as a Disgaea fan that knows what the series is capable of, as well as its faults and bad decisions,
here is my opinions about the situation and perhaps some fans will agree, but of course this
is not intended for zealots that just want more of the same and think Disgaea is fine as is.
I will say Disgaea is not fine as is, and it's formula is holding it back from greater things.
It shouldn't change genre, but there are lot of things it should change and improve to make itself
better and be more of a must play for more people out there.
Disgaea could be much more to more people, even fans that happen to like it but dislike things
about it that generally keep them from giving it the highest grade/score/interest.
In general, before the situation gets worse for the franchise and NIS, I share my opinions
here for fans that care and may agree on at least some points.
though I think everyone can agree that a franchise isolating itself to just a certain niche or
fanbase, isn't going to make it improve and ascend to greater levels of qualities, entertainment
and replay value.
.NIS is still not thinking about catering to MORE people outside of their small spectrum
I mean seriously, Disgaea can be so much MORE to MORE people if it was designed for more tastes.
I mean just look at Disgaea 5, it's another example of just caring about male MC, and they don't care
to add female MC option. They haven't even learned from Fire Emblem Awakening, which revolutionized
itself allowing player to create their own character and they team up with the other MC, so you have
the freedom of custom player MC, alongside a premade/prescripted MC with their own personality/goals.
(of course I didn't agree with Chrom being on the world map, should be the custom Robin, but devs should
leave it up to the players how they want to experience the content.)
So yes , the problem is not so much about competing with Bloodborne, as much as it as it is Disgaea not
opening itself to more tastes.
Bloodborne is going to be successful not only because of its Co-op, PVP, graphics and gameplay,
but also because the fact it allows players to be whatever they want (any gender, any class, custom appearance, etc.) directly allowing the players to shape their own personal identity and that in turn
also makes the whole story, gameplay and goals much more profound and enhances more imagination
and creative immersion that premade MCs can't provide. With premade MCs it's the MC's thoughts
vs. the player's thoughts. Whereas with player created MC, the player can literally be their own MC.
Here are some things Disgaea, all this time, should have fixed and expanded upon:
1. make custom created player MC a standard (player can choose any of classes, at least demon classes to be, and between battles can transmogrify to any class they choose). the player MC could be "mute", but still can interact with the main cast and have relationships (even Fire Emblem Awakening
is one example how player MC can matter as much as premade MC.)
2. making another MC the staple personality driven MC that the player teams up with,the player is the vassal of said MC. This gives the Disgaea game the best of both worlds. And if player doesn't care for
custom MC, there can be option for player to switch to any of the main cast as the "MC" of their playthrough.
3. design the story between player custom MC and premade MC.
You can still have a character driven Disgaea story, without force feeding a premade MC on the player.
So the player has more creative freedom, while set goals with what the main cast is doing. This format has helped lots of games be experienced
in more personal and interesting ways, instead of the shallow "premade MC is the center of the universe"
4. improve the endgame, reduce the grind (making leveling faster/make the rewards come sooner). Admit it, Disgaea's grinding is too much for most people,
and most people quit before they experience all the content. Even grinding to the max has little incentive
because there is too few end game content worth doing and you could end up overpowering the strongest
enemies/battles in the whole game, so what's the point if grinding eliminates the challenge?
5. remove the censorship. It was a stupid move recoloring certain classes due to sexual themes.
Disgaea had been more and more conservative and insecure. You can see that from examples like
Disgaea 1 Succubus compared to Disgaea 4's default Succubus. It's unnecessary censorship, and the
grind just to unlock recoloring option, is stupid and unnecessary hurdle to remove the censorship.
Seriously, they had to go as far as recoloring skin for a anime looking game that doesn't show as
much skin as DOA games?
6. add dedicated jump in, jump out co-op. Well even though console can only handle like 4-6 controllers
at once, a toggable option to assign each character/unit to a specific controller, would make Disgaea more
family friendly, at least locally. The more players even a SRPG supports, the more incentives groups of people would get it. If they design and market the co-op well, it could add more dimension to experiencing
Disgaea games. And it is optional, so it takes nothing away from solo players. A well implemented co-op (at least 4 players), would increase Disgaea's fun factor for players that like that feature. plus each
extra player could create/customize and recolor their own custom created MC that could appear in the
story scenes as well (even if it's only to observe).
There a lots of games that greatly benefitted from co-op. And while those games could have still been great being single player only, a developer has to be a short sighted fool to not see the ways co-op makes things BETTER. And if they get to the point of adding online co-op (with timers so online players don't idle too long during their turn), that would enhance things more. And especially something much simpler and easier
to organize like SRPG, co-op is one of the easiest things to add as an option. Heck even SMB1 has it.
7. Reform the gameplay. In general, Disgaea takes too long to be awesome. You grind your way
to the early levels, and the skills usually start out underwhelming. Every single skill should be epic
and get more epic from there. It's a long subject, but Disgaea could still be Disgaea and SRPG, but
it has to make things more awesome instead of being this steep mountain where it's like, it doesn't
feel as empowering as it should be. Also some of the combat gimmicks Disgaea could probably do without,
since some of it is too goofy and makes combat perhaps too overwhelming or puzzle like. Overall
Disgaea is in some ways to excessive in some areas and too lacking in others, that's why the combat in
general is not as optimal as it coul dbe.
8. Add more weight to the story battles and events. Disgaea 5 is getting more dark and perhaps
more epic in some ways, but Disgaea has that habit of falling on its face. On one side, it's a parody,
and on the other side, it wants to be taken seriously enough to matter. This in turn ends up watering
down the conflicts to the point where to players, it doesn't seem like it matters much, the only
point to fight is really to get to the next cutscene mostly.
9. Make progression matter more. Disgaea should have a more hands on conquest type of system,
something that really makes each victory count more than just higher levels and better loot.
This is a broad subject, and I know my post will probably be ignored and unread by the key
NIS employees that decide the direction of Disgaea and the company as a whole. but I think
all fans now can see that NIS really is lost. They really are too comfortable with how they
shape Disgaea when it could be SO MUCH MORE, while still being within their budget and resources.
10. Make Disgaea games ALWAYS fun . This is a complex subject that is easy to understand
and also easy to misinterpret. but the previous subjects are some key elements that when done right,
can benefit Disgaea and its charisma as a whole in the industry. It's just a shame that NIS all this time
really only been thinking about a specific fanbase and small spectrum of tastes, especially a franchise
that is filled with so much diversity and infinite potential, the Disgaea series overall game design has
been for the most part too restrictive, narrow minded, and automated.
11. add fully customizable Multiplayer Versus. I mean seriously, Disgaea games not having full
customizable PVP is like Chess games being only about fighting a.i./CPU. multiplayer versus mode
should have been a SRPG standard since the beginning. It is insane that Disgaea's developers have
been complacent with just catering to solo players and only the PVE side of things.
It's downright pathetic even SRPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics can only feature PVP by hacking it and
taking turns with the controller (I think WOTL had pvp but anyways that's just a portable)
12. stay away from portables. Portables ruined franchises like Valkyria Chronicles and Suikoden.
NIS really wasted a lot of money on portable gaming. shifting from console to portable is like
moving from a well respected restaurant to McDonalds. The overall quality suffers, along with the
hardware setbacks. Most of the best franchises think big, and do big. portables really as the
bottom of the barrel in the industry, aside from mobile gaming.
I wouldn't post this if Disgaea didn't matter to me. the franchise has tons more potential than what
NIS has been taking advantage of. Does it take a financial ultimatum for them to wake up?
This post may fall on deaf ears but NIS really don't know what they have in their hands, and how
much better and successful Disgaea can be.
NIS is really in this situation, Disgaea included, because they refused to change and expand for the better.
It is messed up they are so clueless, maybe NISA will forward this message to everyone at NIS to read
in their language, because I think if they read all this, maybe, just maybe if they have any intelligence,
they could see the road not taken that would benefit NIS, Disgaea and the fans (and would be fans) as a whole.
As is, Disgaea only matters to 1/4 of its potential fanbase. It's entirely capable of rising above niche,
but NIS really have to get out of their box.
regardless of genre, Bloodborne will have 4/4 of its potential fanbase, because it knows the key categories
that should be standard in all games, so it matters more to a lot more people. And it allows players
to shape their own experience and identity in the world more, along with being able to share that experience with others online. instead of having the experience, identity, goals and mindset dictated to them.
Disgaea could have been the "Street Fighter/Bloodborne/The Elder Scrolls/etc." of SRPGs (from successful flagship franchise standpoint, of course Disgaea should not switch genres),
but NIS.... it's such a waste, you know
Yes I posted something similiar in the general board, but most fans only visit the Disgaea board for
Disgaea related things anyway, so this really is the perspective of a fan that knows what's best for
Disgaea, like other fans that envision their own ideal Disgaea game but perhaps haven't shared more
of their thoughts on what Disgaea lacks and what Disgaea needs.
So it's not just a collection of things what I know Disgaea should have/change/improve, but also combines
some things that match the interests of others, so don't mistaken it for some exclusive opinion,
most if not all of my points are relatable to other fans tastes/preferences as well. It's not to cater to
me, but also to more fans that are either partially interested in the series, as well as people that avoid
the series because it lacks some or all of things I list here.
IF some fans believe NIS knows what they are doing, and knows best for Disgaea, well, then those
fans are being selfish, because in order for a videogame to optimize its capabilities, it should not
just be about the core/old school fanbase. Especially for a franchise that is already niche, and a genre
that has trouble holding interest outside the masochists, traditionalists and grinders of the world, it
really is isolating itself from its greater potential, the potential that would still make it true to itself,
while being something valuable to more people and much better as a whole for both classic and new fans.
Disgaea's franchise really is fully capable of being one of the most successful, most played and most
popular series of all time, but as is, it's only currently a fraction of what it can be (while still being within NIS budget, resources and capabilities). Doesn't that bother some fans? A series being left so stagnant
and selective with its fanbase and features?