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#1 22/7/15 23:19

Izzy155221
Member
Registered: 22/7/15

Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

Hey guys,

So I was just wondering what you guys thought on this. For some reason, Oni was (in terms of sales) a colossal flop. I'm really not sure why though. The fight mechanics are excellent, the story is decent, and the graphics for back in that time weren't too bad. Honestly, this game is so good IMO that I came back to, and am seriously considering getting, the game thirteen years later.

The only thing I could think of was the marketing. Anime never really was popular here in the states (except for anime buffs like myself) so having a purpled haired heroine on the front cover must not have been a great selling point. Your guy's thoughts?

ADD moment: anyone know where to get a legit copy on the cheap? All I need is a disc that barely functions so I can just rip the thing and put it on my hard drive. I've checked eBay and Amazon, but $10 is a fairly steep price for a thirteen year old game that I'll have to mod my hands off to get to a passable state in comparison to present games. Since I already owned a legit copy, I may just torrent it. Is it legal? No. And that's the only reason why I haven't done it yet.

So, ADD moment aside, why wasn't Oni even a moderate success?

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#2 22/7/15 23:27

Izzy155221
Member
Registered: 22/7/15

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

Solved my own ADD moment BTW. There's apparently a copy that's a whole four bucks on Amazon.

Please don't ask where the logic is in with a whole six dollars making or breaking the deal for me, because there is none.

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#3 23/7/15 5:04

Delano762
Member
From: Poland
Registered: 29/12/10
Website

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

Izzy155221 wrote:

and the graphics for back in that time weren't too bad.

Actually, they were very bad. Particularly the enviroments - The levels were massive and impressive, sure, but they were extremely undetailed - they lacked desks, benches, pieces of paper, plants, various trash and stuff lying around, you name it. Also, the faces looked like they were made in MS Paint.
Another problem was, if I recall correctly - were relatively big requirements and poor performance of Oni on the PCs available back during its release.
Also, another factor was probably the game's difficulty and completely unique gameplay style, which I guess many people could not simply understand. I've shown the game to plenty of friends of mine, but none of them liked it - apparently memorizing combos and dodging punches in TPP was too much for them.

Last edited by Delano762 (23/7/15 6:24)


Circus Afro, Circus Afro, Polka Dot, Polka Dot!

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#4 23/7/15 8:21

Iritscen
Moderator
From: NC, USA
Registered: 22/10/07

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

Glad you picked up a new (old) copy of the game.  It's worth buying twice, a few of us have done so smile

Delano is right that the graphics in general were underwhelming even at that time.  Some of the environments looked nice in a sparse kind of way, but some were quite ugly, which probably had to do with the rushed development towards the end.

I would actually say that the character models were more detailed than most contemporary games.  The characters' textures weren't anything special, but they threw a lot of polygons in there.  But the dialogue scenes were a problem because characters in other games were already moving their mouths a couple years or more before Oni came out.  Showing static faces with fly-in portraits below them was not an impressive workaround.

There's actually a page on the wiki where I collected a number of criticisms, though it's not a complete list: http://wiki.oni2.net/Review_criticisms.  Some of the points listed there were not a problem for some reviewers; some people even complained about things that other people liked.  Personally I think the gameplay is quite user-friendly, though the levels can be frustrating at times for a newbie.

That being said, I don't know if Oni was a "flop" in terms of sales.  Do you read something to lead you to that conclusion?  I think it must have sold fairly well, since a number of gamers still remember it (see the comments section on any gaming site article that mentions Oni).  Was it a hit?  Definitely not, and I think it probably failed to meet Take-Two's expectations, which is why a sequel never happened.


byproducts are fine, but where's the beef?

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#5 23/7/15 10:05

Delano762
Member
From: Poland
Registered: 29/12/10
Website

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

Iritscen wrote:

That being said, I don't know if Oni was a "flop" in terms of sales.  Do you read something to lead you to that conclusion?  I think it must have sold fairly well, since a number of gamers still remember it (see the comments section on any gaming site article that mentions Oni).  Was it a hit?  Definitely not, and I think it probably failed to meet Take-Two's expectations, which is why a sequel never happened.

Here's the numbers I know:
1. I've read a long time ago, on wikipedia I think (if that's the case it's gone by now), that about 75000 copies of Oni were sold. I don't remember if that was an actual result at the time when that thing was written, or was it a result made some time after the release, and I know if those were the global sales. According to my knowledge, a game is considered a commercial failure when the sales are below 75000 copies.
2. 530000 copies globally as of June 2015 according to VGChartz. That ain't much for an AAA game.


Circus Afro, Circus Afro, Polka Dot, Polka Dot!

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#6 23/7/15 10:31

Iritscen
Moderator
From: NC, USA
Registered: 22/10/07

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

Oni wasn't anywhere near a AAA game, though.  Probably not even "single A".  Bungie didn't have that kind of money to spend until some point in the Halo series.

Certainly 75,000 copies isn't much for any game, but we don't have a source for that.  530,000 copies would be pretty decent, on the other hand, and those sales would all have been close to Oni's release, not over the last 15 years, because the game hasn't sold any firsthand copies in a long time -- but I'm suspicious of VGChartz's accuracy.

Now, a while back I found a source that said Bungie never sold more than 200,000 copies of a game before MS bought them.  That fact would not apply to Oni, since Oni was not on sale yet when Bungie was acquired, however I think it puts things into perspective a bit as far as Bungie's typical sales.  Then again, Bungie was mostly known as a Mac developer, whereas Oni was also sold for Windows and PS2 -- and I get the impression that it was the PS2 version that (unfortunately) sold the most copies.

So I guess I don't find 500K copies to be impossible.  But, again, VGChartz does not give the method by which they arrived at that number.  I would be more trusting of their numbers for newer games.


byproducts are fine, but where's the beef?

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#7 23/7/15 10:45

Jon God
Member
Registered: 17/1/07

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

VGChartz basically guesses sales until an official press release is made. They aren't accurate.


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#8 23/7/15 13:56

Izzy155221
Member
Registered: 22/7/15

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

It looks like I do have to correct myself:

In the terms of an indie developer (which Bungie absolutely was at the time) sales were actually pretty decent at about the 200,000 mark. However, this was due in no small part to Rockstar's acquisition.

In the terms of hitting AAA sales like Halo 1's 6.43 million copies sales figures were horrific. The point I was trying to make is that, with two publishers, one indie and one not-so-indie, Oni only sold a bit under 4% of what Halo 1 did. In the terms of gaining any realistic popularity, it was a commercial flop.

As for the graphics: I retract my statement. Especially when I saw that Metal Gear Solid 2 was released in 2001 I'm kinda laughing to myself now. I never new just how bad the graphics were for it's time since the only games I had were Oni, Red Alert 2, and whatever was on the good ol' N64.

While VGChartz may not be a reliable source, with an old indie game like this, it's about all we've got.

Well, at least that answered my question. LOL

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#9 23/7/15 14:25

Iritscen
Moderator
From: NC, USA
Registered: 22/10/07

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

Izzy155221 wrote:

In the terms of an indie developer (which Bungie absolutely was at the time) sales were actually pretty decent at about the 200,000 mark. However, this was due in no small part to Rockstar's acquisition.

Just to be clear, the 200,000 number (if accurate) would have been the high-water mark before Oni.  That number would have been how MS determined the value of Bungie when acquiring them in 2000, but we don't have any solid figures on what Oni sold when Take Two later released it.


In the terms of hitting AAA sales like Halo 1's 6.43 million copies sales figures were horrific.

I'm hesitant to say that Halo was AAA either.  I haven't played the games, but they don't seem to be super-big budget until Halo 3.  That being said, you have to keep in mind that Halo was the top launch title for the Xbox, so it ought to have sold a lot more than Oni, because people were looking for something to do with their new console.  Of course, the PS2 was also new when Oni launched, but Oni didn't get the attention of a launch title.

All things considered, though, it's true that Oni was not a critical or financial success.  If it had the budget of a AAA title, it could have been a lot more polished, though in this specific case the game really wasn't even finished and had to be rushed out the door due to the MS acquisition, so it's not really fair to say, "This is the best that Bungie West could do."

Coming back to the graphics for a minute, it wasn't all bad.  The nicer aspects of the game include the detailed character models, the lighting in some of the environments (definitely not all of them), the smooth animation, and the particle effects.


byproducts are fine, but where's the beef?

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#10 23/7/15 14:30

Izzy155221
Member
Registered: 22/7/15

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

Well, at the end of it, financial success or not, it's still an awesome retro game, and I can't wait to get my hands on it come August. wink

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#11 23/7/15 14:31

Iritscen
Moderator
From: NC, USA
Registered: 22/10/07

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

Be sure to check out our mods, once you have the game again smile  There's something for everyone.


byproducts are fine, but where's the beef?

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#12 24/7/15 3:22

Delano762
Member
From: Poland
Registered: 29/12/10
Website

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

Izzy155221 wrote:

Especially when I saw that Metal Gear Solid 2 was released in 2001 I'm kinda laughing to myself now. I never new just how bad the graphics were for it's time since the only games I had were Oni, Red Alert 2, and whatever was on the good ol' N64.

Sounds to me like you've missed a whole load of mind blowing games there tongue


Circus Afro, Circus Afro, Polka Dot, Polka Dot!

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#13 17/12/15 13:18

Nobody
Member
From: Canada
Registered: 13/4/15

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

I see that this topic is a bit old, but I still want to say a few words of my own on the matter. I've often reflected on this question and here is what I think.

First, the developers tried to bite off more then they could chew. This is the trailer for Oni from back then "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW4w_7GRUPE". In all of my playing Oni, I think I haven't seen a single thing from this trailer in the actual game... So yeah... They promised a lot but delivered only a little. Most notably the multiplayer and the giant robot. But also other stuff.

Second, one of the signs of playing too much Oni is "... you throw away all of your furniture, carpets, wallpapers, books, pictures, dishes and other "unnecessary stuff" and replace them with some nice data consoles and heavy grey machines" (Frankh). This was already mentioned but yeah, while the levels in Oni are impressive, they are severely under-detailed. I think the only level in which you get to see chairs is the airport... Now I personally write this off on the fact that the game happens in the future... I use a bit of imagination and it all works out... But I understand people who critic the game for this.

Third, the plot could use some work too and more specifically the way the plot is "served" to the player. In order to be up to date with what is going on you have to actually stop and read those data consoles and Konoko's diary. Not many players will do that so they find themselves kind of in a blank spot of plot. However, being lazy is not a good thing either... might as well read all of that stuff. Still, the plot could use some work. More character interactions, more detailed characters, more background. It could be more detailed. The general settings are good but the details could use some work. For example, how did Konoko even know where the syndicate mountain compound is when at the end of the cargo hangars level, TCTF looses the signal from the bug she put on the plane? (Maybe I missed something). I'm not going to make a list of plot holes here. Still, I personally find the plot of Oni really good and I use my imagination to supplement it as necessary.

Four, the gameplay of Oni is unique. This was already mentioned but yeah, even a grey striker may suddenly become a royal pain. You have to actually think about what you are doing, plan, analyze and choose the appropriate techniques for the situation and even use stealth when hopelessly outmatched by the enemy. This is not something the average gamer appreciates... In my experience, when people see an action game they think along the lines of "Dynasty Warriors"... or even "Call of Duty"... Where all you have to do is spam powerful combos or put the cross hair on heads. When I give them Vanilla Oni they rage quit after thirty minutes of dying in the warehouse... In Oni you actually have to think... Oni is, in this regard, not intended for the general crowd but for a more sophisticated type of gamer, one who likes challenging games and does not want to feel like an omnipotent being by slaughtering everything with a snapping of the fingers.

Overall, Oni is not a game for the lazy gamer.

Finally, I think that there is no one specific reason why Oni did not gain wide popularity and recognition. It's a combination of different factors from marketing errors to in-game problems. Maybe if Oni was not marketed and directed towards a general crowd but oriented towards a more specific audience, like gamers who play games like "The Longest Journey"  and spend hours figuring out how to pick up a wench from the metro rails using an inflatable rubber duck, it would have been more successful... but who knows...

So yeah, that's what I think... still, Oni is a unique game and I am rather sad that there are no other games quite like it...

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#14 17/12/15 13:49

Scarlett
Member
From: Jamaica
Registered: 25/11/15

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

It's pretty much the reason why I still play oni, it is a totally different game with shooting combined with hand to hand combat. The game just need a graphics update and to shed more light in the missing parts of the story. I also like oni because it is challenging, even when you play the game years before. Even though I've play this game ever since I got my PS2 and I know what to do in every level, I still die numerous times when I ran into tons of guys with guns, or running on low health in the tctf redux and last level and got ambushed, and I have to sit and think of several different ways to get pass those areas with the little health I have. All of those is what makes me play oni.

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#15 24/12/15 1:38

LaughingSkull
Member
Registered: 22/12/15

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

Hello everyone. I decided to check out if this game's community is still alive, and I was very pleasantly surprised that it is indeed. smile

As a person who started playing Oni right when it was first released, I feel like I can shed some insight on the question at hand.

First of all, at least from a European perspective, I think that Oni was fairly well recognized at the time. People with whom I associated with in my gamer days were playing the game, or at the very least, had heard of it. I also remember seeing it played at PC cafes. And even today, whenever the topic of video games comes up when I talk to people about my age (mid 20s), they are familiar with the game as well. Of course, maybe not everyone has played it with the same fanaticism as we do, but most are of the opinion that it was a great and very original game.
Additionally, I remember that all major gaming magazines in my country at the time (there were 4 of them), each had Oni on its front cover, instead of some other game, and the reviews were averaging about 7.5-8 out of 10, which is damn good.

A previous user in this thread pointed out that Americans were never big on Anime. That might well be the case, but, as far as I know, us Europeans aren't/weren't big on it either, yet that didn't deter people from playing Oni. In fact, when I first played the game, I had NO idea whatsoever what "anime" even is. I just knew that the game supposedly borrows from a Japanese style of art, and that's about it.


I think the answer to the question lies in the fact that the gaming scene at the time when Oni was released was much different than it is today. From my memory, it was a time when not many people had personal computers, and most had to rely on PC cafes in order to satisfy their hunger from gaming. And when one goes to a cafe, he goes there to socalize and play with his friends/other people, or to go online. Thus, the most popular games were multiplayer ones such as Starcraft, Counter Strike, Diablo 2, Quake 2/3, etc.

To summarize, Oni was well recognized at the time, and it sold well. It just wasn't widely played because casual gamers preferred other types of games.

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#16 7/10/16 14:10

Noneatme
Member
From: Germany, Niedersachsen
Registered: 1/5/14
Website

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

LaughingSkull wrote:

Hello everyone. I decided to check out if this game's community is still alive, and I was very pleasantly surprised that it is indeed. smile

As a person who started playing Oni right when it was first released, I feel like I can shed some insight on the question at hand.

First of all, at least from a European perspective, I think that Oni was fairly well recognized at the time. People with whom I associated with in my gamer days were playing the game, or at the very least, had heard of it. I also remember seeing it played at PC cafes. And even today, whenever the topic of video games comes up when I talk to people about my age (mid 20s), they are familiar with the game as well. Of course, maybe not everyone has played it with the same fanaticism as we do, but most are of the opinion that it was a great and very original game.
Additionally, I remember that all major gaming magazines in my country at the time (there were 4 of them), each had Oni on its front cover, instead of some other game, and the reviews were averaging about 7.5-8 out of 10, which is damn good.

A previous user in this thread pointed out that Americans were never big on Anime. That might well be the case, but, as far as I know, us Europeans aren't/weren't big on it either, yet that didn't deter people from playing Oni. In fact, when I first played the game, I had NO idea whatsoever what "anime" even is. I just knew that the game supposedly borrows from a Japanese style of art, and that's about it.


I think the answer to the question lies in the fact that the gaming scene at the time when Oni was released was much different than it is today. From my memory, it was a time when not many people had personal computers, and most had to rely on PC cafes in order to satisfy their hunger from gaming. And when one goes to a cafe, he goes there to socalize and play with his friends/other people, or to go online. Thus, the most popular games were multiplayer ones such as Starcraft, Counter Strike, Diablo 2, Quake 2/3, etc.

To summarize, Oni was well recognized at the time, and it sold well. It just wasn't widely played because casual gamers preferred other types of games.

Yes, I can share this POV. My father (now 42 years old) bought Oni and he enjoyed playing games (Half-Life, UT, ...) back in his days. A workmate showed him the game in his freetime, and he bought it instantly. He had a pretty good Pentium PC and I never understand the "anime-style" games back in the days until he showed me. I was around 6-7 years old at this point, I can't remember excactly. He bought it because it was great, it was not the best game but it was still great. He, me, my brother and my mother(!) had a very great time with Oni and we all share the same thoughts and memories about this game. (It still exists, tho.)
Some months ago I reminded him of this game and he was very happy that I brought back some memories. He said Oni had a very great story and he enjoyed every minute playing. The graphics were never a problem and the game ran pretty well, he was never in trouble of any sound / graphic / dialouge / performance issues.
We think that the issues is more player-based, some people we told about Oni were not aware of what Oni really IS about until they played it.
This is also a main issue other people have in our current time. I played SOMA (Great game!) and I told other people about it. They were not interested in what-so-ever. Until - I let them play, and some of them changed their minds about the game immediately.

You can never argue over any game you haven't played smile

Last edited by Noneatme (7/10/16 14:15)


Greetings

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#17 7/10/16 22:01

dosmer
Member
From: Danmark
Registered: 24/10/15

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

I don't know why ONI wasn't a great succes, of course. But there are a few things that I don't like about the game.
First: You can't skip the cut scenes!
Second: You can't skip the cut scenes!
Third: You can't skip the cut scenes!
etc. etc.
Ninth: Having to activate all those consoles to open doors is just not interesting.
Tenth: There are a few ridiculous flaws, like when a dead character's head or feat stick out of a wall or when he's lying horizontally even on a slope, or like when a lady says "please have a seat" when she herself is occupying the only seat in the building. (Maybe the previous guests had all the other seats .... for lunch?)
Eleventh: The mood of the game is very sinister, and the view of the future is quite pessimistic.
Where N.O.L.F. was much more fun with lots of jokes (some of them quite dirty), and the world is green and full of life.

Last edited by dosmer (10/10/16 9:06)


If it ain't broken, don't fix it!

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#18 9/10/16 11:43

ATP2555
Member
Registered: 3/11/14

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

Maybe it's because they force the "No One Left To Trust" slogan on you too much.

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#19 28/5/18 14:07

Toribus
Member
Registered: 28/5/18

Re: Why Did Oni Never Catch On?

I think the number one factor was the controls. I remember when I would introduce the game to people that they would always struggle to grasp that with combos you had to wait until the animation was finishing to click the next punch or kick, rather than spamming it really fast all at once. The tutorial probably could have done a better job of emphasizing that. One friend (who actually bought the game before I did while I was still content with the demo levels) only made it past Barabas in level 3 by using the same low kick sweep attack over and over, which strangely enough did seem to do the trick. But even just double tapping W to dash was surprisingly hard, for some reason, when you weren't used to it. And because of the unique weapon/melee combat, if you couldn't reliably do dashes and throws under pressure, you would end up taking way more damage from smg's and other weapons. Of course these control issues were ten times worse on PS2.

I think the lack of furniture or detail in a lot of the levels hurt as well. Some of the locations are actually quite nice looking and interestingly designed, like the state building, the research lab, and the TCTF headquarters. But when you have a level like the second airport level, which looks very barren and seems to go on forever and ever, it leaves a bad impression, much like the library level did in Halo.

Also I agree with the poster above about the unskippable cutscenes. That's always obnoxious, but when you couple it with the lack of a manual save feature, meaning you sometimes have to go through the same cutscene multiple times, then it starts to wear thin pretty fast. And cutscenes were over-used for showing the unlocking of doors. Most of the time those were unnecessary - they were bad for pacing and took away whatever modest sense of exploration of the levels there might otherwise have been.

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