TSM Episode 410: Worst of the Year 2016

And a happy new shite!
Conflatulations to all of the winners!

Download: Released 2017.01.02

It is the new year in Australia when Lusipurr, SiliconNooB, Adeki, and Sebastian reflect upon the worst of 2016. Attempting to foster a sense of optimism for the year 2017, the panelists’ efforts begin well, but quickly go awry thanks to Nintendo.


  1. Ya know some idiot tried to defend Final Fantasy 15 to me by telling me that I just had nostalgia. I was pissed. Because you don’t have a RIGHT to dismiss me by just saying nostalgia. In the first place Final Fantasy 15 isn’t THAT great of a game to begin with much less could it compete with the classics. Secondly I wasn’t aware that 6 months since I am Setsuna is Nostalgia. I am Setsuna was an example of a good game. For all it’s flaws (And there are a few.) I LOVE that game.

    So it’s not like they can’t make good games they just have to give it a tiny budget and apparently use Unity. Oh and I just found this interesting tidbit:

    “When hiring staff for Tokyo RPG Factory, applicants were not told that the studio was part of Square Enix. Yosuke Matsuda (CEO of Square Enix) wanted to hire people who were passionate about RPGs, rather than people who wanted to work for Square Enix.”

    Seems they have to be passionate about making RPGs and not want to work for Square Enix.

  2. Final Fantasy releases used to be at the very least industry leading [and often times revolutionary]. What about XV is industry leading aside from the graphics?

    People are only sucking XV’s dick for one of two reasons: either they are fanboys, or they don’t like JRPGs and prefer XV because it is open world action.

  3. @SiliconNooB: People are only sucking XV’s dick for one of two reasons: either they are fanboys, or they don’t like JRPGs and prefer XV because it is open world action.

    Or a combination of the two.

  4. I would not call FFXV’s graphics industry-leading. Several games look much better (Gears 4, Last of Us Remastered, etc.). FFXV has little to recommend it other than its franchise history.

    At this rate, I would guess XVI is going to be another Ivalice game that disappoints in every way, and XVII will be a game set in either MMO universe that ruins the lore. XVIII will be a truly great achievement, but cut tragically short by the eschaton.

  5. @Lane: “FFXV has little to recommend it other than its franchise history.”

    So, because that has nothing to do with FFXV proper, it has nothing to recommend it. Which I think is a bit unfair. The music is not bad (where it has its own music).

  6. Well they were industry leading JRPGs. They don’t make JRPGs anymore it seems. I like Action based combat with RPG elements under the hood as much as the next guy (Castlevania SOTN, Kingdom Hearts, Deus Ex.) but every fucking game now? It seems like if you aren’t an open world game with bland side quests and a really short main story and you don’t make the combat as piss easy as possible then you just ‘aren’t profitable’ right now.

    Like it really does seem to me like GREAT games are being sidelined by strokey beard meetings for main line games and gimmicks to sell more pre-orders. Like if you have ever seen Dilbert you know what kind of thing I’m talking about.

  7. Man when was the last time the podcast devolved like this. Amazing. If only Gyme had been there.

  8. Where does FFXV have its own music? I’m missing out because I freakin’ buy a new soundtrack at every convenience store I enter.

    Actually, you know what, now I’m pissed off that I just typed those words about a main-sequence Final Fantasy game. Everything is terrible, start the fires, let’s burn this motherfucker down.

    @Cari — from a business perspective, that’s what bigger companies almost have to do. Skyrim and Dragon Age are two of the biggest RPG franchises out there, and they’re both more or less open-world, action-y games with some RPG elements. SE’s financial backers (who probably don’t play games or know about it) just tell Square, “I want Skyrim money, peasant. Now get to work!” So SE has to develop something appropriately Skyrim-y or risk losing financial backer confidence.

    It’s a problem of scale — when games were 8- and 16-bit, the total amount of code that went into them was less. There was no voice acting to record. No expensive time on CGI render farms to buy. Total cost was less, so companies could afford to experiment more. Nowadays, gamer expectations for tentpole games like Final Fantasy require an entire economy of scale’s difference between the past, so you get this “decision making by committee” aspect because that’s the only way you’re getting enough money to afford these games, and it’s why all of the major games are homogenizing a bit. See also: modern movies and TV. The BBC used to string Doctor Who? together with a budget of an empty crisps wrapper and the hopes and dreams of young moppets, but nowadays even that has to have a real effects budget because it’s still a popular show that has to compete with newer programs. Viewer expectations have changed.

    So while you’ll find a set of enthusiasts who will seek out and play a 16-bit-ish RPG (Legend of Heroes, for example), no one expects LOH to bring in FF money, and consequently, no one gives LOH a FF-sized budget.

    Eventually, I believe technology will “tick” back to the point where it is much easier than it is now to produce effects and graphics. Our tools for making games will get cheaper, and we will see more studios with less money able to put out what we’d call a “AAA” game. But that time is not any time soon, so get ready for more homogenized pap in the interim.

  9. @Lane: Sometimes you hear the music when you get away from diners (you have to be outside of the car). It’s random, but when it does play, it is very good.

    @Kisaki: Blame the panelists for being too lazy to show up of a week!

    @Cari: I rather think that you are right. Game development decisions still come down to programmers and producers, and the buck stops there. Something like Lost Odyssey or Blue Dragon can be made, and successfully, so the belief that it *has* to be open-world product-tie-in bullshit strikes me as being untrue. I mean, by all accounts World of Final Fantasy did well, and that’s not open world BS either.

  10. @Lusipurr: “Shimomura-san, we have requested that you produce music for FFXV.” “Hai, Tabata-kun. I will not fail you. “But, Shimomura-san… have you forgotten… that time when you spilled wine on my plush carpet?” “Tabata-kun, I must heartily apologize…” “No, Shimomura-san. I shall stain you as you have stained my elegant flooring! Your music will be in the game, but shall only ever be heard in fleeting moments when the player is least aware. The rest of the time… endless Coleman commercials!” “Tabata-kun, you are truly a monster.”

  11. @Lane I am not so sure that’s true. Final Fantasy 14 almost proves that you can make a good game that captures what it means to be a Final Fantasy game… You just have to make sure the game bombs so horribly that they go “WOOPS” and remake it. Now that I think of it, what if at the end of Final Fantasy 15 Bahamut blows up the world and we get to play a completely different FF15? One where all the characters are endearing and the combat is engaging?

    If we just look at the data alone we show that their choices aren’t even pulling in as much profit as FFVII did especially after adjusting for inflation. So I have to wonder what is driving the current trend of not being THE RPG company. That used to be their thing. Now they have gone the way of Sci-Fi Channel and just decided to redefine what that means. Guess this means no true sequel to Mario RPG, though if the current company were handling it- it pretty much seems like a blessing.

  12. RPG games on the whole have been a bit on the outs lately. MMOs have almost totally dominated that space (and for good reason). There’s a lot more emergent gameplay, stat gaming, min/maxing, etc., going on in those games than traditional cRPGs/jRPGs (although Obsidian seems to be trying to bring the cRPG back, and I have lots of friends who really got into Divinity). RPGs have started trying to compete with action/adventure games for viewers, which I’m somewhat OK with. I think a game like Witcher 3 or Dragon Age: Inquisition is easier to jump into and play than something like Tyranny, where I’m constantly comparing stats on items, working over character builds, etc. And in my middle age, that’s sometimes easier than poring over lots and lots of forum notes about ideal party comps. It’s one of the reasons I like FFXIV‘s endgame. With WoW, I used to use a spreadsheet to track upgrades, gear builds, etc. FFXIV has that shit on lockdown. “Oh, you’re a warrior, here’s your artifact set and relic weapon. Thanks. See you here next week.”

  13. @Lane you are not wrong. With the rise of MMOs we have seen a decline of traditional JRPGs. For the most part they ARE more profitable but… I don’t think it has to be that way. I think with the way games are sold these days you can sell the base game then keep adding side quests and adventures or even an entire expansion without spending very much on development. You could even add in new characters that you have to level all over again then swap them in and out of the party to face the final boss and have them go “… I left my ice cave for this?”

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