Rundown (5/13-5/19) No Nep-Nep for Me

I recently purchased Cyberdimension Neptunia: Four Goddesses Online, because while I am rather critical of the Neptunia series, I genuinely like them, and cannot justify skipping out on a title.  I managed to squeeze a spot for it into my schedule, but as I went to start it up on Friday night, I quickly ran into issues where the game simply did not work.  The Steam forums were not enough to help me with my endeavors, as all methods I could find proved to be ineffective. The game runs, barely, but I can neither play nor refund it, so I guess I’ll need to wait until I get a new PC in order to try again, because Idea Factory is certainly not going to patch this game…

Over the past several months I have been following the rampant speculation that has consumed the greater Pokemon fandom, and after many false leads and awful discussion, it appears that information on the next title in the series has finally been uncovered.  The next games in the mainline series are apparently called Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, games that will serve as loose remakes/sequels of Pokemon Yellow and will feature the return of Following Pokemon, the return of Pokeride, an online hub for players (one that is hopefully half decent this time), and a lot of Pokemon Go integration and connectivity.  

Now, the Pokemon Go bits have a lot of people worried, but even considering how inept GameFreak can be at times, I seriously do not see them having the audacity to change things too much, especially given how this is indeed a mainline Pokemon game, and one made for a home console… in a sense.  Regardless though, I am interested in seeing Pokemon move to another platform, and am foolish enough to be hopeful that this new installment will feature some notable quality of life features that Pokemon really should have picked up on several games ago.  I would comment more on it, but currently nothing is confirmed, and an announcement is allegedly due next week, so I will share more in-depth thoughts once the game has been properly revealed.

Continuing on this leaky train of you-know-what into an entire section of this week’s rundown, a number of outlets and individuals have also come out and spoken up about the existence of Retro Studios’ next title, Star Fox: Grand Prix.  A supposed racing game spin-off of the sci-fi rail shooter series that allegedly mixes Diddy Kong Racing with F-Zero.  That sounds contentious on its own, as its core demographic appears to be nobody, but according to Liam Robertson, who is a pretty reliance source when it comes to leaks, the game is more akin to a mix between traditional Star Fox gameplay along with that of a racing game.  

More specifically, the game, which is likely not called Grand Prix, would have the player shoot at enemies in order to speed through a series of rail-like tracks in what will supposedly be a single player focused game, with some multiplayer as well.  Which all sounds far more interesting and appealing than where one’s mind would wander to upon hearing the phrase “Star Fox racing game”.  Regardless, the game will likely be announced rather soon, and people’s outrage towards it may or may not be justified.  What am I saying? Childish outrage from a bunch of adults is never justified.

Moving onto leaks that were formally announced shortly after they were discovered, Microsoft unveiled the Xbox Adaptability Controller.  A somewhat odd looking device that serves as a base for various peripherals that are made with the intention of allowing individuals who would have difficulties playing games with standard controllers to be able to play any game on the Xbox One platform, and can also be used with Windows 10 PCs.  

As somebody who has and still does spend a decent amount of time around people with physical disabilities, due to various programs I have been a part of on account of my Autism, I have to say that I am really happy to see a major console manufacturer to make such a concerted effort at making games in general more accessible, which is an undeniable good thing, especially if done in a manner as unobtrusive as this.  Furthermore, I must compliment the sentiment shared by Phil Spencer, the current head of Xbox, who essentially encouraged both Sony and Nintendo to take a crack at making their systems more accessible, while dismissing any notion of one company doing better than each other, as so long as their efforts help people, that’s all that really matters.

Shifting over from leaks proper to a clear response to a leak, after last week’s Walmart Canada leak revealed the game, Bethesda have chosen to formally announce Rage 2, likely well ahead of its intended schedule.  For those who were not paying attention or have simply forgotten about the original 2012 title, Rage was an open-ish first person shooter with a number of half hearted attempts at being something more like an RPG, yet it was very indicative of en vogue tropes of the time, and was ultimately just another overly serious brown/grey FPS in a generation where overly serious brown/grey FPSes were in abundance.  Rage 2 meanwhile is trying to be far less serious, and is adopting a style that I’m sure was called something along the lines of “Max Mad turned up to 11” at some point in the development process.

That being said, the game looks a touch more creative and is being given a bit of a genre shake up as Just Cause and Mad Max (2015) developer Avalanche Software is the lead developer.  Meaning it will be an open world post-apocalyptic shooter that, while likely appealing to some, all amounts to a game that I do not making much of an impact.  Even if it has some success, I can easily see it having a similarly lackluster commercial reception as many of the other successors that Bethesda has published in recent years, including Dishonored 2, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, and The Evil Within 2.  Though that is only speculation, and the game’s quality, and commercial reception, will not be known until sometime in spring 2019 when the game launches for the usual PS4, XBO, and PC.

The Playstation Vita was a system that looked to have all it needed to be a massive success, yet a lacking game library devoid of many must-have exclusives, overly expensive memory cards, a high price point, and stiff competition from the 3DS and the mobile market turned the system into a niche one that retained a very dedicated fanbase, yet was eventually shafted by the very company that created it.  For years, saying that the Vita was dead is a sentiment that was uttered with regularity, and now, it seems like that is indeed the case, as Sony will end the production of  physical Playstation Vita games effective as of February 15th, 2019.  At least in North America and Europe, while physical games will remain in production in Asia.

Now, I liked the Vita, enjoyed my time with the system, and even went so far as to purchase a Playstation TV, but I cannot feign much sorrow over this event.  It truly was an inevitability, and the only surprise here is that it is the production of physical games that is coming to an end, rather than the production of the system itself.  Plus, with the Switch having taken over what remains of the handheld market, it is especially unsurprising to see something like this happen now. Fare thee well Vita, you meant life, but all things that live, must also die.  

For a while now, Valve has been in an odd position when it comes to allowing adult content on steam, or to be more specific, visual novels that deal with sexual themes or content.  A few months ago, Valve prohibited game developers from posting links or information about uncensored patches for their games on Steam, and now Valve has been threatening the delisting of games with a notable amount of sexual content or themes, as their supposed guidelines have changed.  Meaning that if a publisher personally vetted a game with Valve two years ago, or if a game was put on Steam without any real fuss from Valve three years ago, it could be removed from sale.  

Further investigation links this trend to a puritanical lobbyist group, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, formerly known as Morality In Media, who effectively wants to rid the planet of all sexual content in order to protect children from materials that can be considered sexual in nature.  They seemingly contacted Valve about their crusade and somehow, and I have no idea how, convinced them that visual novels with sexual content are the work of the devil, and that they should be banned from sale, starting with the visual novels, and eventually games like Mass Effect and The Witcher.  

All because they do not understand context, and presumably are under the impression that these games are all about promoting the act of sexual violence and campus-based rape.  They aren’t. You socially regressive idiots.  Oh, and Valve, way to stand your ground as an independent multi-billion dollar private company, and way to inform people about the current situation— Oh, wait… they’re reviewing the situation right now.  Well… this still should not have ever happened.

To close things out on a more positive note, Ken Gao of Freebird Games has announced that the 2011 independent title To The Moon will be receiving a feature film adaptation from Japanese and Chinese animation studios, along with a budget comparable to the incredibly successful Japanese animated film Your Name.  The project sounds like it is still in the very early stages based on this candid announcement video, but simply based on the news, this sounds incredibly promising.  While I do take some grievances with certain aspects of To The Moon, it was a very heartfelt and emotional story that I feel is a good choice for an adaptation, and hearing that it is going to receive an adaptation of such a scale is both shocking and quite exciting.  

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