Metroid Prime 4 Has Been Rebooted
Nintendo should have gone with Retro Studios from the outset. The Retro Studios of today might have a substantially different roster of employees to the Retro Studios of 2007, but at least they are a seasoned studio which routinely puts out products of a reliably high standard. Retro Studios may have been busy working on their Switch port of Tropical Freeze at the time of Metroid Prime 4‘s announcement, but if the commencement of the game’s development had to be put off by a year due to Retro Studio’s commitments, then that would still only be one year lost rather than two.
The development of Metroid Prime 4 has been completely rebooted from scratch after a full two years (that we know of) of development time, due to the fact that the game being developed was not of an acceptable standard of quality. The game will now be developed from scratch by Retro Studios, who should have been tasked with its development from the outset. When Nintendo first announced Metroid Prime 4 they neglected to mention the name of the studio responsible for its development, and now that this original version of the game has been effectively cancelled we may never know who was initially tasked with bringing a fourth Metroid Prime installment to life. That said, it is widely thought to be a brand new Namco Bandai studio located in Singapore who were developing the game.
Let that sink in, Nintendo allowed a fledgling studio to cut its teeth on the next long-awaited entry in the Metroid Prime franchise! Nintendo cared so little about it that they just farmed development out to whoever, and the only reason that they are making good on it now is because they risk losing face. This is actually an almost perfect parallel to the development of Final Fantasy VII Remake. In both cases the projects were farmed out to cheap gun for hire external studios instead of being allocated the well-staffed internal development teams that they deserved, and in both cases this has wasted the companies responsible two years of development time, and two years worth of development funding, because everything developed thus far has had to be thrown in the trash. Sometimes it is just cheaper to spend the money to do a job properly the first time.
Steam Abandonment of Censorship Was an Anti-Weeb Demoralisation Psyop
For months now there has been a steady trickle of lewd visual novels getting banned, but this week that trickle seems to have turned into a tsunami with Maomao Discovery Team, Hello, Goodbye (all ages), Ona-Ken! international, and Victory Project being banned, while HuniePop 2 and KekoMiko will release censored. Readers may be confused, after all it was just June of last year that Valve were announcing that Steam would no longer police taste, and that any legal content was now permissible:
[…] we’ve decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling. Taking this approach allows us to focus less on trying to police what should be on Steam, and more on building those tools to give people control over what kinds of content they see.
Japanese developers took this statement at face value and started submitting adult content, but it would seem that they were either being set-up in a bad faith move by Valve, else the authority of the Valve leadership is being usurped and subverted by their employees! Contrary to appearances the official policy that Valve put out in June of 2018 has not been overturned, but instead it has been utterly subverted through some of the most miserable legalease ever used to target and victimise a group of people. The developers of lewd games were actually in a substantially better situation before the policy change because their games would only get banned if they featured blatant sexual content, and Steam’s expectations were a known quantity, so they knew to just release an all-ages version on Steam and then offer an R18+ patch on the developer website. Now lewd Japanese games are banned for featuring any nudity or sexual content regardless of setting or character age; or sexual themes or innuendo in combination with a school setting.
Following the Steam announcement that only illegal (or straight up trolling) content would be denied, it seems like radicalised Valve employees set about digging through arcane state laws until they found an antiquated unenforced Washington obscenity law that could potentially be used to criminalise any published work (regardless of medium) which features sex or nudity (7.48A.010). Obviously this would be grounds for denying a fair number of Western games release on Steam, but it is being selectively used against anime games to justify their removal.
To the anti-weeb forces at Valve this was a good start, but one problem remained: how to ban weeb visual novels that do not feature explicit sexual content. To this end they started banning games for being “legally grey” on the grounds of it containing “prurient representation or exploitation of minors“. This is being used to ban games that have been censored into all-ages versions, along with games that have already been rated by the ESRB. The ESRB rated The Key To Home ‘T’ for teen, but it was banned for being ‘legally grey’ by Steam because it features a school setting and sexual references.
[…] After review, we will not be able to ship your game ***** on Steam. While we strive to ship most titles submitted to us, we found that this title features themes, imagery or descriptions that we won’t distribute.
Regardless of a developer’s intentions with their product, we will not distribute content that appears, in our judgment, to trade in the prurient representation or exploitation of minors.
While every product submitted is unique, if your product features this representation — even in a subtle way that could be defined as a “grey area” — it will be rejected by Steam.
We are not interested in working with partners that dance around the edges of what’s legal. For instance, setting your game in a high-school but declaring your characters are of legal age would fall into that category and be banned.
This app has been banned and cannot be reused. […]
So apparently attempting to release an ESRB ‘T’ rated game equates to ‘dancing around the edges of legality’, and by these standards three quarters of the content on Funimation and Crunchyroll could be considered to be borderline illegal, which is a laughable idea. Obviously this standard is once again being applied selectively, otherwise games like Life Is Strange would face a ban. To this end visual novels which depict graphic anal sex between schoolboys like Sweet Pool and A Hand in the Darkness are apparently just fine according to Steam – they are practically cosigning that shit. It is only heterosexual lewdness that is problematic.
Japanese developers were told by Steam that adult content was now fine, only to have Valve employees screw them through the worst kind of officious bad faith mental gymnastics and threadbare pretexts in order to selectively purge them from the platform. Valve’s anti-developer fuckery has made the platform into a laughing stock, and if a natural competitor emerged *cough*Epic*cough* then that might be the best thing for everybody. If Japanese developers just had the certainty of being able to reliably release all-ages versions of their games on a platform, then they would be in a substantially better position than they are now.
Wakka Supports Calls for Violence Against Al Bhed Children
This week the Captain of the Besaid Aurochs has supported calls for violence against a group of Al Bhed children accused of smiling disrespectfully at a Hypello Warrior Monk during a protest in Bevelle. The protesting Monk was allegedly banging his drum at the children, in an effort to send some unsent fiends that had attached themselves to the children back to the Farplane, but was discourteously smiled at for his efforts. In response to this Captain Wakka has supported calls for the children to be attacked:
I’ve never in my life said “Well, those are well-deserved death threats.”, ya?, but I’ve also learned to never say never… #fuckthemalbhedkids
Dey weren’t following the teachings, ya? We need to get in their faces and blitz ’em!
When told that movie spheres of the event demonstrated that members of the Ronso Tribe were the actual instigators of the situation, Captain Wakka went on to say:
I’m not saying death threats are ok, but you reap what you sow, ya? Dat’s my point, brudda. PUNK ASS AL BHED KIDS KNEW EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE DOING. And I did see the movie sphere. Ronso? We deal with them in Bevelle on de street all the time, shouting their shit. So what? Those kids? #glasshouses
My lil’ brudda Chappu smirked like dat on the dey he… Well dere’s no point in talking about dat now. We got a tournament coming up!
Captain Wakka would go on to controversially refer to plans to detonate an explosive device within the Al Bhed outpost referred to as ‘Home’ as “happy festival fireworks“. Apparently he fears that the children’s disrespect towards a Warrior Monk of Yevon will cause Sin, a giant armoured death whale, to return and attack Spira. The Auroch’s Captain claims that by attacking these children he will be able to atone for their sins, and thereby stave off the return of this monstrous entity.
Since movie sphere footage of this stand-off first released the children have received multiple death threats, as well as threats to destroy their ‘Home’ colony, which has been temporarily closed as a safety precaution. When contacted for comment the Al Bhed children at the center of this row were perplexed as to what it was even about, though it would seem that they are certainly no fans of Captain Wakka:
E hajan ehdanyldat fedr drec bnudacdun. E tet hud cbayg du res. E tet hud syga yho ryht kacdinac un udran ykknacceja sujac. Du pa ruhacd, E fyc cdyndmat yht luhvicat yc du fro ra ryt ybbnuylrat sa. … E pameajat dryd po nasyehehk sudeuhmacc yht lyms, E fyc rambehk du tevvica dra cediydeuh. Yht dpr Wakka pmedwac mega y vykkud!
It would later turn out that, in a case of stolen piety, the protestor that the children discourteously smiled at was not actually a Warrior Monk of Bevelle, but rather a Hypello Shoepuff herd who was responsible for delivering Chocobo milk to the Warrior Monks Bevelle training grounds. Many of Captain Wakka’s ardent defenders have insisted that his views have only become this extreme after he was forced to become an NPC in Final Fantasy X-2. It remains to be seen whether a potential leading role in the long rumoured Final fantasy X-3 can fix his character arc, but all signs point to ‘no’.