Crimson Shroud Gets an Autumn Release
As far as Japanese video-gaming auteurs are concerned, they just do not tend to come much bigger than Yasumi Matsuno. Known for his hardcore RPG mechanics and the intricate lore of his gaming creations, Matsuno created some of the most memorable left-of-field JRPG classics of the Playstation era, before moving on to direct one of the more critically lauded entries in the mainline Final Fantasy series. That said, there was still a lingering kernel of doubt as to whether his newest title, Crimson Shroud, would receive a Western localisation, given its unorthodox status as but one part of the Level-5 compilation title, Guild01. Happily that is no longer a concern, as Level-5 have announced that three of the four compilation titles have been selected for localisation and individual sale over Nintendo’s 3DS eShop throughout Autumn, with Suda 51’s Liberation Maiden releasing this week.
The game will follow protagonist, Giauque, a chaser who has been tasked with retrieving someone from a collection of sprawling ruins and catacombs referred to as ‘the golden temple of Rahab’. The game has been heavily inspired by tabletop RPGs, and while battles play out through direct input, the game will occasionally prompt the player to throw a dice in order to determine the success of their moves. Also along for the ride is artist Hideo Minaba, who’s credits include art-direction for Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy XII, along with signature Matsuno composer, Hitoshi Sakimoto.
In describing his game, Matsuno states: “In this game, we consciously made a lot of compromises, and aimed for a simple, old-fashioned feeling game. However, although it is a “short story”, that does not mean the content is thin, I would like to think of it more as something concentrated, like an espresso coffee. I hope the players will appreciate the richness delivered in a deceptively simple package.” While it is doubtful that anyone would have supposed that a Matsuno game would be ‘thin on content’, his sales-pitch is nevertheless heartening to hear.
Cliffy B Leaves Epic Games
The shrieking id of Epic Games, Cliff Bleszinski, has this week hung up his decidedly 8/10 guns and announced his departure from the studio for whom his well-groomed visage is synonymous. The decision does not seem to have been prompted by anything especially momentous, just the tedium of the predictable, and a desire to do other things. Other than the great strides he made in the areas of showboating and media-tarting, Cliffy B will also be remembered for his work on Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal, and Gears of War.
“I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager, and outside of my sabbatical last year, I have been going non-stop. I literally grew up in this business, as Mike [Capps] likes to say. And now that I’m grown up, it’s time for a much needed break. I will miss the projects, the playtests, the debates, and most importantly, the people. Epic only hires the best of the best, and it has been a joy working with each and every one of you on a daily basis, whether you were hired weeks ago or decades ago. I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with a variety of disciplines, from code to art to marketing and PR – it’s been one big, rewarding learning experience. I’m confident that each project that is being built, whether at Epic, Chair, PCF, or Impossible will be top notch and will please gamers and critics alike.”
If said projects do not “please fans and critics alike”, at least there will not be anyone left to whinge about getting an eight out of ten. In fact, given the surfeit of free time that Cliffy now undoubtedly finds himself in possession of, perhaps he can put his money where is obnoxious mouth is and start a new career as a game critic who only ever gives out undeserved perfect scores so as to not offend anyone’s bloated ego – perhaps Famitsu might hire him?
Resident Evil 6 Development Staff Thumb Noses at Continuity, Puzzles
This week in industry interviews the Resident Evil 6 staff have been running the media gauntlet in order to spruik the ponderous bloat of the Resident Evil 6 experience. This has lent itself to several interesting insights into the development team’s approach to narrative continuity and puzzle implementation.
Resident Evil 6 plays host to at least one glaring continuity error. The game begins with a tutorial chapter that is seemingly taken from a point which takes place later in the game, involving Leon’s partner, Helena Harper, being near-mortally wounded, and Leon having to nurse her back to health. Funnily enough, when this section occurs later in the game Helena is (allegedly) fine throughout the scene, creating something of a quandary as to which timeline is the cannon retelling. The game’s director, Eiichiro Sasaki, acknowledged this, saying: “That was intentional on our part. We wanted to do that. At the simplest level, we wanted to show something cool for the prelude scene. But also, when you play it in the main game, we didn’t want people to have to do the exact same thing twice.”
Long-time fans of the Resident Evil series have recently criticised the franchise for moving away from horror and puzzle-based gameplay in favour of high action, yet on the latter score it is the view of Yoshiaki Hirabayashi that: “A lot of that, to a degree, comes back to fan reactions. There is a certain group that’s fond of the puzzle elements in Resident Evil, there’s still a vocal element that’s against them. That’s the part of Resident Evil they dislike the most. When we were testing RE5 with our North American play testers, a lot of people got hung up the most on the puzzle-solving aspects. So maybe there’s a silent majority out there that doesn’t enjoy that aspect of Resident Evil.”
Given this stance toward the more cerebral elements of the Resident Evil legacy, it should come as little surprise that fans of the older games are unhappy, seeing as the run-and-gunning CoD bros get everything they want, while traditional fans of the series are given none of what they want. The Professor Layton series has handily demonstrated that challenging puzzle-solving gameplay can be a viable mass-market proposition, and offers more challenge to this end than Resident Evil ever did. The difference is that the Professor Layton series founded its success on its own reasonable terms, as opposed to embracing the lowest common denominator at every turn until the only place left to go was the fruitless coveting of Call of Duty‘s crown.