Star Ocean V Announced, Confounding Expectations
Holy hell. Back in February of this year Lusipurr.com announced the unofficial passing of the JRPG studio known as tri-Ace, and proceeded to read off their epitaph. It seems as though this verbal burial may have been a little on the premature side, as tri-Ace has returned from beyond the grave to deliver their presumed console swansong, insofar as anything scored by Motoi Sakuraba could be described as a swansong!
This week tri-Ace announced a new console entry in their long running Star Ocean series, Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness. The game is to be published by Square Enix, and is being developed with the PS3 as the lead platform, with a port to the PS4 also in the offing. tri-Ace fans are celebrating this news as an apparent sign that their favourite studio has survived its acquisition, and are especially excited at the prospect of Motoi Sakuraba returning to compose the soundtrack [he has only done three this year].
While the announcement of Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness was initially taken as proof positive by everyone [including this author] that the studio will be allowed to retain its capacity to produce console JRPGs going forward, this is not necessarily so. The game is roughly thirty percent complete at present, which means that it has probably been in the pipeline since before an acquisition was on the cards. Since Square Enix has heavily invested itself in the project, it likely means that tri-Ace is obligated to see it to conclusion. Thus, one further console game says relatively little about tri-Ace’s future, especially since Nepro Japan specifically mentioned that they made the acquisition in order to have tri-Ace work on mobile titles.
Straight talk. tri-Ace has never been one of this writer’s top developers. The infuriating thing about them is that they are a developer capable of thinking up some very interesting ideas [both in terms of narrative premise as well as mechanics], but then not fully fleshing them out, or undermining them with banal aesthetic and design choices. That being said, one has completed Star Ocean: The Second Story [which was pretty good] and Star Ocean: Till the End of Time [which was alright], and on that basis this writer cannot help but be gladdened by another entry in the Star Ocean series. To an extent this is because after a certain age one is merely comforted by the continuation of familiar things which they experienced during childhood and adolescence, so tri-Ace and Star Ocean still hold a certain amount of mid-90s credibility to this oldfag. More importantly however, the seventh console generation has seen scores of console JRPG developers squeezed out of console development, and so it is comforting to a degree to see any JRPG being developed for console hardware, even if it is only possible with the backing of Square Enix. At any rate, tri-Ace have been given one last opportunity to create something that matters, so one hopes that they are able to make the most of it.
CD Projekt Red Community Manager Is Made to Apologise for Bad-Mouthing Gamers
One is usually not of the view that anybody should be made to apologise for expressing an opinion [within reason], even if that opinion happens to be staunchly anti-gamer. However, this view does not extend to community managers for obvious reasons, as they need to be approachable for all members of any given community. Enter Evil Chris. Evil Chris is a community manager. Evil Chris used to be a community manager for Bioware, but was sacked in 2013 when he made an off-colour joke toward Felicia Day on Twitter, and then proceeded to compound it by making more jokes when people got up in arms about his conduct.
Felicia Day: “Wearing a D&D shirt today and the general manager of this restaurant sent over a complimentary desert. That is some awesome nerd happening!
Evil Chris: “Just imagine what he would have sent over if you weren’t wearing a shirt at all.”
That was a pretty funny joke. Becoming upset over something like that is thin-skinned to say the least. One really does not wish to white knight for Felicia Day in any way, as she really is quite awful – but this was a suicidal joke to make when Chris’ primary source of employment was as community manager for the obnoxiously progressive Bioware. Apologising to SJWs does not work, so this faux pas was a death sentence for his career under Bioware.
Evil Chris is now a community manager for CD Projekt Red. CD Projekt Red is a very pro-gamer company, with many industry-leading conveniences built in to both their game releases and their ‘Good Old Games’ storefront. CD Projekt Red is also a very pro-male developer, with players of The Witcher being able to rack up sexual conquests like a redneck bags swamp critters. So what does Evil Chris in his infinite wisdom wish to impart to Twitter this time around? That gamers are to be likened to the Ku Klux Klan, and that they have no place attending conventions.
Over the weekend a pro-GamerGate booth at the Calgary Comics and Entertainment Expo was ejected from the event for no valid reason after SJWs started making a fuss about it on Twitter. Ironically, one of those SJWs baying for blood was Evil Chris who appears to have reinvented himself as a male feminist:
“Just heard the GamerGate has a booth at the @Calgaryexpo? Really? Who next, the KKK? This does NOT promote safety & community to attendees.
Nerd conventions (which I attend personally & professionally) are about acceptance, inclusion & fun. I don’t see GamerGate as a part of that
It appears the @Calgaryexpo booth “Honey Badger Radio” is MRA run according to attending friends. Hope this is investigated.
The offending booth @Calgaryexpo has been closed. Well done Expo people.”
The hilarious thing is that Evil Chris likely adopted this noxiously sanctimonious persona as a direct result of being shitcanned for upsetting SJWs at his old job, and yet here he is employed by a studio less inclined to give credence to the anti-gamer whiners, and he is insulting gamers a mere month before The Witcher III, the most ambitious project ever undertaken by CD Projekt Red, is to be released to the masses. This is one instance where Chris probably should not have made the effort to learn from a past mistake. Who will buy CD Projekt Red’s game if not gamers? It is not going to be SJWs, that much is certain.
CD Projekt Red for their part have been most based, promptly acting to compel Evil Chris to apologise for his foolishness:
“1 -Yesterday I tweeted a comment that compared GamerGate with the KKK. This was an insulting and asinine comment that I should not have made
2 -I apologize to everyone whom I offended by saying this.
3 -This comment was made by me on my personal twitter account
4 – It in no way represents the beliefs or values of CD PROJEKT RED, their staff or their games.
5 – I take full responsibility for the statement.
6 – I hope that people reading this understand it was a lapse in judgement by me personally
7 – It was not supported or condoned by the CD PROJEKT RED studio.
8 – Once again, I sincerely apologize to those I offended.”
Dehumanising CD Projekt Red’s audience was a pretty boneheaded move on the part of Evil Chris. Will he be shitcanned from his current gig the way he was from his post at Bioware? Only time will tell. After such an abject apology one would like to think that the CD Projekt Red community could give the guy another chance, and thereby demonstrate that another point of difference between gamers and SJWs is our capacity for forgiveness. At any rate, another such blunder will almost certainly do for his career, so one hopes that Evil Chris is able to tread lightly.
Literally Everybody Else Does What Nintendon’t
No voice chat in Mario Kart 8? OK. No voice chat in Mario 3D World? That is kind of a pain. No voice chat in Splatoon? Are you serious, Nintendo? Co-operative squad shooters all but require voice chat for anyone who wants to get seriously good good at them, yet Nintendo owners cannot have voice chat because the game’s co-director is worried that mediocre players will be told to ‘git gud’, and thereby have their feels hurt. Co-director, Yusuke Amano, had this to say:
“This is coming from personal experience. […] When I played online games, I didn’t like the negativity I got and people telling me, ‘You’re crap. Go away.’ So we wanted to focus on the positive aspects of online gaming.”
One is unsure what is most troubling here, the fact that Splatoon owners are being denied a fundamental tool of the genre, or the fact that the game’s director is so bad at gaming that he is being told to ‘go away’. Regardless, this move is typical Nintendo myopia. Never has any other gaming company been so willing to alienate ninety percent of the market in order to coddle the remaining handful. Gaming has grown up since the 1980s, yet Nintendo consoles of today are far more backwards looking ‘kiddy consoles’ than Nintendo hardware ever was back then. Both the NES and the SNES seem far more relevant to mature audiences than Nintendo’s Fisher Price baby console of today, the Wii U. It is almost as though Sega’s fallacious marketing of the early 90s lodged itself within Nintendo’s corporate psyche and stayed there. There are plenty of ways to offer voice chat while still protecting children by default, yet so long as Nintendo insists on infantilising their audience the consoles will always be irrelevant kiddy crap.