E3 came, E3 went, and E3 will swing around again next year, where it will hopefully be filled with far more enticing announcements on account of the next generation. Overall, it was easily one of the weaker years, with Microsoft, Ubisoft, Bethesda, and Square Enix all having some cool things to show, and avoiding a lot of bad or ‘cringey’ moments, but few things to necessarily wow people or with a lot of deeper dives into previously announced games, but also brought with it two new Smash characters, and a Smash character reveal is basically the equivalent to a game reveal on the hyp-o-meter. Anyways, in my blitz through the news, wherein I mentioned that games existed and could possibly be good, I naturally missed some things, and this post is to remedy that.
First and foremost, throughout my coverage of events I paid particularly little attention to the onstage presence of hollywood actor Keanu Reeves during the time allotted for Cyberpunk 2077 at Microsoft’s conference, and the cheery enthusiasm of Okami, Bayonetta, and The Evil Within artist Ikumi Nakamura during the Tokyo Ghostwire presentation at Bethesda’s conference. Honestly, I consider E3 to be an event squarely about the games themselves over the individual people who make or market them, as bitter and dismissive as that may be. Plus, I tend to be too busy writing notes and summaries to really delve into an aside about the way the game was presented over what was presented. Also, I have no idea why people like Keanu Reeves, nor do I really care.
Secondly, during the Nintendo Treehouse segment of this year’s E3 it was revealed that Pokemon Sword and Shield would only allow a limited number of Pokemon to be transferred via the upcoming transfer app Pokemon Home. It is a move that means that many people’s favorite Pokemon, ones they have had for well over a decade, will not be usable in the game itself. Game Freak’s justification for this pertained to the matters of developmental resources and maintaining balance, neither of which ring with even a semblance of sincerity or truthfulness from an outsider’s perspective. Game Freak developed HD-ready models of every Pokemon, along with some generalized animations, back in 2013, and is still using the same models in Sword and Shield, barring some technical improvements.
Because they have the models, animations, stats, and generally everything needed to port the Pokemon forward, it appears that this process would not take that many developmental resources to implement. As for balance… what? Pokemon is not a balanced series, it never was, never should be, and unless you revise everything, never will be. I find transparency with these issues to be very important when a fanbase is this ravenous, and, well, this was not a good time or way to unveil this information, nor was this simple explanation really ‘good enough’ for many people, myself included. Also, I can’t say that I’m surprised to hear that Mega Evolutions and Z-Moves are getting axed. Can’t wait for the same fate to await Dynamax…
Thirdly, Genshin Impact is an expansive open world fantasy game set in lush expansive environments where the player may freely climb on anything, set grass on fire to create an updraft they can glide from, roaming enemies of various statutes and, well, it’s wearing its inspiration from Breath of the Wild proudly on its sleeve. Honestly, aside from the anime aesthetic and flashier, less restrictive combat, one could reasonably call this a Chinese rip-off, but what was shown looks quite polished and detailed, boasting a scope that makes this title seem as if it can stand on its own as a quality, if a bit derivative, experience. I suppose whether or not it pulls this off will be seen when the title releases for PC and iOS (somehow) in Spring 2020. Though, as somebody going through BOTW at the moment, I’m probably not going to be too privy to check this out for… reasons I’ll get into at a later date.
A story that I only caught as I was winding down for the night on Tuesday was the reveal of yet another mini classic console, but rather than coming from Nintendo, Sony, or Sega (who are still working on their own), it comes from none other than Konami. Yes, while their current game output is sparse, they are sitting on a goldmine of classic titles that they recently began re-releasing, but what many people forget is that Konami bought up the remains of Hudson back in 2011, it’s why the put out Super Bomberman R, and back in the late 80s Hudson made their very own… sorta successful console called the TurboGrafx-16. Also known as the PC Engine in Japan, and the PC Engine CoreGrafx in Europe… wait, it came out in Europe?
This system has an odd place in history, having been eclipsed by the Genesis and Super Nintendo, only being marketed within major cities in North America, and having a very limited list of international releases. Also it had a CD peripheral that was mostly used to give voice over to their games, and most of the western attempts at dubbing them were absolutely hilarious. Anyways, I honestly cannot think off of many noteworthy TurboGrafx games off the top of my head, and I think that this system’s lack of public mindshare in the west might make it hard for Konami to sell the dang thing even if they do get all of the best possible games for it. Though I guess they think this product will draw a profit for them, and I honestly do hope that it does… whenever they choose to put it out.
Speaking of Japanese companies profiting from their old IP, Square Enix is apparently considering their own subscription service… but only for classic titles. A subject that seemingly relates to an another project involving re-releases of their NES games, but is marred by the fact that they don’t have the source code for many of these titles, as it was either destroyed or lost. Honestly, I love the idea of re-releases to keep the history of gaming alive and accessible, but the idea of focusing only on classic titles kind of defeats the point of a subscription service. But if Square Enix did want to put, being semi-realistic here, 70% of their back catalog on a service where it may be emulated or streamed, then I would be interested in checking it out. But I’d be more keen on just buying the old stuff myself, even if it is a straight emulation. Lemme buy FF V Advance, FF VI Advance, good versions of the first 6 Dragon Quest games, and a bunch of other weird obscure cool nonsense like Live A Live, and I’ll be happy.
…Yeah, okay, I’m done now. Bye!
Header image comes from the incredibly talented Ian Samson.