Hajime Tabata Is Working on His Dream Project
In October and December of last year we saw the shock exit of Hajime Tabata from Square Enix, and his announcement that he had founded his own studio, JP Games. Tabata had been working on Final Fantasy XV since 2014, and then after its 2016 release he was essentially given his own studio, which he used to churn out DLC for the next 3-4 years. Shortly before his exit from the company Square Enix had slapped that DLC out of his hands, and unceremoniously wound up the Final Fantasy XV project. There is a good chance that we will never know whether Square Enix sacked Tabata outright, or whether he quit the company after having the DLC he was working on cancelled abruptly. Whatever the case, whatever the case Tabata now has his own development studio to work on his dream project!
I started up my own company called “JP GAMES,Inc.”
Right now, we are preparing for a target January 2019 launch.
And to everyone who has assisted me until today–I kindly ask for your ongoing support.
This week the first game in development for JP Games has been revealed, and it is quite literally his dream project, being titled Pegasus Dream Tour. The game is a sport RPG based on Tokyo 2020 games – not the Olympic dreams mind you, but rather the Paralympics, so players can live out their vicarious dreams of being disabled athletes. On smartphone. It is a smartphone game. Nothing against disabled athletes, and the Paralympic games does a very good thing, but the vast majority of able-bodied children likely want to play as able-bodied Olympians, and not as their Paralympic counterparts, so one wonders what the audience for this product is likely to be.
This sounds like a product being developed through some sort of government grant. It is intended to be disposable and no one will play it after 2020. It is also a teaching aid. Teachers might be able to coax students to engage with it for a couple of weeks while the Paralympics are taking place, and then everyone will just forget about it. The character designs that have been released thus far have been deeply uninspired, and contrast poorly to the anime-inspired character designs of fellow sport RPG Inazuma Eleven. But lest we be thought uncharitable, it is at least satisfactory to see Hajime Tabata finally working on a project that is truly deserving of his talents.
Digital-Only Xbox One S Will Be More Expensive Than Disc-Compatible Model
Oh dear! Rumours have surfaced this week which suggest that the release of a digital-only Xbox One S is imminent, and set to occur on the 7th of May in Europe. We have been hearing rumours that a digital-only version of the Xbox One S was on the cards for weeks now, but this information was never reported with any specificity, so it was not really worth relaying. In theory, a digital-only Xbox One S is not a silly proposition, as any logical person would assume that it would be sold with a heavy discount in relation to the base Xbox One S console which comes with a disc drive. Not only does a digital-only form factor ensure that Microsoft and third parties get a larger share of revenue from game sales, but it also saves them manufacturing costs by not including a 4k disc drive. Sony did not even include 4k disc drives in their premium PS4 Pro sku in order to keep costs down, so the removal of this technology could be rightfully presumed to lower the cost of the unit.
Alas, the digital-only Xbox One S has not been priced as a lower cost unit. In fact it is even more expensive than a base Xbox One S unit in spite of the fact that it cannot play 4k Blu-rays! The European model of the digital-only Xbox One S has been priced at €229.99, which suggests that the US price will be between $250 and $260. Even when Sony released the PSP GO, that at least came with a sleek form factor to compensate for the loss of functionality. The leaked pictures of the digital only Xbox One S show no significant redesign of the hardware, save for the disc slot being filled in.
It will come with only a terabyte hard drive, every byte of which the console will sorely need on account of the relative difficulty in making room for new games when content cannot simply be reinstalled with a disc. The console will also come with Minecraft, Forza 3, and Sea of Thieves, although nobody cares about those old games. Everyone who plays Minecraft likely already owns it on multiple platforms, and nobody cares about either of the other two elderly Microsoft exclusives. It is a mystery why Microsoft thinks that anybody would purchase this inferior product.
Dragon Age 4 Will Be an Always-Online ‘Games as a Service’ Game
Last week TDT brought news pertaining to the disaster that is Anthem. The majority of the game’s vast deficiencies stem from the game’s lack of leadership, as the game’s own director was refusing to make decisions, which in turn meant that other team members were unable to perform their own jobs. However, a secondary contributing factor to the game’s woes was the fact they were making an always-online looter-shooter as opposed to a traditional Bioware-style RPG. Usually this would not be a problem for a normal team using intuitive technology like the Unreal Engine which is well supported. That is not the case for Bioware, however, as EA has mandated that all of their teams must use the Frostbite engine, which is not a robust piece of technology designed to accommodate a diverse selection of genres. Instead Frostbite is a poorly documented engine designed for creating FPS games, and the fact that Bioware games are far less lucrative than Battlefield and FIFA means that they are continually shunted to the back of the line when seeking technical support from DICE.
Dragon Age 4 actually began development development as a single player RPG where players would assume the role of a spy in the location of the Tevinter Imperium. The location was planned to be smaller, albeit deeper, than the soulless open worlds of Dragon Age: Inquisition, which sounded like a step forward for the franchise. That version of the game was cancelled in 2016, though, as the floundering Anthem project required as many developers as it could get. When the project was once again resurrected, it was as an always-online ‘games as a service’ project, prompting Dragon Age creator Mike Laidlaw to leave the company. The game will be built upon Anthem‘s codebase, meaning that it stands to inherit many of that game’s problems. More to the point, Dragon Age has always been a single-player RPG, so who even wants to play a ‘games as a service’ Dragon Age game? What would such a game even look like? Maybe Dragon Age 4 will be a battle royale like Final Fantasy XVI! Whatever the case, Dragon Age 4 will probably be the final game that Bioware releases before EA shuts them down.