News: Yasumi Matsuno’s New Dungeon Crawler Announced for the West!

Crimson Shroud Gets an Autumn Release

Crimson Shroud
Visual consistency: One needn’t inquire to know that this is a Matsuno game.

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

Cliffy B Lancer
“What do you mean eight out of ten?!!”

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

Resident Evil 6
Join series leads Chris and Leon on their action-packed race to the bottom.

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.

10 comments

  1. My brother is a huge CoD fan and outside some FIFA matches here and there, that is all he plays. When I asked him if he would be interested in other games from other franchises that are similar to CoD, he replied: “Why? I already play CoD and look, Black Ops 2 is coming out soon.” It’s funny (in the sad way) how developers are jumping through hoops trying to court an audience that is not even interested. I hear Resident Evil Revelaitons is quite good though.

  2. Revelations is a great little game, which really is a good compromise between action and horror (needed more puzzle though) – too bad then that Capcapom put it on the 3DS where no one was really interested in it. It didn’t sell, justifying Capcapom’s wrong-headed view that their games need to be biased toward action. I can’t believe that they haven’t released a HD port on the PS360.

    That said, I was totally ready to play RE6 as an action game, but Capcapom completely screwed up the controls.

  3. “…the run-and-gunning CoD bros get everything they want, while traditional fans of the series are given none of what they want.”

    Well put!

    I have a place in my heart for action games and a place for slower more atmospheric and puzzley games. And RE is a long running example (starting with the otherwise excellent RE4) of action supplanting a slower pace. Dead Space 1 was the RE4 I probably really wanted, something more akin to that. Next gen controls, different camera management, but STILL a focus on horror and pacing. (However, DS has its own problems, to be sure)

    Though to be plainly honest, I didn’t get tired of the older RE style of gameplay. Lots of people say they did, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying I wanted more. Nostalgia may be speaking here, but I had no issue with the controls, the camera, or the pacing of the action. And I replay the older REs regularly to this day.

  4. I never grew tired of old-style survival horror.

    As for RE4 and Dead Space, they were slower-paced action games, with moments of high-action followed by moments of slow tension. RE5 and 6 on the other hand are far more one-note experiences in their action presentation, seeing as the campaigns have to stand up to multiple co-op playthroughs. Dead Space 3 will be the same.

  5. WHATCHA BUYIN’? makes Resident Evil 4 by far the best game in the series.

    I, back in the day, played RE1 and RE2 to death getting the S status ending in both. I played through Hunk and Tofu (or whatever it was called; you were sour and hot soup except with a knife) I didn’t play the RE3: Nemesis game until this year, but it’s not good. I did play it on Hard, but I still don’t see how you’re supposed to win the boss fight immediately before the third act without cheating.

    Resident Evil 4 just was great though. With the exception of, I’m so sorry, “Leon, Help!” “Leon, Help!” “Leon, Help!” “Leon, Help!” “Leon, Help!” “Leon, Help!” which just activated five readers who tragically murdered people.

    With Resident Evil 5 Capcom decided to take the series in a grotesquely muscular with confusingly beautiful backdrop, if vaguely, and hilariously, compensatory racist direction (Africans in sombreros?). My point is it’s like a Silent Hill sequel. They know that they previously made something good, but they have no idea what that was.

    Also, I have no idea what my point was because I wrote half of this while taking a phone call.

  6. I have never, ever, ever understood people’s interest in survival horror games, in the same way that I don’t understand why some people eat bugs and like it.

    Doesn’t mean it isn’t valid: I’m just saying.

  7. “They know that they previously made something good, but they have no idea what that was.”

    Totally applies to Square-Enix as well. Its like the good games they made in the past are some sort of lost technology they can no longer understand as they lost their Rosetta Stone when all the talented people left and now they’re stuck making FFXIII sequels.

  8. @Epy: LOL

    @Evilpaul: Which boss fight in RE3 are you talking about? I don’t see it as a great entry into the series, but I like it about as much as the rest. (RE2 is overrated as hell, the remake on the Gamecube is THE pinnacle of the old version of the series)

    @Lusi: I think something that shouldn’t be too hard to understand is that Survival Horror games focus more than other games on always keep you at arms length of that comfort zone that would make the game boring. You JUST have enough resources to get by, and the horror element gives good cause to be scared of… well, decidedly scary things jumping out at you when you don’t expect. Even your ability to save the game has to be rationed in the older REs! (Though, when you get good at it you have more than enough Ink Ribbons at your disposal, but going in for the first time can be another story)

  9. The Nemesis fight in the garden. I was playing on Hard and maybe suck or something, but I died at least 50 times there.

  10. OH! Yeah, that’s not an easy fight. Plus you’re in the limping state, which means you move slower. But it’s doable. The only thing I found really annoying was the Digger. That worm that you encounter a couple times. The part when you have to lower the ladders in the sewers had me raging on many occasions.

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