Wherein I discuss how I’m not a normal tran, the flight of the Dutch geese, the continuation of SaGa, crypto ♥ gacha, Monsters of Scars & Violence, a game that defies the Sonic Cycle, and a mini E3-like morsel.
When I was conversing with CaptainCaption regarding my latest re:Dreamer review, he mentioned that he read Natalie Rambles About TSF and that he was surprised I preferred body swaps over other transformation methods. One of the many observations he has made being a community moderator for a Discord with a large trans girl population is that the more ‘trans’ someone is “the more they loathe body swap and prefer transformations or even content less focused on being explicitly TSF.”
Now, this is indeed something that happens with certain TSF fans, where, as they come to terms with their gender issues and change how they present themselves, going further in their transition, they become less interested in TSF. Or, alternatively, they prefer content that focuses on either TSF as a tool for gender euphoria or content that de-emphasizes the TSF element.
That’s pretty much what happened with Student Transfer co-creator Eliza Velasquez. She left the project, and the TSF community, in October 2017, around the time she was starting to present herself as female full-time. I have not talked to her in a few years, but I think the last TSF-related thing she did was Actually a Girl in January 2018. Which was a straightforward transgender wish fulfillment story that I think she wrote before she went in for FFS. Or Facial Harmonization Surgery, as I guess it’s being called nowadays.
So, why don’t I fall into this mold? …Um… Wait, why the hell would anybody ever expect me to fall into any mold? Because I’m something of an unusual person.
What do I mean by that? Well, let’s start with how I wrote Intertoids when I was 17. Intertoids was Real Person Fiction involving a bunch of gaming YouTube personalities (whose names I later replaced with pseudonyms), being subjected to the most bizarre nonsense horrors that I could think of. This includes the following:
- A man giving anal birth to a tiny version of himself as he is physically transformed into someone else.
- Girls with meter-long retractable penises they use to possess horses by sticking them into the horse’s top orifice.
- Hairy ape-like men with vaginas and giant scrotums that function as external uteruses. The scrotums also have vaginas that only open up to give birth to the children inside them.
- Young girls being abducted, artificially aged with hormones, and then reformed into Tires. Tires are… basically imagine a regular car tire, but instead of hubcaps, there were two vaginas on each side. These vaginas took in semen to create an offspring. The gestation period was only a few hours. And each Tire could hold two fetuses at once. Also, these creatures were sentient, but could only derive pleasure from being sucking the semen of big burly state-sanctioned murder boys with fat cocks.
- A man rapidly transforming into his pet bird while the pet bird rapidly transforms into him, before the bird-turned-man then puts the man-turned-bird into an oven. Wherein the man-turned-bird dies, but remains aware of what happens to his body, as he is both eaten, and digested, by the bird-turned-man.
- A pre-transition transwoman (she came out as trans 3 years after I wrote Intertoids) who switches bodies with a woman with a penis that is also a demon, and proceeds to eat her original body alive.
- A slug person with genitals that are also a GameCube.
You don’t write stuff like this and then just stop. You might calm down, but when you passionately craft things like this, you are forever on the weirdness warpath. I have remained on that path, and I ain’t never gonna stop.
…You could also argue that my ‘trans stat’ is pretty low for a transwoman. Because while I am confidently trans, and would rather rip the flesh from my bones with my bare hands than detransition, I do not have the same desires of a typical transwoman. Mostly due to the… mental baggage I have around presenting myself in general.
I do not have a strong desire to be seen as feminine, attractive, or sexy. Instead, I just want to be seen as female, presentable, and most especially not male. I am aware that this is a strange thing for someone to want, but that’s just how I am. I don’t like it when people look at me. I do not wear makeup. I try to expose as little skin as possible, which is why I don’t wear dresses, skirts, shorts, or anything that exposes my shoulders. The idea of someone wanting to see me naked or desiring to do anything sexual with me makes me genuinely disgusted.
I’m an asexual, aromantic, socially awkward, and generally unusual person. So a lot of things that people consider to be ‘normal’ are outside of my comfort zone. And that includes some truly benign stuff. The very idea of wearing a swimsuit in an area where someone can see me, let alone being in an environment where people are wearing swimsuits, is enough to raise my blood pressure. Hell, I don’t even like seeing ‘sexy people’ in person, because I feel like a gross freak for recognizing their existence.
If this seems incongruous with my work, that’s because it is. I have different sets of standards for fiction/fantasy, reality, and ‘in public.’ In fiction, I believe anything goes, at least for the most part. In reality, I am all for anything so long as people are safe and not hurting each other physically or mentally. Or at least those are the underlying principles. But in-person or in public… I tend to be incredibly cagey, child-like, and puritanical with what I am comfortable with.
Why am I like this? Um… good question, Doc. I suspect that it is mostly just related to my American upbringing, growing up terrified of being seen as a pervert, and a deeply internalized shame for spending so much mental energy and time into things that are perverted or fetishistic.
Also, if this all still sounds super strange, it might help to throw in a reminder that I’m autistic, and it is not uncommon for autistic people to have… weird moral hang ups and distinctions for things that are okay and not okay. It might also help to add that I have, in some way, hated myself for my entire life. From an early age, around age 8, I was told that I was doing things wrong because I was not adhering to social norms. I was told that this would leave me unable to achieve in school going forward. I extrapolated this to mean that I effectively had no future, that I would not be able to graduate high school, and that I would/should die before becoming an adult. Even to this day, I still believe myself to be fundamentally incapable of many things that are considered normal.
If this explanation is not sufficient… look, this is something that I have dealt with all my life, and will assuredly deal with until I die. I am happy to share and try to explain it but, truth be told, even I am not entirely sure how my brain works or why it latches onto certain things. I try not to think too much about it and focus on doing things because I don’t think I can ever fully understand myself.
Anyway, bonk this ish, let’s get on with things that actually matter. Namely video games!
…No acquisition news this week, so let’s move onto the PR milk!
The first story I want to bring up is the announcement of the latest game from Yu Suzuki, the director of Out Run, After Burner, Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter, and the Shenmue series. While maybe working on Shenmue 4, he and his studio, Ys Net, have been working on a spiritual successor for the 1985 arcade classic, Space Harrier, named Air Twister. A game that is currently set to be released exclusively on Apple Arcade on June 24. Because that’s where you put non-intensive games if you want to make back your money right away.
All of this news did not inspire confidence, but before an opinion could gestate, I watched the trailer and… This is what happens when you let one passionate designer do whatever the hell they want, with no one telling them no. Which is code for ‘this game looks awesome!’
Air Twister is a sci-fi fantasy epic set in a world where people wield laser-shooting crossbows and fly on the back of giant geese as they wage war against destructive monstrosities. One set in a world that looks like it was both modeled and designed by 3D artists fresh out of university. And one with a soundtrack that… is so jarring and unlike anything I would have expected, that it loops around and fits perfectly.
The music for this game was created by the Dutch composer Valensia, and… I’m not sure how to describe the snippet from the trailer other than ‘reminiscent of 70s Queen.’ Which is a major compliment by the way. This alone is enough to warrant my interest, because you don’t go for a soundtrack like this unless you are trying something ambitious. And even if that ambition doesn’t pan out… at least I’ll have another dope soundtrack to check out.
Moving from a spiritual successor to a remaster, Square Enix is digging into their backlog once again. But instead of the Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring remaster people are desperately clamoring for, they’re sprucing up another SaGa game. The series has had quite the resurgence over the past few years, and because I’m something of a dork for this stuff, let’s go over all of them!
- The 2017 remaster of Romancing SaGa 2 (1993)
- The 2019 remaster of Romancing SaGa 3 (1995)
- The 2019 remaster of SaGa: Scarlet Grace (2016)
- The 2021 remaster of SaGa Frontier (1997)
- And the 2020 ROM dump, Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend.
All of which is before getting to the mobile games…
Anyway, the next title on the remaster docket is none other than the 2005 PS2 remake of the Romancing SaGa (1992), Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song. Due to the nature of the trailer, the only things that can be properly discerned is how it looks next to the original, which is something that always fascinates me when it comes to Square Enix remasters. Because while they’re great when they work, a lot of them are just a mesh of confusing intentions.
The PS2 original was aiming for a stylized painterly art style that, while limited by technical resources, definitely gave the game a unique look that carries over to the remaster. I’m not entirely sure what the developers did when it comes to upgrading textures (you would need to wait for a detailed breakdown to figure that out) but I did notice a jarring difference in the polish of the curiously proportioned character models. The models look quite good for a standard remaster like this, while the environments… don’t fare as well.
Some environments look good, with high-quality textures, or textures so far into the distance that their resolution is not a big deal. While others look like they weren’t properly upscaled for one reason or another. While this discrepancy is likely something the project inherited from the original release, it is still an odd look. Sometimes, the game looks relatively modern, but other times, its PS2-ness is plainly visible.
Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song will release on PS4, PS5, Switch, Steam, iOS, and Android sometime this winter.
Okay, what does Nat-Nat wanna talk about next? Um… gacha! …And crypto! …Together at last!
On May 25th, publisher Level-5 and developer NetMarble held the worldwide launch of Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds. A triple-A gacha game with lavish production values that managed to be pretty successful in Japan, having amassed over 100 million USD in its first 11 days. However, this worldwide launch is not just a localization, as NetMarble is planning on using Cross Worlds to help launch something greater. Something that game publishers have mused about and hypothesized when crypto started being dangled into their face. A crypto-based live service.
Now, I am not 100% sure what the specifics of this system are, as I have not played the game or seen much footage. But the general gist of what I could gather from the white paper, the official website, a Kotaku article, and this YouTube video goes something like this:
In Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds, players play to earn a resource known as Territe. Territe has various uses in-game, but the most notable use is that it can be exchanged for Territe Tokens (NKT), a cryptocurrency that can then be exchanged for NetMarble’s cryptocurrency, MARBLEX (MBX), which can then be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies, or fiat.
Or in other words, by playing the game, going through a three, or more, step exchange process, you can maybe make some money off of the game. Alternatively, you can use cash to purchase MBX, sell it for NKT, and then turn the NKT into Territe to get whatever resources you want in-game. So it is both pay-to-win and play-to-earn. This has significantly affected the game’s economy only a week in, as players can purchase the most powerful doodads from an in-game store. Meaning that players can spend money to buy power directly. Or, as Reddit user Tezoze put it, “No gacha, no gimmicks, just straight purchase.”
…So, let’s talk about this!
As a tax accountant who specializes in crypto, my first question is how people are going to be able to report this on their taxes. The frustrating thing about crypto taxes is tracking the basis of tokens, figuring out what the gain on an exchange is, and recognizing the gain every time one token is exchanged for another. To assign a basis, and to calculate a game, you need a consistent value every step of the way.
NKT has a reported USD value that is visible in-game, though I doubt any crypto reporting platform is keeping tabs on the token’s price at the moment. MBX clearly has a USD value, as it is publicly traded on multiple exchanges. However, Territe does not seem to have a USD value assigned directly to it. Accordingly, you might (this is all emergent law and I’m just taking the conservative pro-IRS approach) need to take the NKT value of the Territe, at the time it is earned in-game and use the active exchange rate to calculate the exchange in USD.
To give an example, if you earned 50 Territe at 13:00 on June 1st, when NKT was trading for $12, and the exchange rate for Territe to NKT was 300:1, the basis of that 50 Territe would be $2.00. This basis would be ‘used’ when the Territe is exchanged for NKT. However, you would also need to determine which basis is actually being used here. When doing any sort of buying or selling like this, you need to have a specific identification method, whether it be LIFO, FIFO, HIFO, LOFO, specific identification, or even average basis.
Assuming you are a US citizen, you would also need to report these transactions on your taxes. Cryptocurrency income can go in multiple places. Schedule B, Schedule C, or Schedule 1 under Other Income. But cryptocurrency earnings from play-to-earn games and mining are reported on Schedule C as self-employment income. …Which you can technically offset with a portion of your internet, electric, and phone expenses, among other things.
Cryptocurrency gains and losses, meanwhile, need to be reported on Schedule D as short-term or long-term capital gains, where you need to provide the IRS with all of your crypto activity via Form 8949. Or, if that is too voluminous, you can summarize all transactions with a matching currency, date bought, and date sold.
How the hell do you keep track of all of these things? Well, that (basically) requires the use of a crypto tax reporting platform, such as CoinTracking, CoinTracker, CryptoTaxCalculator, Koinly (which I still haven’t used), and so forth. Also, Accointing and ZenLedger suck and barely work. By the way, none of these are affiliated links or anything, and if you need help with your crypto taxes, here’s my boss’s (neglected) website. Shoot him and email and say Natalie sent ya.
That ALL being said, taking off my tax hat and putting on my gamer hat (I really wish that Sega made those hats for meme purposes) I am actually not wholly against what NetMarble is doing here. I am not against this approach due to the fact that, under this system, people can outright buy things. While pay-to-win has been lauded as an example of bad game design, I find it far more preferable than the gamble-to-win nature of gacha mechanics. Because would you rather pay for something, or pay for the chance to get something?
I think the reporting end of this is a mess. I believe that the crypto market is naturally too volatile for it to be a reliable long-term investment. However… I prefer the risks of crypto over straight up gambling. For as much as people say that ‘crypto is a casino,’ that really is not the case. It is more akin to an unregulated stock market where the rules are made up as they go along. Gacha is a casino though, as the only difference between summoning for waifflus and roulette is that in roulette, you don’t get a consolation loli or femboy.
…Also, it is worth pointing out that part of the hook of these play-to-earn games is that they appeal to people who live in poorer countries. You can make a few dozen dollars a month off of certain titles, maybe over a hundred, and there are people who make a living off of play-to-earn games. However, these people do not develop a valuable skill as they work, need to move from game to game, and can often only afford the cost of entry thanks to a ‘scholarship.’ A ‘scholarship’ where they are given the equipment they need to play-to-earn, but a portion of their earnings go to their capitalist task masters.
Or in other words, play-to-earn is really just another way for capitalists to eke out pennies from the dollars made by poor people, while depriving them of any greater opportunities. Though, I’m pretty sure that people from poorer countries have re-rolled and farmed in gacha games in order to sell their accounts. So it’s not like a wholly new evil has been introduced here.
By the by, people are still publishing stuff on why loot boxes are exploitative and predatory, so maybe the next step for gacha and loot box games is going to be play-to-earn and crypto. Is that better? Um… if POW cryptocurrency stopped being a thing, yes. Though, I would rather not have any of these systems at all. Play-to-earn is a bad thing that will make games worse by turning them into labor. While pay-to-play is something that, much like gacha, has been shown to prey on those without rigid financial principles, neurodivergent folks, and most especially, children.
After a quarter of relative silence, The Pokémon Company has decided to rev up the hype cycle for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet with the second trailer. Which was not the most expository, but it did show off enough things to warrant a 1,000 word diatribe.
The first thing that most people took away from this trailer were the new characters. Starting with the version-specific professors, who people have already started drawing oodles of fan arts, porn, and memes of. The female rival of this game, who I have seen surprisingly little fanart of in comparison. I would assume that’s because she’s, like, 13, but that has never stopped people from throwing the children of Pokémon into a bathtub of cum. And there were also a couple of new critters, though I think their introduction in the trailer was a bit underwhelming, as were their designs.
- You have Pawmi, an orange rodent who looks like this generation’s Pikachu-like, but I can’t say I care for its super chubby design. Though, it does get preliminary points in my book, as its color scheme implies that the Pokémon might evolve into an electric/fire type. Which is a unique type that I would like to see, especially so early on in a game like this.
- You have Lechonk, who is just a black, pink, and brown pig with a bunch of sleepies gathered around its eyes, and I guess it serves the role of this generation’s normal type ‘route-filler’ Pokémon. Like Patrat or Lillipup.
- Smoliv on the other hand… will probably have the best name of any Pokémon in this generation. As the name implies, they are a tiny olive-based Pokémon that looks perpetually flustered, kinda like Wismur, but with moe eyes. I’m also not crazy about the grass/normal typing, as normal is never super-effective, so you just get STAB bonus, but whatever. Maybe it’s temporary.
Then there are the legendaries, The dinosaur-like Koraidon as the cover legendary for Scarlet and the mechanical Miraidon as the cover legendary for Violet. Which to me is meant to symbolize the themes these games will (vaguely) explore. Reconciling the reality of the past, what was lost, with the future, what it represents, and how humanity and Pokémon alike should conduct themselves going forward. Simple, but effective enough.
Gameplay-wise, it looks like instead of, or in addition to, Pokémon Centers in towns, you have these rest areas scattered throughout exploration zones. Which isn’t auto-heal, but it’s a step up. Though, despite reprising some Pokémon Legends Arceus features, like crouching and roaming wild Pokémon, I am not sure if the player will be able to throw Pokéballs at them outside of battle, or if the battle camera will be freely movable. The battle camera pans at one point, but it also has these strange yellow corner borders that make me think there might be a mode where the player can use a ‘classic camera.’
This all leaves me feeling more than a little worried, as the one thing that I absolutely despise seeing in an iteration-heavy series like Pokémon is backwards progression. Even if my suspicions are correct, this possible backstep is being countered by another innovation. As Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are to be a proper ‘open-world experience.’ I tend to be cagey around those terms, given how often people misuse them. However, a look at the official website clarifies that Scarlet/Violet offer “a world that you’re free to explore at your leisure and not in an order dictated by the story.”
Or in other words, you know how the biggest criticism toward Pokémon Legends: Arceus was how its story ‘got in the way’ of the gameplay, or just wasn’t that compelling? Well, now you can ignore the story even more, as exploration is the focus. But not just exploration! Multiplayer exploration! For the first time in series history, Scarlet/Violet will allow up to four players to pair up in co-op, allowing them to catch, battle, trade, and explore the world together. That is a wonderful concept, as I think that there are nowhere near enough four-player open world games for people to just hang out in, and Pokémon is an excellent ‘hang out game.’
Now, do I particularly care too strongly about the whole open world and multiplayer thing? Not really. I’m gonna play and try to find the fun in this game no matter what, even if I think I’ll wind up preferring PLA in the end. Why do I say that? Well… I honestly prefer biomes over open worlds, as I find the offer more ‘environmental intimacy.’ I like to learn an environment’s quirks, see it enough to view it from several different angles, and fulfill my natural duty as a white person.
Taming this savage wilderness, stripping it of its valuable resources, cataloging its exotic wildlife, while blessing its natives with my sophistication and morality. All while embodying a brown-skinned lady. Because that’s the American Dream! That’s what Manifest Destiny is all about! …Goodness, I love going on these political indulgences where I make myself seem like a massive racist to protect the idea that I am not that racist.
I should also talk about the visuals, because this game is giving me big Pokémon Battle Revolution vibes. Which is good, because Battle Revolution was, aesthetically, the greatest Pokémon game of all time. Seriously, the drip on these fools was mad sexy. The way they deviated from the de facto anime vibe was deeply memorable. And the way the game tried to simulate the look of an early PS3 game, despite running on the Wii, was positively moe! It was east meets west, and when you do that, you’re probably gonna wind up with something reeking with erotic energy!
…But in terms of graphics, this ish is P. mid in my book, mostly because the Nintendo Switch is a 5-year-old gaming tablet, and this sort of online game needs at least an Xbox-One-level of power to look fresh, so you have some of that old tech funk fluttering about even in this official footage. It’s almost enough to warrant another spirit chant sess wit Maggie ‘n da ‘critical White feminists’ hoping for Nina Tendo to bless the aboriginal queers of this malformed invesion of Inferno with a more powerful computer toy machine. But after 4 years of this ish, I’m sick of praying for a God who died from a 200g fentanyl overdose back in ‘88. When they should be bimpin’ the Christ they got in 2000. And you know she was the real deal, ‘cos she blackfaced it up back in LatAm. Sure, the 33CE version did that posthumously, but she did that back before her crucifiction.
…Nobody will understand that lump of blasphemous garbage I just spat. But I don’t care. I’m having FUN!
Pseudo-political ramblings aside, this unit is optimistic, albeit a bit cautious, about the latest entry in the Pokémon entertainment brand. Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet will debut on November 18, 2022. A date that also serves as this unit’s anniversary of birth.
Let’s move onto one wintery childhood delight to another, with the next mainline Sonic game, Sonic Frontiers. A 6.5 minute gameplay snippet dropped on June 1st, showing off the game for the very first time and… it sure is an open world Sonic game.
…In all honesty though, the thing that I immediately thought of when I saw this gameplay was that Sonic Frontiers looks reminiscent of the dozens of modern Sonic fan demos. Technical showpieces that feature a number of obstacles, physics demonstrations, and chunks that could be pieced together and expanded by a level designer… If a level designer was working on the project.
Visually, the game certainly is reminiscent of those demos, being set in a naturalistic landscape with generic ruins, a few technological oddities, and the usual springs, pulleys, and ramps from all eras of the series. But in regards to what you actually do here… I think the best way to describe it is as ‘do things and collect stuff.’ Bounce on a spring that propels the player into a levitating rail they need to grind across before jumping across platforms to reach a shiny doodad with some purpose. Complete a basic slow-paced puzzle for a shiny orange fruit. Look for sign posts placed nearby challenge areas and try to avoid taking the same path you previously did, because I don’t think those purple thingamabobs respawn… or maybe they do?
In general, it looks like the game designers were trying to reconcile the ‘modern’ boost-driven gameplay of Sonic games with the format of an open world game. Except, when tasked with creating… tasks for the player to complete, they opted for whatever was the easiest solution. Such as putting out fires, following a light-up trail, or turning a statue around. I do not think that anything in the game looks necessarily bad, even if the player behind this footage struggles to maintain speed in several sections. But if this wasn’t a Sonic game, I would not be giving it the time of day.
What helped games like Super Mario Odyssey warrant such acclaim was how, even though the game was a collect-a-thon, it had excessive variety and creativity. Its trailers were a cavalcade of captivating concepts, while this trailer did not convince me that the dev team has any new ideas, as virtually everything seen here has been part of the series since 2008. …Well, I guess there is the wall-running, but I would argue that idea originated in Sonic Adventure.
Though, I will give the game this: It sure looked pretty… even if its art direction is pretty muted with its fixation on photo realism. Which just makes Sonic look super out of place. And while I get why the music is this muted piano schtick, I find that to be wildly inappropriate for a Sonic game. Seriously, half the fun of a Sonic game is jamming out to the rocking soundtrack.
Hell, I would go as far to say that the soundtrack is the best part of most Sonic games. And I would go even further than that and say that including a ‘radio’ featuring songs from past Sonic games would bump up the Metacritic score of Frontiers by at least 3 points. This is something that the series actually has proved before, as I found the custom soundtrack to be incredibly welcomed in Generations. Generations, while a great game, had some garbage side missions, but I rarely found them to be especially frustrating, because I was able to play whatever music I wanted to in the background. And it’s hard to stay mad at a game when blaring Live and Learn or Race to Win in the background. …Not enough people have masturbated while listening to Race to Win.
I thought that was going to be it for Sonic Frontiers for the time being, but then IGN released another 6.5 minute gameplay video on June 3rd, this one focused on combat. While none of the mainline Sonic games have what I would call a ‘combat system,’ Sonic is a versatile character and has a moveset that lends itself well to more deliberate combat. Using super speed to generate wind-based attacks, using speed to launch himself and enemies into the air, conjuring up mini tornados, all in addition to the usual bashing his head against things. Heck, I’ve had vague ideas for a Sonic action game ever since I played Sonic Battle… which I still have a soft spot to this day. It was a GBA 3D arena fighter, and I think it had more story content than either Adventure game, which is really bizarre. Everything about that game was pretty bizarre, come to think of it.
…What was I talking about? Right, Sonic Frontiers. Instead of building upon the foundation of stuff like Sonic Battle, Sonic Team created… something that reminds me vaguely of the more ‘combat-oriented’ nature of Sonic Heroes, where enemies needed to be stunned or hit repeatedly. Though, while Heroes had a good sense of speed and flow, this looks needlessly slow, clunky, and.. confusing. Part of my confusion stems from the lack of HUD to support what the player is doing. Without any button prompts or meters, it looks less like the player is controlling Sonic as they please, as much as they are initiating mini cutscenes, none of which look particularly natural or fun.
Sonic Frontiers is currently slated to release in holiday 2022, but this is the games industry, so it could get delayed. And this is a Sonic game, so disappointment is inevitable because so many people are broken by the series at this point. I personally am SHATTERED by this series, which I went into some detail in Natalie Rambles About Sonic, but I’m still gonna pick up Frontiers around launch, play it, and try to have a good time with it. Even if I need to mute the in-game audio and listen to the Sonic R soundtrack… and maybe the Sonic Jihad soundtrack. That’s one of my favorite Sonic soundtracks. It has lots of sensuous feminine mouth noises!
Okie dokes! Time for Sony’s summer PlayStation special time! Also known as the quarterly-ish State of Play Event. Naturally, I am going to ignore everything I did not particularly care for, and focus on the things that I found to be ‘commentary-worthy.’
The showcase, bizarrely, began with the release date of March 24, 2023 before going to show the poorly kept secret that is the Resident Evil 4 Remake. As to be expected, it showed off no gameplay or details beyond what the game would look like, which took the form of a few iconic locales recreated with the power of the RE Engine and a lot of CG. Accordingly, it is hard to say if this remake is going to be good or not, and I think much of that stems on whether the folks at Capcom understand that what made RE4 so special is the fact that it’s pretty dumb.
The 2005 original knew when to make jokes, take the piss out of itself, and is a game that you can screw around in. This makes the series and horror-like moments all the more impactful, and culminates in a more endearing experience overall. It is because of this balance, and the quality gameplay, that the title has stood the test of time, so it is hard for me to view any deviation from the original to be a good thing. Yes, I know it is gauche to just ask for a 1:1 remake of RE4 with the gameplay of the Resident Evil 2 Remake… that is pretty much what people actually want.
…That makes me sound like I’m a fan of Resident Evil 4, when I’m really not. I played it for about 8 hours, but I was constantly uncomfortable, worried, and generally paranoid about doing things wrong or missing collectibles. I definitely spent more mental energy into trinket hunting and resource management, despite having a full inventory, than I did on the whole ‘enjoying myself’ thing. It’s a mental habit that prevented me from ever getting invested in the Resident Evil series as a whole, but I still know a fair bit about it, and have a lot of respect for it..
Resident Evil 4 Remake is coming out for PS5, Xbox Series, and PC on March 24, 2023.
Sony is continuing their PC porting front, putting the newly acquired Nixxes (they did PC ports for Crystal Dynamics games) on what is sure to be a moneymaker, with Marvel’s Spider-Man PS4 (2018) Remastered. Yes, the absurdly successful and titularly frustrating Spider-Man game is coming to computers on August 12, 2021. Which is something that I was honestly a bit surprised to see, because Disney can be temperamental with their licensing.
I was never particularly interested in this title, mostly because I lack a strong attachment to most superheroes, so I’m probably not going to even think of putting it on my wishlist…
Though I will probably buy it to bring some happiness to an ornery bitch who doesn’t deserve anything more from me. Hell, I bought her a freaking vagina. Yet she still had the audacity to say that I was abusing her for not wanting to talk to her for hours every day, and for not being sufficiently ‘maternal’ to her. Because she felt that she was not only entitled to my attention, and thousands of dollars, she thought I should be her fucking mom.
No wonder she has been banned or told to leave just about every community she has ever been a part of. Student Transfer’s Discord, Rate Your Music, the Dream Team Studio Discord, the Cardiacs Discord, and more. Seriously, Clavietika is the most entitled little cunt I’ve ever met, and she’s not even white. Even though she wishes she was.
…So why am I definitely going to buy her Marvel’s Spider-Man PS4 (2018) Remastered at launch price? Mostly so that I have an excuse to say ‘I am willing to talk to you again if you are willing to behave like an adult and not like an entitled twat with the manners of a donkey. But this is your last chance.’
Moving onto the only game that surprised me in this showcase, we have Enternights. A dating sim action game that did not strike me as the sort of thing high profile enough to warrant a spot in State of Play. In fact, it struck me as such an oddball that, before I thought too much about the game’s trailer, I felt the need to look at who was behind this project.
Its publisher, Kowloon Nights, is a video game fund that has supported quite a few projects over the years, including Sifu, Godfall (yes, really), 30XX, and Garden Story. While Sai Studios was a vague name that I could not find much information on, until I stumbled onto the Twitter account of Jae H Yoo, also known as fkkcloud. Jae H Yoo previously worked on BestLuck, an atmospheric mobile game with a similar visual identity to Enternights, which he originally started posting about back in 2019 as a ‘dating sim’ and ‘hack and slash’ inspired by Persona 5.
As for the game itself… I want to love it, but I’m pretty sure Jae H Yoo was one of those people who has lived in a room lit by colored LEDs for years, and forgot how ‘white light sheeple’ see the world. Color balancing is a big pet peeve of mine in games, as while my vision is not at ‘I need glasses’ levels, I find it incredibly difficult to distinguish between dark-colored enemies in a dark colored environment, which appears to be the norm for combat encounters in this game.
When looking at Eternights with my color-agnostic goggles though, I see it as a fluid action game with cute characters and a moderately unique looking urban apocalyptic setting. But mostly a title that has a lot of personality interjected into it from its lead creator. So I’m going to put it on my neglected list of games under the hope that it winds up being something remarkable.
Enternights is coming out for PS4, PS5, Steam, and Epic Games Store in early 2023.
- The hip hop soundtrack originated in Street Fighter III is back, which probably should have remained a part of the series, since fighting games are all about that ‘thuggery’ and have been since ‘91.
- The art style has been changed slightly, doing away with the clay-like look from Street Fighter V in favor of something a touch more realistic with skin-like textures.
- There is this really dope paint splatter effect that accompanies special moves, and I think it makes the game look so much more visually compelling.
- Classic characters like Ryu and Chun-li were given noticeably different designs, which is actually what ‘true fighting gamers’ want to see. Character progression
- A greater focus appears to be given to a new generation of fighters, including Luke from the last season of Street Fighter V, and overall newcomer Jamie.
- The new logo is still not great, but it looks better than the original one.
Though, the biggest takeaway is that, after all these years, after 15 years of begging and petitioning, we are finally going back to where it all started, back to the legendary Metro City. Except instead of the grimy PS2-ass GTA-like grime of Final Fight Streetwise, the city is vibrant, looks like it will be fun to explore, and is the setting for a premiere adventure mode. One where the player can run through the streets of the legendary Metro City, seeing this city in all of its vibrant splendor and, when a new challenger approaches, you can battle them then and there.
Street Fighter 6 is set to release sometime in 2023 for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series, and PC. The PS4 listing is quite surprising, as this is going to be a live service, but I guess that the supply chain and economic issues mean that a significant amount of players are still slumming it with their box from 2013.
Also, good news regarding the (likely) launch roster of characters! Some artwork leaked from Capcom, which revealed the new default designs for a cast of 22 playable characters. They all look fly as hell, have the drip that you normally only see in mobile games, and make me wish I had even a modicum of interest in playing a fighter. Because I just wanna see these fools hang out, shoot the shit, and pummel some jerks.
The showcase ended with the second trailer for Final Fantasy XVI. A title that initially interested me in how it was trying to do something different with the malleable Final Fantasy series by aiming to be a far more western-oriented and darker fantasy story. One that once again put a great importance on the summons, known as Eikons, and features a world of warring kingdoms vying for power as existing structures are tattered. But more remarkable than all of that, the title seemingly ditches the party system of every prior entry in favor of being closer to a character action game. One where the protagonist appears to have access to some sort of style switching, or class change, system.
If this lukewarm reading is not enough of an indication, I find myself feeling very underwhelmed by Final Fantasy XVI, mostly because it does not appeal to what I personally found endearing about the series. It is not cute, weird, quirky, aesthetically striking, or abundantly creative. Instead, it feels like a repackaging of existing fantasy concepts. The game does have a lavishly detailed presentation, looks like it is boasting a story with ample room for political intrigue, and its real-time combat system, based on a mere glance, looks like the most elaborate incarnation in series history. But I do not see anything that would make me care about this game… except it is a new Final Fantasy game.
Final Fantasy XVI is set to debut on PS5 sometime in summer 2023. Which sounds like it is especially far away because the game was originally announced in September 2020, and because FF16 was delayed by about 6 months due to COVID.
Dokie okes! That’s all for this week! I need to get back to writing The Dominance of Abigale Quinlan while trying to avoid big distractions. Like a graphic design project I started for my inevitable Dragalia Lost post-mortem, where I thought it would be a great idea to go through the kits of over 280 adventurers and determine how the game could hypothetically be rebalanced to make every adventurer useful. But in order to do that analysis, I wanted to capture the information in a clean format.
On Friday, I spent roughly an entire work day trying to figure out what this format would be, starting with Draw.io to make a mock-up, trying to transplant that mock-up between Excel, Google Sheets, and Google Docs. Then I decided to recreate and modify the mock-up within Excel and transpose that into Google Docs, but that didn’t work. Then I tried to use Adobe Acrobat to modify the Excel PDF exports. Then I decided to modify and recreate the mock-up, AGAIN, this time with a more landscape design, in Google Docs. But I had to compress things and it looked lame, so I’m just going to do everything in Excel, even though Excel does not play nicely with images. Gotta look into that compression tech!
…Goodness, I really haven’t changed over the past decade. Because this is the NATURAL evolution of making flowcharts for Press-Switch back in 2014.