Perhaps it’s the post-Gamescom fatigue I’m suffering, but this week was the first one since I started this column in which I hadn’t made a single note leading up to writing. Usually I’ve got an inbox full of emails sent to myself whenever something piques my interest during the week, and I’ll pick the most interesting of the bunch come the weekend, but this week I genuinely didn’t see anything overly major. Perhaps that’s because this week was more about game releases than news, I’m not sure. I have, of course, performed some last-minute research and found plenty of tasty morsels for your delectation, so slap on your bibs and quit banging the table with your spoon; dinner is ready.
Give Us Back Our Puddles!
Un-fucking-believable, am I right? Those absolute bastards at Insomniac STOLE puddles from us this week. Either that or they showed FAKE puddles in an E3 demo of Spider-Man a couple of years ago that are no longer in the full release of the game. This absolute disgrace of treachery and outright skulduggery was explained by the developer in response to the completely rational outcry from the ever-understanding gaming public that the graphics had definitely been downgraded to mug us all off.
Ah shit. I think my sarcasm machine just broke. I’ll try and get it fixed for the next story, just hang in there for now while I do some snark-free journalism for a few paragraphs.
Insomniac Games’ official Twitter provided probably the most succinct response possible with a tweet that, out of context, looks absolutely ridiculous. The tweet simply said “It’s just a change in puddle size, there’s no downgrade at all.” Mystery solved. Next story.
Oh wait, there’s more – Insomniac community manager James Stevenson, speaking to Gamesradar, also quelled any worries about further puddles by saying their removal “Definitely wasn’t [because of] performance, as we have spots with tons of puddles in the game with no performance issue.” You know, it’s moments like this where one truly feels vindicated for being a games writer. Spider-Man has bits with tons of puddles, just loads of ‘em, and it runs fine. The puddles will be there, Spidey will be swinging around without any performance issues and we can all just enjoy playing a video game. Oh, turns out my sarcasm machine wasn’t broken after all.
I also can’t finish this story without first giving kudos to Reddit user NINJAM7, whose comment on the above picture put everything into geographical perspective, when he said, “Clearly the water dried before release. Games take time to make.” Touché, you magnificent bastard, touché.
CD Projekt Red Hear You, but They’re Not Listening
Polish developers CD Projekt Red finally released their Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay to the public this week, and my word was it tantalizing. I don’t think I’ve been this excited for a game in years. It seems, however, that some people aren’t quite as excited as I am, as there’s been some backlash over the game’s first-person view. Personally, I think the immersion in the game’s incredible world would be hugely hampered without the first person view, and it’s pretty obvious that the game and its mechanics are heavily designed around seeing everything through the protagonist’s eyes. I’m not everybody though, so the developer had to respond to the negativity in an interview with dualshockers.
“We are firm in that decision. However, we’re very aware that a lot of people don’t like first-person, and there is a small number of people who can’t play first-person for a variety of reasons.”
According to the interview, the team are looking at ways to make the game more palatable for those who will struggle with the viewpoint – offering “difficulty and sensibility options” to make things less intense for the few that will struggle to adapt and enjoy the game fully as is. Obviously, this wouldn’t be the games industry if the customer didn’t decide en masse via social media that it knows best, but kudos to CDPR for telling them all to stick it in their inhaler and…inhale it. The developer has earned their stripes in showing they know how to build an open world and get the best out of it, and Cyberpunk 2077, for me, looks like it’ll only enhance that reputation. It can’t come soon enough.
SEGA is Asking the Easy Questions
Rather than telling the consumer what their decision is, SEGA has gone the opposite route this week, and has asked gamers, via a Yakuza Kiwami 2 feedback survey, if they want to see more of the series. The answer, unless you’re some kind of miserable, buzz-killing bastard, is “YES, NEVER STOP GIVING ME THE YAKUZA GOODNESS.” Obviously.
See, I may bring you the news to wash away (or sometimes enhance) the blues, but I didn’t actually realize that the PS4 remakes of Yakuza 3, 4 and 5 aren’t currently planned for outside of Japan. Now, I do actually own those three on PS3 but, you know…graphics and that. I want them all on the one machine, all in shiny full HD – surely we all do. And I want Yakuza 7, even though I’ve not even played 6 yet.
Perhaps it’s this kind of confliction that has seen SEGA understandably cautious about when and if they release the titles for the west, and the survey touches on that – asking how long players need in between releases. Which, personally, I find adorable. “Are you ready for the next one yet?” They would definitely be wise to stagger the releases a little more than they have with Yakuza 0, 6, Kiwami and Kiwami 2, as it’s becoming a little overwhelming to try and fit all these massive games around everything else in the games world, but they’re definitely in demand in the west.
The survey is still available here, so if you’re a fan of this brilliant series, then you need to go and make sure SEGA knows you are. Tell them you want more remakes, more new releases and more spinoffs. Just tell them you love the series (it’s one of the options). Do it for me. Do it for Kiryu.
EA Finally do a Good Thing Because of a Really Bad Thing
Ok, I’ll preface this by letting y’all know that I’m going to try and keep this a politics-free as possible. It probably won’t surprise any American readers that the British view of US gun laws is decidedly negative, and I find it overwhelmingly unfathomable just why this kind of thing keeps happening. The most recent example of some waste of semen destroying the lives of innocent people happened last week during a Madden tournament in Jacksonville.
It sent shockwaves around the entire world, but particularly that of the gaming sphere, as there really hadn’t been any incidents of this in regards to our beloved medium. This instance was actually just the world’s worst case of being a sore loser, as some despicable shit stain threw his toys of out the proverbial pram in horrific, murderous fashion. In the wake of this tragedy, EA have done more than send thoughts and prayers and are donating $1 million to the victims of the shooting.
Of course, money can never return the victims to their loved ones, but it’s a great gesture by the publisher once voted worst company in the world. The donation was made through a GoFundMe page that anyone can donate to right here. The company has also scheduled a Jacksonville Tribute Livestream for September 6th. EA CEO Andrew Wilson also released a statement to show support, condemn the horrific event and pay tribute to the competitors who lost their lives.
EA may suck massively as a games publisher but, as unfortunate as it is, tragedy seems to unite people more than almost anything else, so credit where it’s due – EA has done everything right here. Hopefully more can be done in future to make games events safer than they clearly were up to this point.
Street of Rage 4 is a Real Thing
Turns out if you really want something old to be redone again, get DotEmu involved with it. The company, probably most famous for their remaster of classic arcade sports title Windjammers, is now putting its publishing hand into the Streets of Rage honeypot, with this week’s announcement of a fourth entry in the series. It’s the first SoR title to be released in over two decades, and has left many people slightly unsure of what exactly we can expect.
The side-scrolling brawler genre is not one that has stood the test of time all that well. In fact, the best brawler released in the last decade, Scott Pilgrim gsdh dfghdfa, isn’t even available to purchase anymore. If there is one title sure to set nostalgia glands dripping, it’s Streets of Rage. Or Final Fight, but in this case it’s definitely Streets of Rage.
A trailer was released this week very much in the current style of how DotEmu does things, full of bright colours, hand-drawn cartoon art and decidedly not full of much in the way of gameplay footage. The small amount seen appears to be pretty much as you expect – a smooth and modernized cartoon-version of a classic title. SEGA, the original publishers of the franchise, are noticeably not involved at all – in case you hadn’t noticed the fact that they stopped caring about Streets of Rage decades ago – so it’ll be very interesting to see how this game feels.
DotEmu are already showing that they know how to reverse-engineer classic titles with Windjammers 2, and that game feels exactly right in terms of its relation to the original, so I have no doubt that Streets of Rage 4 will play well. Perhaps the deal-break is really whether a title like that has enough substance, and doesn’t look and sound too different to what veterans would want, to be relevant in 2018.
Right, that’ll do for this week. I’m off to keep preparing my Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 review and play retro games for this week’s Not Red E Podcast. Sorry for the delay in this week’s article, and I’ll see you in seve…six.