Lusipurr.com could not make this shit up! Keiji Inafune’s recently announced Kickstarter project, Red Ash, could not have comported itself in a more disgraceful manner. Comcept began this thing with a bad legacy owing to the fact that they shat on their Mighty No. 9 community. They launched Red Ash before their last Kickstarted project had been released. They launched a concurrent Kickstarter for a Red Ash anime. A console release was dangled like a carrot in front of gamers to entice donations, yet Comcept refused to reveal which console was being supported. It was then later revealed that gamers had to spend $80 in order to receive the full game, while the $25 tier only buys backers access to the game’s prologue chapter. At one stage Red Ash still looked to make the funding goal, but the mismanagement ultimately proved too much for the project to shoulder, and the campaign ultimately collapsed. The project was dead in the water. But our story does not end there.
When the funding drive ultimately lost all momentum it looked like the project would have to be cancelled, but then Comcept miraculously and suddenly found themselves a white knight publisher. A Chinese publisher situated in the Cayman Islands. A Chinese publisher by the name of FUZE. Sort of looks bad. Initially gamers were upset, imagining that Comcept had a publisher lined up all the while, and were just tapping gamers for a little extra cash. However, Comcept explained quite reasonably that the game’s Kickstarter had attracted FUZE, so presumably the moment that gamers ultimately rejected the project, and Red Ash was floating face down in the bloody waters of Kickstarter, right then the project just seemed too attractive for FUZE to pass up publishing duties. Because that makes sense. There is nothing quite like the total implosion of a funding campaign to instill implicit confidence in a project, which is why development on Shadow of the Eternals continues apace! Oh wait…
Things get even dodgier from here, with Comcept announcing that all Kickstarter monies would be used to fund stretch goals, despite the fact that the project does not even have any stretch goals listed!
“The Kickstarter campaign is going 100% towards more content! Consider your pledge a contribution to stretch goals from here on out.
Exactly what are those stretch goals? We’re sorry to say that will have to wait a little while longer! Like we said, we’re very busy with many behind-the-scenes things over here, and we apologize if you feel left in the dark. As you can see, the things we have brewing that are keeping us occupied are BIG, and all for the purpose of getting you RED ASH in its biggest, bestest form. That’s the reason we’re less communicative than we’d like to be!
We know we’re in the final days of our campaign, but we’d like to ask fans to continue their support of RED ASH! Your money is going towards 100% content now, so please look forward to the revised “stretch goals”!”
It is right here that Comcept compounds the bewilderment. The Kickstarter is not progressing. There is no way that it will hit the $800,000 funding goal now, so why not just cancel it? Would that not be the decent and proper thing to do? How can Comcept be planning on using the $485,000 that gamers have donated if that money cannot be made available to them on account of their not meeting the project’s target. One can think of only one possibility, but surely it would be too grubby to even contemplate… What if in the dying minutes of the campaign FUZE topped up Kickstarter donations in order to gain access the money that has already been pledged. It would be enough to spark a riot. If the rest of Red Ash‘s Kickstarter campaign is anything to go by then this is a more than plausible prospect to consider.
Final Fantasy VII Battle System: “We Are Going to Be Bringing Dramatic Changes”
Are you a fan of Squaresoft’s Active Time Battle [ATB] system? More specifically, are you a fan of Final Fantasy VII‘s use of the ATB system? Lusipurr.com has some bad news for you. For over a decade fans of Final Fantasy VII have been entreating Square Enix for a HD remake of their favourite game in the Final Fantasy series. They wanted a game that would honour all that is good about the game that they cherish, while giving it a significant face-lift, so as to preserve their experience of the game into the future. They did not want drastic changes to the game’s structure, and they especially did not want any drastic changes to the game’s battle system. People love the game because it is already fantastic. Modern day Square Enix is nowhere near as good at making games as was Squaresoft, and it is a grotesquely arrogant shitshow to watch Nomura as he blithely goes about changing what worked for the original game in the delusional belief that he is making it better!
Speaking to the Official PlayStation Magazine this week, Nomura confirmed that he is making ‘dramatic changes’ to Final Fantasy VII‘s battle system. He did not go into specifics, but ‘dramatic changes’ sounds like Nomura is doing more than simply making some small alterations to the game’s existing ATB system. Given Square Enix’s current mindset, Nomura probably intends to implement a more action-based battle system, possibly something similar to the one seen in Final Fantasy XV. That being said, nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
Nomura also had some bad news this week for Dirge of Cerberus fans:
“And of course, that being said we want to clarify: We’re not going to be changing it into a shooter or something like that. We are going to be bringing dramatic changes, but we want to make sure it’s still recognizable.”
‘Dramatic’ but ‘recognisable’, yet not necessarily recognisable as Final Fantasy VII. The good news for Advent Children fans this week is that Nomura has confirmed that the Final Fantasy VII Remake will not take its visual design cues from the game upon which it is based, but rather it will take its design cues from 2005’s Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children – so look forward to plenty of muted greens, browns, and greys!
Nintendo Shuts Up Shop
This week Nintendo revealed in their financial reporting that the company has finally managed to sell ten million Wii U consoles after almost three years on the market. By contrast Sony has just announced that their PS4 has sold twenty-five million units after less than two years on the market. The Wii U is most popular in the US where it has sold 4.85 million units, while it has sold 2.48 million units in its native Japan, and 2.68 million units throughout the rest of the world.
In order to celebrate reaching this milestone Nintendo will this month be winding down their TVii service. This is a service so important that it was given its own dedicated button on the Wii U tablet controller, and like the tablet controller it is a feature that was tacked onto the Wii U without its implementation being properly thought through. TVii is set to go dark at 12pm on 11th of August. Another thing that has gone dark is Nintendo commitment to a 2016 release of Zelda U, as Nintendo’s financial reporting this week gave no indication that the next installment in the Zelda franchise was expected to release during the 2016 financial year. Then again, perhaps Nintendo have gone silent on the game because it has been moved across to a 2016 release on the Nintendo NX. Nintendo’s current treatment of the Wii U is like a salesperson who insists that shop is open for business even as the lights are being switched off and the windows shuttered.
Neon Genesis Evangelion Director Lacks the Courage of His Convictions [or Hyperbole]
Hayao Miyazaki has previously made a cock of himself when discussing his views on video games, but to his credit he did not feel the need to later apologise for holding unpopular views. Keiji Inafune has made a pillock of himself by talking down the talents of the Japanese game development industry, yet once again he did not feel the need to distance himself from the views he has expressed. Hideaki Anno is not one of these men.
Back in May of this year Anno had some damning things to say about Japanese anime, saying that anime was in such decline that it was heading towards an “inevitable death”.
“Japan will just no longer be the center of world animation, Maybe in five years, Taiwan will be such a center.”
In May Anno was of the opinion that Japanese anime had entered a period of stagnation which would eventually see it overtaken by foreign competitors. By the time July rolled around Anno was singing another tune however, he was now heavily downplaying his original statements, claiming that he never intended to say anything more than development would become a little harder for Japanese studios:
“I didn’t mean to say it would collapse. I did say it would become more difficult, but I didn’t mean to say anything more. Anime is certainly seeing harsher conditions, but it is not without its prospects. It can still do a lot more and is not in downright turmoil.”
Dealing with angry Otaku cannot be the easiest task in life, but it is a little sad to see that Anno has had to scale back his views to this extent [assuming it was not just hyperbole and bluster]. As for his original views, there is a certain amount of merit to them. There are some fine animes being made, particularly the hyper popular Black Butler, but at the same time there is also a metric ton of lazily written dreck, which is rife with tropes and makes no attempt to appeal to any audience beyond perverted Otaku. That being said, it sounds quite far fetched to hear the claim that Taiwan’s animation industry could overtake Japan’s. Simply put, Japan has a scale of production, along with a scale of domestic consumption which will see Japanese studios retain their ascendance barring some pretty profound cultural shifts. Regardless, if Hideaki Anno believes that this is the direction Japanese animation is heading in then he should have the courage to continue saying so. Alternatively, if this was mere hyperbole on his part then he should be more mindful of things he says to the media.