Reviewers Were not Paid off for DmC: Fanbase Insanity

DmC is the reboot of the Devil May Cry series and it comes out today. Since, Devil May Cry is one of the premier action series on the market, it has accrued a pretty big fanbase. Unfortunately, reboots and fanbases rarely ever get along unless the reboot is bringing the game back to its roots. To put it mildly, there is a very unhappy chunk of the fanbase, which has been unhappy since the original reveal that showed a younger, black-hiared, “emo” Dante, who is the lead of the franchise for those of you who don’t know. This reboot has really fractured the Devil May Cry franchise, whose biggest divisive point up until the announcement of this game was whether Devil May Cry 3 was better than Devil May Cry 1 or whether or not Devil May Cry 4 was any good. In my demo impressions, I felt that DmC had the potential to be a great game, but it had an equal potential to fall flat on its face. It seems that the professional reviewers seem to think that the game excels and it has an 86 on Metacritic for both platforms. This is what brings me to today’s post. Remember that fractured fanbase I was referring to? Well a great deal of the people who were alienated by the game are accusing these professional reviewers of being paid off by Capcom or Ninja Theory to cover up the game’s mediocrity. This is just one of many groundless claims brought forth by a fanbase gone insane. So today, we’re going to be tackling why this is a garbage argument as well as tiptoeing into fanbase analysis.

What some people see when they look at the new Dante
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Let’s start first by addressing the credibility of professional review sites. If you’ve ever seen an post about an IGN score that someone didn’t like, you have undoubtably heard ‘you can’t spell ignorant without IGN’. This is pretty much the opinion of fans who disagree with reviewers, and the opposite is true. When a reviewer matches your opinion, they become credible. I’ll get onto the fickleness of gamers another time, but the point is that, for the most part, professional reviewers are not, in fact, held in poor esteem by the public. Actually, most gamers are completely swayed to buy or skip a game based on a handful of sites. This gives these sites a huge amount of power in the gaming industry, and it’s where the conspiracy theorists come in. Truthfully, sometimes professional sites are influenced by outside forces such as publishers. The biggest example I can is the Kane and Lynch Gamespot scandal, where one of Gamespot’s senior staff members was fired due to pressure from the publisher after giving Kane and Lynch a bad review. This kind of thing happens, but it is considerably rarer than people think. For the most part, professional reviewers are just that: professional. That doesn’t mean that every review can be tailored to you personally, as that’s impossible, but most reviewers try to accurately assess the game they are reviewing. So when an allegation comes that reviewers were paid off, there had better be some proof and not just rampant speculation from people who haven’t played the game, or have a stake in the game being poorly received.

Oh Kane and Lynch, you make everything worse, even morality.
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Now let’s go through the allegation of paid off reviews from a logical standpoint. Firstly, who is paying off the reviewers? Is it Ninja Theory? It seems unlikely that the studio would have the resources to bribe so many journalists. Maybe it’s Capcom? At least Capcom has the resources to pull off widespread bribery, but why would they? Capcom has never been that obsessed with review scores and many of its franchises don’t habitually receive scores in the 8s or higher. They didn’t seem too concerned with Resident Evil 6, which is part of one of their flagship series, received disappointing reviews. So why would they suddenly care about DmC, a reboot of a niche series, which has never depended upon critical success to move units? People have a much easier time alleging bribery for games like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto, where the game is so popular that a swath of bad reviews might actually significantly affect sales. Then there’s the fact that DmC hasn’t been getting amazing scores. To be sure, DmC has gotten some great ones, but it hasn’t been getting the huge amounts of 9s and 10s, which are usually associated with bribery accusations.

Even with all the day 1 DLC, this is probably not an accurate representation of Capcom
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Of course the past two paragraphs were meaningless. There aren’t real bribery accusations being thrown around. These allegations exist purely because of the fractured fanbase and for no other reason. You see, because of the change up in style and appearance there is a portion of the fanbase who has wanted this game to fail since the very first reveal and no amount of evidence will persuade them that they’re wrong. I’ve seen this happen with many other franchises, most notably the Final Fantasy franchise, which has the worst fanbase in existence. The logic for wanting the game to fail is if the game fails, then Capcom will learn their lesson and start making the games I want. This is really bad logic. The fact of the matter is, if the game fails miserably, there is a much higher chance of killing the series completely than for a developer/publisher to step back and rework the game, especially if it’s always been a niche franchise. If that happens, nobody wins; although, it can be argued that it saves the franchise from being dragged though the mud.

To be fair, Devil May Cry is no stranger to the mud.
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The problem with fanbases when they get so attached is their lack of flexibility. Change is seen a a major negative unless it is incredibly slow and incremental. This is not a good thing. Series should be allowed to evolve and grow over time. It is the only way to bring in new blood effectively, but it also has the effect of angering fans. Sometimes developers drop the ball and fans should be upset, but it should only be in response to some sort of bad game. In this case, you’ve had fans who have single-mindedly hated the game from the very beginning. It didn’t matter if the game was a revolutionary masterpiece or not, as long as they changed Dante, it was all over. This is the epitome of the rigid fanbase. I must note that I’m not saying that anyone should be obligated to like this game or even that this game is good, but fans who actively desire a game to fail because of petty reasons such as aesthetics are horrible. There are plenty of good reasons for not liking a game, but the protection of your fandom is not one of them. If you can’t accept any form of change, then there is a problem.

Dante wants to show you his rigid fanbase… sorry.
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From what I’ve played, DmC is a different game than the core Devil May Cry games. I understand why certain fans are alienated and I understand the frustration that comes from that alienation. It is easy to say that people should just accept change, but it is much harder to actually do it. However, anger and frustration shouldn’t be taken out on developers who ended up making a good game. Even if it isn’t to your taste, and you see it as a betrayal, it is possible to acknowledge that a game is good. The problem I mentioned at the end of the last paragraph isn’t that everyone should like all games and that your opinion is garbage. No. The problem is that actively wanting a game to fail is a pretty evil thing, especially when it has been generally acknowledged to be of quality. Fandom has a way of clouding people’s judgment, and polarizing people.

Yeah, this is obnoxious as hell, but then again, Dante’s an obnoxious guy.
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Listen, in the end nobody can tell a person how they should feel about a situation. If DmC’s departure from Devil May Cry actually rocks you to your core, then fine. However, is it just the fandom talking and did you ever even consider that the game could be good? The vast majority of people form their opinions and reform their opinions as new information comes in, but sometimes, especially in fandom, people just make their opinion and nothing will change it for better or for worse. This wouldn’t be an issue, except, this level of fan also has issues keeping quiet, and that’s why the message boards are swimming with completely baseless accusations of bribery. Opinions aren’t the problem. Insane fanbases are.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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One thought on “Reviewers Were not Paid off for DmC: Fanbase Insanity

  1. Then what is the reason for their scores of a really bad game? Most players gave it at most a 7 and sales show this. But most reviewers gave it 9. The game has a weak story bad acting and is way too easy. Also bayonetta was a weak game from the pov of enemies and especially bosses but at least the first one got a good story. But well what can one expect from console peasants?

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