Rundown (5/15-5/21) Outage Outrage (Or Lack Thereof)

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Wherein I discuss how RCN screwed me over for 19 hours, murky non-acquisitions, a lackluster launch library, and the next (alleged) resurrection of Silent Hill.

I have accepted that, at least once a year, I will need to deal with an outage of some sort. Last year, there was a power outage on an especially hot August night, where I used candles to navigate my house, shower in the dark, and played NEO: The World Ends With You before I went to bed at 22:30. And this year it came nice and early, as my internet went out right after I finished my cloud-based accounting job. Why? It probably had something to do with how the temperature rose by 16°C (29°F) within an 8 hour period. I assumed the outage would only last for an hour or two, as is the norm, but it wound up lasting 19 hours.

Professionally, this represented a big problem. Because while I was able to use my phone as a wi-fi hotspot, that was NOT sufficient for my job. Between my remote desktop, QuickBooks Online, and screen-sharing via Zoom, I use a good amount of bandwidth while working. So you can imagine how frustrating it was trying to get things done when I had to work with this subpar set-up. Thankfully, the internet went back online after about two hours, and things went well after that. 

However, dealing with this outage made me realize how, when it comes to personal stuff, I really don’t strictly depend on the internet. Even without internet, I can still write in offline Google Docs. And during this night without internet, I wound up writing a 4,500 word outline for a story I have been thinking about on and off over the past two years (TSF Series #006-3). Even without the internet, I can still play games for review. And if I ever just want entertainment, which I have a bad habit of gorging myself on, I have enough to keep me entertained for years

I have a 14GB library of videos, including that dope Korean egg song. Over 75GB of artwork and comics, only about 15GB of which can be classified as porn. 38GB of music, only some of which is ‘for idiots.’ A complete 28GB collection of The Comedy Button episodes (that’s a literal month of audio content). All of my Switch games. Nearly every Student Transfer Scenario. Some visual novels. And a bunch of GameCube and Wii ROMs on my external HDD that I’m not going to dig out. Because I’m lazy like that.

…I almost forgot about Steam games, because I only have three installed at the moment. Max’s Big Bust 2, Sisters_Possession1, and Sonic Generations. Because I typically only download games when I feel like playing them. I have a free 800GB and I could probably free up about an extra 25GB, but… why bother downloading things that I own and that I will always own?

Anyway, the point of this preamble is that not having internet makes real work super hard for me. However, personally, I’m GOOD when it comes to dealing with an internet outage… because I am a dirty hoarder. 

Though, being a hoarder does have its cons, and I should look into a cloud storage service that lets me back this stuff up. …Preferably one that’s okay with hosting a few GBs of erotic comics that feature underaged-looking fictional characters. I have the external HDD for backups, but if my house gets burned to the ground, then these collections I have spent full months assembling will be destroyed…

Jumping into acquisition news, which I forgot to mention last week (this is what happens when you start and finish a Rundown in about 2 hours), Behaviour Interactive is set to acquire Midwinter Entertainment

Midwinter Entertainment is best known as the developers of the early access winter-themed shooter, Scavengers. And, like most perky upstart studios, they were founded by a gaggle of veterans who left established AAA developers to do things on their own terms.

Meanwhile, Behaviour, previously known as Artificial Mind & Movement, or A2M, is one of the largest independent game development studios in North America. Though, in my mind, they will always be the developers of Wet (2010), Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise (2012), and Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings (2008). They were a major purveyor of licensed games that, miraculously, survived the seventh generation and, around 2016, shifted into developing more original titles. Most notably the highly successful asymmetrical slasher simulator, Dead by Daylight.

Why is this happening? Well, for three reasons: Behaviour is making more money, so they want to expand operations by bolstering their workforce and adopting new live services they can grow over time. Midwinter thought Behavior was the best home for them, of the available options (which I always take with a grain of salt). But the big reason is that Midwinter is not actually an independent studio. They are a subsidiary of Improbable who, just two months ago, sold Inflexion Games to Tencent. As I mentioned in covering that story, Improbable wanted to get out of the games industry, and that means selling all of their gaming studios.

This also means that this is not a true acquisition and more of a transfer of ownership, and one that benefits an independent developer. Meaning this is pretty much #OneOfTheGoodOnes as far as acquisitions go.

You know what acquisition wouldn’t be be #OneOfTheGoodOnes? EA being acquired. Based on an article by Puck news, which was expanded upon by Kotaku, EA has been in various talks with major media companies in order to work out a merger of sorts. Potential names included Disney, Apple, and Amazon, but NBCUniversal was the one where discussions got the furthest. With Comcast CEO Brian Roberts having expressed interest in merging Comcast and EA into an entertainment conglomerate separated from NBCUniversal. Which I think would be just perfect

Comcast is notorious for their shoddy service, monopolistic tendencies, and doing their darndest to keep North American telecom at a tier more comparable to a third world country, despite the growing need for quality services. While EA is a game company that primarily values games as a means of generating revenue off of licenses and IP above petty things like morality, preservation, and not laying off workers when management screws up. They’re two terrible tastes that simply must taste even worse together! And if bad things are going to keep happening, I would rather they be a trash fire!

However, no acquisition has been finalized, and I can only assume that EA is still keeping an era open to potential acquisitions and if they are acquired… I probably won’t really care. Because it’s not like they could get much worse. I mean, EA could shut down Respawn, which would just be stupid, but they’ve done stupider things before…

A few weeks ago, Sony announced their revamp of PlayStation Plus, consolidating the service with PlayStation Now and introducing a new tiered system that grants players access to various new features. Such as a library of classic PS1 and PSP games, time limited demos of modern titles, and access to an expanding library of games that will change over time, and streamable PS3 games. With the original announcement boasting figures to the tune of 300 titles, I was interested in seeing just how many titles Sony would actually bring to the table. And based on the initial sample they announced this past week, my paltry expectations were apparently a bit too high.

The PS4 library was about what I expected, including most of Sony’s tent-pole PS4 offerings, and a scattering of offerings from other publishers. But there are currently only 9 PS1 titles, 13 PS2 titles, and 1 PSP title confirmed for the service… which is launching next week. While this is likely only the first batch of a library that could grow over time, this is a pitifully small sampler of each respective library. And I do not understand why Sony needs to be this restrictive, when they have already mastered the art of PS1 emulation. Or at least I would hope so…

The only real saving grace in all this is that, apparently, if you own the original digital versions of these PS1 or PSP titles, you can play them without a PlayStation Plus membership, which is nice. As is the fact that “some” of these classic PS1 and PSP titles will be available for purchase without subscribing to higher tiers of PlayStation Plus. …Which is better than what I was expecting to be honest, as I thought they were going to lock Ape Escape behind a subscription paywall, but I guess they’re not. So thank you for at least selling some ROMs, Sony. 

Back in October 2021, I talked about how Konami was launching and setting up multiple high-profile projects after being mostly dormant in the games industry. With planned revivals of Castlevania, a Metal Gear Solid remake, and multiple Silent Hill projects, all allegedly in the works. 8 months later, VGC followed up on this story, compiling information from multiple sources, and going into more detail about what these Silent Hill projects are going to be. 

One of these titles is a remake of Silent Hill 2 by Bloober Team, who was previously assumed to be working on a Silent Hill title. While I personally do not think that Silent Hill 2 needs a remake (it just needs a proper port of the enhanced PC version fans have been maintaining for years), I think this is actually a good outcome. Based on every story or thread I have seen about Silent Hill and Bloober, fans really do not like Bloober’s work, and insinuate that they would fail to capture the nuance that made the original trilogy so beloved. However, it appears that Bloober’s only major changes with this remake would pertain to “reworked AI, animations, puzzles, and several new endings.” Meaning that the core game should be fine… assuming they don’t muck up the aesthetics or try to ‘fix’ the original script.

The second game would be a new mainline title by a Japanese developer and, two weeks ago, leaked concept art for this project was released and swiftly removed from the original channels via a DMCA takedown. However, mirrors have flooded the internet, and they show off a hallway covered in post-it notes, a room filled with trash, and a woman whose face is falling apart, revealing a note reading “I hate myself.” Because subtlety is for cowards. According to VGC, these are supposedly excerpts from a “PT-style teaser game, codenamed ‘Sakura’.” Which would be an… interesting approach for Konami to take, considering how they would be openly inviting players to compare this new game to P.T. Which, for the record, was remade for PC a few years ago.

The third title is something of a mystery to VCG. According to their sources, Konami has been shopping the IP around to various other studios in order to produce smaller episodic titles. Konami supposedly met with Annapurna Interactive regarding this project, but VGC is not sure if the project was greenlit.

Overall, this is pretty exciting news for fans of the Silent Hill series, which has not seen a retail release since 2012’s Silent Hill: Book of Memories. And considering how thoroughly the series has been dead over the years, I hope that at least one of these projects shapes up into something ‘worthy’ of belonging to the series. But if they all fail… that would not be too upsetting. Between Homecoming and Downpour being kinda crap, Silent Hills getting canceled, and the HD Collection for 2 and 3 being… one of the worst remasters. Fans have been through a lot of disappointment, and they deserve to get a good game for the first time since 2009’s Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. …I know I probably upset someone by saying that, but it’s true.

…I honestly could not think of a good header image for this Rundown. I should have taken a photo of my modem and used that, but I forgot to do it when the internet was out. So enjoy the sight of Nat-Nat falling into a pit of fire. It is, as the Homo Provectus like to say, moe!

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