Quoted from benheck:
John doesn't seem to understand Zombie culture anyway. Mars Attacks and Robots? That has nothing to do with Zombies! Pick ONE genre and stay true to it, that's what I did.
I love campy and/or classic sci fi, I have the Topps book that collects all the original Mark Attacks! cards, and a limited edition Forbidden Planet print in my office. That stuff is right up my alley.
But I agree, it's really unrelated to zombies. Sure, you could mash them up in an interesting way, nothing wrong with that, but when people are looking for ZOMBIES it's a tough marriage.
I sort of doubt Jpop really stopped to think about the genre. Zombies are an intimate fear. They confront us with our cultural mortality and norms. The best zombie flicks are allegorical, people trapped in a giant mall fighting the mindless dead.
Sci Fi is almost the other side of the same coin. Less about intimacy, and more the expansive unknown. We tend to band together as a world in the face of the alien, not get separated and fractured as our dead consume us from within.
Which is all to say that you're somewhat missing the point if you think you can just smush the two together and make everyone happy.
Beyond that, if your art is constantly changing (and we know it will have to change again since he's so utterly wrong about the rights to the Mars Attacks! aliens and Robbie the Robot) it calls into question the whole game. How can you be building a cohesive game when you don't even know who your main characters are? What kind of narrative structure can possibly exist in that kind of flux?
It doesn't sound like the work of a genius, it sounds like a guy saying "hey kid, draw me some cool retro space shit, I'm gonna be over here filing patents while my laser cutter is running".
Magic Girl is the same thing. "It looks like this!" ... "No wait, let's make it Egyptian themed!"
Licensed games are sadly the norm now, but one reason they're so popular is they give you a framework. When you're Stern and you're trying to release several games a year it's really helpful to have the foundation all set for you. No wandering in the desert trying to figure out the ins and outs of the theme, all the characters and narrative are right there.
I don't doubt he's an idea man. But when he was at Williams he probably said "a crazy circus!" and they said "make it so" and then he had to just work on it because there was a damn deadline and people there working with him who he couldn't tell to just piss off and leave him alone. Art was done, and no, we're not paying to have it totally restarted.
Too much freedom doesn't always equal a better result. See George Lucas.