Rundown (8/09-8/15) Grammar Yammer

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Wherein I discuss how English is hard, a canceled sale of obscene proportions, the struggles of a new challenger, an Infinite delay, and the preservation of memes.

I mentioned in Natalie Rambles About School that throughout middle school I was not allowed to take the regular English class, as my writing was lousy with grammatical issues, and, rather than sitting me down and explaining why what I was writing was improper, they sought to correct this by placing me in a remedial course where I learned very little while my peers were learning about sentence structure, proper comma use, and the minutiae about the language that you typically would not pick up on when communicating verbally.

Because of this, I was never very confident with my writing throughout my primary school days and only gained confidence after I started Nigma Box and began honing my craft. However, I still make errors constantly when typing my thoughts into my word processor of choice. Because of this, I have not only been relying on Google Doc’s built-in grammar and spell checker for years, but have been using the free version of Grammarly since January 2020, and recently started using ProWritingAid, so it can highlight my redundancies, tell me when I am using too many passive verbs.

It is nice to have all of these checks in place, as it does make my writing better but I have to say that it makes Google Docs run like a gosh darn 16-month-old, stumbling periodically and moving at a glacial pace when going through my beefy 140-page novel documents. Maybe that’s a sign that I shouldn’t consolidate my novels like this… but screw it, I can deal with some lag from time to time.

Also, I literally did not know what a passive verb was until a month ago. I have a gosh darn Master’s degree, wrote 5 novels, but I did not know this basic-ass linguistic concept until after I became significantly more educated than the average human being.

For the past two months or so, there have been persistent rumors about AT&T looking to sell off their gaming division, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, for roughly $4 billion. News of this spurred many potential buyers to begin talks with AT&T, including EA, Activision Blizzard, Take-Two, and Microsoft, but after all of these discussions, AT&T has backpedaled on this decision, as revealed by an email sent to staff, affirming that Warner Bros. Interactive “remains part of the Studios and Networks groups”.

What spurred this change in direction? Honestly, it could be anything. Talks with other publishers could have not gone well, they could have done some reevaluations and realized the value of their gaming division, or decision-makers could have been shuffled about. What’s important is that the publisher and all related developers will remain intact, that people are not going to lose their jobs, and that the AAA game industry will not consolidate further by having one of the few remaining major publishers bite the dust. This was the best outcome for a bad situation, and I’m glad things turned out this way.

The story of Street Fighter V is not a particularly pleasant one. The game was far from an outright disaster, but for the better half of a generation the title has been struggling to maintain relevance even as the roster ballooned, improvements were made, the developers iterated on the sparse title over time. However, underlying issues remained, the title was never truly able to recover from its lackluster launch, and shortly after its release I can recall people writing the title off, claiming that Capcom ought to move onto Street Fighter VI, and how it can avoid the same pitfalls as its predecessor.

This speculation always confused me, as one of the core reasons Street Fighter V failed to grasp an audience was because it came out too soon after the final iteration of Street Fighter IV. But apparently Capcom is currently developing Street Fighter VI, as stated by reliable Capcom and general industry insider Dusk Golem, who shared a few development details about this title. The game was slated to come out in 2021, but early builds of the title were not received well internally, partially due to a reliance on a new team mechanic, causing the project to be pushed back by another year for quality reasons. In conjunction with this, the game’s producer, Yoshinori Ono, was demoted on the project for its poor performance.

This story may be hard to swallow or come off as mere conjecture, but news of Ono’s demotion ties nicely with an announcement made a few days after this story did the rounds, where Ono announced, via his personal Twitter, that he was leaving Capcom after nearly 30 years. This is, in many ways, a sad turn of events, as Ono was something of the face for Street Fighter over the years. But as he left, a lot of people began to whisper or echo back to things they heard about Ono, how he did not always work well with others, and the fact that he made plenty of mistakes before whatever he did with SF6. Such as how Ono was a big proponent behind the Panta Rhei engine that Capcom was planning on using to replace MT Framework, before switching over to the RE Engine instead. So maybe, possibly, this will somehow be a good move in the long term.

Halo Infinite’s showing last month did little to inspire confidence in the eyes of many people. They did not like where the story was going, found the graphics and textures to be ‘current-gen,’ found the lighting flat and unappealing, and so forth and so on. I saw plenty of secondhand claims that this was an older build, that the game was running on Xbox One X specs, but they did little to change the fact that many found the reveal flaccid, which likely sent ripple effects through Xbox and developer 343 Industries as they reassessed the project.

Now, a few weeks later, 343 Industries studio head Chris Lee released an update announcing that Halo Infinite is being delayed to an unspecified time in 2021. He claims this is due to COVID-related issues and is being done to preserve the development team’s well-being, both of which sound like very good reasons to delay the game, but I suspect that the true reasons may be more cynical. The Halo brand has not been doing great since 343 took on the IP, and Microsoft wants Halo Infinite to revitalize it as a premier platform for their new system. It’s hard to do that when a game launches in a rushed and buggy state, and if the game was not meeting the milestones it was scheduled to, then delaying it is the most sensible move.

However, this was to be the premier launch title for the Xbox Series X, and with it delayed by several months, what does that mean for this new system? Well, nothing, apparently. The Xbox Series X is currently set to launch in November, and while it might lack any big launch title to salivate over, it will have an ample library of over a thousand games at launch which, at least to me, is preferable than having a measly handful of multi-platform launch titles and one or two 7/10 exclusives. Also known as the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One.

The last story that caught my eye this week pertains to the recently announced HD remaster of Shin Megami III: Nocturne. While the game was beloved for many reasons when it initially released, one of the things that kept it relevant in the eyes of many people was the PAL box art, which proudly boasted that the game featured Dante from the Devil May Cry series. It was part of a frankly bizarre promotional attempt that really does not make sense due to how little DMC and SMT have in common, but many people were asking if this HD remaster would reprise this promotion, and Dante would be both a part of the overall story and a playable character. I personally never thought developer/publisher Atlus would acknowledge these requests, but then they announced that for an additional 980 yen, players can add Dante to SMT3: Nocturne. While the price is a bit steep for what is ultimately a dated marketing stunt, I am nevertheless glad to see that this quirky and memeified little addition is being preserved, and will hopefully remain preserved forevermore.

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