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Ms. Pac-Man's DLC Madness! a Support Thread

NeonBurrito

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Ms. Pac-Man just got a new line of cabinets announced by Arcade1UP.

From a copyright standpoint, the fact that Ms. Pac-Man is seeing a rerelease is fantastic news and the fact that it's on a non-AtGames console is even better. I don't know if it's completely damning evidence that Ms. Pac-Man's copyright lawsuits have finally been finalized after nearly four decades now but this might just be the end of this long journey.
 

Giga Man

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Giga Man

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Surprised no one posted the update to the Ms. Pac-Man lawsuit.

AtGames Press Release said:
LOS ANGELES, November 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -AtGames is pleased to announce the upcoming return of the popular Bandai Namco Arcade Blast! This innovative product (WD3305/WD3305S) packs 10 classic arcade games, including Dig Dug, Galaga, Galaxian, Mappy, New Rally-X, Pac-Man, Pac-Mania, Sky Kid, Tower of Druaga, and Xevious, into one patented HDMI-based micro-console, and is paired with a high-performance wireless gamepad. Like other Blast!-series products, the Bandai Namco Arcade Blast! also works via APL™ (Arcade Play Link) on the full-size Legends Ultimate home arcade series, making direct use of their arcade-quality controls and high definition display.

This announcement comes after a U.S. federal court dismissed Bandai Namco’s lawsuit against AtGames over IP rights in Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man games last week (Order of Dismissal by the Honorable Vince Chhabria of US District Court for the Northern District of California dated October 27, 2020, Case No. 19-cv-05898-VC).
The terms are confidential, but AtGames was able to release their Arcade Blast product, and I speculate that Ms. Pac-Man will be useless to AtGames for the foreseeable future.
 
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Mushroomguy12

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I know Ms. Pac-Man has been taken out of crossovers a lot lately, obviously Smash is the obvious exclusion where she can't even make a spirit, but in games like Mario Kart Arcade GP as well, where she used to be in the earlier games released in the 2000s but was excluded from the most recent one released in the 2010s. I wonder what makes this mobile game the exception where she can actually appear alongside Pac-Man properly.
 

Pacack

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So, I did some additional work and upscaled the render for Ms. Pac-Man that I posted earlier, as well as making additional recolors. Fair warning that these renders are large.

Ms. Pac-Man.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 2.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 2 Alt A.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 2 Alt B.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 2 Alt C.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 3.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 3 Alt A.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 4 Alt A.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 4.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 7.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 5.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 6.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 8.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 9.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 10.png
Ms. Pac-Man Edit 11.png

I made the executive decision to include different glove variants for the marquee art (I don't believe that pink glove variation was used until very recently, though I did find some merchandise with blue gloves; I also added a white variant), side art variants with and without eyeshadow (the first production run didn't have eyeshadow and lacked white for the eyes, while later runs did), and a white glove variant of the bevel art (the gloves are a lighter yellow than the rest of her body in the art, implying a lighter color.)

Interestingly, with the exceptions of the original render and Pac-Man World, all of these variations were inspired by either games or merchandise from 1982. Seems they haven't been consistent about her design ever since the beginning.
 

Pacack

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Apologies for the double post, but here's the Ms. Pac-Man bevel artwork that I referenced above. I couldn't find it elsewhere online, so here y'all go.

Cropped out:


AI Upscaled:
Ms. Pac-Man Bevel Art.png


While I'm at it, here's an image with all of my the above recolors of that Ms. Pac-Man render:
 
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Pacack

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So, I know I shouldn't get my hopes up, but...


Imagine if this was a bonus of, like, 3 echo fighters or something. I know it's not gonna happen, but I want to believe.
 

Pacack

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Well, guess what was just announced a few moments ago...

I swear if the Ms. doesn't show up in this game at some point, then I'll start to get really worried.
I really, really hope that a Ms. Pac-Man theme is eventually included alongside the Dig Dug, Galaga, and Xevious ones.

Honestly, we should consider asking the official Pac-Man twitter for a Ms. Pac-Man theme. If enough people ask, maybe they'd consider it?
 

Pacack

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So, Ms. Pac-Man may not have shown up in Pac-Man 99, but I did find something worth sharing here.
This is maybe the best Ms. Pac-Man model (and render) that I've seen. That said, I did take it upon myself to change the size of her gloves, since that was bothering me:

I also did a version that parallels Pac-Man's appearance in Smash better, in case anyone wants to use it for Smash purposes:

Plus some roster maker icons:
 
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Quillion

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I really, really hope that a Ms. Pac-Man theme is eventually included alongside the Dig Dug, Galaga, and Xevious ones.

Honestly, we should consider asking the official Pac-Man twitter for a Ms. Pac-Man theme. If enough people ask, maybe they'd consider it?
As long as there are those legal issues with the actual creators of Ms. Pac-Man, we'll probably never see her in an actual new game ever again, sadly.
 

Pacack

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As long as there are those legal issues with the actual creators of Ms. Pac-Man, we'll probably never see her in an actual new game ever again, sadly.
Well, the AtGames issue was settled out of court. And while we don't know what the terms of that agreement were, we do know that there's at least been that Ms. Pac-Man cabinet through Arcade1UP. Optimistically, I would guess that Bandai Namco offered to drop the lawsuit in exchange for AtGames' selling the Ms. Pac-Man royalty rights to Bandai Namco. We know that they've wanted to have absolute control of the property for ages now, but I suspect that they really want to get those rights by the time Ms. Pac-Man's 40th anniversary comes around. (Which is either late 2021 or early 2022, depending on who you ask.)
 

Quillion

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Well, the AtGames issue was settled out of court. And while we don't know what the terms of that agreement were, we do know that there's at least been that Ms. Pac-Man cabinet through Arcade1UP. Optimistically, I would guess that Bandai Namco offered to drop the lawsuit in exchange for AtGames' selling the Ms. Pac-Man royalty rights to Bandai Namco. We know that they've wanted to have absolute control of the property for ages now, but I suspect that they really want to get those rights by the time Ms. Pac-Man's 40th anniversary comes around. (Which is either late 2021 or early 2022, depending on who you ask.)
There's also the suspected possibility that Bamco just wants the rights so they can finally bury all of GCC/Midway's additions to the franchise. Bamco still holds the rights to the character, so their current strategy of burying the Midway characters is counterproductive; the only explanation is that Bamco wants to conform to Iwatani's original wishes of the Pac-Man "franchise" only consisting of the original and similar permutations.
 

Pacack

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There's also the suspected possibility that Bamco just wants the rights so they can finally bury all of GCC/Midway's additions to the franchise. Bamco still holds the rights to the character, so their current strategy of burying the Midway characters is counterproductive; the only explanation is that Bamco wants to conform to Iwatani's original wishes of the Pac-Man "franchise" only consisting of the original and similar permutations.
I think the more reasonable interpretation of their actions is that they haven't been using the characters because they would have to pay royalties. Bandai Namco is a company, and companies are meant to make money. Ms. Pac-Man is - as described by Bandai Namco themselves in their AtGames lawsuit - a profitable franchise with a ton of name recognition. There's no reason to suspect that they wouldn't produce more merchandise than they already do if they could.
 

Quillion

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I think the more reasonable interpretation of their actions is that they haven't been using the characters because they would have to pay royalties. Bandai Namco is a company, and companies are meant to make money. Ms. Pac-Man is - as described by Bandai Namco themselves in their AtGames lawsuit - a profitable franchise with a ton of name recognition. There's no reason to suspect that they wouldn't produce more merchandise than they already do if they could.
They don't have to pay royalties for using the character though, just for selling the original game. Bandai Namco is seemingly trying to bury Ms. Pac-Man to devalue the character so no one will check out her original game. It's a strange strategy.
 

Pacack

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They don't have to pay royalties for using the character though, just for selling the original game. Bandai Namco is seemingly trying to bury Ms. Pac-Man to devalue the character so no one will check out her original game. It's a strange strategy.
My understanding is that the royalties do/did affect any use of the character in merchandising, as well as rereleases of the original game and its code. At the very least, the original agreement between GCC and Midway specified both that they receive royalties for the game and also for any merchandise sales. (That was the reasoning behind the original GCC v Midway lawsuit; GCC saw how much merchandise was being made and how often the character was being used in things like the Hanna Barbara show and wanted a cut. For a long time, Namco stopped following the terms of this agreement because they didn't know it existed, up until about 2008, when a new agreement was made between GCC and Bandai Namco.)

Do you have a source that clarifies that the royalties were only for the original game? I ask because I have researched this extensively, and my understanding was the opposite.
 
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Quillion

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My understanding is that the royalties do/did affect any use of the character in merchandising, as well as rereleases of the original game and its code. At the very least, the original agreement between GCC and Midway specified both that they receive royalties for the game and also for any merchandise sales. (That was the reasoning behind the original GCC v Midway lawsuit; GCC saw how much merchandise was being made and how often the character was being used in things like the Hanna Barbara show and wanted a cut. For a long time, Namco stopped following the terms of this agreement because they didn't know it existed, up until about 2008, when a new agreement was made between GCC and Bandai Namco.)

Do you have a source that clarifies that the royalties were only for the original game? I ask because I have researched this extensively, and my understanding was the opposite.
No, you're right. I'm only going off of Wikipedia, but yes, it seems that GCC did want a cut of the merch after the game became as successful as it did. I was under the impression from the Jonii video that GCC had to be paid for nearly every sale of the original game. According to Wikipedia though, some royalty rights remain unresolved, so depending on what that means, the settlement between AtGames and Namco can go either way.

That said, I don't doubt that Pac-Man 99 was probably being developed before the settlement, so there's probably no hope for Ms. Pac-Man at launch. But if the stars align, the Midway cast could make their return to the franchise. Again, it could go either way.
 

Pacack

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No, you're right. I'm only going off of Wikipedia, but yes, it seems that GCC did want a cut of the merch after the game became as successful as it did. I was under the impression from the Jonii video that GCC had to be paid for nearly every sale of the original game. According to Wikipedia though, some royalty rights remain unresolved, so depending on what that means, the settlement between AtGames and Namco can go either way.

That said, I don't doubt that Pac-Man 99 was probably being developed before the settlement, so there's probably no hope for Ms. Pac-Man at launch. But if the stars align, the Midway cast could make their return to the franchise. Again, it could go either way.
I actually wrote that section you linked from the Wikipedia page. 😅

The line that "some royalty rights remain unresolved" is taken directly from this article, and it's intentionally vague because the public was never made privy to the exact terms of the agreement between GCC and Bandai Namco. That said, it's probably nearly identical to the original agreement made between Midway and GCC regarding merchandising and the original game's code.

Based on what we've been told by previous members of GCC, GCC and Namco entered into an agreement October 14, 1983, seven days after October 5, 1983, when they entered into an agreement with Midway following arbitration. Midway and Namco terminated their relationship in 1984 (though it took until 1987 for Midway to stop production of Ms. Pac-Man machines for some reason.)

Things got weird because Namco probably assumed that its obligations to GCC didn't exist anymore, as the agreement made Midway responsible for paying royalties to GCC for Ms. Pac-Man. This means that Ms. Pac-Man's appearances in Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures, Pac-Man World, Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness, Pac-Man: Adventures in Time, Ms. Pac-Man: Quest for the Golden Maze, Pac-Man All Stars, Pac-Man Fever, Pac-Man World 2, Pac 'n Roll, Pac-Man World 3, and Pac-Man World Rally may all have been without GCC's knowledge.

GCC approached Namco in 2002 after one of their members saw the Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga 20th Anniversary arcade machine. (Which is coincidentally also when the only person at Namco with knowledge of the original Ms. Pac-Man's development, Namco President Masaya Nakamura, resigned.) Those negotiations lasted until an agreement was reached in 2006, at which point we stop seeing Ms. Pac-Man appear in games, and we only rarely see merchandise and rereleases of the game.

If I had to guess, GCC insisted on similar terms to what they had before, which is why things got so difficult for Namco.
 
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Quillion

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I actually wrote that section you linked from the Wikipedia page. 😅

The line that "some royalty rights remain unresolved" is taken directly from this article, and it's intentionally vague because the public was never made privy to the exact terms of the agreement between GCC and Bandai Namco. That said, it's probably nearly identical to the original agreement made between Midway and GCC regarding merchandising and the original game's code.

Based on what we've been told by previous members of GCC, GCC and Namco entered into an agreement October 14, 1983, seven days after October 5, 1983, when they entered into an agreement with Midway following arbitration. Midway and Namco terminated their relationship in 1984 (though it took until 1987 for Midway to stop production of Ms. Pac-Man machines for some reason.)

Things got weird because Namco probably assumed that its obligations to GCC didn't exist anymore, as the agreement made Midway responsible for paying royalties to GCC for Ms. Pac-Man. This means that Ms. Pac-Man's appearances in Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures, Pac-Man World, Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness, Pac-Man: Adventures in Time, Ms. Pac-Man: Quest for the Golden Maze, Pac-Man All Stars, Pac-Man Fever, Pac-Man World 2, Pac 'n Roll, Pac-Man World 3, and Pac-Man World Rally may all have been without GCC's knowledge.

GCC approached Namco in 2002 after one of their members saw the Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga 20th Anniversary arcade machine. (Which is coincidentally also when the only person at Namco with knowledge of the original Ms. Pac-Man's development, Namco President Masaya Nakamura, resigned.) Those negotiations lasted until an agreement was reached in 2006, at which point we stop seeing Ms. Pac-Man appear in games, and we only rarely see merchandise and rereleases of the game.

If I had to guess, GCC insisted on similar terms to what they had before, which is why things got so difficult for Namco.
Yep, I even found this article that confirms what you said about the agreement and the time when GCC took Midway to court over not getting royalties from Ms. Pac-Man merch (you might wanna add that as a source to Wikipedia, since I had to find a source for that lawsuit).

I'd still say that part of the issue is Namco's pride. As this part of Jonii's Ms. Pac-Man video shows, like you said, Namco at the time simply wasn't aware of the royalty agreement with GCC. Now that they're well aware once more of GCC's role as the "real daddy" of Ms. Pac-Man and arguably the franchise as a whole, they disdain the idea of an outside team being responsible for one of their most popular characters, which has caused Bandai Namco to first create the Ghostly Adventures reboot, then phase the Midway characters out of the main maze games.

Strangely, Ms. Pac-Man did appear as recently as 2018 as a limited-time collaboration with Sonic Dash. I wonder what kind of agreements with GCC had to be reached to even achieve that, if at all.
 

Pacack

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Yep, I even found this article that confirms what you said about the agreement and the time when GCC took Midway to court over not getting royalties from Ms. Pac-Man merch (you might wanna add that as a source to Wikipedia, since I had to find a source for that lawsuit).
That article is cited in the Wikipedia article already, though I should cite it there. Thanks.

I'd still say that part of the issue is Namco's pride. As this part of Jonii's Ms. Pac-Man video shows, like you said, Namco at the time simply wasn't aware of the royalty agreement with GCC. Now that they're well aware once more of GCC's role as the "real daddy" of Ms. Pac-Man and arguably the franchise as a whole, they disdain the idea of an outside team being responsible for one of their most popular characters, which has caused Bandai Namco to first create the Ghostly Adventures reboot, then phase the Midway characters out of the main maze games.

Strangely, Ms. Pac-Man did appear as recently as 2018 as a limited-time collaboration with Sonic Dash. I wonder what kind of agreements with GCC had to be reached to even achieve that, if at all.
I would be surprised if Namco wasn't aware that Ms. Pac-Man was made by non-Namco staff, as that and following games like Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man, Baby Pac-Man, and Professor Pac-Man were the reason they ended their relationship with Midway.

Rather, I suspect that they assumed they were freed from their obligations when they broke with Midway in 1984, then the memory of who precisely made Ms. Pac-Man was lost, with the vague "it was done by Midway" being all that was remembered.

Again, they stopped using Ms. Pac-Man regularly only after they entered into an agreement again with GCC in 2006. Their behavior is consistent with wanting to use the property and stopping when legal issues got in the way. Ms. Pac-Man makes them money; there's no reason to expect that they disliked the character when they used her regularly until the 2006 agreement.

The only evidence we have that Namco doesn't like Ms. Pac-Man were statements that A. Namco was "embarassed" in 1981 that the sequel to Pac-Man was happening out of house and B. Toru Iwatani (who notably left Namco after developing Pac-Man Championship Edition in 2007) had not commented on Ms. Pac-Man despite numerous attempts to ask him about the game.
 

Pacack

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So, I've been thinking about fruit recently. I've always imagined that the Missus would play identically to Pac-Man with the exception of her fruit, but I've had a hard time deciding what each fruit should actually do.

I think the most likely possibility for the first three fruit (cherry, strawberry, and orange) would be for them to act exactly like Pac-Man's. It would be interesting if they were different, but the first few fruit have pretty standard uses and the orange especially is a critical part of Pac-Man's moveset that I would hate to go without.

I like the idea of making the pretzel do loops in front of Ms. Pac-Man, and not moving very quickly, acting mainly to secure space for a time. Sort of like a defensive Galaxian rather than an offensive one.

I guess the apple could be similar to Pac's, but maybe having different properties since it comes later in the charge. Maybe it could take shorter bounces and travel less far, but kill earlier.

Where I'm really stuck is the pear and the banana. It doesn't seem right to make them act like Pac-Man's final two fruit, but I'm not sure what exactly they should do either. Being the final two fruit, they should be worth charging up to.

My best idea for the pear is making it fly similarly to the bell, but either burying opponents or doing a lot of shield damage. I'm not sure which works more, but the pear looks really bottom-heavy, so it seems right for it to do something like that.

The banana seems a natural fit for making the opponent trip, but that's such an underwhelming power for the final fruit. I don't know if it makes sense for it to act like the key, either. It would also be nice for her final fruit to be strong enough to launch her hydrant, assuming she has one. Clearly it should be pretty damaging, but what can it do that would be interesting?

Maybe it could spike? that would be a really unique attribute for an item, but I worry that it would be hard to balance. Maybe it doesn't go as far in return?

What would y'all do differently? I'm curious to hear other ideas.
 

Quillion

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So, I've been thinking about fruit recently. I've always imagined that the Missus would play identically to Pac-Man with the exception of her fruit, but I've had a hard time deciding what each fruit should actually do.

I think the most likely possibility for the first three fruit (cherry, strawberry, and orange) would be for them to act exactly like Pac-Man's. It would be interesting if they were different, but the first few fruit have pretty standard uses and the orange especially is a critical part of Pac-Man's moveset that I would hate to go without.

I like the idea of making the pretzel do loops in front of Ms. Pac-Man, and not moving very quickly, acting mainly to secure space for a time. Sort of like a defensive Galaxian rather than an offensive one.

I guess the apple could be similar to Pac's, but maybe having different properties since it comes later in the charge. Maybe it could take shorter bounces and travel less far, but kill earlier.

Where I'm really stuck is the pear and the banana. It doesn't seem right to make them act like Pac-Man's final two fruit, but I'm not sure what exactly they should do either. Being the final two fruit, they should be worth charging up to.

My best idea for the pear is making it fly similarly to the bell, but either burying opponents or doing a lot of shield damage. I'm not sure which works more, but the pear looks really bottom-heavy, so it seems right for it to do something like that.

The banana seems a natural fit for making the opponent trip, but that's such an underwhelming power for the final fruit. I don't know if it makes sense for it to act like the key, either. It would also be nice for her final fruit to be strong enough to launch her hydrant, assuming she has one. Clearly it should be pretty damaging, but what can it do that would be interesting?

Maybe it could spike? that would be a really unique attribute for an item, but I worry that it would be hard to balance. Maybe it doesn't go as far in return?

What would y'all do differently? I'm curious to hear other ideas.
I agree with all of this for her "unique" Bonus Fruits.

I'd even say that the Banana should just be a highly damaging version of Diddy's banana. It should have the same damage as Pac-Man's key but with trip.
 

BallZ

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as a Pac Man secondary I would so play as her if she were to be added, but realistically i see her as more likely to be a newcomer in the next game rather than a dlc
 
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