Alex Phillimore: (alex.phillimore-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2014-07-30 06:57:12
Nintendo Product Placement
In the face of failing Q1 sales for its 3DS and Wii U systems, Nintendo has taken a novel approach to minimising its financial woes - by putting popular products into all of its future games and receiving ad revenue in return.
The most controversial is the above shot from the upcoming Pokemon games, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Rather than Pokeballs players will now lure Pokemon to their side with Happy Meal toys; rare candy has has been replaced by McFlurry; and Pokemon centres have been changed to McDonald's stores in every city.
One gameplay addition comes in the form of a constantly falling 'stress' meter - if you go too long without consuming food at a McDonald's store this bar starts to decrease and, should it hit zero, your character turns into a jibbering fool. The only solution is to continue to visit McDonald's stores to keep the meter at max capacity, allowing your player to bask in the brief flow of satisfaction after devouring a McMeal.
Pokemon Amie still exists, but it's a very different game - now Pikachu pops up on screen with his little mouth open and you have to throw McBrownies into his mouth and wash it down with Mc...ketchup. With each accurately thrown item of food Pikachu's weight increases. Should you hit 'Morbidly Obese' status, Pikachu will suffer from a heart attack, giving the player a chance to sue McDonald's and claim damages in medical expenses.
During this difficult time for Nintendo, I'll take any kind of strategy over seeing the company falter. If having Ronald McDonald as the Pokemon Champion in my next Pokemon adventure is necessary, it is a small price to pay for a more financially secure company overall.