There was a time, not so long ago, where every company had a face. A way to get them kids to play their games. Whether it is a furry woodland creature, a robot man, a plumber, etc, it seemed like every company needed a cartoony hero.
Flash-forward a few years, Capcom has all but abandoned Mega Man, with Ryu taking his place. Sony has dropped Crash, now Kratos and Nathan Drake are their big guns. It even looks like Mario and Link are sharing the spotlight instead of Mario being the face of Nintendo.
Are Mascots gone? I don’t believe so. In the super realistic, high definition, top of the line, big budget blockbuster title era, people don’t want to buy a system for a hedgehog. The people want a badass.
A perfect example of this way of thinking is Rayman, while he has witnessed somewhat of a renaissance. He has been stripped of his crown as Ubisoft’s mascot. It isn’t really implied but think about it. When you think of Ubisoft who do you think of? Is man with blades coming out of his wrists, and a white hood covering his face as he walks toward you perhaps? Ezio Auditore is Ubisofts go to guy and that is because of what the consumer wants.
The HD generation has done some amazing things for gamers; online like never before, beautiful graphics, better stories, better music, the list goes on and on. But have consumers begun to crave realism over fantasy?
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, tastes change over time. But next time you are at a store and see a console box, who is on it? When you pick up a game, what is the cover like?
The answer is probably a buff man, with some five o’clock shadow and some type of weapon in his hand.
Epic is the new way in this generation, it will probably change in the future but who knows. As the gaming’s target audience ages it is harder for them to relate to a cute creature with wide eyes an innocent voice, and gloves (they always had gloves). While this happens, a new generation of gamers grow up seeing their heroes as a juiced war vet, with a bloody backstory. So they are used to seeing their heroes as this.
Mascots aren’t dead. They just look different.