I’ve been doing this, a weekly rundown of the happenings in video game news, for about three years at this point. I used the segment as a way to interject my own petulant thoughts about the banal happenings in the video game industry and make use of hundreds of anime screenshots I was collecting. You know, back when I still watching and reviewing anime. It gradually descended into bitching in many respects, and despite my efforts to improve this over the past few weeks, I’ve become tired of the weekly rigmarole. This may be the last Nigmabox Rundown for a while, or I may come running back next week like nothing’s changed.
Let’s start this week with an obituary of sorts for a few dead little darlings who will never see the light of day. In a press release put out by Microsoft, the company announced that the small and not very well known developer behind Max and the Curse of Brotherhood, Press Play, has been closed. While Lionhead’s Fable Legends, has been canceled, and the studio itself will likely close very soon. Although some interpreted that as it being already dead. Fable Legends apparently simply wasn’t coming together after switching to a free to play model, and despite having millions invested in it, the game apparently wasn’t worth finishing. On a brighter note, Microsoft is working to find new jobs for their former employees, which is far better than many other studio closures.
While Everquest Next, an ambitious attempt to redefine MMOs using a fairly bland IP that is most well known for being the first huge MMORPG, has been canceled after years of hearing little to nothing about the game. It simply was not coming together, but the world creating companion MMO, Everquest Landmark, is launching sometime this Spring, so at least that’s something.
I can’t think of any examples where a canceled game resurfaced in a remotely similar form, but development can halt on a game only to resume at a later time as is the case for Radiant Entertainment, who was recently purchased by Riot Games of League of Leggings fame. This shift in resources has put Radiant’s Rising Thunder, a fighting game with simple inputs but loads of complexity, on hold for the foreseeable future. A move that hopefully will not take too long.
On that note, I genuinely began to wonder if Dead Island 2 was canceled after Yager was dropped as the developer, but no, instead the new developer was named eight months later with Sumo Digital, who made Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing as well as a lot of other projects where they served smaller roles, such as Fallout 4. They seem competent enough, but I must question if anybody really cares about the game after such a wonky development cycle, seeing as how those rarely end in exceptional products.
Every part of game development is hard, as I say quite often in order to reinforce the idea in my mind. Especially porting and localizing decade old PC games, as was the case with Trails in the Sky 2, and surely will be the case with Trails in the Sky 3. The game will come out to PC in 2017, even though the second one did not sell very well, and this series is a massive undertaking for any localization team given the colossal amount of text. Meanwhile, Trails of Cold Steel II, whose predecessor released last year, will be out in late 2016 for Playstation Vita.
Yes, yes, the Vita is very much alive and will remain so for a while thanks to Japanese publishers who can appeal to a niche audience, like Compile Heart who is making Genkai Tokki: Seven Pirates, a Vita RPG about seven women whose stats are tied directly to their breasts. Yes, the details about the game make it sound like a load of pandering and fanservice.
You could say the same thing about the Neptunia series, even though it’s far more subtle and subdued. But not so much in Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed, the action game made by the Senran Kagura developers wherein the clothes are beaten off of the player characters if you want. The game is heading to PC via Steam on March 21st, so expect a review of it before month’s end. Also, the game’s spiritual successor, MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies, wherein the main characters are schoolgirls making a zombie film to save an all-girls academy from closing down, is coming out for Vita on April 26.
It’s weird how I will gravitate towards Neptunia spin-offs, but I don’t care much for whatever side games Pokemon has, such as the newly announced Pokemon Comaster. Based on what little information was offered this is some kind of free to play battle chess thing, a genre I would have never associated with the series, but I could say the same for Mystery Dungeon, Pokemon Channel, Pokemon Dash, and so forth.
I wouldn’t call any Pokemon spin-off a surprise though, unlike the announcement of a a Mario-centric Nintendo Theme Park that will open in Universal Studios Japan come 2020. The idea of a Nintendo theme park was popularized long ago, cemented with Nintendo Land at the Wii U’s launch, and is one of the most logical venues for the company to explore. Although, ever since the mid-90s Nintendo has been rather needlessly protective of their IP. Probably because the Mario Brothers movie was such a mitigated disaster. That, and those crappy DIC cartoons. Anyways, they finally did something that people have wanted for decades. Yay!