Tomb Raider Fails to Rise
Fallout 4 is a big deal. The game might have not blown anyone’s mind with respect to innovating upon the Fallout 3 formula, but in terms of sales potential the game is a monster – and Square Enix and/or Microsoft were literally insane to launch Rise of the Tomb Raider within the same week. The jury is still out on how Rise of the Tomb Raider performed in North America, but in terms of UK sales [the most Microsoft-friendly region of Europe] it is fairly safe to say that the title underwhelmed.
The game is known to have sold fewer than 60,000 copies in the UK, with the breakdown thought to be 48,200 on Xbox One and 8,500 copies on the 360. By contrast Fallout 4 sold 482,000 copies for the week, with the PS4 version alone selling more than the combined first week sales of both Rise of the Tomb Raider and Halo 5. 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot managed to 183,000 copies during its first week on sale in the UK, meaning that the PS4 version will have to sell roughly twice as many copies in its first week in order to merely place it on par with the performance of its predecessor, a feat that is unlikely to happen for three important reasons. It will be a year old game that will have been languishing on the shelves for a full twelve months, its release will follow the highly anticipated release of Uncharted 4, and the reason for the game’s delay has been due to Square Enix fuckarsing about with Microsoft exclusivity shenanigans, a practice which only serves to hurt Playstation owners.
Square Enix would have anticipated that holding back the launch on the PS4 would harm that version’s sales, and this would likely have been factored into the money that Microsoft paid to them to secure exclusivity. That being said, it becomes increasingly unlikely that either party would have predicted that exclusivity would have harmed Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s sales by quite this much. This is a classic lose-lose-lose-lose situation. Microsoft money will not compensate Square Enix for lost sales, Microsoft has wasted money seeing as Tomb Raider exclusivity has clearly failed to cause much of a spike in Xbone sales, Sony-based Tomb Raider fans are artificially prevented from playing the game for twelve months, and Xbone owners miss out on having this money spent on something more useful to them. The funny thing is that Square Enix’s reason for doing this was in order to grow the Tomb Raider brand by pairing it with Microsoft’s advertising muscle, yet they have only succeeded in shrinking the audience and pissing off Playstation owners with their lack of coherent communication about the game’s exclusive status.
Amusingly, at least one Sony executive was not above concern trolling Square Enix’s misfortunes this week, as the senior product manager, Chris Brown, took to twitter to proclaim:
“Poor Tomb Raider. UK sales: Rise of the Tomb Raider <63k. And #Fallout4 - despite Microsoft Xbox One support - still sold better on PS4.”
He was then joined by the director of Driveclub, Paul Rustchynsky, who opined:
“Don’t worry Tomb Raider will do just fine next year when it’s released on PS4 next year ;)”
One is inclined to disagree with Rutchynsky, as, even if Square Enix can avoid putting it up against a massive title like Fallout 4, it still seems unlikely that Rise of the Tomb Raider will do anywhere near as well on the PS4 as it should have. Smart PS4 owners will not pay $60 for a year old game, and are likely to either wait until the game falls in price, else Gamefly it. At any rate, the game’s performance in America is still an unknown quantity, so it is still possible that strong support in the US could compensate for a weak showing in the UK. Whatever the case, launching during a crowded holiday season is perhaps not the finest hour for Square Enix corporate strategies.
New Details Emerge About Project Setsuna
Project Setsuna is a JRPG being developed for the express purpose of appealing to fans of 1990s style JRPGs, which means that Project Setsuna is a JRPG being developed for the express purpose of appealing to Lusipurr.com! It promises exploration across vast world maps, through towns, and even inside houses! Square Enix has desperately needed to make an RPG in this vein for about ten years now – one that scales back its graphical ambitions in order to scale up its design ambitions [one is deathly weary of their visually opulent one-note facades]. Happily for fans of gaming’s golden era, Square Enix has this week seen fit to update the game’s website with several new descriptions.
“Traveling to the farthest ends of the earth, the escort group progresses onward visiting various towns, preparing equipment, and defeating wild monsters along the way. We are pursuing the fundamental enjoyment of an RPG where the progress is truly felt.”
Lusipurr.com has previously mentioned that the game features an ATB battle system, and based on that coupled with seamless battle transitions we theorised that the game would be using an ATB similar to the one found in Chrono Trigger. As it turns out we were bang on the money, with the site now confirming that Project Setsuna uses an iteration of the ATB 2.0 battle system of Chrono Trigger – meaning that players can look forward to the flexibility that that system affords, such as range playing a part in attack strategies, and the ability to time the attacks of party members in order to create useful combinations. Built on top of the excellent foundation offered by ATB 2.0 is the Setsuna system. The Setsuna gauge will fill up as characters perform actions, take damage, and as time passes in battle. Players can then tap into this resource through correctly timing their button presses during battles, which will add additional effects to attacks.
The site also details two of the game’s party members, Kuon and Yomi. Kuon was a mysterious wanderer who eventually took up residence in the game’s starting village, and is regarded as a sister by the game’s titular sacrificial character, Setsuna. Kuon apparently feels a strong sense of responsibility, and experiences a certain amount of friction with the game’s silent protagonist. Meanwhile Yomi is a veteran of a previous sacrifice pilgrimage, leading the party to seek his advice on the journey at hand. He is often times excessively cheerful, and as such he is sometimes mistaken as a fool. Yomi appears to be the ‘old man’ character of the group, which probably means he is about thirty.
PS2 Emulation Finally Hits the PS4
The road to PS4 backwards compatibility has been a long and windy one. PS3 backwards compatibility is still no nearer to becoming a reality, and will probably always be relegated to Playstation Now, yet PS2 emulation has long been rumoured to be on the cards. Because of the lack of official confirmation along with the relative scarcity of information pertaining to the project, it has often been easily dismissed as merely being a rumour, yet ultimately this week has seen the debut of PS2 emulation on PS4.
Given that PS2 emulation on the PS4 is something of a holy grail, it is somewhat curious as to why Sony decided to put it out there with so little. Instead of crying it from the rooftops Sony stealth released it this week through the emulation of Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, all games that are only available to buyers of the Star Wars Battlefront PS4 console bundle, limiting their penetration somewhat among PS4 owners. Make no mistakes however, these games have been tested and they are definitely running on emulation. For one thing they show the PS2 logo when launching, and for another they also emulate the function of the PS2’s memory cards in much the same way as was done with PS2 Classics on the PS3.
In terms of technical aspects, game performance is much improved, with at least one of the games seeing a boost in framerate from 30fps to 60fps. Resolution also sees a welcome boost, although not to 1080p as one might have hoped for. Instead the resolution is set to 1292×896, which is a little bit better than 720p. The games also enjoy full trophy support, which leads one to speculate that they are using individual emulation wrappers rather than a comprehensive system-wide emulation solution – this in turn likely means that we never be able to play back our existing PS2 disc collections.
Anime Spotlight: Anti-Magic Academy: The 35th Test Platoon / Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai
Anti-Magic Academy is a fantasy harem series which is situated around an academy which specialises in training up witch hunters to seek and destroy magical threats. Events focus around the 35th test platoon, which has been nicknamed Small Fry Platoon, on account of the fact that it is comprised of individuals with uncooperative personalities and other such personality defects. Of course, if Small Fry Platoon could but overcome their personal ticks then they have the potential to become the top class in the school. Takeru Kusanagi is inexperienced as a commanding officer, yet he is caring and supportive of his fellow team members, making him well suited to leadership. Ōka Ōtori is the loner prodigy of the group, so readers will already know who plays the role of tsundere. Of course this party would not be quite complete without the emotional one [Usagi Saionji] and the genius one [Ikaruga Suginami], so we had better add those ladies to the mix to get a proper harem.
Anti-Magic Academy debuted on October 7, and is scheduled to run for twelve episodes – there are currently seven episodes available. The series is simulcast on Crunchyroll Wednesdays at 10:45am PST.