I wish I could be excited for the next Ace Attorney.
Fans have wanted Dai Gyakuten Saiban 1&2, the 2015 and 2017 prequels to Capcom’s visual novel franchise, for over five years at this point. Capcom’s official stance on the games has been that they were too inaccessible to Western audience, and would likely go untranslated like 2011’s Ace Attorney Investigations 2. Considering these were the first games written by the series’ original creator, Shu Takumi, since 2013’s Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright, that revelation stung.
(The lackluster Dual Destinies and Spirit Of Justice were written by others.)
But it looks like, at long last, we might get the games after all. Last month’s Capcom leak revealed that the game may come to the West, bundled together and released on the Switch. However, while the rest of the Ace Attorney community roared to life on social media, spreading the news and celebrating a new game, I held my tongue.
I held my tongue because no video game leak is worth what the Capcom leaks cost.
Over 350,000 Capcom employees had their info compromised along with this “leak.” That’s because the “leak” was really more along the lines of a cyber-attack, perpetrated by an outsider who had gained illicit access to the company’s network. Passport info, personal phone numbers, private addresses… these were among the things compromised by the attack.
It doesn’t take an ace attorney to recognize that this was, is, and will continue to be deeply wrong. Sure, maybe we know how many editions of the next Street Fighter will come out, and maybe we know what’s next for Resident Evil. We have shiny new products to be excited for. Isn’t that all gamers are supposed to care about?
It shouldn’t be. Frankly, this leak deflated any joy I had from anticipating these games. That joy would come at the expense of thousands upon thousands of people who now have to worry about some asshole showing up at their house, or calling them on the phone, or any other way gamers can be shitty to a developer. What’s there to be happy about when I could’ve just waited, and been pleasantly surprised when it got officially announced?
This counts for other leaks, too. Remember the early Switch “leaks”? That was the work of a 21-year-old pedophile who hacked Nintendo’s server by phishing an employee, and is now spending time in federal prison. Likewise, this year’s The Last of Us Part 2 leaks weren’t the work of a disgruntled dev, and the blame instead lied with a group of hackers who’d used a back-end exploit to gain access to private data. And the Nintendo “gigaleak” earlier this year? We’re not quite sure where that info came from yet, but based on historical precedent, it’s safe to assume it wasn’t internal.
Point is, so many leaks of so many games aren’t really leaks – they’re the direct result of outside actors, actors who sometimes don’t think about the ramifications of their actions. Sure, it’s exciting to learn about a new video game ahead of time, but is it worth the effort? Is it worth potentially jeopardizing the safety and privacy of hundreds of people in the process?
A few years ago, I would’ve said, “yeah, fuck the corporations!” But it’s so much more complicated than that. Sure, I don’t have much sympathy for the shareholders eager for their next payday, or the executives barking orders to their teams. I do, however, have a great deal of it for the majority of the workers at those companies. These are people who work in one of the most stressful fields out there – forced to navigate tough deadlines, appease customers, and make art all at once. They’re the people who market the stuff to us, and the people who help us out if we have problems with a game.
Game companies may seem faceless, but they’re made up of individuals. And when something those individuals are working on gets leaked, or their personal data gets hacked, their whole world is thrown into disarray. Maybe they’re subject to an internal investigation for something they didn’t do, or maybe they have a family they’re worried about keeping safe now. And if you think that’s hyperbolic, consider that a man killed 36 people and injured 33 more in 2019 over delusions that an anime studio had stolen his idea. Hardcore geek and gaming circles will always have their bad eggs, and if those bad eggs have an axe to grind, the cost can be catastrophic.
So the next time there’s a big gaming “leak,” don’t focus on getting excited. If it’s from a simple mistake, like a retailer listing, that’s fine – it’s a goof, and odds are, the game’s far along enough that it won’t actually be affected. But if it’s from a hack, especially one in the vein of what happened to Capcom, think twice about celebrating.
Your excitement over a product doesn’t matter if somebody’s getting hurt in the process.
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- Resident Evil
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Bella Blondeau is a lovable miscreant with a heart of gold… or so she says.
She likes long walks in dingy arcades, loves horror good and bad, and has a passion for anime girls of any and all varieties. Her favorite game is Nier: Automata, because she loves both robots and being sad.
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