I’ll try to write this in an all-audience accessible manner. Also, watch me fail at this.
The mobile game IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE: Theater Days (MLTD) is enjoying its 5th year in 2021. For those who are totally unfamiliar, this Japanese-region based game on iOS and Android (its Korean and TW/HK releases are being shut down later in October) is an offshoot of the bigger IDOLM@STER (IM@S) franchise. What this Japanese media-mix franchise–which started as arcade games but branched into console games, anime TV show and films, comics, and many other things–is known for is mixing its vast array of characters in its raising games with live performances of their voice actors on stage events. To keep the franchise moving, each of the sub-brands put out regularly, new singles, albums and performances (in-game and in-person). There are currently 4 active all-female sub-brands (765Pro All Stars, Cinderella Girls, Million Live, and Shiny Colors) and one all-male sub-brand (SideM)
I’m just whining about one specific part of one specific game for one specific sub-branch of a big brand here, although the same probably can be said of most of current games (except the Popm@s game, which is bejeweled; and to an extent also the Shiny Color game which has an entirely different bag of problems as a F2P visual novel)–they are glorified content delivery platforms, with gameplay being secondary to the idea that you are playing a raising game, producing the idols you are in charge of, and watching them perform their work and reach for success.
Given games like these are F2P platform/services, they have to evolve over time. Five years is a relatively long time. The IM@S franchise also is a sizeable thing that’s been around for 16 years. It costs a lot of money to field a large cast and put on extravagant shows. The Cinderella Girls (CG) series is probably the best example, as it has grown from two successful mobile games and build a large and loyal audience, with concerts in baseball domes, with its 10th anniversary coming up this winter.
While CG can rely on its huge, 200-plus-member cast and a regular, top 20 revenue game in the app marketplaces to keep things going fresh, others are more in a bind. In MLTD’s case, the developers have tried spinning the presentation differently–doing an “anime” type sequence using the in-game engine for example. Or, in this case, a new event type called “Platinum Star Leisure” which caps off a new series of an existing event type “Platinum Star Tale” which is just a repurposed “Platinum Star Tour” event with different rewards.
I appreciate the new try, but, this is not a good look.