PS5 Is a Turkey!
Yikes! Sony have had their PS5 game showcase here, and, other than showing off a bunch of the same old crap, we do now have some solid release dates for their stool of a console. November 12th for US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. November 19th for any other territory where a launch is planned. The regular version of PS5 will cost $500, while the gimped discless version will cost $400 – so apparently a PS5 disc drive costs more than three times what it is actually worth. Really though, the biggest revelations for PS5 came after the event was over, buried in the small print.
Sony are pricing their own games at $70, so that is a thing. When 2K indicated that they would be pricing their games at $70 many people hopped that they were just the actions of a rogue publisher, but alas! 2K’s pricing was merely adhering to Sony’s own pricing guidelines. The situation is even worse for European Sonlies. The current gen American price for a new game is $60, and the current gen European price for a new game is 60 Euros. The next generation American price for a new game will be $70, while the next generation European price for a new game will be 80 Euros – so European consumers, which comprise Sony’s most steadfast market, will be hit with double the price increase of their American counterparts!
So what will Playstation customers be getting for these inflated prices? Well, it sure as fuck is not games! When Microsoft stated that they would be continuing their support for the Xbox One for at least the next two years, they were ridiculed and lambasted for it. Not only were Sony content to sit back and watch as Microsoft were made a laughing stock, but they even made a weasel worded statement which seemed to suggest that their approach would be the exact opposite of Microsoft, and that all the big PS5 releases would be exclusive to that console. Well, turns out that was a lie. The Ratchet & Clank title they have planned does seem to be a true exclusive, with the Demon’s Souls remake also being a true console exclusive, while also getting an eventual PC release (probably) – but basically every other big first party release seems to be also coming out on PS4! Specifically, the two biggest PS5 releases underpinning the PS5 launch year are Horizon: Forbidden West and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and both games are coming out on PS4 – not that you would know that to look at sneaky Sony’s marketing of the games! Sony has made every effort to conceal and obfuscate the fact that these are just PS4 ports! At least Microsoft were upfront and honest about their first party strategy for Series X, while Sony has been deliberately misleading their customers!
Final Fantasy XVI
Yoshi P lied. He is involved with Final Fantasy XVI, as producer. The game is being developed within his development division of Square Enix, and it appears that many of the Final Fantasy XIV staff will be working on it. Hiroshi Takai will be directing the game. The only other game that Takai has served as main director for is The Last Remnant, which bodes extremely poorly the game. He has also served as a sub-director on certain sections of Final Fantasy XIV however, which is generally held in high regard, so one is genuinely uncertain the extent to which this should mitigate the appropriateness of his selection as director.
The composer of Final Fantasy XVI remains unconfirmed, but Masayoshi Soken almost certainly scored the trailer, so he is a good bet as main composer. The Final Fantasy XIV soundtrack is held in very high regard, so if Soken is indeed filling the role of composer, then that will be good news. The Final Fantasy XVI combat designer is also unconfirmed, yet it is almost certainly Ryota Suzuki, who filled a similar role on Devil May Cry 5 and Dragon’s Dogma. Both Akademician and oneself initially felt that the combat looked stiff and clunky, yet if Suzuki is indeed responsible for the game’s battle system then it is probably appropriate to give XVI the benefit of the doubt that it will be competent by action game standards by the time it releases. The fact that it will be competent by action game standards is a disappointment in itself however, as Final Fantasy used to be a JRPG series.
For Final Fantasy XVI one wanted a return to traditional fantasy more than anything, and Final Fantasy XVI is a return to traditional fantasy, but yikes! Not like this… One wanted traditional fantasy with whimsy and character in the vein of Final Fantasy IX, or even Final Fantasy XII, but what we have here looks both derivative and miserable. The game looks very much like a cross between The Witcher and Game of Thrones, both of which would have been hugely popular properties at the time when Final Fantasy XVI was being pitched, though Game of Thrones has since gone heavily on the wane due to an abysmal final series. So basically what we get is a traditional fantasy world that looks like mud and suffering!
Also, sure. The crystal motif is important to the roots of the Final Fantasy series. Nobody appreciates that more than this author, but does every single Final Fantasy really need to have a main plot about nations fighting over four cardinal crystals as military resources. We had it with Final Fantasy Type-0, we had it with Final Fantasy XV, and now we have it again with Final Fantasy XVI. Too much! One does not want the same story every time!
Disgaea 6 Falls Victim to Sony Censorship
Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny has been announced. The first new Disgaea in five years, and a Nintendo Switch exclusive. Many, many people are unhappy about this. They are super angry at NISA for ignoring the PS4 when the series was established and first found its audience on Sony consoles. How dare NIS betray their audience in exchange for a big cheque from Nintendo! Such people are misdirected and are plainly imbeciles. There is a PS4 version of the game being developed right alongside its Switch counterpart, but it will never leave Japan for reasons outside of NISA’s control – and this is not an isolated incidence. It defies credibility that somebody could be interested in niche Japanese games with an anime aesthetic and still not be aware of Sony’s censorship policy!
One says censorship policy, but it is not really that, as a censorship policy sort of implies a set of codified rules. As such, it is not really a censorship policy unless the stipulation of ‘do not use anime art while selling fewer than a million copies of your game’ could be considered to be a censorship guideline. Over the last few years we have seen countless niche games blocked from PS4 release by Sony’s American branch for the crime of featuring cute anime waifus, while at the same time we have seen a good many Sega games released with much the same content, seemingly without incident. Games like Sakura Wars, Persona 5, and 13 Sentinels would all be prime candidates for an arbitrary dose of censorship if they were being published by a niche publisher like NISA, but because it is Sega backing them they do not get fucked with. If Sega started to look away from the Playstation platform that would be a problem for Sony, and so it is OK for them to do it, while the little guys get shafted for the exact same thing. Meanwhile we have The Last of Us 2 depicting some of the most vile sodomy ever seen in a game.
So there are no rules for niche developers to follow, and no list of edits that they could make to reliably secure release for their games. Instead if Sony staff (who hate anime girls) do not like the look of your game then they will cancel its release unless you are being backed by a larger publisher. The only way for niche developers to stay within these censorship guidelines is to not use anime visuals at all. With this bullshit in place it is small wonder that PS4 is seeing a mass exodus of kawaii content in favour of the Nintendo Switch.
The only question remaining is whether Disgaea 6 is part of the first wave of censorship casualties, or the second wave of censorship casualties. By this one means that in instances of cruel and inscrutable censorship you will have an initial wave of development casualties in the form of products that are blocked from coming to market, and then knowledge of what has happened will lead to a second wave of casualties where developers do not want to go to the trouble of attempting to get their product released. In the Case of Sony, SIE can actually make trouble for a game’s release in the domestic Japanese market, so NIS may view eschewing a Western release for the PS4 version as a way of avoiding additional scrutiny from this hostile body.