Let's talk about Rhythm Games

This post has been born out of pure frustration. It is a post that I have been fearing that I may have to write for some time now, but events this week have tipped my opinion over the edge.

As some of you may know, I've been involved in the Rhythm Game / BEMANI scene for the past just-over two years, and working hard as the main founder / lead of Flower since June last year. Since then, our team at Flower has grown to house some incredibly talented, caring, and fun individuals, and as such, we've developed stuff that goes way beyond our wildest dreams when we first started.

The amount of work we have put into this over the past year (and exceptionally so over the past 6-8 months) has been absolutely extraordinary - especially so when considering that everyone involved is doing it for absolutely nothing, out of the kindness of their hearts, in the varying levels of spare time that we have as individuals. It has become increasingly apparent, however, that the establishment (that being DJH and co) are incredibly elitist and controlling. As such, after some pretty severe hatred was thrown at me just over 3 weeks ago by several high-ranking officials at DJH / sows for something that absolutely was not our fault or issue, I decided that I would no longer be participating in, or putting time into, the sows / BEMANI scene, instead focusing on enjoying the games with my close and trusted friends at Flower.

On Tuesday of this week, after around 5 months of hard, solid work from our team, we made IIDX23 'copula' available at VEGA London. Produced as a result of our own work entirely, and with the help of absolutely no stolen data or tools (as mandated by our internal policy), we expected to see a welcome response from the community for making this new version available before the standard scene had caught up to us.

Good lord were we wrong.

Immediately after announcing the upgrade, JoycieC (community manager at VEGA London) started communicating in the scene's main Skype channel. Someone asked if the game would be fully song unlocked, to which his response was 'no' (it's worth noting that at the time of writing, a full unlock is enabled, but purely for the purposes of development - optional full unlocking is to be implemented in due course). The response was absolutely astonishing. We had a large proportion of the establishment crying foul, accusing us of being illegitimate, that we had stolen our code from people, and that we were being elitist and stopping people who had to travel to the location from playing the game. The response was so gross that JoycieC has decided to step down from working as the community manager at VEGA, and further to retire from the scene.

Again, all this just because the game isn't going to be fully unlocked by default.

I sent a (fairly angry) response to the scene calling them out on this, and was greeted by calls of myself being delusional, personal attacks on my standing, and people suggesting that I should be expelled from any BEMANI-related activities (including being removed as the lead of Flower) for responding as I did.

Additionally, DJH have shown themselves to be incredibly controlling; several of our most talented team members were recruited by their team, and have since distanced themselves due to even greater levels of elitism. It should be somewhat telling that staffers at DJH have referred to at least one member of our team as 'theirs now', and that they are not working on anything else other than DJH projects - which is unbelievable to hear, and absolutely not the case.

We tried working with DJH when we first got our head around the more complex stuff - and indeed, some members of our team started working with us because they were rejected, straight up ignored, or told they were not "cool enough" to join - it was only after they found out that we had made breakthroughs, or were threatening to do stuff before they got around to it (like the Prop release) that they changed their tune and started jumping on everyone and trying to make them their own. Additionally, the English patch they are releasing this evening would not even be possible without our work, as the member of their team that did the work on it was, in fact, working against a proxy of our network server (even if they didn't realise it at the time). There is way more to say on this topic, but I could literally write a book (I'll save that for when I'm in need of royalties).

I should make it clear that I continue to stand by everything I wrote in the paste response above, and have no intention of backing down from it, because it is the plain, blunt, simple truth - there is a huge sense of self-entitlement from everyone in the community that they are all special snowflakes, and that they are entitled to be the only ones with access to data that they can play at home, all with perfectly working network features. This is not what a scene should be; it should be about a shared vision, and multiple parties working independently to provide choice and competition. That ship has, unfortunately, long since sank.

With love,

Team Lilieze