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Author Topic: The Merged Final Fantasy XIII-2 Thread  (Read 102653 times)
Hidoshi
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« Reply #660 on: November 30, 2011, 01:50:48 AM »

No, it's not. You can qualify what you like by acquiring a sense of taste. Marketing creates an image for a company, and in the world of consumer entertainment, that image is attached to cherished memories and the promise of a good time. But a consumer [including professional critics]  has an unspoken responsibility to other consumers and the industry; to give critical feedback so that the industry can improve its products.

Acquiring that sense of taste comes from consuming a variety of products, paying attention to strengths and flaws, and discussing the product both with themselves and with others independent of manufacturer influence. But that rarely happens now. Companies take steps to ensure their influence is felt at every level, and as constantly as possible. That's Marketing 101's logical trend. That's why consumer ignorance is at an all-time high, despite movements which encourage (and wind up influencing) a percentage of consumers to become informed.

With the people who've been at the helm of FFXIII, expecting XIII-2 to be any good would be like expecting a person who was supposed to make a beautiful fresco and returned with a stick figure in hand, to make a fresco the second time they were asked. You wouldn't trust a friend nor a contractor who fouled up their delivery so badly to get it right the next time, so why should anyone trust the people involved in FFXIII?
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« Reply #661 on: November 30, 2011, 02:00:22 AM »

Your implication that anyone who thinks FFXIII is a good, enjoyable game is 'uneducated' and 'uninformed' comes off as condescending at best and narcissistic at worst, especially with the underlying subtext (that being your taste is right while anyone who diverges from it is wrong). Your entire argument hinges on the assumption that FFXIII and FFX are, objectively, not good games, which cannot be proven empirically. That you make your own standard the control is the most ridiculous and egregious bias I have ever seen in any discourse.

I jumped on the FFXIII hate wagon early on, but I never begrudged anyone the right to liking it or thinking it's a good game, and I'm not about to put my personal standards and taste on a pedestal. The developers said they're taking fan feedback to improve the next game; fine, we'll see how that goes. You say you think it'll suck; fine, we'll see how that goes. Pulling out marketing 101 or whatever to try and prove that it'll suck is utter bullshit, and I'm boggled at this argument. It's insane. I don't even understand your reasoning here.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2011, 02:02:29 AM by Leyviur » Logged

Hidoshi
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« Reply #662 on: November 30, 2011, 02:08:45 AM »

Okay then, so how DO you explain the fact that FFXIII-2 is so eagerly awaited by the FF fanbase despite it being an incredibly sloppy, amateurish game? It has TONS to do with marketing and it's effect on the consumer. It's why Xenosaga planned out its entire cast and aesthetic, it's marketing just wasn't as brand-powerful as FF's.

I'm not saying my standard is right for everyone, nor that it should be followed. What I AM pissed off at is the utter tastelessness we as consumers can exemplify when we anticipate products from untrustworthy manufacturers. Attachment to a brand name can cloud WAY too much of a person's judgement.

Liking something is completely legitimate, but it shouldn't be based on flat reactions. If there's no brainpower going into WHY, then you're acting on blind faith in your own pleasures; you're essentially liking something in an automatic fashion. 
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« Reply #663 on: November 30, 2011, 02:15:09 AM »

Maybe they just all liked FFXIII enough that FFXIII-2 excites them. If your tastes differ from the masses then it just differs, there is no overarching sheep postulate or far-reaching conspiracy. Some people whine about Modern Warfare 3 getting more attention than it deserves but that doesn't change the fact that it's a good or even great game to many people. Just because you think FFXIII sucks (and trust me, I do too) doesn't change the fact that many more disagree.

The why of liking something is purely subjective. You can say anything and I can respond with "that's just stupid, your taste sucks," which is why this marketing hoo-hah just doesn't work. It's little more than a rage comic condemning the pointless 'idiocy of the masses' in prose form.
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« Reply #664 on: November 30, 2011, 02:24:11 AM »

Okay then, so how DO you explain the fact that FFXIII-2 is so eagerly awaited by the FF fanbase despite it being an incredibly sloppy, amateurish game?

Well let us at least play it I guess. Trade demos and brief clips aside...
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Hidoshi
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« Reply #665 on: November 30, 2011, 02:58:31 AM »

TL;DR Summary

Basically, marketing does have immense effect on our personal choices, not because of the individual's own express faults, but because without leadership or social contract, we are subject to social fears and react based on them. And marketing is very closely monitored by large corporations and advertising firms. I should know, I've worked in several.

* * *

The subjectivity argument only goes so far dude. Yes, taste is partially subjective as far as the practical use of that word goes, but you can still acquire objective forms of inquiry and data. The first line of defence a person has towards herd instincts is knowledge and the will to express it. Because subjectivity is so complex, you can't use it as a blanket statement. You also can't assume that marketing has nothing to do with it. How often does a psyche test come back positive that marketing has an effect on buyer decisions? Too often. It's why there's a philosophy of marketing, why some marketing helps a product skyrocket, while other forms can make it plummet. Assuming that marketing has no effect on consumer decisions is just plain ignorant.

Marketing has one tremendous effect, and it isn't on the individual. It's on the mass. Marketing, done right, sounds like popular opinion, and we respond instinctively to that. As a result, even people who disagree with something often won't voice their complaint if they think they're alone. They also won't take action because of the bystander effect. The task of marketing (and this is from having worked in advertising at Proctor & Gamble) is not to tell the customer what to buy, but to influence what they think their friends like.

Consider this: When Crest first began marketing toothpaste, their original ad was to have a kid rush in, disturb his mother's dinner party, and hold up the Crest tube saying "Hey Ma, no cavities!". The ad was a disastrous flop, and Crest almost didn't make it. They pulled in a marketing specialist who retooled the ad. It ran again, eight months later (the inside limit on public memory), with two important changes. First, the kid came in excited, but waited on his mother to finish her chat with her friends, before uttering a slightly changed tagline: "Look ma, no cavities!"

Colgate had, prior to this, a 70% market share. Crest, after two months of running that ad, went from less than 1% to nearly 30%. Colgate lost their stranglehold, and Crest has been a fierce competitor ever since.

The ad showed an understanding of two things. One, marketing has to interact with social mores and expectations. Not fulfill, but interact. In this case, the ad worked better because it appealed to a sense of parental hierarchy. Secondly, it made the tagline more effective by using a "call to action", which coupled a physical quality with the product.

Now, that was back in the 50s, and they retooled this ad time and again through Benton & Bowles advertising, the people they had contracted from. It built their brand up until that kind of ad became pass.

Advertising has grown far more sophisticated since then. Marketing has used viral methods to get inside just about every corner of society, from the way we express ourselves in everyday language (look at how Kleenex is often used as a name-replacement for "tissue"), to the way we think about certain forms of media (music is considered a cheap, consumable nugget as opposed to a long art form as it was prior to the 1920s).

If you don't think marketing has anything to do with it, let's look at how the industry is couched. The "mo" phenomenon has been growing stronger and stronger, and is frequently pushed. Mo is, in itself, a marketing angle, because it appeals instinctively to certain masculine (though not necessarily male) ideas about sexuality, protectiveness, and vulnerability. Series which contain mo are wildly popular with a large number of consumers, despite having throwaway plots and easily cloned characters. Mo was extracted as an idea from research the anime industry had done into the lolita idea, and sexual tastes inherent in that small portion of the fanbase.

In that time, there's been a steady build in mo, starting innocently enough with an influx of female "types", testing the waters to see which ones appealed to which crowd more. Heck, Kyoto Animation even built a series mocking and representing the issue in Lucky Star. Once mo had been tested, they then began to make mo more and more explicitly sexual and marketed, with explicit model sculpts, artbooks, and much more flooding the marketing once it was widely acceptable for any geek to like mo.

The point was to push that acceptability by testing reaction and pressing the issue slowly, until at last it was accepted.

The same thing occurred in Square-Enix's own products. FFX was marketed in a far, far different way than any of its predecessors. Instead of building a classic fantasy with Shakespearean and/or Greek tragicomedic trappings, they decided that doing market research on the youth was more to their advantage. And fairly so. When you begin this kind of process, you react to what's available. But somewhere along the line, the company also sacrificed the essence of the series past. Now, that was clearly intentional; all of the press releases, interviews, and other media said that rather explicitly. Once finished with FFIX and hailing the past, X was going to look to the future, and not just thematically.

They went too far with FFX-2, however, because general social feeling wasn't that strong towards the brand they were pushing. Yet if you look at how FFXIII played out, it has a lot of the same directorial and production cues used in FFX-2. From the way characters move to large parts of the aesthetic direction (lots of frilly weapons, curving patterns on clothes, and immaculately complexioned teenagers), the only thing really original in FFXIII was Sahz, and even he didn't have a huge part in the overall story. Why? Because the FF team is looking at younger teenagers as their most influenced group. Why did FFXII meet with such split opinion? Because we had been distanced to its style of storytelling and aesthetic. If it had come out in the PSX era, or even the early PS2 era, it would have been fine. But marketing and social trends had changed. Its characters and story are no worse than those found in FFXIII (I would go as far to say they're worlds better), but fewer people responded to them because of affiliation between expectation and brand.

It's purely magical thinking to believe that tastes are just tastes, independent of marketing. I'm not suggesting a far-reaching conspiracy; these companies don't all talk to each other to achieve the common goal of brainwashing the public -- but they do, at a certain level of corporation -- share a very strong tradition in marketing. People have natural weaknesses to certain instinctual pressures. It does tie in with the postulate that a person is smart, and people are stupid. But I would qualify it that people aren't really stupid. They react to their social fears when no social contract of explicit behaviour is provided, or no leader is present. In the end, it's why we practice so much escapism, because of how complicated that is to deal with.

Okay then, so how DO you explain the fact that FFXIII-2 is so eagerly awaited by the FF fanbase despite it being an incredibly sloppy, amateurish game?

Well let us at least play it I guess. Trade demos and brief clips aside...

I, sir, will not stop you. And when the game is released, I fully expect people to enjoy it. Buyer's remorse generally only sets in far, far later, and the public is slow to acknowledge poor choices. Look at James Cameron's Avatar. Hailed as a masterpiece of cinema by the general public at release (even by a large portion of critics), but objectively a shallow, hackneyed piece of eye candy. Whether or not you liked it I hope is mitigated by your experience with movies and the value you place on good storytelling and cinema.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2011, 03:01:11 AM by Hidoshi » Logged
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« Reply #666 on: November 30, 2011, 03:06:08 AM »

People used to pay top dollar for pet rocks.
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cj_iwakura
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« Reply #667 on: November 30, 2011, 11:28:29 AM »

So uh, as part of the 5% who liked FF13, WTF happened to Serah and Snow's relationship? It's like they're ruining everything I liked about 13's plot and cast.
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« Reply #668 on: November 30, 2011, 11:40:39 AM »

@Hidoshi
Well, regardless of what was all that geared to I will personally thank you for the great read. I liked your take on the subjective view of things and objective.

Going a little of of wha you said but let's take FFX for example. Even it being somewhat different from the previous games people, for the most part, liked it a lot, so what I can't see is what could others have done so wrong to garner some hate.

I personally can find stuff I didn't like in all FFs past X, some having more things, some less, but in all I think they were at least good.

I can't say I completely agree with the "trend" argument but I can see the logic behind it.
One example I can think of is that I didn't like much XII because it had way too much grind, almost to the point of an MMO. A friend of mine on the other hand, complained that the spells were useless and looked like crap.
We both liked a lot VII and VIII but it wasn't the way companies were pushing things that made us have complains about the game, it was just some design choices that bothered us way too much.
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« Reply #669 on: November 30, 2011, 03:53:27 PM »

SE has been updating the soundtrack samples on the official site and it sounds like it might be even better than the first, lots of fantastic music.
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« Reply #670 on: November 30, 2011, 04:52:06 PM »

That's not exactly hard.

But you're right, the music sounds a lot better, seems like Hamauzu just needed to get into the swing of things. Hope the music will get better in the other tracks too.
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« Reply #671 on: November 30, 2011, 06:42:49 PM »

13's OST was great, though.
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« Reply #672 on: November 30, 2011, 06:49:25 PM »

13's OST was great, though.
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« Reply #673 on: November 30, 2011, 07:01:06 PM »

I dunno, it just seemed really, really generic to me. The only tracked I liked is the boss theme and the only ones I remember are the battle themes, and I played the game for 80 hours.
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« Reply #674 on: November 30, 2011, 07:21:35 PM »

I dunno, it just seemed really, really generic to me. The only tracked I liked is the boss theme and the only ones I remember are the battle themes, and I played the game for 80 hours.

I dunno... to make *every*track*gold* is a damned near impossible thing to do on OSTs even 1 or 2 CDs long -- this one spans 4.

Sometimes you're going to get crappy event themes meant to sound horrific to express the feeling of the even going on.  Some of the locations could have been a bit better, but some are just as amazing (Fang/Vanille's snowy town area, forgot what it's called..whatev, this one).  The character themes are quite strong, and the battles are really exciting.  Hell, some Zelda and FF tracks suck, but it doesn't mean the whole of it is bad.

Obviously, nothing will get in the way of personal preference.  I don't know if I've bragged enough here how much I like Motoi Sakuraba, the one in the same who inspired "hate" in a lot of others.
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