I think I’ve mentioned this before, but throughout primary school I was not allowed to take regular English classes for reasons I still don’t fully understand. I did not really mind it at the time, but I regularly wonder if I would be a better writer if I had been permitted to take regular classes. I bring this up because I recently fell down a rabbit hole of some of my old writing on this site, and found it to be rife with minor mistakes I either did not catch the first time, or did not know any better back then. It makes me wonder if I am still a garbage writer and will always be, or if this is just a natural creative process, where one grows to dislike the work they did a few years prior, as I have seen that mentality pop up from time to time.
Starting things off where the hype is rife, a Nintendo Direct was held this past week for Super Mario Maker 2, which continues to be a wildly expansive update to the original Wii U title. One that boasts oodles of new mechanics and tools to be used in creating one’s own stages, a new story mode for those wanting a more structured experience, new competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes, and a bunch of stuff I’m forgetting.
Overall it seems like an extensive toolset for level creation with a large number of nifty features thrown in for the heck of it, and just about everything that could be asked of from a 2D Mario game, aside from porting every level from the… 9 2D Mario games. Though I guess squeezing the Mario Land games in there would cause a number of issues to arise, as Mario Land 1 was stitched together and Mario Land 2 did not follow a number of conventions. Which is also part of the reason why it’s the only 2D Mario game I actually like. …I really do not care for the running physics, I did not grow up with these games, and I tend to prefer the entries that de-emphasize running and dashing. Oh, and the game is due out on June 28th.
Moving onto another piece of industry hotness, streaming is currently poised as the future by gaming by various boisterous individuals, and as I have said in the past, I will openly embrace the service as an option and alternative to traditional physical or digital purchases. Microsoft and Google are preparing xCloud and Stadia respectively, Nintendo has kind of dabbled with it in Japan, where you can stream Resident Evil VII and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, while Sony has been pushing Playstation Now since 2014, it has yet to make waves due to… less than stellar streaming more than anything else.
Since Sony lacks any data centers their own, there is a limit to what they can do with this service, and in order to remedy this, Sony have announced a partnership with Microsoft to explore cloud and AI based solutions. So yes, an alliance has been formed between these two and it’s pretty clear that they are going to be working together to make Playstation Now a more reliable service and make xCloud a better service based on Sony’s experience with streaming, though anything else is purely up to speculation. I mean, cross-play becoming the norm and the ability to stream Playstation games on and Xbox and vice versa would be pretty stellar for consumers, but I’m not going to get my hopes up, and will instead view this as a good note. Competition is good, but so is the sharing of resources, technology, and experience.
Okay, so what else can I talk about to round out this week? Well, Nippon Ichi Software is seemingly in deep trouble. Yes, the developer best known for a flurry of niche Japanese games, but mostly Disgaea, has been releasing underperforming titles for years now, with their latest release, Destiny Connect: Tick Tock Travelers, pulling in under 3,000 physical units in Japan during its launch week. Currently, they stopped paying their workers, delayed their potential mobile money-maker, Disgaea RPG, and issued a Moving Strike Warrant, a very risky financial security that involves selling one’s stock at a heavy discount in hopes that the company can accumulate the capital needed to continue operations. This, on top of a history of financial struggles, represent a going concern for the company, and while I am not really a fan of their work, I appreciate their presence in the games industry. Also, no matter what happens to NIS, their American localization branch will most likely remain in operation, as they are quite profitable last I checked, and are somewhat independent from what I can tell.
This unfortunately contrasts the financial situation of companies like Ubisoft, who recently reported a plethora of impressive figures boasting massive revenues, high engagement rates, a rise in digital sales, which publishers prefer, and general good tidings. All because they are a company that prefers more calculated moves and manufactures titles to appeal to a wide audience. As I often say, Gamindustri is a business, and profits reign supreme in business. Creativity and artistic integrity are nice things to boast about, but they must be put secondary to creating a successful product. …Or a product that ultimately leads to success in some ways, like vanity projects and the like, but nowadays a lot of those manage to sell over a couple million units, like Nier Automata.
Header image comes from Student Council’s Discretion, again, because I need to organize my image libraries.