I remember this game being hyped to the max and then immediately forgotten after release, since everyone agreed that it was mediocre and offered nothing new besides some cool graphics and character designs. I vaguely remember it being even more hyped for being "groundbreaking" since in early releases the environments were interactive, with tables being smashed etc., which however was dropped for the final release in favor of that stupid ragdoll physics thing.
I wonder what would have become of Square if both this game and the humongous flop of their FF film the year after never happened. 'member Aki Ross?
The FF movie being a gigantic bomb is definitely the number one problem they had. I don't think this game being a dud factored in too much. I didn't know this until just now, but Square and Enix started talking about merging before the movie came out and only resumed after Square stabilized rather than merging because of it.
I agree about the hype and the subsequent total fading away. For some reason the ad still pops into my head every once in a while. Being Square's first major PS2 game was a big factor in the hype too.
Yeah I remember everyone being super hyped that games could now look like the FMVs from the PS1 FFs... but with ingame graphics, yet when it released no one played The Bouncer. It didn't help that incoming reviews described it as a 1 hour PS2 tech demo.
I recently played it and honestly the most entertaining thing about the game are the character designs. Even for Nomura standards they are wild, almost as if he dared for someone to stage an intervention finally. Like one of the main characters is entirely made out of tribal tattoos! The game plays kinda bad with the camera angles making it easy for enemies to hit you from off screen before you see them coming, bosses notoriously hitting your two companions into you for big collision damage, and said companions often stealing your kills so you don't get points to power up.
I enjoyed the plot format for The Bouncer. Gameplay was a bit primitive and clunky for me. I was hoping for something a bit more polished on the side of Tobal No.1/2. The concept had potential. The vibe and atmosphere felt to me like a carryover of the Shinra building, with the design/feel being reused for the FF XIII Versus/FF XV demos.