Rundown (8/20-8/26) Natalie Will Spend All Her Money!

So, I recently made my appointment for facial feminization surgery, and as it turns out, I will be using approximately all of my money outside of my IRA to pay for it.  Because of this, I will not be doing as I originally planned, and I believe referenced in a prior Rundown, and purchase a Nintendo Switch for my recuperation period.  I will also be taking a hiatus beginning in mid-December and lasting until sometime in January.  I take pride in how I have maintained a constant weekly review schedule for the past two years, but I will need to break it, on account of my face being reformed into something prettier.  

The first bit of news on my list, and it is a pretty substantial list, is that Final Fantasy XV is coming to PC, an announcement that was “subtly” teased a few times in the past, and will be made a reality in early 2018.  The game itself will feature higher quality resolutions, a number of new effects, enhanced audio, and generally will likely be a pretty notable technical showcases, which is actually was the director of the game wanted.  Combine this with the fact that XV is slowly making its way towards completion, because let’s face it, the original release was not a finished game, and the game may have a second life ahead of it by the time it hits PC.  

This idea is enhanced by how the game will receive official mod support, which could lead to any number of things, but I’m kind of hoping for a gender swapped rendition of the main characters’ models.  Mostly because I am weird like that.  Also, they basically okayed the use of nude mods, so the game is almost certainly going to be a hit with the underserved porn game market.  Seriously, I’m surprised there aren’t more games that are basically just sex simulators that use near cutting edge graphics, because of how affordable they are these days.

Oh, but what about those without a gaming PC yet do not own one of the two primary consoles in order to play Final Fantasy XV and would be interested in it?  Well, there were talks about doing something with Final Fantasy XV and the switch, but for those with just a smart device, there is Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition, and abridged mobile rendition of the game that will feature stylized chibi-esque sprites of all the characters, and gameplay designed around a touch screen interface.  Now, I could view this as a cynical cash grab, but it seems harmless enough.  The game will be released as a ten episode title sometime in autumn.

Not simply content with showing off different versions of one game that they made, Square Enix announced that the cult classic (I think) Fear Effect series will be receiving a remake of its first entry with Fear Effect Reinvented.  Details are scarce, but it seems that the game will be a very faithful remake, and less of a reboot of reinterpretation, with some changes made to accommodate a modern audience.  Which is probably the best way to bring an older game like this back.  Honestly, I know nothing beyond this series other than how it is that cel-shaded game with a lesbian protagonist, but assuming that this remake actually winds up pretty good, I may add this game to the never ending game review docket.

Oh, but that was not the only remake Square Enix announced either as they revealed a remake of Secret of Mana, the only game in the Mana series most people care about, entitled… Secret of Mana, because Square Enix has bad naming conventions.  The game is due out February 15th, 2018 for PC, PS4, and Vita, and will come with a new visual style, voice acting, a newly arranged score, and likely other minor improvements.  There is strangely no Switch version of it though, despite being originally a Super Nintendo game, and this game being a co-op title that would work great via the Joy-Cons.  Heck, in Japan Square Enix just put out a collection of the first three Mana games on Switch.  Oh, and this actually marks the second 3D remake of a Mana game, as Adventure of Mana, a remake of the first Mana game, came out in 2016 for mobile and Vita.  That choice of platforms always baffled me and yes, I am still bitter about the foolishness of that decision.

Moving away from Square Enix, PCGamer conducted and interview with Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino, and the topic of bringing over Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch over to PC came up, and instead of issuing the usual canned response, he requested that people stay tuned for news about this port that, honestly, very few were asking for.  This would be rather pleasant news to hear, as the news of any PC port of a good game is, though I have to wonder how the original title, which was a beloved game that was also criticized for a few glaring flaws, will hold up to the sequel, which should ideally fix things.  

In other Bandai Namco related news, it was announced that the prolific game publisher will be partnering with French developer Dontnod, the people behind Life Is Strange and Remember Me, on a new narrative adventure title, that will seemingly focus on an investigation taking place in a fake city located in the United States, which sounds like an interesting starting point at the very least.  However, seeing as how nothing else beyond a piece of concept art of a small town was shown, there is little else to say about this announcement

Following last week’s reveal of Biomutant, THQ Nordic has given more information about their upcoming post-apocalyptic kung-fu fable, and released a substantial amount of gameplay footage.  While the footage is a bit rough in places, clearly having some placeholder or unrefined elements, I think it looks like an interesting open world action RPG.  One where the protagonist is a little cat person who initially looks like a fusion Big Boss and Guts if they were an animal, but can also look like a gritty realistic Sonic OC.  The gameplay looks largely familiar as a light action game, involving a fair amount of ranged and melee combat, multiple vehicle sections involving jet skis to giant mechs, all taking place in an attractive looking world filled with other animals, both friend and foes.  The developers are former Avalanche Studio employees who left during the development of Mad Max and Just Cause 3, neither of which were good, so there is reason to have some confidence in this title when it releases for PS4, Xbox One, and PC in 2018.

THQ Nordic also had another announcement to make, that they acquired the German developer Black Forest Games, known for games such as Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, Rogue Stormers, and the upcoming Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back.  Considering the publisher’s tendency towards gravitating to lower to mid tier studios, this seems like an appropriate pick for them, and will hopefully better allow the developers to create better games, thanks to the presence of another party to help fund their projects.

Continuing to lump publisher news together, Sega, or more specifically, the Yakuza team… or studio I guess as they are now being referred to, went utterly butterly butterly and announced three new titles.  The first of which being Yakuza Online.  But instead of being an MMO where I can finally achieve my dream of having an absurdly tall dark skinned woman dash through the streets of Kamurocho, looking like she just hopped out of Saturday Night Fever, and giving some random Japanese thug a concussion with a bicycle.  Instead, it will center around a fixed protagonist, and may very well not be localized, as it is a mobile game that will probably not offer the same… good that a Yakuza game typically would.  It is due out for mobile, and also PC, sometime in 2018 in Japan.  Also, they released an entirely Japanese prologue trailer that means nothing to be.

Continuing the trend established by Yakuza Kiwami, which is due out this upcoming Tuesday, the second Yakuza game is also getting a remake, entitled Yakuza Kiwami 2, even though I thought Kiwami was more of a subtitle to signify it was a remake, but whatever.  The game will utilize the engine introduced in Yakuza 6, and will likely feature various improvements along with an all new Majima centered scenario.  There certainly is reason to be excited by this, though I do worry about there possibly being some franchise fatigue from western fans if this series continues to put out new titles on a more than annual basis.  The game is due out for PS4 in Japan in 2017, and will hopefully see a western release the following year.

As the final announcement, the studio announced that they had one more project down the line with Hokuto ga Gotoku, a Fist of the North Star game built on the Yakuza engine, which is sounds just about perfect, considering the amount of intense battles featured in that legendary anime and manga series.  Based on the announcement trailer, it looks very promising, showing off a lot of intense or absurd action, and boasting a nice somewhat cel shaded art style.  The game is set to release in 2018 for PS4 in Japan, and will likely end up getting a western release soon enough.  Also, I have never understood why some insist on calling the series Hokuto no Ken when the fairly direct translation of Fist of the North Star sounds genuinely cooler.  It’s not like Hajime no Ippo, which does not have a good literal translation.

With Xenoblade 2 due out in a few months, it is unexpected to hear that developers Monolith Soft is already beginning work on their next project, and put up a call for new employees to help out in what looks to be a new IP entirely, a western style fantasy game that was teased with some beautiful painted illustrations.  Based on their strong existing track record, Monolith Soft have proven themselves to be a very capable developer, and while it will likely be three years until this concept art manifests into something tangible, it is nice to know that they are pursuing new ideas.

Following the rousing success of Omega Force’s first non-musou project in years, their creatively named Attack on Titan game… Attack on Titan, Tecmo Koei announced that an expected sequel to the 2016 title will be released in early 2018, creatively entitled Attack On Titan 2.  No new details were revealed, on account of the announcement being accompanied by a vague teaser trailer, but rest assured it will contain content from the second season of the show… which I really should get around to watching sometime soon.

To mark an end of what has been a pretty busy week for the industry, the story synopsis for a version of Half-Life 2: Episode 3 were revealed by way of series writer Marc Laidlaw, who left Valve in 2016.  Originally revealed through a post that featured altered names for every character, the full synopsis was eventually altered to reveal the original version of the game’s plot, after about a decade of anticipation for eager fans.  Detailing an Antarctic adventure that has Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance discover the Borealis, a boat with the ability to travel between time and space, and is eventually used to damage the Combine forces dramatically, while also resulting in Gordon Freeman being stranded, and Alyx Vance being chosen by the G-Man, in order to serve as the protagonist in a hypothetical Half-Life 3.  

It is genuinely bizarre to discover this after awaiting a conclusion to this story for so long, but it honestly did feel like some closure was finally afforded, even if it did amount to just another cliffhanger ending.  However, seeing as how this was published, I feel that it is safe to say that Half-Life is, indeed, truly and wholly, dead.

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