News: Positive Deception

Final Fantasy VII Remake-2 Aims for ‘Satisfying Subversion’

The Final Fantasy team has long been infatuated with the Star Wars franchise. This was not such a big problem back in the days when Star Wars consisted of three pretty good sci-fi fantasy movies. This is what led to recurring characters like Biggs and Wedge, and it was all just a bit of fun. That is not what Star Wars is anymore. The franchise was sold to Disney, and custody of it was given over to cultural Maxists who became vocally obsessed with the idea of ‘subverting fan expectations’. This largely resulted in the Disney films deliberately making a bunch of narrative decisions that broke series canon, and were just aimed at upsetting longtime fans in general. This resulted in Disney Thanos-snapping away a huge amount of the Star Wars earning potential, and Disney have still yet to make back the money they spent on the franchise. It is precisely this losing strategy that Tetsuya Nomura and Yoshinori Kitase appear to have adopted for the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and more specifically they seem to be doubling down on this for the second game in this open-ended series.

Subversion is what all the cool kids are doing this year.
This is fine.

This week Square Enix attended the Computer Entertainment Developers Conference (CEDEC) where they confirmed just how much of a full-blown disaster Final Fantasy VII Remake is shaping up to be!

Hamaguchi said that Director Tetsuya Nomura was very particular about the portrayal of the game’s characters and voice acting. When crafting the story, Kitase highlighted the significance of subverting player expectations satisfyingly. Considering the remake did not follow the original game’s exact structure, Kitase’s goal was to deceive players in a positive way.

Kitase also said that the upcoming title will surprise players in the same subversive way.

Yes, Square Enix are going to act contrary to fan wishes in a surprising and delightful way – so expect plenty more of Harry Potter Dementors, people surviving being crushed by heavy concrete debris, and the full resurrection of Zack (and probably Aeris)!

In what world is being seen as subversive actually a good thing?

“”Come buy our game. We will completely subvert your expectations, and you won’t actually get any of the stuff that you wanted!””

That is a rather unique sales pitch.

The game’s co-director Naoki Hamaguchi goes on to describe the changes they have made to the development team. The development team for the first remake was staffed with devs who loved the original 1997 game, yet in a wholly incestuous move Square Enix (Nomura) has made the decision to staff the development team for the second game entirely with employees who loved specifically the first Remake instalment, effectively eliminating any dissenting voices there may have previously been! No brakes on this train!

Regarding development on the sequel, Hamaguchi revealed that there was an interesting change among the internal team. Although the staff on the remake were fans of the original game, the team on the sequel enjoyed the remake and wanted to be part of the upcoming title specifically. Hamaguchi also elaborated that his goal on the sequel is to allow players to experience what the world outside of Midgar feels like.

If you want to double down on all the bad decisions made with the previous game, this is how you do it!

Naoki Hamaguchi has also confirmed that Remake 2 will not be an open world game.

Hamaguchi also stressed the importance of making Final Fantasy VII Remake story-driven. He elaborated that the game didn’t need an open world as long as the story was strong.

This is not such a big deal. Open worlds tend to be trash, and Final Fantasy XII felt like it had a fairly cohesive interconnected world despite not having an open world design. A Final Fantasy XII type map would be pretty annoying for a game of the same scope as the original Final Fantasy VII, but since the Remake is being made in tiny chunks, that does not seem like such an issue.

New Square Enix Music Releases in April

With the stunning success that was the remaster of Crystal Chronicles, it is time for Square Enix to cash-in on that gravy train with Final Fantasy: Chrystal Chronicles – Piano Collections! But seriously, Chrystal Chronicles had a fantastic soundtrack, and Square Enix piano arrangements can turn even a so-so soundtrack into an extraordinary album. It feels like an age since we have had a new Square Enix piano album, and this piano album is further notable because it is actually being performed by original composer Kumi Tanioka.

If you think about it, both of these musical releases commemorate two very disappointing game releases.
New Square Enix music releases are on their way this April!

The album will feature ten tracks, but only seven tracks have been revealed thus far:

– “Morning Sky”
– “The Village Where It Began”
– “Setting Forth”
– “The Midst of Sorrow’s Gloom”
– “Promised Grace”
– “Monster Ronde”
– “Moonless Starry Night”

The album will release on April 7 of this year, a slightly belated Easter blessing.

Moving on, slightly later on April 14th the Chrono Cross 20th anniversary concert blu-ray is getting an English release. It should be pointed out that this is something of a half-assed English release, as the menu and all dialogue during the performance will be translated into English, but the audio commentary track and documentary will not be translated. That being said, this is the sort of thing that many people could enjoy just fine without any translations whatsoever.

The concert duration is 185 minutes, and is comprised of 31 tracks:

– “Prelude to a Dream”
– “Chrono Cross: Scars of Time”
– “Dreams of the Ages”
– “The Sea of Eden”
– “The Brink of Death”
– “Arni”
– “Shore of Dreams (Another World)”
– “Fossil Valley”
– “Termina (Another World)”
– “Shadow Forest”
– “Viper Manor / Whirlwind / Victory: Call of Summer Medley”
– “Slumber”
– “Guldove”
– “Sailing (Another World)”
– “Fort Dragonia”
– “Dimension Breach: The Bend of Time”
– “The Dead Sea: Tower of Geddon”
– “Bound by Fate”
– “Etude 1 / Etude 2 / Magical Dreamers: Wind, Stars, and Waves”
– “Gaea’s Navel
– “Fates: Divine Destiny”
– “Burning Orphanage / The Girl Who Stole the Stars Medley”
– “The Frozen Flame”
– “The Dragon God”
– “The Darkness of Time / Light Cast on the Lost / Life: A Distant Promise”
– “Radical Dreamers: Le Tresor Interdit”
– “Fragments of a Dream:
– “Miraculous & Mystifying / Zelbess”
– “Sailing (Home World)”
– “Chronomantic”
– “Marbule”

The blu-ray will release as a standard edition ($56) as well as a limited edition ($116), that comes with a bunch of behind the scenes features (which are probably untranslated), along with a download voucher for Our Cerulean Skies, an album of Chrono Cross guitar arrangements:

– “Chrono Cross: Scars of Time”
– “Arni (Home World)”
– “Shore of Dreams (Another World”
– “Whirlwind”
– “Guldove (Home World)”
– “Termina (Another World)”
– “The Girl Who Stole the Stars”
– “Gaea’s Navel”
– “Bound by Fate”
– “Dragon God”
– “Reminisce: Enduring Thoughts”
– “Radical Dreamers: Le Tresor Interdit”

Yasunori Mitsuda’s Chrono Cross soundtrack is probably the greatest legendary soundtrack to have ever been composed for a bad game. April is absolutely shaping up to be something special on the game music front. It is nice to have some actually good Square Enix news to go with the abysmally bad stuff!

Gamestop and Reddit Bring Wall Street Short Sellers to their Knees

Wow. This author never expected to be praising Redditors for anything, but they have done some good here. This story is only really game industry adjacent, but one would also be remiss for not mentioning it, when it is one of the biggest things that has ever happened to Gamestop.

Short selling is a predatory practice which only ever works as a mechanism for lowering the value of companies. In theory there is no problem with the practice of short selling when investment entities are acting in isolation from one another, but in practice different hedge funds can see what one another are doing, and once a vulnerable short selling target has been selected they will swarm around them like a pack of hyenas bringing down a lion.

Whose fault is it that Melvin Capital were caught out doing something stupid?
One should never bet more than they are willing to loose!

This week Reddit’s r/wallstreetbets board managed to track down several of the companies that were being heavily shorted by a hedge fund known as Melvin Capital, the most prominent one of which was GameStop, and decided that it would be quite interesting to see what would happen if the price of this stock were to increase rather than decrease. Shorting companies is often described as making a slot machine bet that a company’s worth will decrease, but for that to be the case then surely some amount of risk must be involved, right? If a fund was making some sort of risky stock market bet, then surely they would not put all their eggs in the same basket while at the same time leaving themselves so overexposed that a single bad bet could ruin them, right? It turns out that Melvin Capital appeared to think they had a ‘sure thing’ by shorting GameStop. Wall Street certainly became angry and indignant enough to indicate that they felt that they had their ‘sure bet’ fraudulently stolen away from them by a criminal underclass of regular people.

Earlier this month GameStop shares had been languishing at around $17 per share, and Redditors worked together to bring that up to its current price of $325 per share. This was pretty much immediately enough to tank the worth of Melvin Capital by 30%, and the hedge fund has lost significant worth since then, but they are no longer willing to disclose just how much. Whatever the case is here, it would seem that the only thing keeping them open at this point was two billion dollar investments by fellow hedge funds, which allowed them to cover their exposure to this vastly inflated GameStop stock – though in doing so, they managed to drive up the price of GameStop shares even more!

Melvin Capital’s mistake, if it can be called that, was leaving footprints behind in the marketplace. Reddit users were able to identify stocks that Melvin was wagering against and then buy those en masse, unleashing a violent run-up in prices that turned Melvin’s winning bet into a loser.

So steep were the losses — about 30% through last week — that Melvin on Monday turned to billionaire hedge fund founders Ken Griffin and Steve Cohen — Plotkin’s former boss — to shore up the firm.As of Tuesday, the fund’s losses had increased even with the portfolio repositioning, though investors wouldn’t say by exactly how much for fear of angering the money manager, which they expect can still fight its way back.

It has been very intersting to see how Wall Street is willing to flip a swich and change their own rules on a dime the moment they are no longer benefitting their own elite investor class. The ironically named Robinhood app, which the majority of the Reddit investments were being made through, was very quick to shutdown the buying of GameStop stock. The app has since resumed trading a certain volume of GameStop stock, but this is only after two federal lawsuits were filed against them for market manipulation:

Robinhood purposefully, willfully, and knowingly removing the stock ‘GME’ from its trading platform in the midst of an unprecedented stock rise thereby deprived retail investors of the ability to invest in the open-market and manipulating the open-market. Since pulling the stock from their app, GME prices have gone up, depriving investors of potential gains. Additionally, in the event GME goes down, Robinhood has deprived investors of ‘shorting’ GME in the hopes the price drops. In sum, Robinhood has completely blocked retailer investors from purchasing GME for no legitimate reason, thereby depriving retailer investors from the benefits of Robinhood’s services.

Stock brokers do not shut down trading when Mom and Pop risk losing their shirt, yet the prospect of seeing a hedge fund brought low is enough to get them to reverse all of their rules and principles in order to deny normal people the same access to a free market that they themselves enjoy. This last point is probably key to why this happened in the first place; sure, shorting companies is shitty and deserves to be punished, but for the most part this investor backlash probably has more to do with people’s resentment at not being able to participate on a level playing field. Especially when governments enact so many negative policies in the name of maintaining market stability, and yet the people who are expected to bail out the markets are not allowed to participate in them equally. It makes investors seem like a completely seperate and uniquely privileged class, which is contrary to so many of America’s founding ideas.

6 comments

  1. “Come buy our game. We will completely subvert your expectations, and you won’t actually get any of the stuff that you wanted!”

    WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?

  2. I was putting words into their mouths for comedic and illustrative purposes, but I shouldn’t have done that in such a way as to have it look indistinguishable from their actual quotes.

  3. I agree and disagree on Chrono Cross. On its own its a fine game. I enjoyed it when I played it 20 years ago. The music was one of the highlights of that game. The connection to Chrono Trigger was forced and wasn’t needed. I might buy this though.
    A side note about Chono Cross. There was a gaming mag called Tip’s and Tricks that had a through guide on Chrono Cross. When I sold most of my gaming mags I kept for well over 30 years. That issue was the one I kept. I think one of the other ones was Sea-man the Dreamcast game. Such a odd game

  4. Melvin Capital are down 53% for January.

    They were shorting GameStop for 140% of their stock – which is to say shorting it for more shares than actually exist.

    Apparently what Reddit did to Melvin Capital has created a ripple effect among all short sellers, which has wiped out 3.7 trillion dollars from the market – which is about equal to the GDP of Germany.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZuKGJf1mE0

  5. Chrono Cross is not a fine game on its own.

    The story is a mess. The characters are jarringly incongruous with the world. The game’s major plot/game device, the parallel worlds, continuously shifts in terms of how it works and what it means.

    The battle system is dreadful: the whole summon mechanic is engineered to be mostly useless, with bosses that are programmed to get a free turn if you ever fill the element grid with a single colour. The star level system ensures that if a character dies during a boss fight they remain *permanently* underlevelled. And, it also ensures that normal battles are effectively almost worthless for character development.

    It has a fantastic soundtrack, a few fitting characters, and a beautiful art style–but those are ingredients, not a game.

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