

Sequels wouldn’t go amiss, either. Assuming the ports did good business. I’m not sure whether or not Power Stone 3 should feature an item creation mode again. The previous one was so complete – but it was also a reason to keep coming back to it.

Sega need to follow suit. Bring Jet Set Radio HD over. Then give us the sequel, too. Skies Of Arcadia and the Shenmue series should not be left to languish either. Skies is getting rare and expensive now. And I fear it will, if it hasn’t already, become victim of its fan hype – like Final Fantasy VII – if it’s not more readily available. Maybe turn down the frequency of those random battles while they’re at it.

And what about poor, old Panzer Dragoon Saga? Am I really going to have to fork out £400 or £500 for the privilege of trying it? I hear the code for it has gone missing, but the game still physically exists, right? Can it not be reverse-engineered? Copied out again or something? You’re quite right, I don’t have any experience of games development – but there must be a way.

Oh, and it must be plainly obvious that Sonic Team do not deserve that name. Hire Christian Whitehead and Headcanon Games full time and give them the title. I like to think that the bizarre notion of putting out two Sonic games in one year was some sort of test anyway. It’s clear that the ‘official’ Sonic Team have failed. And they have failed us too many times. Sorry to sound like Mr Montgomery Burns there, but… release the hounds, Smithers!

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