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Thread: Sony's old Anti-2D policy during the early years of the PS1

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    Default Sony's old Anti-2D policy during the early years of the PS1

    Anybody remember this bullshit? Sony had a policy where they didn't want any 2D games on the original Playstation early in it's life span. Anybody remember that crap?


    Man, this policy was so retarded, and for us retro gamers, and fans of old school type gaming, this was such a horrible policy.

    Think of all the wonderfull 32 bit versions of 8bit and 16bit classics that we could've seen on the PSX, but were denied because of this asinine policy.


    The reason I bring this up, is that I was reading a old video game mag, and a guy was asking a question about Mega Man 8 on the PSX. The editor from the magazine explained that Capcom had to jump through hoops to get it released in the U.S. because of Sony's anti-2D policy.

    It just made me remember how Sony did have a dumb policy like this way back in the day.

    Anybody else remember anything about this policy, and it's ramifications to gamers who would have loved to see 8bit and 16bit classics get 32bit facelifts on the PSone?

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    I actually heard a rumor circa 1996 that Capcom had threatened to make Resident Evil 2 a Saturn exclusive unless Sony approved Mega Man 8. It sounds farfetched, but hey, stranger things have happened in game-related negotiations.

    Wasn't Sony anti-2D policy confined to the American market? After all, Japan got plenty of traditional 2D titles, and even Europe saw a release of Gunners Heaven/Rapid Reload.

    And from what I remember, Sony's opposition to 2D softened considerably after the PlayStation's first year on the market. Namco brought out all of its Museum compilations, Konami had Suikoden, and even Sony published 2D titles like Beyond the Beyond, Samurai Shodown 3, and King of Fighters '95 in the American market.
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    Yeah, I remember that crap. I used to like 3d, really. But Sony bombarded me with tons of 3d crap, and I just hate almost all 3d games now....I just don't want to play most of them. I just find it very difficult to be impressed by them (there are rare exceptions). As for platformers, I'm not so sure anything has even topped Mario 64 yet.

    Symphony of the Night....I think that is the game that may have single-handedly made Sony budge a bit after it came out. But that was it....a bit. The PSX had an amazing amount of power to push 2d graphics, but it didn't. It's a lot of power that just went entirley unutilized. Sony figured," if it's not 3d, it won't sell!" Well isa it the chicken or the egg that came first? By bombarding the market with 3d, I think they became their own self-fulfilling prophesy.

    I can't wait to see Viewtiful Joe in action...its all 2d, right? Check out Ikaruga! 2d can rock and almost no one knows it anymore (developers).

    At least SNK is back (but even they are going to start doing 3d). But shit, all they make is fighters, and not enogh shooters. Yo, SNK! Make a sequel to Crystalis, god damn it! To think that SNK of all companies made one of the finest NES RPGs ever...

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    AFAIK, it was confined to the US, as Sony wanted to stress how "well" the system could do 3d vs. the Saturn which had this as a weakness. I think the idea was to get gamers here only wanting 3d games so the Saturn would look weaker by compairson. Seems to have worked.

    Zack could speak more to that, seeing as how he was involved with a company directly affected by this policy.

    It's a shame though. There were quite a few good games US gamers didn't get because of this policy. (Wasn't WD in talks to bring the superior PSX port of Donpachi over till it got shot down by Sony?)

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    Sony's anti-2-D stance was a contributing factor in my decision to start the OPCFG. I couldn't believe how many great titles were being pushed aside simply because they weren't 3-D.

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    I used to hate Playstation because of that.
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    Angry Name Names

    Does anyone know who the executive(s) were at Sony of America who created and maintained the terrible anti-2D policy that deprived all of us of many excellent games for PlayStation 1 and 2 back in the day? I'd sure like to know their names! I've always hated their policy from back then and I will for the rest of my life! I would really like to know who to blame and how many executives were really at fault. Was it all the work of just one 2D-hater?

    Think of not just all of the gamers whose lives were less rich without these gems - think of all of the companies and their employees who suffered thanks to this frivolous, arbitrary rule! Among other reasons, this stupid anti-2D policy was a large contributing factor to the demise of Working Designs, one of my favorite companies of yesteryear!

    In a fairer universe, Gunners Heaven / Rapid Reload would have been released here in America alongside countless other games we "lost" thanks to Sony of America! Sure, you can import them nowadays if you know how and have the hardware or if you choose to emulate them instead, but there is something special about playing games (or other media) during the time-frame when they are new... something we and countless other North Americans and South Americans were denied with these "forgotten gems!"

    By the way, Rob (Dire 51), thanks for founding and running the OPCFG: The Organization for the Preservation of Classic Forms of Gaming for all of those years. 2D forever!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nz17 View Post
    Does anyone know who the executive(s) were at Sony of America who created and maintained the terrible anti-2D policy that deprived all of us of many excellent games for PlayStation 1 and 2 back in the day? I'd sure like to know their names!
    Bernie Stolar.

    Look him up. After Sony sacked him, he moved to Sega and helped tank the Saturn with the same damn policy.

    ..........

    So, I have a very specific memory related to this. It involves a person still active in gaming websites so I can't name names, but I used to have a friend who I would talk to about this stuff... and I mentioned reading about this anti-2D policy in the day, and this friend of mine claimed it was all just made-up.

    To be fair to him, he wasn't the only one who thought that.

    It's kind of interesting to think about actually... nowadays, we all know its for real, but apparently for awhile it was thought of as basically a conspiracy theory.

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    The policy was dumb, but I don't think the blame can be entirely pinned on Sony. It was reinforced by a lot of game journalists and consumers at the time. A number of magazines would absolutely rip into 2D games, just for being 2D, and even 3D games that were side-scrolling. Shmups on PS1 were basically never given a fair shake.

    I also can't be too mad about the policy when it resulted in the creation of Mega Man Legends. Sony basically held the 2D Mega Man games hostage until Capcom had a 3D Mega Man to show for themselves. And if it's any consolation, if more 2D games had been released on the US, they surely would've been niche and would likely be expensive on the secondhand market these days, putting people in a position where the price has them importing anyway. And with a lot of the Japan-exclusive 2D games being action games, it's not too terrible that there's no English version. I've picked up a number of 2D PS1 imports on the cheap, like the compilations for TwinBee and Parodius and the Goemon games (got the 3D PS1 Goemon too, but the less said about that one the better haha).

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    Yes the culprit was "Stolar" in that he ran the show at SCEA; however, it's not simply that he was anti-2D. He and his group were extremely selective in what games they approved for release on the system. It's true the early Playstation lineup was not very good, and they should not have been refusing many of the games they did. They did wish to differentiate from the competition, which was 2D-based on the 16-bit systems of the day. 3D was seen industry-wide as the next evolution in gaming, and it wasn't just at Sony. That being said, it's also hogwash that the Playstation was slow out of the gate, as they were running out of consoles that first holiday. It was first among 5th gen consoles, and overtook the SNES and Genesis once the install base grew. Stolar left an extremely successful SCEA/PlayStation in 1996 which was well on its way.

    The Saturn was an salvageable disaster, and though it wasn't a long term success, the Dreamcast was nothing but forward thinking. A good deal of that was due to Stolar's leadership. He wanted to go big with on-line play and such, which wound up being a massive seller for the Xbox (Live). Not saying he was a visionary or anything, but the 5th gen was the first which really began to focus on game consoles being more than games.
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    AFAIK the Sony's anti-2D sentiment carried far beyond the time frame y'all are discussing, basically lasting until the end of the PS2 era.

    Sony wouldn't allow SNK to release any of it's newer titles in the US unless they were either double packs or budget releases.

    Microsoft had no problem with it, which is why Samurai Shodown V along with King of Fighters: Neowave (and the aborted KoF '94: Rebout) were released on Xbox for full price and none of the three got a US PS2 release.

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    Yeah, that's also why Growlanser Generations was two games in one, even though Working Designs had planned to release the games separately. And it wasn't just an anti-2D stance but also a stance against quirky, comparatively low-budget 3D games. Sony also got in the way of Working Designs localizing the PS2 Goeomon, and Chulip, published by Natsume, was in localization limbo for years before it came out in English. It's one reason why I really love the tail end years of the PS1 and PS2. When the systems would get long in the tooth, Sony would stop caring and loosen their stance. All sorts of interesting, smaller-scale games came out then. Stuff like Shepherd's Crossing and Heavenly Guardian never would've been available in English earlier on PS2 than they were (even if Heavenly Guardian had been developed much earlier, as Shepherd's Crossing had been).

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    Well put yourselves in their shoes....During the 90's the PC world was rife with absolute rotten varmint level trash. Ghastly FMV had dominated the failed 3DO and SegaCD platforms. They wished for the system to be "fresh" with leading edge technology on display. The entire industry was moving that way.
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    thankfully the policy didnt prevent Castlevania SOTN from being made

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nz17 View Post
    By the way, Rob (Dire 51), thanks for founding and running the OPCFG: The Organization for the Preservation of Classic Forms of Gaming for all of those years. 2D forever!
    Just saw this. Thanks!

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    In the late 1990s, a lot of the market was "all 3D, all the time" and saw 2D as an anachronism. That's probably why Sony didn't want to do 2D. They had something to prove and didn't want to be seen as a has-been. Remember that a lot of people then saw 2D as being just old and janky, retrogaming was in its early years and old games you'd find in a clearance bin were the ones in 2D.
    I started playing video games in 1998 at age 5 and didn't want anything to do with 2D, the first game I ever played was Super Mario 64 so I guess it set my expectations high. Wasn't until the mid-2000s that me (and many others) began to appreciate the old 2D games.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WelcomeToTheNextLevel View Post
    In the late 1990s, a lot of the market was "all 3D, all the time" and saw 2D as an anachronism.
    And yet, for the most part, it's the 3D games that have aged the worst. Graphics wise at least.
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    There are more 2D PS1 games than there are games in the entire N64 library. But let's bash Sony.

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    Yeah, I get the feeling there was some unspoken (to the public) anti-2D policy with the N64 in the US too, either from Nintendo of America itself or a sentiment held by most of the licensees. It can't be a coincidence that the majority of the N64's 2D games never left Japan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WelcomeToTheNextLevel View Post
    In the late 1990s, a lot of the market was "all 3D, all the time" and saw 2D as an anachronism. That's probably why Sony didn't want to do 2D. They had something to prove and didn't want to be seen as a has-been. Remember that a lot of people then saw 2D as being just old and janky, retrogaming was in its early years and old games you'd find in a clearance bin were the ones in 2D.
    I started playing video games in 1998 at age 5 and didn't want anything to do with 2D, the first game I ever played was Super Mario 64 so I guess it set my expectations high. Wasn't until the mid-2000s that me (and many others) began to appreciate the old 2D games.
    Arcades had gone largely to 3D as well. There was definitely an industry-wide group think that 3D = New, and 2D = Old, from developers to marketers to gamers.

    Quote Originally Posted by jb143 View Post
    And yet, for the most part, it's the 3D games that have aged the worst. Graphics wise at least.
    Well you're only selling a game for a couple of years or less, so that wasn't a concern.
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