Catherine, A Story-Focused Puzzler, Has A Competitive Scene
Catherine is a 2011 PS3 and Xbox 360 game made by Atlus, specifically the Persona team. To get ready for a new generation of hardware, the team worked on a puzzle game with adult themes (like marriage and commitment- and a scantily clad woman) while finishing up Persona 4 on the PS2. The game is great- really strong aesthetics, tight gameplay, interesting story but there’s also a multiplayer mode where you race to the top of a tower- the puzzle here is the various rules on how you navigate and interact with the blocks.
And that multiplayer mode has grown its own competitive scene.
We recommend reading the whole feature done by Red Bull e-Sports but the gist of it is that it found it legs as side tournaments in fighting game events like CEO and EVO. The fighting game community has always been growing outside of the e-sports scene which allowed them to give obscure or niche games a chance to grow. It’s mostly run by the community, with not much of a control by big sponsors, so these side tournaments get to flourish into its own little community.
Despite the setbacks the community has to face- there’s no online play to allow more players to learn and play against each other- they are still going strong. This is no surprise considering the Smash Bros. scene still plays the Gamecube title, Melee, with CRT TVs for major tournaments across the globe.
While developer support goes a long way to help thrive an e-sports scene, we all need to remember that the biggest thing that needs to be there is the community of passionate, competitive players playing the game. We’ve seen many games trying to make e-sports as its selling point only to falter afterwards since the community of competitive players are not there.
The Persona team has just released Persona 5 in Japan last September, with the English version to arrive by April, so we will see if the developers will ever revisit the puzzler in a future game.
(Header image courtesy of Red Bull e-Sports)