Rundown (9/13-9/19) The Plan to Eradicate All Pubes

Wherein I discuss a lackluster fantastical reveal, the final details surrounding the next generation of gaming, a hunter returning to their true home, and a bunch of other weeb garbage.


If you are reading this post when it was initially posted, then I am currently recovering from electrolysis I had performed two days ago in an effort to free my genital area from any and all pubic hair.  It is a long and costly process (taking half a year and roughly $6,000 in my case), but it is necessary if one wants to undergo genital reconstruction surgery, also known as Sexual Reassignment Surgery and Gender Confirmation Surgery.  Which I do want to do eventually because, y’know, I’m transgender and stuff.  

Now might not seem like the best time to begin such a process like this, or engage in any non-essential medical procedure.  But I’m home most days, don’t have school to worry about, and can afford to spend four days to a week chilling about at home and rubbing my loins with ointment to ensure that my skin heals after its biological functions have been destroyed through the magic of modern science. 


Aside from my procedure, this week was home to what I assume to be Sony’s final big pre-launch showcase for the upcoming Playstation 5, one that featured announcements for new games and trailers for already announced titles, all wrapped up in a very minimalistic presentation, with trailers being contextualized only via vague interstitials and occasional snippets from developers.  It is basically the approach they tried with their not-E3-conference this past summer, and I think it works better than their State of Play showcases.  Anyways, onto the announcements themselves.


The first of which was arguably the game announcement of the year, as it was a full trailer for none other than Final Fantasy XVI.  This is an announcement that may seem as rather innocuous, as Final Fantasy XV came out in 2016, and Final Fantasy VII Remake came out just five months ago.  But, it has been 11 years since the last mainline, numbered, and new Final Fantasy game was announced.  

Final Fantasy XIII and Versus XIII (which became FFXV) were announced together in 2006 while Final Fantasy XIV was announced in 2009.  As such, this is an announcement with a LOT riding on it, and… I really was not excited by just about anything shown in the trailer.  

The game is set in a dark medieval fantasy world where crystals are the foundation behind kingdoms and the story looks to center around a young man sworn into royal servitude whose life goes astray as the boy he was tasked with defending becomes a destructive Eikon (Godzilla-sized summons) and begins causing mayhem aplenty.  However, beyond the inclusion of Shiva, Chocobos, and some other Final Fantasy staples, nothing about this really strikes me as a Final Fantasy game, as much as it is a western fantasy game where the characters have feathered hair.

I say that, but the best thing about the Final Fantasy series is that it is malleable and the creators can take risks on projects like this, and constantly redefine what a Final Fantasy game is.  However… I don’t particularly like how this game looks regardless of its name.  The lighting is dark, saturated colors are reserved for magical effects, and while the frantic action combat looks like it could be a fun time, I can barely make out what the enemy tells are with how murky the visuals on this next-gen title are.

Now, what makes this all so… surprising is that this title is being headed by the division of Square Enix behind Final Fantasy XIV, which is arguably the best Square Enix (post-2002) Final Fantasy title, so it is in good hands.  But even then, I am still a bit concerned, as handling an MMORPG and a next-gen big-budget action RPG is a lot for any division to take on.  

Here is where I want to look at the lead staff for reassurance that this game will veer into and interesting direction.  And while it is nice to see Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshida as a producer, the director position was given to Hiroshi Takai.  An industry veteran for the past 30+ years with a respectable track record behind him, most notably his directorial debut with 2009’s The Last Remnant.  However, beyond that one title, he has not shown off his creative side as much as I want to, and as such, I am shaky that Final Fantasy XVI will be, at the very least, an interesting title.  

Admittedly, I could just be talking out of my butt and trying to justify my first impression when watching this trailer which was, and I quote: “the hell is this Dragon-Age-looking-ass crap?”  Regardless, no release window was announced, both gameplay and cutscenes were shown, and the game is slated to come out for both PS5 and PC.


Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales took up the spotlight afterward, and while its cinematic presentation and graphically overwhelming bombast is not quite my cup of tea, I nevertheless had to admire what was shown.  The sheer intricacies and obsessive detail of the cutscenes.  The combat which carries over what was established in Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018) and adds onto it with new invisibility and electric powers.  The enrapturing audio design makes the combat more exciting, engaging, and reinforces part of the protagonist’s personality.  And even though I prefer less realistic depictions of human beings, I do find the setting very appealing.  I guess you could say that there’s something about the sight of a dark city of stone and iron dusted in clumps of snow that I find to be deeply nostalgic.


Demon’s Souls was shown off once more, this time with a gussied up stretch of in-game footage that is meant to inspire hope and confidence into players all around, but as I looked it over twice, I once again felt various bugbears popping throughout my pores, screeching as loud as their petulant little voice boxes would allow them to.  Yet their message was clearly fixated on two things.  Firstly, the camera in this HUD-free footage is awfully close to the protagonist, narrowing one’s viewpoint and limiting the breadth of the environment one can observe.  While secondly, and possibly most importantly, the lighting seen throughout this trailer was woefully reminiscent of the popular 2010s marketing theory that a mixture of blue and orange lighting is the best way to grasp your audience’s attention.  Even if it reduces the image on display to ill more than open flames and the illuminations of a blue-hued moon.  

Yes, the textures and fidelity on display are nil less than impeccable, and the artistic reinvention of a title as murky and clunky as Demon’s Souls ought to be celebrated.  Yet at the same time, this strikes me as obsessive and genuinely distracting and unappealing.  Especially because, for as much as one can snap a glance and dismiss the art direction of the Souls series as blasé western fantasy, the games are lousy with vivid and iconic locales etched into my memory.  And looking at this trailer, I am not convinced I will feel the same way about what this artistically reimagined recreation of Demon’s Souls.  Which just kinda sucks, dude.


Any other major announcements?  Well, after years of preamble a Warner Bros. Interactive title based on the work of notorious transphobe J. K. Rowling was announced, but I did not offer its trailer my time, and I shall not pay it any mention unless a controversy arises surrounding the game’s development or reception.  Also, if you really want to play it, just pirate it or buy it used and don’t post about it on social media.

Devil May Cry V: Special Edition is finally making its way out of the dreams and fantasy of character action aficionados, into the realm of the real, and onto the PS5 at launch.  

While the unsurprisingly named and announced God of War: Ragnarok [the sequel to God of War (2018)] was announced via a half-written logo, two lines of voiceover and a 2021 release window that I immediately dismissed as a lie, because I doubt 3.5 years of development time will be enough for a PS5 and Xbox Series generation first-party AAA game… which is actually kind of horrifying when you think about it


Moving away from the games and onto the other announcements, for quite some time many have been wondering how Sony intends on combating Xbox’s Game Pass.  And while Playstation Now could have been a valid alternative if given a retooling and possibly a rebranding, Sony instead bundled a similar service with Playstation Plus, dubbed the Playstation Plus Collection.  For no additional cost beyond the $60 a year annual fee, Playstation Plus members will be granted access to a back catalog of some of the best and most successful PS4 games… and also Detroit: Become Human.

However, this Collection is very limited, featuring only 18 announced titles, all of which are AAA titles, sold millions, and are one or more years old.  And if you plan on purchasing a cheap PS4 to enjoy these offerings, then guess again friend, as these titles will only be available to Playstation 5 users with Playstation Plus.  Still, it is laying a foundation that, over time, through iteration, and possible expansion, could offer something comparable to Xbox Game Pass, assuming Sony would be willing to bear the risk of bundling their greatest asset, first-party titles, with a subscription service.  But hey, it’s a start, it’s a perk, and it is a small reason to pick up a Playstation 5, especially if you skipped out on the PS4.

Oh, but how much does a PS5 cost and when will they be available to purchase?  Well, my dear, the PS5 is launching on November 12th or 19th depending on the territory, and it will run customers an… expected price point.  The base Playstation 5 model with a disk drive will cost $500, while the Digital Edition with no optical media support will cost $400.  While this may make the $300 digital-only Xbox Series S seem like the automatic winner here, that system has various disadvantages, as I discussed last week, and the base 4K models of both systems run at identical price points and ultimately have similar specifications, so the make or break feature is, as it often is, the library, its quality, and how exclusive its offerings are.  

Now, both Playstation and Xbox have made their exclusive offerings well known, but while Xbox is playing it slow and steady with jumping from the Xbox One, Sony is making some strides and is planning on offering an ample amount of support to the PS5 at launch.  Demon’s Souls, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Destruction AllStars, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure are all pegged as first-party launch titles which… is honestly kind of amazing considering how sparse most console launches tend to be, offering only one big game, as opposed to the… two on display here.  

However, it should be noted that Demon’s Souls will most definitely make it to PC at some point, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales will come out for both PS4 and PS5, and Sackboy is coming out on the PS5 and PS4.  Still, that is ONE exclusive at launch (Destruction AllStars), which is more than what the Xbox Series systems can boast.  

Also, Sony will be adopting a standard price point of $69.99 for their first-party Playstation 5 titles.  Yes, rising prices are bad for consumers in some sense of the word.  Yes, the games industry has been pursuing aggressive monetization strategies.  Yes, we are veering into a global depression.  But it has been 15 years since the last price hike, games used to be way more expensive when they were released on cartridges, and games rapidly depreciate in price shortly after launch while routinely going on sale.  So if this riles you up… just don’t buy them, ya dork.

Okay, so based on all of that, do I think the Playstation 5 looks to be a good and quality system at launch?  Well, if you are insatiable, not adversely affected by the hull of global society being viciously shredded by a global pandemic, and like the video games, then I do genuinely think that the Playstation 5 is the best console to buy.  And I also think that Playstation will continue to be the dominant big boy console brand going forward.  Just like it was from 1995 to 2006 and 2013 to… now.


Who took the mantle from 2007 to 2012?  Well, that depends on what your definition of winning is— but the real answer is Nintendo, a company who just so happened to hold their own Nintendo Direct Mini: Partners Showcase the day after Sony’s PS5 showcase.

Since the established success of the Nintendo Switch, Capcom has been brainstorming on ways to bring the Monster Hunter series to the platform, as the series saw the most success on handhelds and even after the success of 2018’s Monster Hunter World, there was plenty of room for a new handheld entry, especially for Japanese fans.  I recall seeing rumors about how Capcom was trying to downscale World to run on the Nintendo Switch, but kept encountering difficulties, since World was never designed around such hardware.  But regardless of how truthful these rumors were, it came as no surprise to see an entirely new Monster Hunter title make its way to the Nintendo Switch, dubbed Monster Hunter Rise.  

How does it look?  Well, like Monster Hunter, but with a more Asiatic flair, with the setting being one that initially reminded me of Toukiden before the game began showcasing series staple features and designs.  Which is to say it is a game about battling large imposing monsters alone or with allies, but in order to differentiate this title from those before it and advance the series beyond World, two core additions were made.  The player is now aided in their hunt with an agile wall-climbing and rideable wolf-friend along with their customizable clothes-wearing 25%-anthropomorphized cat-friend.  And the player character is far more agile, with wall-climbing, wall-running,  wall-skimming, and an acrobatic grappling hook system all core parts of their moveset.  

Visually, the game is actually running on the RE Engine, which has become Capcom’s proprietary engine after a last hurrah with Monster Hunter World and the failures of Panta Rhei, and it definitely shows.  Now, some textures don’t look that great and I’m sure that it won’t run at the highest resolution on the regular Switch model, but it is still a visually impressive title considering the hardware it’s running on.  If anything, it’s a reminder of just how good Switch games can look if they are made for the hardware from the ground up.  Unfortunately, this also comes with the caveat of being a Switch exclusive, at least for the time being, and one that is due out relatively soon.  Monster Hunter Rise is set to release as a Switch exclusive on March 26, 2021, ending Capcom’s fiscal year on a high note.


However, that was not the only Monster Hunter game revealed in this showcase, as immediately after this announcement came Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin.  A clearly labeled sequel to Monster Hunter Stories, a late 2017 3DS title, which aimed to reinvent Monster Hunter as a monster raising turn-based RPG.  And while the title was well-received, it went under-played, like most 3DS titles released after the Switch.  As such, I am surprised to see this successor retain a number in the west, as that could put new potential players off.  Which is a shame because based on the in-engine footage shown in this trailer, the game looks damn good.

The character models, environments, animation, and overall art direction make for an impressive-looking title regardless of the platform, and I am interested in seeing just how this game plays about as much as I am dreading how people are going to inevitably compare this game to the next mainline Pokémon title.  It’s definitely enough to grab my attention and pencil this title into my list of games to check out when it releases during the summer of 2021 as a Switch exclusive.


Also coming exclusively to the Switch in summer 2021 is the not-too-surprising Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny.  Yes, despite having been immersed in financial troubles, Nippon Ichi Software has been hard at work on a new Disgaea title and one that ditches the 2D art of the past mainline entries in favor of detailed cel-shaded 3D models.  It is a move that I’m sure that some might not care for due to the lineage of the series, but what was shown in the trailer retains the same charisma that the series is known for, but with the versatility of more detailed animations and a moving camera.  

Beyond that, however, the reveal trailer gave little to go on beyond mentioning how the number caps are now absurdly high.  But perhaps Nippon Ichi Software would rather players experience the gameplay stylings of the series firsthand, as they are making the latest new entity in the series, Disgaea 5 Complete, available for free for Nintendo Switch Online members from September 23rd to the 29th.  

I actually think this is a wonderful move that more games, especially niche IPs released on Nintendo platforms, ought to try out more often, as the best way to sell somebody on a game is for them to play it.  And while a week is not enough to complete Disgaea 5 (unless you are a crazy person) it is enough for one to assess if they like the series without the restrictions inherent to all but the most robust demos.  


Next, we have the previously announced Rune Factory 5, a title that marks a return and evolution of the life simulator RPG series, which ditches the 2D trappings of the first four titles and veers more heavily into its console spin-offs.  And through the snippets of gameplay footage shown… it looks a bit rough.  The blurry shadows, the fuzzy depth of field effect, the weirdly saturated look to everything— it reminds me more of a Vita title than a Switch game, despite being a Switch exclusive.  Maybe this is just due to inexperience, a small team size, or the fact that HD games are hard to make using traditional Japanese team structures, but what was shown really does not inspire confidence.  But hey, the game is not due out until an ambiguous time in 2021, so perhaps the devs will have time to give the game a little facelift before launch.


Go! Go! 5 Jigen Game Neptune: re★Verse was announced last month as the latest Neptunia title for Playstation 5, but no further details were provided at the time and only now, a month or so after its announcement, it was clarified that this game is being poised as the definitive edition of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 Plus.  Which is… hold on, let me break this down from the beginning.

Hyperdimension Neptunia came out in 2010 for PS3 and was a crummy JRPG that was dramatically improved upon with its various sequels.  It was later given an extensive remake, more akin to a reimagining, in the form of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 for PS Vita in 2015, which later made its way to PC in 2016.  Re;Birth1 did super well all things considered and warranted various improvements that culminated in an enhanced PS4 port of the title, dubbed Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 Plus, which came out in 2018.  And in order to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series, Idea Factory and Compile Heart want to bring the best version of what has retroactively become the first title in the series forward while making it better than ever.

On one hand, I respect their approach and desire to make a game as good as possible, and while I enjoyed Re;Birth1, it has plenty of room for improvement.  On the other… please just make a new Neptunia game other than a spin-off and another gosh darn re-release of some sort.  It’s been five gosh darn years, and like 6 games since Megadimension Neptunia VII.  


Now, I actively want a new Neptunia game, but you know what series I never ever want to see again outside of a re-release?  Mass Effect.  It died once after the reception to Mass Effect 3 reached record-setting toxicity levels, and it died again after the release of Mass Effect Andromeda in 2017.  But Mass Effect 2 and 3 were truly wonderful story-driven shooter-RPGs that I loved when I first played them and loved when I decided to revisit through parts 1, 2, and 3 back in 2016.  Since then, the only headline I’ve wanted to read regarding Mass Effect was an announcement featuring the phrase “Mass Effect Trilogy Remastered” and so far that phrase has only been coupled with rumors.  …Until this past week, when Portuguese retailer Gaming Replay put out store pages for Mass Effect Trilogy Remastered on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.  Which, to me, is a 95% guarantee that this remaster is indeed coming out, and soon at that.

Now, I have no intention of going back to Mass Effect.  I already finished it, made amends, and concluded that 2 and 3 were excellent games, while 1 was rough around the edges.  But I will definitely pick up a remaster of the trilogy when it goes on sale (emphasis on sale), as I would like to have a clean and polished version of these games to play whenever I fancy it.  Mostly because I want to get rid of the pirated “Ultimate Edition” ISO files and the controller mods I  used to play the games on PC in 2016.  …I did buy the Mass Effect Trilogy for PC, but I did not want to pay something like $80 for all the DLC.  It should’ve been included in the first place.


To cap this week off on a sad note, Michel Ancel, the creator of Rayman and director of Beyond Good and Evil,  announced that he is no longer working in the video game industry and will instead pursue his life’s second passion by working at a wildlife sanctuary.  Ancel’s two current game projects, Beyond Good and Evil 2 and Wild, will continue development by their respective teams and, despite having not been shown for quite some time, both are apparently developing quite smoothly.  

Now, the timing of this departure is suspiciously close to the ongoing stories about Ubisoft fostering abusers for years.  And while it may seem tempting to lump Ancel in with the upper management of Ubisoft, as he is a key component of Ubisoft Montpellier, his studio is largely divorced from the inner workings and culture of the rest of the company.  As such, it is reasonable (and pleasant) to believe that Ancel truly was unaware of what was going on within the rest of Ubisoft and that this discovery helped lead him to this decision.

Regardless of his reasoning, this is a damn shame, as Ancel was up there with noteworthy creative forces in the industry for quite some time, and while I have not played the bulk of his catalog, he did direct Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends.  Two utterly gorgeous 2D platformers that I consider to be some of the finest in the genre, and are both among my favorite games of all time.  And now, I probably will never see a game quite like these two ever again.


The title to this Rundown is a play on the 1993 OVA Dragon Ball: The Plan to Eradicate All Saiyans.  I have never actually watched the special, but its name has been rattling about in my head for about a decade, waiting for the time to be unleashed as part of a cheeky referential descriptor.

Also, I was going to make the header image a photo of my pubic hair but decided against that.  I love degeneracy, but I’m not going to post a photo of my private areas on the internet, even if it does not contain my genitals.  

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