We Have To Spend Money To Spend More Money
May 07, 2008
I'm sorry, Eidos. I'm so sorry. I was all set to commend you on releasing a Doctor Who video game until I learned the game in question is just a card battling game with The Doctor, Martha Jones, and Captain Jack Harkness slapped into it. The game seems to be simply wearing the last of the Time Lords as a coat, dressing up non-Who gameplay with popular elements. I'll let it go though, because while I'm disappointed, this certainly isn't the first example of mediocre shovelware with pretty pictures in it. What I cannot pass is this thought from Kotaku's Mike Fahey regarding the game:
It's licensed drivel really, but sales of this drivel might help determine whether or not we get a real Doctor Who video game somewhere down the line.
At first I agreed with that thought, but the more I considered it, the more disgusted I became. It's not Mike at fault here. He seems to want a real Doctor Who game as I do. My gripe is that I'm growing tired of this idea that if we spend money on material we know to be less than our expectations that it'll somehow give the publisher a push to release the game we actually want somewhere down the line.
I've been crowing a similar idea for years regarding Nintendo and Earthbound, preaching that if we all buy Earthbound if/when it hits the Wii's Virtual Console then it'll somehow prove to Nintendo that there's money to be made in releasing the sequel, Mother 3, outside of Japan. In both cases we're supposed to spend money on something in order to prove that we're willing to spend more money later for the game we actually want. We shouldn't have to prove anything here. Even if Nintendo doesn't act on that pent-up Earthbound demand, the company has to be aware of it. Nintendo may have the Earthbound fans right where they want us: ready to spend money on a game we already bought more than a decade ago just so we can later have the privilege of buying the new game that the company already knows we want. Taking the long way around to releasing Mother 3 allows the company to scoop up all of that extra "See, we really love Earthbound!" money that the fans are just waiting to drop.
Likewise, I can't believe that Eidos theorizes there isn't a demand for a real honest-to-goodness Doctor Who game. For whatever reason, it must not be cost effective to create one at this time. Instead we're getting this card battle game which must have a better projected financial return compared to developing an actual adventure title. Spending money on this game that we don't really want only proves to Eidos that we'll spend money on games that we don't really want. Worse yet, it'll lead to card battling sequels that we also don't really want instead of the actual real Doctor Who game that we do. As much as I hate to turn against The Doctor, I'd say that if you're not a fan of card battle games, let this one go. Don't fall into the trap of paying money just to prove that you're willing to pay more money.