Do Not Give Money to Tim Schafer
Tim Schafer is at it again! In 2012 Tim Schafer’s Double Fine made Kickstarter history by pulling in more than 3.3 million dollars, but it was not long before Schafer, a notoriously poor budgeter, ran into money troubles. Schafer then cut the Broken Age project in half, and put half of the game up on Steam Early Access in the hopes that it could pay for the remainder of the production. It does not seem as though the game made a whole heap of money on Early Access, because the second half of the game was comprised almost entirely of assets from the first half of the game, and is widely held to be excessively truncated, with an ending that shocked players in that it came from nowhere.
This is all a very round-a-bout way of saying that Tim Schafer’s handling of money is a running joke. The man is a joke. His credibility is shot. He could not expect to return to crowdfunding and meet the same kind of success. Queue nostalgia. Ten years ago Double Fine released the only good game they have ever made, Psychonauts. The game was not uniformly good, but the characters were charming and the overworld was fun to explore. And thus Schafer has deployed the prospect of Psychonauts 2 in order to once again get at free gamer money – 3.3 million dollars to be precise. This time around Schafer has not even gone the Kickstarter route, possibly because he has yet to even deliver campaign tier rewards for Broken Age backers, and has instead opted to create his own crowdfunding page – which should inspire gamers with confidence.
Schafer could not make a 2D point and click adventure for 3.3 million dollars so it is inconceivable to think that he will be able to produce a robust 3D platformer on the same budget. Even if Schafer is able to tap external investment partners for a matching contribution, the project is still an order of magnitude more dubious than even Shenmue III, since at least Yu Suzuki is competent. Disappointingly, the game has already raised 1.2 million dollars with thirty-four days to go, meaning that unless something calamitous befalls the campaign it will be funded. On the other hand, the surfeit of idiots willing to bankroll Schafer’s buffoonery do at least enable the rest of us to pull up a chair and enjoy the trainwreck. At any rate, one is predicting it now: Schafer will squander at least half of all funds raised on hiring his celebrity friends.
NX Is Thought to Launch Mid-2016
Big news out of Nintendo this week, this time by way of component suppliers for the NX. Nintendo is allegedly gearing up to begin mass producing NX consoles at the end of the first quarter of 2016, so as to begin shipments during the second quarter of 2016, to go on sale mid-2016. This is obviously a lot sooner than many people had anticipated. With the Wii U Nintendo sent out devkits about a year and a half prior to launch, yet with the NX they only went out quite recently, giving developers around eight or nine months to develop launch software. This suggests that the NX launch library will look pretty scant. More surprising [and hilarious] than Nintendo’s launch schedule is that their plan was to have twenty million consoles ready to sell on launch. Component suppliers have shed some doubt on this possibility, indicating that available components may limit Nintendo to only producing something in the vicinity of twelve million units for launch. What were Nintendo even going to do with twenty million units? Were they looking to produce all the consoles they could ever sell up front?
If the NX truly combines both console and handheld hardware then Nintendo’s thinking may be that they stand to sell enough NX units to equal the launch of both a Nintendo console and a Nintendo handheld, but even then twelve million units is probably an overgenerous estimate of required stock. Especially given Nintendo’s treatment of Wii U owners. The Wii U’s failure was wholly of Nintendo’s own making, and largely down to grotesque amounts of hubris on their part. That being said, Wii U owners have long since forgiven Nintendo’s mistake, and have shown themselves to be, by and large, content to enjoy the Wii U with realistic expectations for what it is. What Wii U owners did require though was that Nintendo support their console as best they could with what they had – and this is truly where Nintendo failed. Instead what Wii U owners got was Nintendo censoring bikinis in their mature-rated games at the behest of SJWs, and being price gouged in the most niggardly and arbitrary of ways. Nintendo’s treatment of the people who stuck by them when they were down does very little to inspire confidence in their NX console. Nintendo has made it abundantly clear that their consoles are not intended for adults, while today’s children tend to prefer their gaming on smartphones. Nintendo does not have an audience. They will not need twenty million NX consoles in 2016. They will likely not need twenty million NX consoles in 2017, or ever.
PS2 Classics Are Upon Us
From tomorrow PS4 owners will now be able to purchase PS2 Classics from PSN, a service that has been in high demand since the launch of the console. These will not be mere vanilla PS2 Classics as seen on the PS3, but will instead be presented in HD resolution along with a higher framerate in instances where that will not break the game in question. There is set to be eight titles available at the launch of this service. Six of the titles are priced at [the higher than usual] $14.99, and include Dark Cloud, Rogue Galaxy, The Mark of Kri, Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Was three Grand Theft Auto titles really necessary? Rounding out this number are two titles priced at $9.99 – Twisted Metal: Black and War of the Monsters.
Here is where the good news ends. One doubts that anybody seriously thought that PS4 owners would be able to put their physical PS2 discs into the console and have them work like Xbones do with 360 discs, but surely Sony would honour the previous purchase of PS2 Classics on the PS3?! Well, not so much as it turns out. It has been revealed that the two libraries of PS2 Classics will not be compatible or transferable. This stinks, and is mean to the point of mirroring Nintendo’s business practices. In most cases people have already bought these games physically the first time around, they then have to subsequently purchase them digitally [fine] in order to take these titles along with them within the Playstation ecosystem – but at this point they rightly expect to never have to purchase this software again. Speaking personally, one owns an armload of PS1 Classics that have yet to even be played – they were purchased simply to fill out one’s collection. Now PS4 owners will probably be expected to repurchase their entire PS1 libraries too! unacceptable! Fuck! Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida has promised the regular release of further PS2 Classics over the coming weeks and months:
“We will be working tirelessly to bring you your favorite PS2 games with new releases on a regular basis”
Do not look for Final Fantasy XII to be added to this list, as Square Enix continues to pussyfoot around the question of whether or not to release it as a HD remaster. At any rate, one is very glad to have never bought a PS2 Classic on PS3 due to hard drive space. One will be seriously fucked off if PS1 Classics are non-transferable, assuming that PS1 emulation even comes to the PS4.
DD Fist of the North Star II
DD [design deformation] Fist of the North Star II is the follow-up to [as one might expect] 2013’s DD Fist of the North Star. Readers will need little explanation of the post-apocalyptic epic, Fist of the North Star, which sees protagonist, Kenshiro, brutally obliterating various bandits and ravagers in a nuclear wasteland. DD Fist of the North Star is the SD telling of the legend of the Fighting NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) North Star. The series is set in an alternate timeline wherein the nuclear war of 199X never occurred, and the characters now live in modern day peacetime Japan, with Kenshiro working in a convenience store.
DD Fist of the North Star II‘s run began on the 6th of October. There are twenty-four episodes planned, with nine episodes currently available. The series is simulcast by Crunchyroll on Tuesdays at 10:45am PST.