News: The Year of Zelda

Zelda is the only game Nintendo will be showing off at E3.
Nintendo’s E3 plans are a fucking embarrassment.

Nintendo Was Not Fucking Joking When They Said E3 Would Be All about Zelda

Last week Nintendo of Japan tweeted:

The new Legend of #Zelda will be the focus of #E3 2016. It will launch simultaneously on both Wii U and NX in 2017.

They were certainly not kidding about this. Over the previous few years one has tended to think of Nintendo’s annual June Nintendo Direct stream as an abject cop out, seeing as it is intended in lieu of an actual E3 conference. However lame or cheap Nintendo’s prior Direct streams may have been though, they do not even come close to what Nintendo has planned for E3 2016. This week Nintendo has released their E3 plans, and for E3 2016 Nintendo do not plan to hold any conference at all – not even a pathetic Nintendo Direct streaming conference. Instead Nintendo will have their new Zelda game playable on Wii U in their E3 booth – indeed it will be the only game that is playable in their E3 booth. Other than this, the subversive degenerates at Nintendo Treehouse will be hosting an all-day livestream of the Zelda title. Suddenly all the rumours about Nintendo gender-swapping Link are starting to make sense, as the last thing that Nintendo would want to happen on air is for one of these snowflakes to start freaking out because they have been triggered by the male gaze of a cisnormative gross pissbaby fuckboy Link!

Nintendo’s weak-ass reasoning for this move is because they want the press to spend some time with the game [like that would not have happened anyway] on account of the drastic changes that have been made to the Legend of Zelda gameplay mechanics:

will be a clean break from the conventions of previous games, removing boundaries that forced players to follow a set patch and introducing new gameplay that has not been experienced in previous games in the series.

The charitable way to interpret this would be that the game is open and non-linear just like A Link to the Past, whereas an uncharitable way to interpret this is that the game is open and non-linear just like whatever game Ubisoft last released. Whatever the case, this E3 strategy seems to be based more on miserly cost cutting than on actual, well, strategy. It is a dangerous game that Nintendo is playing however, as not only will they be going the entire year with essentially no presence whatsoever at retail, but they will have also voluntarily benched themselves for E3 in the year leading up to the launch of their NX console. It is like Nintendo has absolutely no concept of what mindshare is, nor the role that it plays in the consumption of consumer goods. At this point it is looking increasingly unlikely that there will be any further Nintendo consoles after NX. Even if the big N’s executives want to continue chasing casual gaming butterflies, it is unlikely that the board of directors will allow them to continue to pour good money down the sinkhole that is Nintendo’s home console business.

... Final Fantasy XV is a JRPG for literally anyone but!
Persona 5 is a JRPG for JRPG enthusiasts…

Atlus Throws down the Gauntlet to Square Enix with Persona 5 Release Date

For years now Japanese gamers have, with a few notable exceptions, consistently placed Persona 5 ahead of Final Fantasy XV in terms of their interest and purchase-intent. Eventually, when it became clear that Final Fantasy XV was all but complete, people began to speculate that Square Enix was holding back on announcing a release date because they were nervous about putting Final Fantasy XV up against Persona 5 in their domestic market. This suspicion was later confirmed by a Square Enix survey which sought to ascertain whether their fans were also interested in Persona 5, and whether those fans would purchase Persona 5 ahead of Final Fantasy XV. Given the way Famitsu polling has tended to go, Square Enix were likely not reassured by the findings of that survey – though there is no real way for us to definitively know short of Square Enix releasing that information to the public. At any rate, unfortunately for Square Enix they played the waiting game, but Atlus played it better. Square Enix eventually had to announce Final Fantasy XV‘s release date for September 30, and mere weeks later Atlus has announced Persona 5‘s release date for September 15 – a mere two weeks before the release of Final Fantasy XV.

This is simultaneously a masterstroke for Atlus, and absolutely terrible for Square Enix. Atlus will capture most of Japan’s hardcore JRPG crowd, and then two weeks later their game stands to be a beneficiary of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV marketing blitz, as casual consumers who buy a new PS4 in order to play Final Fantasy XV may also be tempted to pick up another new release game to have something else to play on their new machine. Meanwhile, many hardcore gamers will not be finished with Persona 5 by the time that Final Fantasy XV releases, and so they may defer their purchase of Final Fantasy XV. Because of the massive quantity of games that Square Enix ships to retail, their games are usually highly susceptible to rapid price drops, as stores look to shift unsold stock. This is true for the West, and it is doubly true for Japan. Japanese gamers will be able to enjoy a significant price cut to Final Fantasy XV by simply waiting four to six weeks before picking it up. This is good news for Japanese Gamers, and bad news for Square Enix.

To be clear, Final Fantasy XV will still almost certainly outsell the PS4 version of Persona 5 [the game will also be available on PS3] in Japan. Square Enix’s enormous advertising spend will see to it that the general public is far more aware of Final Fantasy than of Persona. That being said, do not expect the difference between both games to be as large as one would think. Currently there are a little over two million Japanese gamers who own a PS4, and it seems likely that those people are more interested in Persona 5 than Final Fantasy XV, so if Final Fantasy XV is to best the PS4 version of Persona 5, then it will be relying on a combination of new PS4 owners and current PS4 owners who buy both games. As for whether Final Fantasy XV will be able to outsell the combined total of both versions of Persona 5, that probably depends a lot on word of mouth. That should be concerning for Sqare Enix, as thus far their domestic audience has been somewhat divided over the game’s combat mechanics.

The only game Ubisoft has released since 2007.
[PICTURED]: Ubisoft creativity.

Yves Guillemot: Vivendi Takeover Will ‘Kill Creativity’ at Ubisoft

Throughout 2016 Vivendi has increased their stake in Ubisoft from 6% to 15%, and then just recently they upped this figure slightly to 17.73% of capital shares and 15.66% of voting shares. Contrast that to the Guillemot brothers, who between them own 10% of Ubisoft and 16% of the voting rights. Vivendi has not formally declared their hand, but the financial world is pretty much in agreement that the end goal of their actions is to continually increase their stake until they are in the position to launch a hostile takeover bid. At the same time Vivendi also sits poised to launch a hostile takeover bid against Gameloft, a sister company to Ubisoft that is similarly under the control of the Guillemot brothers. Vivendi has a 30% stake in Gameloft, and proceedings are already underway for the hostile bid to go ahead.

Guillemot is obviously furious at what is happening, yet he has little other recourse than bluff and bluster. Chief among his talking points seems to be the dire threat that any attempted hostile takeover would effectively “kill creativity” at Ubisoft, and Vivendi would just be buying an “empty shell“. Speaking at post-launch celebration event for The Division, Yves Guillemot went on to elaborate is strategy for fending off takeover bids:

We had ups and downs on this game but we persevered. This is the kind of energy we need to show our strength, our values. It’s up to us to perform, to boost our company value and to make it harder for anyone to take us over.

Michael Pachter has also weighed in on Guillemot’s novel approach to maintaining independence:

If there’s a hostile takeover by Vivendi and Guillemot leaves, every person who is good at Ubisoft would be recruited by EA, Activision and Take Two.

Everyone who is good at Ubisoft… Talk about slim pickings. Ignoring Raving Rabbids and Just Dance for the moment, Ubisoft has essentially only released one game since 2007: Assassin’s Creed. Sometimes it is set in Rome, and Sometimes it is set in France, and sometimes it is called Watch Dogs, and sometimes it is called Far Cry – but essentially since 2007 Ubisoft has only released Assassin’s Creed, and then they have re-released it, and then they have re-released that re-release ad nauseum. This being the case, Guillemot’s appeals to creativity probably is not the most winningest strategy he could have adopted. If Vivendi launched a hostile takeover and a few Ubisoft producers left for EA, then surely Vivendi would just continue the Guillemot strategy of re-releasing Assassin’s Creed. This is not rocket science. Perhaps if Ubisoft had taken more risks and made a better and more diverse product then he would still have a rhetorical leg to stand on, but Guillemot instead oversaw a strategy that has ultimately resulted in his IP being worth more than his workforce. Any developer of sufficient size can create Assassin’s Creed at this point, because it is such a well worn concept. Bioware made Assassin’s Creed and then sold it as Dragon Age: Inquisition. Guillemot’s bluster has all the deterrence force of a wet handkerchief.

He uses his powers for good!
Kazuma is a man who likes his pantsu.

Anime Spotlight: Konosuba – God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! [2016]

Konosuba is fantastic! One day otaku shut-in Kazuma reluctantly leaves his house in order to purchase a game, and is then killed in a most humiliating fashion on his way home. Kazuma wakes to discover that he is in the afterlife, and a beautiful goddess named Aqua offers him three choices: go to Heaven, be reborn in Japan, or be sent to a parallel universe fantasy realm with his choice of mystical item. Kazuma chooses the latter option and sets about deciding upon his starting item, but when he begins taking too long Aqua starts becoming obnoxious, which in turn causes Kazuma to rashly choose Aqua as his starting item. The joke is on Kazuma however, as Aqua turns out to be completely useless. These two are then joined by Megumin [a powerful mage that can only cast one spell a day] and Darkness [a crusader who is also a hardcore degenerate with an abuse fetish]. From here the party must accept quests in order to earn money and gain EXP in order to level up.

Konosuba is hilarious and charming, with an endearingly crude sense of humour. Upon learning the thief ability, Kazuma uses it primarily to steal panties – Konosuba is that kind of show. The characters are also adorable, and are much more than the stock archetypes that one would expect to see in a series like this. Simply put, this is the best use of an MMO setting seen in an anime to date, and the relatively brief ten episode run means that Konosuba is the kind of anime series that one can watch in a single sitting. All of the episodes have been aired, and are available for streaming on Crunchyroll – watch it!


  1. I don’t know what to think about Nintendo… They have been making so many bad decisions that it seems like they want to self-destruct as much as possible to stop doing what they know they can’t handle anymore (being a console pillar), because for some reason they can’t do it willingly (which I can comprehend as a matter of their corporate culture or philosophy). They’re just barely doing enough to get by at this point.

    Of course, I have to surmise and predict their intentions, without any real knowledge- they lie about everything they do anyways. I’m not sure if I’m making a prediction, or if this is just what I want to see, but I think going forward they would be more of an holding company for their intellectual property than to be an active game making company. I’m thinking of Studio Ghibli; they don’t make many movies not involving Miyazaki and Takahata, and once they’re no longer with us, I doubt their production will keep up. However, they are a beloved cultural institution for the incredible things they have done, and will last in memory (and sales) for years after that, no matter what happens. Some entity has to maintain those rights and property.

    I can see that happening with Nintendo, too. They have made (or have the rights for) a significant number of the greatest games of all time, which fans of continue to buy again and again. They have still made some great games recently, but there is a time limit on how long the talent they do have will last. But the length of time it has taken and share of problems to make Star Fox and Zelda U/NX does not bode well for a company who has to make its own system and much of the games of it. It has to end eventually, and I think they know this and won’t admit it (just a hunch, of course).

    Lusipurr mentioned recently on a TSM, and I have written here before, that we want a single system that has every game they can put on there available. For Mr. Nintendo (or as he’s known in Japan, Nintendo-san)’s sake as well as my own, this should have been the Wii U. We still have a year with next to nothing on the release schedule, so maybe they will turn to Virtual Console to make a little pocket cash. Maybe someone will burn down Treehouse and they can collect insurance, too… So much wishful thinking.

    I don’t know what to think about NX, either. I’ve been a major fan of Nintendo games and consoles and handhelds since 1989, owning almost every one. I’m not an unquestioning fanboy though, and after the Game Cube was kind of a dud, I didn’t even pay attention to Wii and DS until about 3 years after they were released, after which my interest really renewed. Then I thought Wii U and 3DS would be a waste of time, but I’ve enjoyed my time with them possibly the most in gaming since SNES (much thanks to Virtual Console). So again I see NX as a waste, but maybe judgement should be withheld, but most signs point to a decline.

    What are the possibilities, then? The best case scenario has them silently working on really great games for NX, but what could they possibly do? Maybe they can put out a great Mario game, Splatoon 2 or a different game from that team has a good chance, and in hopes beyond dreams we would see a real Metroid. But Zelda is what it is, Star Fox has to be done forever now, Smash and Kart don’t need to happen again for years; what do they have left besides Pokémin and Pikmin (AGAIN)? Miyamoto can’t do anything but turn lead into tin, and the other major guys like Aonuma and Sakurai must be exhausted as well. I mean, it all comes down to the creativity and talent of the people who design games to make them great and not just good, and Nintendo can’t survive on their model on “just good” without hemorrhaging money.

    Then, I think about what it means for the 3DS and handhelds going forward. Is the NX ultimately supposed to combine the functionality of console and handheld? I do think that would be their best bet, but until we get actual plans, one must assume it to be a big-ass Wii U style thingamabob; something which few adults (and exceedingly few children) would actually want to carry around like a Game Boy or DS, especially in this technology climate. Then if the handheld space is basically eliminated, what happens to where Pokémon, Yokai Watch, the bunch of Atlus games and few Square Enix are supposed to go? Mobile phones have only been shit platforms for games, with even shittier digital stores (I thought eShop was bad until I finally got an Android tablet and saw Google Play), and are just not good for companies who take their product seriously as video games and not apps. Vita and 3DS will probably live out their days as the last viable handheld video game platforms, but I don’t know what to predict.

    Square Enix needs to stop making garbage mobile ports of great games ASAP. As another company who has a significant legacy but murky present situation, please stop it now. How do they make a mobile game like Final Fantasy Dimensions, which takes the classic SNES style to the pixel, yet turns the ACTUAL games the art is based on into something so ugly, and for what reason?

  2. Will Persona 5 be the first Persona game that I play at or near launch? Hmm.

  3. What a great comment from Dancing Matt! Definitely comment of the week, full stop, right there. Print it and save it, folks.

  4. I don’t have anyone to seriously talk to about games in real life, so I just dumped a bunch out for you guys. SN’s news posts always do make one think!

  5. It was a great comment @Dancing Matt – and you’re spot on about SN’s posts. I look forward to them each week.

  6. I spent several minutes going over the Square-Enix annual report to see what mobile sales data might be – and found nothing. But there’s plenty of concerning ‘company direction’ talk (hint: they love mobile)!

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