Poor bros. Were pretty hard on them. They get blamed for everything from in-game advertising to unwanted multiplayer to roster updates masquerading as sequels. Whenever a title has an energy drink tie-in or a vapid female character, we tend to be quick with the accusations of bro-ification - but take a look back and youll realize that bros have sidestepped the most egregious crap lobbed at them.
BMX? Mountain Dew? Bros dont care about that stuff. Bros like ESPN, Russell Crowe and swimsuit issues. If publishers were serious about chasing the bro dollar thered already be three Entourage video games and a Gladiator MMO. So we now offer you nine instances of bro-pandering that failed to spark the imaginations of bros everywhere, and the bro-tastrophes we narrowly avoided...
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is not a bad game, its just not as good as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. To be fair, that game put the bar for platforming and acrobatic combat pretty freaking high. Warrior Within wasnt a complete wash, its just a case of outsourcing a dark, brooding, totally hardcore, bro aesthetic.
Up went the levels of bloody violence and away went the clothing of the princes female co-stars. The game received a well earned Mature rating that was rather at odds with the more rollicking tone of the original. Maybe Ubisoft intended Warrior Within to be the dark second act in the princes heros journey? Not a bad idea from a character perspective, but most gamers didnt appreciate being dragged into this gritty, gory world.
Bro-tastrophe we dodged: Dark, brooding and gritty versions of Nathan Drake, Master Chief and Lara Croft. Maybe a God of War with an even angrier, more heavily tattooed Kratos.
Publishers worldwide take note, bros can be discerning customers. They showed enough class and social refinement to stay away from BMX XXX, Acclaims attempt at hawking a sub-par extreme sports title by way of breasts and boner jokes. OK, maybe were giving bros a little too much credit here, all the avoid this game warning signs were there. First, putting multiple Xs in a title to signify edginess is never a good sign. Second, when the celebrity endorser sues to have his name removed, in this case Mr. Dave Mirra, youve probably made a misstep.
Also, are bros really that into extreme sports? Sure they like Monster energy drinks and yelling, but helmets? Ramps? Riding bikes? Sounds like a sure fire way to mess up your neatly spiked frosted tips, bro.
Bro-tastrophe we dodged: Rude and crude versions of every extreme sports fad. Sexy wakeboarding, naked hang gliding, and SSX XXX.
Blitz II: The League
Bros just wanna play football, bro. They dont wanna sleep with marketing executives and take steroids (at least not in their video games). They want to play good old fashioned American pigskin under the watchful eye of virtual John Madden. Sure, late hits, raunchy cheerleaders and an overall sleaze-ridden take on the sport is fun for a while, but sooner or later the bros are gonna lose interest. Just ask the XFL.
Bro-tastrophe we dodged: A flop button in every basketball video game. A Gears of War Thrashball spin-off. Mortal Kombat vs. the NHL. It might have been worth it if we got another Mutant League Football.
That Prototype 2 live action commercial
We love the Prototype games. Theyre big, destructive, nihilistic open-world titles. There are superpowers, but Mercer and Heller arent exactly superheroes. As far as abilities and moral compasses go, theyre like a mix of Spawn and the Spider-Man villain Venom. In short, theyre awesome, but those live action commercials for Prototype 2? Theyre not.
Sure, there are some great shots in it - like looking at a photograph while falling off a skyscraper - but mostly its posturing and ugly CGI. Basically, 90% of a bro-tastic action movie. It even ends with two angry guys yelling and running at each other. Len Wiseman, W.S. Anderson, start calling your lawyers.
Bro-tastrophe we dodged: Prototype 2 pulls a Dead Island and gets a movie deal based on its trailer, not the game itself.
Unless its by Seth MacFarlane or its the Fox Sports robot, bros dont really like animation. Most especially, they dont like anime. It both frightens and confuses them. So if Gaijin Entertainment was hoping to win over the American bro market by putting their protagonist in barely-even-there underwear, they were pretty much wasting their time. Her big manga-style eyes and fast as lightning attacks would scare any bro away before he even got a look at her thong.
Bro-tastrophe we dodged: X-Blades becomes a huge hit and posters of Ayumi start adorning locker rooms and mechanic shops everywhere. Poor Lara Croft and the Dead or Alive girls get their wardrobes slashed, and you dont even want to know what Ivy looks like in the next Soul Calibur...
Bros like house music, dubstep, and sick-nasty DJing. They do not, however, like exaggerated difficulty or David Bowie/Gorillaz mashups. That little plastic turntable? A total no go, bro. It takes them three or four Natty Lights to even pick up a plastic guitar controller. All the Daft Punk and Deadmau5 cameos in the world couldnt get them to hunch over that thing, simulating the delicate art of cross-fading between two turntables. Bros know a gimmicky game when they see one, and theyre definitely wary of forking over $120 worth of beer money for two-player DJing.
Bro-tastrophe we dodged: Inspired by their in-game prowess, bros start hosting DJing parties that champion the mixture of dissimilar songs instead of skillful scratching. Plastic turntables catch on big time, and Harmonix starts shoehorning a DJ part into every Rock Band 4 track. Playing it makes gamers look like a Linkin Park cover band.
The Guy Game
A glorified peep show meets trivia quiz, The Guy Game is what happens when the Girls Gone Wild people wont return your phone calls. In a throwback to the full motion video days, players compete against pre-recorded coeds in a trivia contest with only a handful of questions. Repetitious, lazy and offensive to boot. OK, so bros probably didnt avoid it for its rampant misogyny or creepy use of real girls pulled in off the street (one of them even sued developer Top Heavy Studios). They probably just didnt want to pay forty bucks for a combination of smutty late late night TV commercials and You Dont Know Jack: Confused Beachgoer Edition.
Bro-tastrophe we dodged: The Guy Game is a Guitar Hero-sized hit and starts showing up at every college party. The sequels come pouring in and start requiring an expensive red Solo cup peripheral for every player.
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust
We know that bros dont want to be Leisure Suit Larry. Bros want to be Marcus Fenix, Master Chief, or Eli Manning. Bros want to save the world, fire lasers and impress chicks and stuff. Bros definitely dont want to be some short fat creep who dresses like their dads weird buddy.
Surely thats why Box Office Bust starred younger, hipper, less creepy (they thought) Larry. The minds behind this title obviously wanted to be embrace a younger, more bro-centric audience. But bros didnt want a half-baked GTA clone trying to update a twenty-five year old character, and neither did anyone else. Were with you on this one, bros!
Bro-tastrophe we dodged: Had Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust been a hit, sandbox games would be less driving and shooting, more going for Hot Coffee with poorly rendered dates. Gross.
Mountain Dew Game Fuel
Bro-tastrophe we dodged: Incensed by the success of their caffeine competitors, Starbucks unveils their new line of eSports Espressos, brewed specifically to enhance the reflexes of competitive gamers. Flavors include MMO Mochachino, Call of Duty: Columbian, and French Broast.