Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The hero the game industry deserves

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to indulge in one of my favorite pass times. One that I save for only the most special occasions. It is time to be


You know that guy. The guy who doesn't like the thing that everyone else likes. The guy who sits back in the safety of his cheetos encrusted chair, strokes his patchy beard, then dryly states 'Worst. Announcement. Ever.'

That guy is here to tell you that the Sony press conference was a gigantic bait and switch. They had nothing, and he means nothing, first party exclusive with a release date in the next twelve months so they filled their show with timed exclusives and PS4 specific content to multi-platform games. Keep in mind that this is the exact same thing that Microsoft has done in the past: pass around the money hats and hope no one notices. And no one did notice. Why?

Final Fantasy VII Remake and Shenue 3. Oh, and The Last Guardian, a game now slightly out of the vapor ware category. Slightly. It is right next to No Mans Sky and that ridiculous VR Minecraft nonsense from the Microsoft press conference. If that works like it was shown that guy will eat his hat and the hats of several other skeptics. They are big hats. It will be a hat buffet.

That guy would like to kindly remind you that, in retrospect and without the rose colored glasses, Final Fantasy VII has not aged well, and that is being kind. To be fair, and that guy is always fair, most PS1 era games are difficult to look at now. This is not going to be a remake. Resident Evil Remake for the GameCube was a remake. Final Fantasy VII is going to be a total re-imagining. It is going to have very little in common with the original but no one will care because it will have Cloud and his comically over sized sword.

Final Fantasy VII holds a special place in peoples' hearts because it is the first JRPG that a lot of them played. It was JRPG for the masses. That guy is happy to share the genre with such philistines but there are other, better games that could have been chosen. Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, or Final Fantasy IV. Nope, Square Enix chose the quick and easy path, the one that leads to the dark side, the side in which there are no new games, just re-releases of old one.

On mobile platforms. With copious micro-transactions.

And Shenmue 3? Really? In case no one remembers, and apparently no one does, parts of Shenmue 2 were boring as shit:

This is what you people want? Bad voice acting and in game work? That guy does not understand. There are new stories to be told in new games and everyone is frothing mad over remakes and sequels to games that weren't actually that good. Sony had much more interesting games to show, Horizon in particular looked very good, but the internet talking heads are all busy reliving their stunted childhoods because there isn't space in their heads for new content.

Microsoft stuck with the tried and true to headline their show, Halo 5 and Forza 6, more sequels, but at least they are sequels that I believe exist and are coming out this year. They also managed to not mention television or other multimedia capabilities of their system that no one uses, a trap they avoided that Sony is happy to jump into.

To be fair, and remember, that guy is always fair, Microsoft did their own dredging up of the past and squeezed the last few bloody dollars out of the stone that used to be Rare with their thirty games for thirty dollars collection. A good value? Perhaps, but who has time to replay these old games when there are a hundred more hours of The Witcher 3 to go.

These remakes and collections should not be encouraged. Are we to believe that the AAA games industry is already so creatively bankrupt that the best it can do is dump old games on to new systems and rewrite inexplicably and undeservedly popular old intellectual property all while minimizing what little new they have to offer?

Maybe. Or maybe not. Both Sony and Microsoft were quick to tout their support for indy game developers. Cuphead stole the show. Seriously. And it did it by looking like a new, small game, not by rehashing a graphical style that was rightly left behind in the 16 bit era. No more pixel are, people, make new games new.

That guy is here to remind you that if everyone else is playing it the game probably isn't very good and that, no matter what, he cannot be pleased and is always right. And any apparent inconsistencies in his views are just your imagination.

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