Sadness has been resurrected. Remember it? You're forgiven if you don't. It was originally Wii Vaporware. NIBRIS was going to make it for the Wii way, way back when the console was first announced in 2006, but it didn't happen. Instead, it officially drifted away into ephemeral vaporware in 2010. It came back to our attention on May 20, 2014, when HullBreach and Cthulhi said they wanted to revive the Sadness IP as a 2D RPG with puzzle elements in a NintendoLife interview. Except a day later, on May 21, it was revealed that there are four studios trying to call dibs on Sadness and that HullBreach and Cthulhi don't have the rights or access to the concept.
Excuse me, while I breathe a sigh of relief. Feel free to join me, because we should all be glad Sadness is still stuck in limbo. Why? Because honestly, we rarely get anything good from vaporware. Once a game has entered development hell, it takes a miracle for it to emerge unscathed. For every Team Fortress 2 or S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, there's a Daikatana or Duke Nukem Forever.
Games with troubled and prolonged dev cycles aren't just falling victim to troubles during their creation. They're also susceptible to outside forces. Everyone who has heard about Sadness is expecting what NIBRIS described in March, 2006. They want a 3D game with live action, adventure elements, a dramatic and branching storyline, and the full, gothic atmosphere. They're expecting the story of a mother, desperate to protect her susceptible, and perhaps even supernatural, son in an unsettling environment.
There are expectations, and if Sadness was resurrected for the Wii U, fans would demand they be met.
Even worse is when these expectations become unrealistic. While I know not all people harbor the same mentality, many start to believe that, after so much time, we're owed a fantastic experience. I know I'm guilty of such a mindset. With Sadness, we've had 8 years now to decide what we should, and shouldn't, be getting. Even if it's an all new developer and publisher picking the IP up, those preconceived notions in the minds of gamers aren't going away.
Even worse, a resurrected IP like Sadness could succumb to The Last Guardian or Agent syndrome again. You know what I'm talking about. There was a game announced that seemed too good to be true. It was everything you ever wanted, times 100. The problem was, it really did happen to be too good to be true. Shit happened, excuse my language, and it entered into development hell. You'd hear vague updates on how it exists, and production continues, but never see anything beyond the initial announcement footage and screenshots. We already went through that for four years with Sadness. We don't need to experience it again.
Of course, there's even the matter of fan interest as well. Remember, it has been 8 years since Sadness was first announced. Do enough people still care about the project enough for it to even matter? When I first heard about the supposed revival on Tuesday, I actually had to utilize Google-fu to jog my memory (30 is the new 60, you know). When I did rediscover it, I couldn't really muster much excitement, and only a small part of that was because it was going to "allegedly" be changed to a 2D RPG. I just didn't care anymore. Apathy had set in, and even the prospect of having another reason to turn on my Wii U couldn't stimulate any interest.
Instead of going back to a failed IP like Sadness, developers should move forward with a blank slate. There's just too much baggage attached to the title, and there's no sense in taking on something with an already bad reputation in the hopes of banking on the people who originally had interest jumping on board a bandwagon again with a revival. Don't let Sadness bring us down, when there's a world of possibilities and potential for new and original ideas.