Masaya site updated

Well shit. Not only there’s gonna be a Langrisser game for 3DS, but there’s going to be an Assault Suit Leynos remake for the PS4. I guess this has been out for some time now, but hell if I’m following PS4 news. The original game was known as Target Earth in the West for the MegaDrive/Genesis, and the series is better known for its Super NES sequel Assault Suit Valken, or Cybernator. You know what Valken has in common with Langrisser outside the developers? The illustrator.

Awww yeah
Awww yeah, that’s the stuff

The one thing that bothers me with the Leynos gameplay is that it looks a bit too similar to the original, and Leynos’ gameplay isn’t the best. Most of it has to do with the stage designs, but in proper hands this remake should be able to get around such problems. Promising is that the developer of Gunhound, Dracue, has their hands on it. Well, it’s not the fame that counts, but the end result.

If you check all games’ title section, you can see that they’ve released pretty much every Masaya game out there for the Wii VC and PSN. The Japanese PC games ever are listed under Project Egg.

But what we want to do now is to turn our eyes on the Langrisser site.

Nothing special is there, a generic background music and basic info proudly stating the past games of Langrisser, including Millennium, and how the series has sold 100 million copies as a whole, a thing that is not really to celebrate. We could call this New Langrisser based on the splash info, and it is more than clear that they want to have faith in this game and resurrect Langrisser for the new generation and further its place as one of games everyone knows.

If you want to make Langrisser more mainstream, the fanscervice designs would need to be made into something more practical.

Nothing too different from the previous systems is revealed at this point. Generals’ range of influence over troops, turn based fights and drama events depending on situations. Character Class system seems to return and player is able to influence the final result of the characters’ classes, as per Langrisser standard. I guess it’s needless to separately say that each class has advantages and disadvantages.

All in all, sounds like a standard Langrisser game. I honestly expected a lot more. Sure, we get the same three factions Langrisser Schwarz played around with; Light, here translated as Brightness for whatever reason, Imperial and Darkness. What we’re going to get is a three-way battle with the Church of Lushiris, which has built an army to rebel against the Imperial forces.

Imperials are naturally have a powerful military and have conquered most of the continent with their flying fortress, the Ark, which is a relic from an ancient civilization. The Imperials seems to have set railways too and govern many nations with their artillery trains. Sounds a bit generic, and I can’t say Langrisser hasn’t dabbled with ancient super technology before, but this all sounds a bit steampunk.

The Darkness are outcasts, people who do not stand with the Light or the Empire. They are persecuted people carry their own special powers. Prince of Darkness Bözel leads their way.

Well, it seems we’re either going to get Langrisser, the sword itself, back at some point and Alhazard could be carried by Bözel.

OUR HEROES; Erim, Aris (or is it Alice?), Toku and Rozaria

The four heroes we’ve seen. Or will get. There’s nothing much we can actually say about them outside that Toku’s katana looks really out of place. Erim looks like your generic everyday chemist/alchemic, or some sort of warrior-priest-in-training. Let me guess; she’s Aris’ little sister, and he finds the holy sword Excalibur and goes against the Imperial forces. Rozaria joins Toku with some fanservice design, but whatever reason only Aris has a look of slight overdesign. I’m sorry, I keep comparing the designs to Urushihara, which should not be done. Anyways, both Toku and Rozaria follwo the true and tested fanaservice route of armours, but I’d wish they had something else than low-cut panties, thou I fully embrace the thigh highs. Technically not too shabby at all, and as this is a reboot for Langrisser these characters and designs need to be taken as their own.

And because this is a reboot it is also completely applicable to make comparisons to the original Langrisser.

Whenever we get a gameplay trailer out, we’ll get some more coherent and information on how the game will look in motion. Few still pictures amount of absolutely nothing, thou I do have to say that it looks somewhat loyal to the general view of classic Langrisser. I expected to see some sort of trailer today, but alas, they didn’t want to make my yearly day any more special.

The next gen looks grim when it comes to games

The founder of the original Xbox project has some decent insight when it comes to Microsoft’s strange aims for the next generation. Seeing that Microsoft thinks that HDD, Blu-ray format and extremely draconian DRM that would not allow second-hand games is a bunch of good ideas, I have to wonder why they want to be in the console business at all.

Having a console that’s always online is a very, very stupid idea. Now all people are connected to the Internet even during these modern days, and this automatically shuts out a certain portion of the customers that might be willing to purchase your ‘box. The second is that I’m pretty sure this won’t stop a certain group of people from making their modifications to get surround the limitation. The same can be said of the second-hand games, a block that is completely unnecessary and stupid. This shows how much both hardware and software developers are afraid of the current market. They are not making enough profit on barely mediocre games that they need to force people to buy them new. If you want people to buy your games new rather than second hand, then make sacrifices; make them good again with smaller budget and drop the price of the game. God forbid people from making proper business decisions.

BD is a sensible solution. While the media has very little impact on the quality of the game itself (a lot of developers just want to have everything uncompressed on the disc rather than trying to fill it with content that isn’t DLC), thou it will give SONY some royalties. This is just one limitation less that developers have to think of, which is sad as best products, be it comics, films, music or games, have always been produced under a set of limitations.

But forced Kinect? Does Microsoft not realize that Kinect has been mismanaged and there are one or two games that use it to some successful extent. Forcing it on developers is a wrong way to limit the developers, but it can yield interesting and surprising results. Yet, seeing that all this time there only dance games have been utilising Kinect decently, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Nintendo always forces their own gimmicks on the developers to an extent, like the 3D screen, but most of the times what they do with the gimmick is pretty open. NES era allowed the developers to create and use their own controllers with the game if they so choose. This was successful move, and the Wii followed suit to a point with the port at Wii controller’s end. Both PS3 and X360 offer very little when it comes to controller variety, and very few games take advantage of these selected few. Arcade controllers are perhaps the most common secondary controller again in a long time, and those are exclusively used by the fighting game community.

There are also few reports that Microsoft is going to emphasize other services than games as is SONY. There’s a really damn good question why you would want to direct your customer to another service where you lose profits. Having a service of TV and films will give the customer and option to NOT use your intended service, which should be the games. I need to emphasize the should part, as it seems that both MS and SONY seem to think that doing an all encompassing multimedia force of extraordinary magnitude will sell like hotcakes. Just like in military, a unit that is made for too many tasks will usually fail. Same with game consoles. Make them be the centre of all your home media, and you’ll fail. None of the consoles I’ve used have been decent media players outside the original PlayStation. Even PS3, at one point the best option for a BD player, kinda sucks at it. There are better choices for all your playback needs, so having one mediocre machine doing it all is going backwards. Then if you own two or more consoles, you get more players and in the end you might end up owning around seven DVD players without a notice, and you only use one.

The current Xbox is not without its problems as well, as the original founder points out. All of these problems are because of poor design from the get-go. Anyone with a working view on design will instantly tell you that all current console GUIs are more or less horribly designed both in usability and in visuals. Useless and stupid warning messages are their smallest problem. The biggest problem with Xbox dashboards have always been that they have no real cohesion and are all over the place. Why do I need to navigate music and films on a damn games console?

I still do disagree with the notion that consoles are competing with tablet devices. However, seeing that most console games nowadays are nothing but computer games adjusted for consoles I can agree that games themselves are doing the competition because the markets have been mixed far too much for their own good. I’m seeing Duke Nukem Forever for 360 going for 8€, but I’m refusing to buy it because it’s a PC game. I do not want to play PC game on a console. There’s a reason why Command & Conquer games work better on PCs.

I was called by a salesclerk today about my Internet and other connection related stuff. He told me that they had a promotion for their customers, where they would be able to purchase a tablet computer for specially low price. Before he got his sales pitch at full force, I declined the offer. He naturally inquired why, and few of my friends began to gaze as I started listing things that are universally wrong with the tablet design from lack of tactile touch to gorilla arms. Besides, tablets are getting outdated faster than conventional laptops at this point. Size is not a problem either, as ultra-thing laptops are everywhere and most likely have longer battery life to boot.

It’s sad to think that companies have decided to get into the fight with every form of entertainment out there and losing in it, while specializing in games is left in the shadows. Without proper priorities from the game hardware and software companies these consoles will crash and burn, and the industry at large will die.

Sony’s next PlayStation will be… a home entertainment system?

Now this is just hilarious if true. Ever since consoles have been able to play music CDs, they’ve been a step closer to a home media centre. PS2 was a step closer to this with DVD playback, and the 360 and PS3 are nothing but home entertainment gadgets that also happen to play games. Funny thing is that PSX is a home entertainment system already, so SONY’s basically just taking an old mould that never took off and tries to rebrand it with new bells and whistles.

And you thought I was talking about the PSOne, weren't you?
And you thought I was talking about the PSOne, weren’t you?

For the sake of Southern Cross, if this is true then SONY’s in deep trouble. You don’t bring anything new to the table by changing the hardware, you make the difference with software.

SONY also seems to think that it’s 2008, when Facebook was the biggest hit on the Internet. Sharing in-game pictures and video among your friends adds nothing to the game or gameplay. The more SONY tries to implement these elements into the console, the further away they manage to put themselves in regards of what customers are seeking.

Why is it so hard to make a game console a damn game console? Taking away all this excess bloat of various kinds of media players and everything else that has no impact on the game part of a game console would mean that your console would be cheaper, which would also lead into more sales, which would lead into more revenue. Of course you need some good games to support the machine, in which SONY itself fails at.

Then the rumoured control methods. PlayStation Move and Kinect failed because both of them lacked good games that used them to their full extent, and because both SONY and MS missed what made the Wii a hit. Hint; it wasn’t the controls, it was games that used the controls. Making a game based around jumping like a monkey on LSD and waving your wand around like a mental patient never yielded good gameplay.

All of this is so stupid. I’m expecting the worst when SONY reveals PS4 information later this month. I wish they’d call it the PSXMk2 and the real revelation is that they continue to support the PS3 another five years.

Let’s take a look at E3

I’ve been quite busy lately with all sorts of work from crafts to writing. I wasn’t on the E3 train like I’ve been in the past, and perhaps it was for the better. Let’s take a look at the Big Three and their presentations.

However, let’s take a look at the E3 2006. The Wii was unveiled, YouTube: Kaz Hirai and Giant Enemy Crab became an instant meme, and Microsoft had something that nobody remembers. Nintendo’s stocks took an uplift after Wii’s unveiling and it divided opinions. The Wii created interest that made forums and messaging boards burn with fire. 2006 was a great year for gaming, the like we haven’t seen since the NES was brought to the West.

So, can 2012 hold up against 2006? Let’s start with the Microsoft presentation.

It was an unsurprising event that MS began with a Halo showcase, and this is a strong beginning; showcasing live gameplay without interruptions is always a good thing. It looks nice and dandy, and I’d love to play this game… on a PC with keyboard and mouse combination. While I’m not too informed of Halo story, I do know enough to tell you that the introduction of Forerunners wasn’t the most interesting move. It was expected, but they did it. It’s nothing from me, I’ve never bought Halo before, and most likely I never will.

When the MS representative steps in, he begins with propaganda without anything to back up his statements. While I have not followed the last years sales, I have hard time to believe that the 360 would be outselling either the DS or the Wii. Indeed, after a quick check we can see that in 2011 the 360 had a four percent growth, while the Wii had an eleven percent decrease. Still, the 360 and PS3 were selling less than Wii in total.

The new Splinter Cell looks like a… like an uninteresting piece. Why has the camera shake like that? Is the Kinect support necessary? Co-Op sounds good, but the game looks clunky.

And then EA rep steps in with sports. Sports games are a driving force, especially in the West, but there’s nothing of interest here either. If you’ve played any of EA’s sports games during the last decade, you know the drill. The same lack of interest continues with the new Fable showcase.

A new MS rep steps on the stage while proclaiming that 2012/2013 will be the best year for the 360. Why? Because we’re getting sequels upon sequels released on the system with little variety? Shouldn’t every year be a great year for a console? Oh yeah, I forgot. The developers do not like creating good games all the time, just games they are interested in. Sorry, my bad.

Forza Horizon looks nice, but where’s the gameplay?

Then comes the hammer; the next representative start babbling about other entertainment on your console. It’s never good idea to give access to your rivals. This is a showcase what a dumbed down PC can do, not what a video game console can do. People buy your console to play games on them, and if you do not provide games, people will end up using these other services that are ultimately out of your pocket. The music showcase was horrible on many levels as well.

This begs a question; why is Microsoft concentrating putting all these functions on 360 rather than on Windows, the thing that makes money? They could have an insanely well balanced dual support between PC and 360, much like Nintendo has between it’s home console and handheld consoles.

The Nike part was boring, but technologically interesting.

At this point we’re 45 minutes in, and I have no feeling to continue onwards. The showcase has changed from console showcase to personal computer technology showcase. They’re also playing into the hip crowd with Game of Thrones and the like. Later on we see Resident Evil 6 and another Call of Duty and the like.

What Microsoft’s event lacked was interest. There were one or two moments in the beginning and in latter half that makes you ask Why can’t this be on PC? HD gaming is present, and because of that everything else is lacking. All the games showcased were dumbed down PC games which will sell to a certain crowd, but only Halo will keep selling any hardware. I have to ask if Halo would sell better if it was on PC rather than on 360. Every game here tries to aim for a movie like experience and affect how we play rather than what we play, the same problem that both Sony and Nintendo share.

Speaking of Sony, let’s check their event next.
Sony decided to go with trailer showcase with uninspiring music. This lasts solid four minutes, where I was already making tea and taking some crackers. Disinterest quickly sank in. Much Microsoft’s starting words, Sony’s representative begins talking about the true heroes of the industry; the gamers. This man knows how to talk and how to complement people as scripted. However, if the customers are so important to Sony, why are they still sinking in the Red Ocean and are unwilling to listen what their customers want?

When Heavy Rain developer stepped on the stage, I had shake my head. Interactive storytelling is does not equal gaming or vice versa. Storytelling may be part of video games, but storytelling has always been driving force in computer gaming. These people do not know what makes a good game. The most important thing they have to reveal is the voice actor. What they continue to show is not a game, but a CGI movie. This should be the point where people again realize that the PS3 is not a game console, but the same kind of dumbed down PC as the 360.

Then, PlayStation All-Star Battle Royale. I have to wonder what forums do these people browse if they haven’t had anything but positive feedback. Nobody addressed the elephant in the room, which is the fact that this game is almost 1:1 carbon copy of the Super Smash Bros. series. Even the HUD during gameplay is nearly identical. This is like grayer and grittier version of Smash Bros., but not any better. The Hydra’s barely do anything but hang in the background majority of the match.

Only 80% of all PS3s and and Vitas are connected to the PSN. I say only, as this is a problem for Sony. I believe even less Wiis are connected to Nintendo’s network, but the amount of trust Sony has put on their network is stupidly insane. However, I do not trust these numbers, as there was large amount of people who disconnected their PS3 from the network because of the security issues.

PSVita’s getting the same kind of treatment with video and music services as the 360 and PS3 has had for some time. Vita’s becoming more and more like a smartphone rather than a handheld console, which will be reflected in its lack of sales. We’ll come to this point after we’ve taken a look at Nintendo’s event.

Now this is funny; 45 minutes in and I’m feeling of skipping things again. We do know how Assassin’s Creed already works, and we do know how Farcry works. It’s good to see some actual gameplay on-stage, but their showcase is uninteresting. I do have to admit, that the idea of playing as a pirate woman was interesting, but the Assassin’s Creed setting put me off.

Sony’s Wonderbook was… a surprise. It’s a neat idea that I’d expect Nintendo to pull off, but this isn’t a game. As the representative himself says; interactive books. One could call them as visual novels, no? However, a lot of people has thought the same thing as I; if I were to read a book, I’d read a goddamn book rather than boot up my PS3 to “experience” it. Augmented Reality has far more better uses outside this kind of… toying.

PlayStation phones. Let ask you a question; do you play dedicately on your phone? hTC is a good manufacturer for sure, but why would Sony want to divide their attention from handheld gaming to smartphone gaming (which is just another form of PC gaming)? It looks like Sony’s spreading their resources rather thin.

It just might be me, but the God of War showcase was cartoony with over the top motions I’d expect to see in a WB cartoon. It also looks very much same to the Splinter Cell demo in MS’s event, except the setting was naturally different. From this I noticed that HD gaming, while it may look better, sharper and all that, but it also makes all games look dull, uninspired and lacks the same touches non-HD gaming has. It makes games look less interesting.
And oh, the fire special effects looked bad, even if this was just a beta of some HD game.

While the new God of War indeed was a nice showcase for those who enjoy QTEs and PC hack-n-slash, The Last of Us was that peaked my interest in the while event. The Last of Us looks freeroam and explorable game, but at the same time I’d love to believe that it keeps the lines tight. However, the human monsters, which just are damn zombies with different appearance, put me completely off. Objectively this the Last of Us might sell decently, but I have hard time to see this as a system seller; it’s still a PC game at heart.

Talking about system sellers, Nintendo started with a game that never moved any systems; Pikmin. There’s nothing interesting here, so let’s move along.

WiiU Gamepad, which I will continue calling Tablet controller, is a threat to the 3DS. It’s part of the unfocused gaming, which many people confuse with “casual” playing. I used my DS and GBA to play games while doing other things, like writing reports and watching TV. The Tablet controller can replace this as it shouldn’t be dependant on the TV in most cases. If I had a WiiU, I’d be using that to play Super Mario 6 while designing a new chair or the like. I would have no use for 3DS for this.

Another point that we have to think about the Tablet controller is that it is symmetrical in design. This should enforce the way controllers used to be, and I hope this will also be used in such way that the controls will utilize the D-pad before the stick. The more we analyse the Tablet controller, the more we can see good points in it. Naturally, the low battery life is a factor, but we also have to notice another point with WiiU and the controllers; you do not need to buy new controllers abundant if you already had four Wiimotes. You might need to buy one extra Tablet, but that’s that. It saves money from both the developers and customers’ pockets.

Now, if Nintendo has always heard fans voices to have a new Mario game in the launch of a new console, why didn’t Nintendo have a new Mario game with the GameBoy Advance, with the GameCube, with DS or Wii or with the 3DS? Because at then Nintendo was lead by artists, but now the business side of Nintendo is forcing them to make a good decision. The musics are still horrible thou.

Nintendo’s trying to gather a strong launch lineup for the WiiU, but at the moment its weak. If we take a look at SNES’ lineup, it was much stronger, but after Super Mario World it took Donkey Kong Country to make the console move again. At the moment WiiU is lacking games that will create momentum. We see ports and few exclusives that nobody gives a damn about, like Alien; Colonial Marine, which also is a PC game.

3DS’ upcoming Mario game is a Wario game. There’s nothing more to add to this. I said that this is the fastest and least budgeted Mario game from Nintendo to date, and this just proves it.

Nintendo Land. Honestly, I don’t know what to say about this. If it is a continuation of Nintendo’s WiiSports, then it’s a good piece of software. WiiSports was one of the moving forces on the Wii, but Nintendo never took advantages of ‘Sports, and Nintendo Land continues this mindset.

After these three videos, I’m still a refusing customer for Microsoft. They have nothing of interest for me, but in general their event was plagued of disinterest. Sony got me interested in one game, but then threw zombies at me. At least they got me to shake my head and wonder why the hell is this company still producing games. Well, looking at how their financial status is, this might not continue for long. Nintendo didn’t convince me either, but WiiU might not be that bad after all. It would make my Wii completely useless device, and I’d have to take my GC from the closet after all these years. They should include backwards comp with the GC and GC controllers as well.

Not one thing will be as successful during the following generation and years. This reason for this is the governing economics. In 2006 the financial structure of the world was much better and customers had more money to spend. In 2012 the economical situation is much more bleak and unnecessities like games will always take the worst hits. 600 dollar game consoles would not survive at any point any more, and this is why the rumoured 200 dollar price point for the WiiU would be good. This is also the first time Nintendo’s home console would be going against imaginary consoles; the future of Xbox and PlayStation, whenever they might come. However, if both MS and Sony would like to play their cards right, they could announce that they’d continue working on their current consoles rather than creating something new. This would a blow against Nintendo, as it would mean that both Wii and WiiU would have fought against the same rival consoles. Of course, the people at MS and Sony are idiots and want something new and expensive under their belts and further bankrupt the companies.

The companies here do now really get the current macro economics, but they are feeling them. If they would look at the current world situation they would be able to maximise their profits. This glance at their E3 shows that the companies still don’t get what the customers are here for even thou one of them has hit the point three times already. I don’t want to paint the walls with devils, but I’m truly starting to expect Third Video Game Crash.

Now excuse me, I’ll be watching something good after these headache inducing events; Hepburn’s Sabrina.