The Wednesday letters page is still surprised that PlayStation Showcase was such a disappointment, as one reader has a suggestion for Gollum.
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Made in America
Interesting to see the Xbox failures laid out so starkly by that European Commission report. I had no idea things were quite that bad and I thought that the Xbox was starting to eat into the PlayStation 5’s 2:1 lead, but apparently not – and those were actual official figures too.
The news made me think about a Reader’s Feature from a couple of years back, which basically said that the Xbox needs to stop being so American. I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time, but I think this is the fundamental problem. Everything about Xbox makes it seem like a console that is solely made for and aimed at Americans, and if you don’t have similar interests then it’s not for you.
All these years and all these billions of dollars later and they still don’t have a single high profile game made by someone not from either North America or the UK. And yet little Hi-Fi Rush, a Japanese made game (that somehow seems less Japanese than usual) is the best thing they’ve published in years.
It isn’t just Japan though. Microsoft has to do much, much more to promote themselves in other countries and get developers from other countries making games for them. This isn’t a new problem and yet nothing ever seems to be done about it or even attempted. Diversify your studios a bit and maybe you wouldn’t have to spend $69 billion buying the (American) developer of Call Of Duty.
Same old story
Nice review of Street Fighter 6, GC. Sounds like Capcom has done everything right this time and I’m happy to reward that as soon as I get the chance. I’ve always liked the series, at least to some degree, but I know just what you mean about the characters… not really being characters.
I know what their personalities are mean to be according to the lore, and they have tons of character in their animations, but the second you start trying to tell a story with them it just doesn’t work. My first thought is that it’s because their designs are so wacky but really, most of them aren’t that weird. They’re just people in sporty looking gear.
Whatever is going on though you just don’t seem to be able to tell a story with them. Oddly the only exceptions are the 90s animated movie and the Assassin’s First fan film. I’d say you should get whoever wrote those to do the games but I have a feeling it still wouldn’t work properly.
Although I tried Street Fighter 4 and 5, and came away from both somewhat defeated, Street Fighter 6 is the game I’ve been looking forward to the most this year. It’s great to hear from the review that both the tutorials and single-player content are good enough to teach you the mechanics, as most games fall flat at such an obvious and integral feature.
However, one thing I think I missed from the review is the difference between classic and modern controls. I bought a fight stick a couple years ago as I can nail quarter-circle movements with this more often than not. Should I stick to using this or are modern controls putting these players at an advantage over classic by simplifying the control input?
GC: Classic controls definitely give you more flexibility if you can handle them and memorise the moves. It sounds like you should stick with Classic, especially given the tutorials are so good.
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Worth the wait
Interesting to see Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart get a PC release and it following the time plan Jim Ryan has said, of two years after the console release being an acceptable wait for PC players. I agree and although I will not be buying new hardware for many years I can see my next hardware purchase being a PC and dropping consoles, as it doesn’t look like it means missing out on many Sony exclusives now. But I’ll wait and see until the end of the generation if that’s the case.
I’m still to play the game but it’s on PS Plus Extra. Sony has a Days of Play sale starting on the 2nd of June where Extra will be 25% off, making it roughly £64 for a year. You can use discounted ShopTo PSN store vouchers and that goes down to about £58 for the year. Rift Apart and Humanity both look great, so I think at that price I’ll pick a year up.
All tech, all the time
Late to the party and should have got it in for the Hot Topic.
I have two big tellies (loft and living room), a smaller telly in my bedroom, and a projector. Between these I have an OG Xbox for each screen. I have two Xbox One S, Xbox Series S and an X; plus a Wii and Wii U, which are spread between them.
Add on a Classic Mini SNES and Neo-Geo Mini, which get moved around (always leave a spare HDMI for this).
That it is as well as a standard Switch, and two Switch Lites for my kids.
I also have two pretty decent spec i5 SFF PCs that mount on the back of a monitor.
Plus, a variety of dodgy emulator handhelds.
For me, I always took the approach of put as much tech everywhere as possible.
So I’m an absolute gamer at soul and at heart but my tastes, like my age, have changed and I’ve found myself still clamouring for what PlayStation has to offer, more so than Nintendo and, especially, the frequently disappointing Xbox.
The cold bitter truth is that we will not be seeing a golden age as the Xbox 360 offered us. I haven’t had the opportunity to switch on my Xbox Series S in weeks and soon to be months. The irony is that I see myself switching it on due to a company that may have lost its way: Bethesda.
Starfield is due to release late 2023. But it’s a massive gamble and I found myself especially disappointed with Fallout 4, after a recent playthrough. I used to enjoy it but it’s absolutely a dreadful role-playing game. If you can even call it that, since choices couldn’t matter less than Duke Nukem’s future.
If I’m being honest though, only one game is keeping my hands on that Xbox Series S. The one game that is leaving me with anticipation and excitement but an abyss of thoughts to ponder and mull over: The Elder Scrolls 6. Let it truly be Skyrim’s successor.
I’ve seen a lot of people saying that no one was asking for a Gollum game and that it was a bit of a stupid game to make in the first place, but I couldn’t disagree more. I just think they got the scale and genre all wrong.
I think a much smaller scale side scrolling puzzle platformer along to Inside could have made a great Gollum game with maybe a hint of stealth too. Could have had a really unique art style too. Sure, it might not sell gangbusters but I suspect it would end up selling better than the one we’ve got.
Now playing: Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom (Switch)
First of all, apologies for the long rant but that thoroughly underwhelming PlayStation Showcase hammered home just how much I feel that the now defunct/significantly downsized (?) Japan Studio would’ve been a revitalising creative force in Sony’s corner, had their diminishing restructuring not transpired.
And Sony’s continual disregard for sprucing up Bloodborne, when they were so quick to provide lesser games (in my opinion) like Horizon Zero Dawn, the Uncharteds, Days Gone, Spider-Man, and God Of War with PlayStation 5 upgrades is beyond perplexing at this point. This masterpiece deserves so much better.
During their PlayStation 1, 2, and 3 generations Sony’s Japanese gaming divisions had consistently done a wonderful job at injecting innovation, charm and, most importantly, diversity and an unquestionably Japanese identity to the PlayStations’ library of exclusives. They were almost like Nintendo in their game-making ethos, for thinking out of the box and prioritising fun and creativity above all else.
For me personally, Sony’s first party Japanese devs really were the creative heart of the operation back in those days. I mean, Sony Japan Studio’s résumé speaks for itself and was the antithesis of the increasingly more homogenised, narrative focused AAA Western productions that Sony are seemingly obsessed with these days.
Just look at the impressive variety in this list of some of Japan Studio’s accomplishments since the PS1 days: Ape Escapes, The Legend Of Dragoon, Pa Rappa The Rapper, Um Jammer Lammy, Arc The Lad, Philosoma, Rapid Reload, Jumping Flash, Wild Arms, I.Q Intelligent Cube, Everybody’s Golf, Devil Dice, Vib Ribbon, Fantavision, Dark Cloud, Sky Odyssey, Loco Rocco, Patapon, Echochrome, Tokyo Jungle, Rain, Puppeteer, the Gravity Rushes, Siren, Forbidden Siren, ICO, Shadow Of The Colossus, The Last Guardian. And the devs also played a supervisory role in the developments of Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne.
I enjoyed the Spider-Man games, more so the leaner and punchier Miles Morales, but watching that Spider-Man 2 game play left me a little cold, to be honest. I have no doubt it’ll technically be a sound game but judging by the footage the gameplay doesn’t seem to evolve the formula in any meaningful, substantial way and that jet ski action sequence encapsulated the cinematic, semi interactive excesses that I would like to see Sony move away from a little.
And this inexplicable focus on live service/multiplayer shooters is rather depressing and the complete opposite of the sort of exciting next gen potential Astro’s Playroom gave gamers a glimpse of back in late 2020 – which for my money is still the best PlayStation 5 exclusive alongside Returnal, and to an extent Demon’s Souls remake (technically a PlayStation 3 game).
I found it pretty amusing and ironic how arguably the best game shown at Sony’s showcase, The Plucky Squire, was an exceedingly charming and creative looking indie adventure game that kind of reminded me of Japan Studio’s Puppeteer for some reason.
GC: Japan Studio no longer exists. Parts of it were absorbed into Team Asobi, who make Astro Bot, and other teams but Sony no longer has a Japanese studio of the same size and scope.
I would dispute the idea that Cyberpunk 2077 has rejuvenated CD Projekt’s reputation. I won’t trust the an inch when it comes to the next Witcher game, until I know it’s working 100% bug free.
I forgot Microsoft even bought Double Fine. It was quite a while ago too and they’ve announced nothing. Why does this keep happening? These developers must be loving it though: get bought for billions, end up not having to make anything in return.
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