I did not notice this after the Nintendo Switch event last week, mostly because I try to curate my media feeds as best I can, but apparently everybody who watched the trailer for Super Mario Odyssey compared the game to Sonic The Hedgehog (2006) because it has a cartoonish character wandering around a realistic city with realistic people. Even though the far simpler and, well, better comparison to make here is between Sonic Adventure. The general aesthetic is basically identical, as both games feature sections where a strange creature jumps and runs around a metropolitan environment filled with street lights, skyscrapers, and cars that move down the street. Oh, and yes you ever insightful children, if Mario was real, he would be dissected and branded a mutant. You’re as clever as a whoopie cushion and somehow more irritating.
Moving onto video game news, there are a few follow ups I should address. About three months ago Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro, the eccentric director of Deadly Premonition and D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die left Access Games. An announcement that came as something of a disappointment considering how much I enjoy the personality featured in his two most well known titles. However, he was never going to leave the games space, and has already started up his own studio, White Owls. It will likely be a while before anything comes from this new studio, but whatever Swery is working on, I’m sure it will be delightfully odd.
Hoping further back, in July 2016 Aksys Games announced that they acquired the localization rights to Tokyo Xanadu, a Falcom developed action RPG, with the intention of releasing the game on PS Vita and PC. This was a very odd announcement for two reasons. One, XSEED is normally the publisher of Falcom games, including the Trails and Ys games along with the recently released Xanadu Next, which is part of the same series as Tokyo Xanadu. Two, in June 2016, Falcom announced that they were developing an updated version of the game, entitled Tokyo Xanadu eX+, which was set to only release on PS4. However, in the initial localization announcement Aksys made a month later, they specifically stated they had no plans to release eX+, and were instead only going to release the original Tokyo Xanadu on Vita and PC.
I bring this up because Aksys changed their release plans for the game, and what they decided on is… unusual. They are going to release Tokyo Xanadu on the Playstation Vita sometime in summer of 2017, and during fall 2017, they will release Tokyo Xanadu eX+ for both PS4 and PC. This news, while good, is also questionable considering how I doubt there is much of an audience that would be willing to purchase an inferior version of a game with less content, even if it comes out earlier. It’s also questionable considering how the Vita is basically forgotten about even by a lot of people who purchased one, but I won’t go proclaiming that the Vita is dead or anything like that. Though the system did die for me when Liam left the Super Best Friends. R.I.P. Vita, you sweet prince.
There was a Fire Emblem flavored Nintendo Direct this past week, which is actually a rather odd thing to say considering the series’ relative obscurity and near cancellation up until a few years ago. Anyways, the Direct focused primarily on three games, the first being Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadow of Valentia, a 3DS remake of the second game in the series, Fire Emblem Gaiden. The game looks like another 3DS Fire Emblem game but with a few new mechanics scattered in, such as free roaming environments, dungeons with encounterable enemies, and a flexible character progression system. It doesn’t look wildly impressive, but given the series’ lineage, I’m sure it will make for an enjoyable foray when it releases on May 19, 2017 as one of the final big games for what will potentially be Nintendo’s last dedicated handheld system.
Following the teaser trailer shown last week, Fire Emblem Warriors was show yet again, this time with a few seconds of additional in-engine footage that doesn’t tell anyone much of anything about the game. A game that people will be getting their hands on sooner than I would have thought, as the game is due out in fall of 2017, where it will not only launch on the NIntendo Switch, but the New Nintendo 3DS as well. Assuming people really want to play a dramatically inferior version of the same game.
That’s all well and good, but this Direct was clearly leading up to the announcement of Nintendo’s third mobile game, Fire Emblem Heroes. Based on what was shown, the game is a somewhat streamlined and scaled down version of the Fire Emblem games, barring a few changes. Characters are given chibi overworld icons instead of sprites, weapons do not have durability, strengths and weaknesses regarding weapon types and magic are represented with an intuitive Pokemon-esque red, green, and blue color wheel, and there are free to play game elements.
As the name implies, the Fire Emblem Heroes has players earning and recruiting characters from prior games in the series. They can be recruited in defeating the character in battle, but the most common means of earning new characters involves playing a gashapon game. It has the player with currency that is found in-game or via purchases in order to earn new characters who fit a certain selectable archetype. It sounds acceptable, but the inclusion of a mechanic that gradually lessens the cost of each spin of the gashapon wheel sound more than a little concerning. Whether this is detrimental to the game or not will be determined when the game releases for iOS and Android on February 2, 2017.
Oh, and a new Fire Emblem game was announced to come out on the Switch in 2018, but literally nothing representative of the game was shown.