Gamers following the development of Sony’s Super Smash Bros-inspired title, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, have been (for the most part) split down the middle. Some fans are excited to see their favorite Sony brand characters injected into Nintendo’s extremely popular Smash Bros format – while others have referred to the upcoming brawler as a “clone” from day one.
Apparently, Bayonetta designer, Hideki Kamiya, is in the latter camp – asserting that PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is “just a rip-off” as well as calling out SuperBot Entertainment and Sony for “throw[ing] morals away.” However, given a vocal group of supportive gamers, is it a bad thing for Sony to simply give perspective buyers what they want?
Kamiya kicked-off the debate by responding to a fan who asked if gamers might see Viewtiful Joe in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, the developer said, “Ask Capcom.” Though, when the Twitter user rephrased the question, “Would you like to see him in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale?” Kamiya was more candid with his feelings:
“No. I don’t like that game.”
Pressed by the community to elaborate, Kamiya went on to say that the game is “Just a rip-off” – before freely admitting that he’s never even played PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
“No way. RT @Jumbadabum Cool, you played it? @PG_kamiya: No. I don’t like that game.”
Developers, just like fans, are entitled to their own opinion on games. There has been, without question, a lot of PlayStation players who wanted to see Sony characters in a similar offering for the PS3 – so, in this case, is it a bad thing to give the people what they want? Unsurprisingly, Kamiya didn’t side with SuperBot’s Super Smash Bros. attempt.
Responding to another Tweet from the same fan, who argued that Sony was merely “listening to fans,” the game designer went on to accuse PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale developers of having no morals.
“And throw morals away. Great. RT @Jumbadabum Fans asked for a PS Smash. Listening to fans + following a successful series sounds good.”
Whether you’re excited for the game or not, there’s reason to wonder if SuperBot and Sony are clinging too close to the Super Smash Bros. format (read our PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale E3 preview) – as, at least in terms of what we’ve played, the game presents a weird mix of (arguably) copy-and-pasted ideas along with new (and less enjoyable) iterations on the format. As a result, the title is stuck in a weird middle ground where it’s too close to Smash Bros. to avoid comparisons – while at the same time not fresh enough to improve upon the format.
Which leads to a much bigger, and more interesting, question: where is the line between giving the people what they want and ripping-off an established franchise? Obviously, Kamiya has a strong opinion and it’s easy to see where he’s coming from (given the game’s obvious similarities) but what if the “rip-off” actually turns out to be just as fun as Smash Bros.? While there’s plenty of innovation in the video game industry, it’s not like the market isn’t full of titles that borrow heavily – albeit not quite as obviously as PlayStation All-Stars.
Many fans will be able to forgive (and maybe even applaud) SuperBot for their no-holds barred iteration of the Super Smash Bros. formula; however, if the gameplay isn’t as fun, then the developers will have set themselves up for heated backlash. Given the amount of ideas that are borrowed coupled with the additional time the developers have been allowed to make improvements (not just swap in their characters and stages), it’d be extremely disappointing if they can’t, at the very least, match the enjoyment of the original concept.
Ultimately, the jury is still out on PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, even if Kamiya has made up his mind, given that there are still a number of characters and modes yet to be revealed by Sony. That said, is giving players what they asked for a bad thing? What if a game developer could “rip-off” a successful series and provide players with an even better experience?
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale as well as other movie, TV, and gaming news.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale releases October 23, 2012 for PS3.