Saturday, June 23, 2012

Filly's Weekly Highlights: June 17 - 23

Well, I decided I'd do this thing where I give a rundown of my personal highlights every week, and offer my humble two cents.

New Releases:  Pokémon Conquest; Quantum Conundrum (PC)

Anarchy Reigns Delayed to Q1 2013; PlatinumGames is the Last to Know

SEGA took it upon themselves to announce yet another delay for the Western release of the upcoming MMOB, Anarchy Reigns, much to my dismay.  I've not had a new taste of my favorite company's work since Vanquish.  This is a problem.  It's not too terribly surprising, given the news from this past Spring that the publisher is struggling.  The weird part in all of this is that apparently, no one bothered to tell developer PlatinumGames first; producer Inaba apologized to fans on Twitter, and stated that the delay "is not due to further development on the game."

I'm just glad that Platinum seems to be shifting toward a partnership with Nintendo after making five games for SEGA, who is clearly feeling the pressure.  I think Nintendo's unique hardware (e.g., the WiiU Game Pad) will provide new opportunities for the studio's brilliant minds to realize their visions moving forward.  Anarchy Reigns is still on track for its Japanese debut on July 5.  JP Kellams tweeted, "Japanese X360 Max Anarchy is region free. However, it is for sale and use in Japan only. We can't endorse/support imports."  I'm not sure whether or not that's the developers' way of "wink-wink, nudge-nudge"ing those looking to play the game now.

Gamers Talk About Misogyny in Video Games - For Better or Worse

This week, gamers, journalists, developers and critics were all talking about portrayals of women in video games.  Between questions of objectification in Lollipop Chainsaw, an "attempted rape scene or not attempted rape scene" controversy in Tomb Raider, sexist game PR and promotion, and the deplorable backlash felt by Anita Sarkeesian, this week felt like a Twilight Zone episode, where virtually everyone seemed to be talking about women in video game culture.  JP Kellams of PlatinumGames also wrote his own piece for 1UP regarding gaming and feminist film theory.  I'd love to say, as a feminist, that the sudden attention toward sexism in the gaming is a positive step forward--but truthfully, the quality of the conversations that were had leaves a lot to be desired.  Gamers still have a lot of maturing to do before meaningful and informed discussion on women and the female body can happen.

360 - Summer of Arcade 2012 Details

The month of July is almost upon us, and that means one thing for XBLA:  the annual Summer of Arcade promotion.  If you buy three of them, you'll get a 400 MS Point rebate.  At E3, we learned which games would be included this year, and this week, we were given dates and prices.
  • July 18:  Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD (1200 MSP)
  • July 25:  Wreckateer (800 MSP)
  • Aug. 1:  Deadlight (1200 MSP)
  • Aug. 8:  Hybrid (1200 MSP)
  • Aug. 15:  Dust: An Elysian Tail (1200 MSP)
I'm quite looking forward to the two "D"s, which both look like excellent, yet very different, 2D games.  Deadlight invokes many "Limbo meets Shadow Complex" observations, and Dust should be a fun and visually stunning hack-n-slash.  Hybrid is interesting, too, because it almost reminds me of a third-person, cover-based version of Halo.  Siliconera described it as a "multiplayer Vanquish."  It could be good, but new multiplayer shooters tend to struggle to maintain an active community--especially those on XBLA.  The jury is still out on that one.

PS3 - Rereleases, Rereleases Everywhere

Okami HD was confirmed this week, complete with PS Move Support. Also announced was a compilation of artsy developer thatgamecompany's three games to date--flOw, Flower, and Journey--on one disc. This comes in light of the recent news that TGC is moving on to fully independent, and consequently multiplatform, development.

Nintendo Direct Talks 3DS and Smash Bros.
On Thursday evening, the various Nintendo divisions broadcasted their Nintendo Direct stints to make some "announcements."  Some of it was even brand new information.  Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime kicked things off by showing us the upcoming 3DS XL; this comes about a week after Miyamoto answered questions of a remodel with, "I'm satisfied with the 3DS hardware as it is." Kinda scummy, even if this was nevertheless predictable. I'm in the apparent minority that thinks the 3DS doesn't need a revision, but that's a rant for another time and place.

Aside from the 3DS remodel, Kirby's Dream Collection, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 each got some coverage.  Nintendo of America finally acknowledged the existence of Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, and announced a November 2012 release date.  Rhythm Thief and Fire Emblem got passing mentions; the former will be out next month, and the latter in 2013.  Japan's show was much more robust, lasting around 45 minutes and covering all of the above, plus Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, Project X Zone, and Animal Crossing 3DS.
By far the most interesting news, however, was the fact that Namco Bandai and their Tales team will be developing the next Smash Bros. game under Sakurai's supervision.  Not only do these people know a thing or two about fun, beat-'em-up, free-for-all combat, but this could have interesting implications for the Tales series.  First, I'd be surprised if they didn't slip in a couple of their own characters in there; possibly Luke or Asch from Tales of the Abyss, which came out on the 3DS.  Or maybe Vesperia's Yuri and Estelle--an advertising opportunity for not only the Tales franchise, but also for Project X Zone, whose localization prospects currently appear low.

Finally, could their participation in Smash Bros. mean a better chance of an all-new Tales game on the WiiU or 3DS?  The optimist in me (softspoken as she may be) says... yes!

What were your highs and lows for the week?

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