IGN's Reporting is Extremely "Boring"
IGN, one of the internet's leading sources for video game news (and general entertainment news), has always been a questionable source when it comes to giving people quality reporting. More specifically, IGN has had outright bad reporting when it comes to the Kingdom Hearts series, pronouncing names wrong in videos, spewing wrong information, and generally showing a disregard for the games as a whole. Earlier this month the site reported on some Kingdom Hearts information in poor taste, showing their true colors when it comes to their blatant bias against the series.
The website released a short video clip reporting on some new Kingdom Hearts information revealed in the Kingdom Hearts 3 Ultimania. Kingdom Hearts Ultimanias are books that are released along with their respective Kingdom Hearts games exclusive to Japan. The books are massive, containing strategy guides as well as exclusive artwork from Tetsuya Nomura, interviews with the staff behind the game, and in depth story information.
In the most recent Kingdom Hearts 3 Ultimania, Tetsuya Nomura was asked why Marvel and Star Wars were not included in the new game. Since Marvel and Star Wars are now properties of Disney, fans have been anxious to see those titles featured as worlds Sora and the gang can visit on their adventures. Nomura responded saying,
"...in order to change those [properties] into a game, contracts must be made with each company separately, and there are cases where other game companies already have contracts, so although the Disney Group has indeed added those [properties], incorporating them into KH isn't so simple. That's also the reason Mickey is in only one scene in KH1. At the same time, another company was releasing a game that had to do with Mickey, so though we were denied his usage, we persisted and eventually got 'as long as you only have one scene, from far away, as a silhouette, with him waving his hand or something'. Since we had to make the best of the biggest [and only] chance we had, that's why that scene appears that way."
IGN reported on this statement, calling it "boring" and "disappointingly dull." The video where this information was stated is 48 seconds long. The video begins with these lackluster and basic statements, followed by the video actually reporting on Nomura's response. Of course the Kingdom Hearts community responded to this reporting accordingly, with annoyance and frustration. This type of reporting is outright lazy. It is the definition of click bait, and unfortunately reflects more on IGN's bias against the Kingdom Hearts games rather than giving a genuine take on what Nomura said. IGN has always had a troubling relationship with the Kingdom Hearts games and this was yet another case of bad reporting that fans wish would come to a close.
Sadly, this isn't just a problem with IGN and how they treat Kingdom Hearts. It speaks to a wider issue in the gaming journalism industry, and toward how the industry as a whole views Kingdom Hearts.
THE GAMING INDUSTRY DOES NOT RESPECT "KINGDOM HEARTS"
If it isn't enough that IGN can't seem to put effort into their Kingdom Hearts reporting, it is becoming increasingly clear upon the newest numbered release that the gaming industry in general does not give the time of day to Kingdom Hearts that they would give to other titles. Kingdom Hearts is viewed primarily as a kids series, having to carry whatever baggage comes with that label. Game journalists and commentators too frequently haven't played a single game in the series and don't seem to care otherwise whether they do or not, opting more for their Red Dead Redemptions, Tomb Raiders, and Far Crys. This isn't to say that these titles aren't worth while, but it would be nice to see Kingdom Hearts treated on the same playing field. But it is not. It isn't dark and edgy enough with its focus on Disney characters and what is considered "family friendly" content.
Recently, Kingdom Hearts 2 speedrunner Bl00dyBizkitz tweeted about the subject,
This tweet came as no surprise to me. In fact, it seemed to vindicate my ideas that what I was sensing from the gaming industry was not entirely unique to me. Other people notice it too.
As someone who doesn't play all that many games and someone who has played every single Kingdom Hearts title, it is a bit alienating to see so many games being valued while Kingdom Hearts lingers on the sidelines as if the series has done nothing innovation or unique in gaming. Sure the games are far from perfect and have consistently fallen deeper into the pit of bad storytelling, but that does not mean that they have little to offer or that they should not be explored in a meaningful way. In addition, I have played all of the Uncharted games which are constantly praised to the moon and back as amazing games. While I love the series, these praises consistently ignore the flaws in the games. Meanwhile the same journalists ignore Kingdom Hearts as if it is not worthy enough to be in the same conversation. Sure both are very different games, but both are meaningful and have value.
The result of all of this is the gaming industry giving us valued content but only about certain games. This is extremely limiting and frustrating. It also seems that game journalism will like Thing A and call it really really good and praise it beyond belief, and if they dislike Thing B then it is just bad and doesn’t deserve any coverage or worthwhile reporting.
THE STATE OF VIDEO GAME JOURNALISM
It seems that game journalism today is more preoccupied with only certain games while others get the middle finger. With the release of Kingdom Hearts 3, Kingdom Hearts has gotten enough coverage to say that it is being covered but otherwise it is still featuring uninteresting articles that pander to an audience that will take whatever they can get.
To report on something and call it "boring" because it doesn't have a satisfying answer that meets your expectations is not only lazy but flat out misses the point of what it means to report on game news in the first place. This headline, along with many others when it comes to games, is pure click bait and has no basis in actually diving into why Nomura's answer may have been boring.
The truth is, his answer wasn't boring. It was truthful. But we don't want honest answers from the people who create our games. We want Darth Vader! This speaks to the even larger issue of our need for immediate satisfaction and the shallow nature of journalism that clouds the industry and makes it hard to seek our genuinely good reporting. We can do better.