It’s one thing to have loot boxes in your free-to-play game. It’s another to have super-rare, highly desired characters in those loot boxes. It’s yet another thing to require that players get five of those characters to unlock their full power. And it’s yet another thing to make a gacha-addicted comic character to serve as your game’s primary mascot.
That’s exactly how things are in the mobile RPG Fate/Grand Order. A feature article by Polygon (sourced from the Wall Street Journal, behind a paywall) lays bare all the nefarious goings-on with the game, including one desperate player, Daigo, who spent $70,000 on its gacha scheme.
According to Polygon, Daigo is a “happy stock trader, with pockets deeper than the developer’s greediest dreams,” though other players profiled in the piece experience crushing despair at not getting the rare character(s) they desired, with some spending until their credit cards were declined.
As if all that isn’t bad enough, the game’s marketing spotlights Gudako, a gacha addict who is typically seen
berating, threatening and sexually harassing her Servants (the same heroes that players roll the gacha to recruit) while ignoring the game itself and fiending for her next hit from the gacha
Fate/Grand Order is the worst of free-to-play, all wrapped up in a cartoony package and shamelessly promoted to anyone with a credit card. Polygon says it “monetizes that [players’] love” and calls it “abusive behavior on the part of the developers,” and I couldn’t agree more.
I will at least grant it the tiniest shred of credit by saying that, with a character like Gudako front and center, it acknowledges that it’s after your wallet. That’s a tick better than games that say loot boxes are good for you, give players more choices, or offer a sense of pride and accomplishment.