News: Final Fantasy

Borderlands really is the only thing that Gearbox does well.
Pitchford loves putting a gun to his own head.

[Rumour]: Battleborn To Go Free-To-Play

It was just a matter of time until Battleborn, AKA Overwatch-lite, went Free-To-Play. Upon release the game flopped like a damp turd, and lost most of its playerbase inside the span of a month. Gearbox and/or 2K Games made the colossally bad decision to launch their game in the same month as Blizzard’s uber popular cartoonish FPS MOBA, and Battleborn had a difficult time distinguishing itself. Of course it did not help that if one were to squint just a little then they might easily mistake the cartoonish graphics of one game with the other. At any rate Battleborn will soon be going FTP where it might find a new lease on life – or will it?

After Kotaku broke the news that Battleborn was going FTP, the world’s most honest man, Randy Pitchford, took to Twitter incensed that people were reporting outrageous untrue lies about his game:

I was just told about a reckless story about Battleborn going F2P that is false. There are no plans to convert Battleborn free to play.

Unfortunately, he then went on to state that:

We have some unannounced plans to do a trial version of the game that would be free and from which retail can be purchased along with DLC.

Free trial plans are not firm yet – months away. Expect great continued support and awesome line up of DLC.

He then went on to clarify that this ‘trial version’ will not be timed, meaning that gamers will be free to play the game’s online multiplayer into perpetuity, with the only drawback being that they will not have access to all of the game’s characters and story missions. The game is totes not FTP, people can just play it for free… So this is totally not semantic bullshit on the part of Gearbox. Battleborn is not going FTP, and Fable Horsey Simulator is not on-rails.

Ultimately, what this amounts to is Gearbox being caught wrong-footed by the Kotaku story, as the last thing they want is for Battleborn‘s anemic sales to evapourate further as gamers wait for the game to go free. Really though, they would garner more goodwill for their game by just sucking it up and admitting to their plans, and then expediting their implementation of those plans so that Battleborn‘s beleaguered playerbase can at long last find a match inside of ten minutes. Going FTP worked for Evolve, and it could work for Battleborn.

In many respects Yusuke Naora IS modern Final Fantasy.
Naora is chiefly responsible for some of our most enduring memories of the franchise.

The Fantasy Is Over for Yusuke Naora

This week has seen the surprise announcement that of the 30th of September longtime Final Fantasy artist, Yusuke Naora, is no longer working at Square Enix. It seems likely that with work on Final Fantasy XV wrapping up, Naora had no overly compelling project to move onto – meaning that work on Final Fantasy XVI has likely already commenced, and its art direction has already been decided. This also means that Yusuke Naora is unlikely to be working on the art direction for the Final Fantasy VII Remake, which serves as yet another factor contributing to that game’s air of inauthenticity.

An extremely truncated summary of Naora’s career at Squaresoft [and later Square Enix] sees him begin working there as a field graphic designer for Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger, before being promoted to art director for Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy Type-0, and Final Fantasy XV. In fact it is not unreasonable to imagine that the drawn-out development of Final Fantasy XV may have been a contributing factor in Naora’s decision to quit. That being said, his official reason for quitting Square Enix is to spend more time with his family in his hometown of Izumo, where he plans to continue producing game art on a freelance basis. Yusuke Naora’s influence on the fantastical worlds of Final Fantasy really cannot be overstated, and his contributions to Final Fantasy will be sorely missed going forward.

Firewatch really is the worst.
Ugly graphics befitting a terrible non-game.


Finally the obvious has happened! Campo Santo, the studio behind the dire walking simulator Firewatch, is making the move from indy game studio to film production company where they hope to bring Firewatch to the big screen. There has long been the perception of walking sim developers that they are in fact frustrated filmmakers following the path of least resistance on account of the fact that the titles they produce seem to almost resent any degree of control given over to the player. Now rather than shitting up the vidya market any more than they have already done, Campo Santo are making the logical move to film production, which is what Firewatch should have been in the first place. In order to find their footing in the film industry Campo Santo have partnered with Good Universe, which describe the new union as such:

Finding extraordinary content is incredibly exciting, and with the Campo Santo team, we felt an immediate simpatico with their utterly beguiling storytelling and amazing creative instincts.

Campo Santo’s content is certainly interesting. It is also extraordinary in the sense of how bad it is. In fact this site’s proprietor ranks Firewatch as the single worst walking simulator that he has ever experienced. There is no gameplay to mention, and the writing could be charitably described as Tumblr-tier. Failed storytellers tend to fall into indy game development because their hipster industry friends provide an easy inroad, government grants are plentiful, and our disgraceful excuse for a gaming press will fall over themselves to gush with praise over any piece of software perceived to carry a Social Justice message. Campo Santo may find the film press a mite less forgiving of mediocrity.


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