Rundown (10/15-10/21) A Master No More!

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Over the past few weeks, there has been a distribution going on for the new legendary Pokemon, Marshadow, which was distributed at GameStop in the United States. Unfortunately, I missed my chance to visit one to get the mode needed to get the new Pokemon and preserve my complete Pokedex. Why is that the case? Well, I am not very mobile on my own (I cannot drive) and the task of asking my mother if I could stop by one of these stores was a bit too much for me, what with my social anxiety and such. I downplay it a lot, but my social anxiety and poor social skills makes it genuinely hard to do even basic tasks. I feel awkward so much as saying hello to someone unless they greet me first.

Starting with a follow-up from last week, after teasing the world with a trailer that showed off a rad looking Jack Bros. themed metroidvania game and calling that game a “lie” Atlus has done what I really should expect at this point and revealed that the title is a full proper game called Shin Megami Tensei: Synchronicity Prologue. A game they promptly released on their company website, only in Japanese, and only until December 24th for some reason. Now, this entire premise is genuinely bizarre to me, so I did some light research on the title. Apparently it is an official fangame that Atlus helped out with and serves as an interquel to the upcoming Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux. While I could point out how bizarre that all is, the game itself is actually really good, especially for a free title, and could easily serve as a short $5-10 official release. I would highly recommend checking the game out, and downloading the fan translation.

Moving on, and to an upsetting piece of news, EA have recently announced that they will be shutting down Visceral Games, developers of the Dead Space series. This announcement comes out of nowhere as the studio has currently been busy creating their very own Star Wars title, codenamed Ragtag, and was presumably making good progress at it because they are a talented developer. However, EA is the fickle sort and they basically confirmed that they want to reshape this Star Wars title into a games as a service type of affair, and want to develop the game at an internal studio instead.

This is just one in a long trail of bodies left in EA’s wake, and it is pathetic that I have become numb to the feeling of disappointment with this publisher’s actions. It honestly would not surprise me if the publisher shut down other talented developer under its control, namely Bioware. In fact, I am honestly expecting it. The publisher has a tendency to homogenize its games, setting insane goals for each release, and aiming to meet the demands of people undergoing focus tests rather than using more sensible budgets for its titles and aiming for far more modest sales goals. Even though they are branching out with the EA Originals line, I doubt that will change how they handle their internal projects.

Also, this cancellation has caused a discussion about single player games being less common amongst AAA endeavors, or “going the way of the dodo”. Which is utter rubbish. Plenty of highly successful single player games have been released both this year and this generation. This is simply the result of certain companies looking at a modern trend like a magpie looking at a shiny doohickey and wanting to mimic it in order to accumulate massive revenue. Even though single players games can be profitable if they are marketed and budgeted effectively.

Yet EA is a fool who expected Dead Space 2, a horror game destined to appeal to a niche market, to somehow be able to make money off of a 60 million dollar budget, which it was unable to even after selling 4 million units. Also, I think EA fails to realize that the industry is only large enough to adequately support a certain amount of multiplayer titles, so if publishers choose to flood the market with samey multiplayer games, I’m sure that many of their attempts will end up like Battleborn and Lawbreakers, and be dead on arrival due to there not being enough space in the market for them.

Continuing this cascade of industry nonsense, Nintendo has recently adopted more strict guidelines about review copies of their games after a kerfuffle of sorts with Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions. In short, one outlet dumped a ROM of the game online early and allowed people to pirate the title before it even came out. Because of this, Nintendo chose to not do the obvious thing and punish the person responsible for this, blacklist them, and possibly publicly shame them. Instead, they chose to adopt stricted review copy distribution practices, basically meaning that smaller outlets will not get games until right up to release, if at all.  Limiting their ability to cover the game, draw in readers/viewers, and in turn make money. All because someone else decided to put their poo in the porridge.

If I may continue to rag on Nintendo like a sapient sandbag who cries the most beautiful sounds in the world whenever they are pelted with a baseball bat, the company recently released a software update for the Switch. Bringing with it a couple of new features that really should have been on the system at launch, like being able to transfer save games and capture video footage of games. However, as I looked over these, I could not help but be reminded of how, while the Switch offers a variety of quality titles, the system is lacking in so many basic modern necessities.

Despite the newly added support for wireless headsets, there is no way to incorporate voice chat using just the Switch. Instead, you need to use a phone and special dongle. The ability to capture in-game footage is restricted only to a few select games, when it should be allowed in just about every one of them. Oh, but don’t assume that you can freely share gameplay footage now. As Nintendo’s Creator Program is still in full effect, meaning Nintendo will monetize all Youtube videos with gameplay in them. Yet if they sign an agreement, Nintendo will share 60-70% of their ad revenue with the uploader. Because why should they receive all of the potential profit for promoting your games? I mean it’s not like ad revenue has been going down for a while now, and it is hard for people with smaller channels to gain any money or traction. I do not understand why the company is still doing this. And I certainly do not understand why their system lacks a basic web browser and a Virtual Console, seven months after launch.

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