The Thursday letters page considers the wider influence of Ghost Of Tsushima, as one reader asks what happened to Capcom’s Pragmata.
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So there was no E3 in May but there was, sort of one in September? Kind of? It was even sort of thanks to the Tokyo Game Show, which I’d love to see become more important again. Overall though I don’t think either Nintendo or Sony’s State of Play will go down as classics. What I would say though is that they were both positive and, given my rock bottom expectations, better than I expected.
One of the things I did expect was that Nintendo would do the absolute bare minimum in terms of talking about Zelda and announcing a release date and a name. What I didn’t expect though was Pikmin 4 and Fire Emblem Edge – two relatively big games we’d never had any hint about recently.
I’m not a fan of Octopath Traveler, and the sequel isn’t an exclusive, but there were some interesting games amongst the third party stuff, especially the new one from the Danganronpa team.
In terms of Sony, I also thought that was the best God Of War Ragnarök trailer by far, the first to get me excited for the game for any reason other than I liked the first one. Tekken 8 looked good and so did Rise Of The Ronin and the Yakuza remake.
The obvious thing missing from Sony though was any new first party games, or indeed anything other than God Of War. I don’t know what they’re waiting for or what the delay is, and clearly they don’t want to tell us, but it seems to me a serious marketing mistake.
Microsoft isn’t talking about anything because they’ve got nothing close to being ready but surely Sony must have? Their output doesn’t rely on a bunch of newly acquired studios so where are the new games from Bend, Sucker Punch, Team Asobi, and the rest?
Sony has never been shy about announcing games that aren’t out for years, with only pre-rendered trailers, so why have they suddenly stopped now, when there’s an open goal in front of them? They could have a dozen announced games right now, for people to look forward to, and I have no idea why they haven’t.
So, on that point alone I would say that Nintendo had the better week, but it’s good to know it was at least close.
Ghost of Japan
I don’t think Ghost Of Tsushima is a particularly good game but if it ends up helping Japanese developers create all these news games based on their history and culture then it could end up being my favourite game ever. I hate to see it when their forced, either by publishers or economics, to make games that look and seem Western and it’s so much more interesting to get something undiluted by marketing demands.
I don’t know if that’s going to be Rise Of The Ronin or not but considering that State of Play also featured Radiant Silvergun and a Yakuza remake I’m going to be optimistic and say things are looking a lot better now for Japanese devs making the sort of games they want to.
I know the State of Play was kind of a tie-in to the Tokyo Game Show but I think it was also an attempt by Sony to refute the idea that they’ve abandoned Japanese developers. I mean they have, but hopefully this is a sign that they’ve realised that was a mistake.
Bring it on
Feeling slightly overwhelmed with all the new game announcements this week! Feels like a dam has burst and all of a sudden flooded in game announcements, some personal ones of interest for me are:
1) Multiple Yakuza games – even though bringing back Kiryu devalues the ending of Yakuza 6 I still can’t wait for endless mini-games.
2) A new Fire Emblem game within two months, even if the protagonist has a slightly interesting hair colour.
3) Crisis Core – never played the original but excited.
That’s my personal three choices and not even scratching the surface (Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom, Octopath Traveler 2, etc.)
Hope your review team is well rested and prepared for the onslaught!
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Itching to try
I’ve been watching the footage released of the press playing the new PlayStation VR2 headset and it really does look great what from I’ve seen. Both in terms of the tech, the comfort of the headset, and some controllers that’ll finally banish the god awful Move ones to the darkest depths of Gehenna.
Resident Evil Village and Horizon: Call Of The Mountain stood out but it really mostly made me pine for that, as yet, unannounced Astro Bot 2 game. I can’t imagine how creative Team Asobi are going to be if Sony are giving them licence to go full scale Super Mario Odyssey. I’ve always thought a VR Mario from Nintendo would be revolutionary and in an ideal world Sony would collaborate with them for the ultimate experience but that’ll never happen, sadly.
However, Rescue Mission is still the most eye opening VR game of the last decade and hopefully if a new one is coming it’ll scratch that next gen Mario itch I have, when Mario gives me itches from scratches that I never can scratch, even though it itches.
I could’ve sworn that Bandai Namco game with the robots was going to turn out to be Capcom’s Pragmata but, well… it wasn’t. I hope it isn’t cancelled as that seemed to be a completely new IP. But Capcom has a lot of previous with this. They also showed off Deep Down at the launch of the PlayStation 4 and that never came out either.
I’m guessing that means these games are probably created as tech demos and the attempt to turn them into actual games doesn’t quite work. If the games are no good then I’ve got to trust Capcom knows what they’re doing, but it’d be interesting to know how these things work in their eyes. A behind the scenes documentary on how they make a game would be fascinating to me. I get the feeling Japanese developers work very differently to Western ones but we never really get to find out.
Cuphead DLC’s bosses are absolutely exquisite from a visual and design standpoint. What MDHR have once again achieved with their lavish, vibrant animation is nothing short of technical wizardry.
Cuphead’s presentation is certainly one of the strongest examples of video games as an artform. And don’t get me started on the superb new jazzmatazz (TM) music; which is so stirring and masterfully orchestrated.
The fresh challenges are noticeably harder than most of the bosses in the base game too, in that sense it kind of reminds me of the bump in difficulty in Dark Souls 1, 2, and 3, and Bloodborne’s DLC bosses. On the last boss right now and the intricacies of this duplicitous one’s attacks and animations are truly a sight to behold.
Oh, and Chalice Girl and her unique moves rocks!
Love Yakuza and I’m excited to see not just a sequel but a new spin-off and a remake! But I really don’t like that name. Literal translations are always a bad idea when it comes to Japanese and Like A Dragon just doesn’t work in the way I imagine it does in its original language.
It seems almost nonsensical and I worry it’s going to put people off the games. Let’s face it, they might be doing better than they used to but Yakuza is still not a big franchise and it needs all the friends it can get. The original name was fine, it got the job done and we already have a series called Yakuza, so it made sense to me.
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Nintendo by a hair
So, finally Nintendo and Sony have both played their hands for the foreseeable future and… what a show it was!
A stronger presentation from Nintendo, it’s fair to say, with plenty of surprises in there, Octopath Traveler 2, Pikmin 4, not to mention that while most were so caught up with all the Zelda rumors I bet not many were expecting to see the new Fire Emblem get shown off.
Three Houses made me a massive Fire Emblem fan, so it’ll be day one for me, but… what is up with that ridiculous hair?
There were lots of other nice little surprises in there, but I found it telling that Nintendo doesn’t seem very much to be winding down software support for the Switch, nailing down two very big releases in the first quarter alone, which makes me inclined to believe there’s not much chance of any new hardware next year which, I would have been expecting.
Sony’s State of Play, was decent, with the undoubted highlight being a closer look at God Of War Ragnarök, but little else from their own studios which suggests to me that they’re struggling. Still, third party support seems to be getting better from Japan, which is encouraging.
All that said, it’s what surely must be a miserable time for Xbox owners, with the release schedule that’s completely barren for 2022.
Why is it I don’t believe Nintendo when they say the Advance Wars remake isn’t cancelled? If they’re waiting for world peace I think it’s going to be a while…
Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom, so is it tears as in crying or tears as in ripping? Wasn’t sure as I didn’t watch the whole Nintendo Direct.
GC: The Zelda part wasn’t even two minutes long… and doesn’t clarify anything about the name.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Gooch, who asks what is your favourite fantasy video game?
To be clear, that means anything with at least a vaguely Tolkien-esque feel, as popularised by Lord of the Rings, as well as low fantasy settings such as Game of Thrones, so it doesn’t necessary have to have orcs and elves in it.
How appealing do you find these sort of fantasy settings and do they influence what games you’re interested in, regardless of their gameplay? What more do you feel could be done with the concept and what next gen fantasy games are you most looking forward to?
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