The morning Inbox dares to look forward to Anthem again, as one reader wonders if Death Stranding will be an art house hit.
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Sega gonna Sega
I can see why the rumours about Spyro The Dragon would get people interested in more PS1 remasters, but put down as one of those people that think there’s very little that’s still playable from that console. Sure there’s a nostalgia rush, but have you actually tried to play things like Syphon Filter or Tomb Raider lately? Let’s just put it this way: it suddenly makes you appreciate how far we’ve come since then.
The N64 isn’t as bad, at least the top three or four Nintendo games, but the Saturn is even worst. For me though the only 3D console that’s worth going back to is the Dreamcast. But, of course, Sega being Sega it’s the only console that never gets any remasters. Even the constantly rumoured Shenmue ones never seem to materialise, and I’m having a hard time imagining they ever will.
Which got me thinking about what other Dreamcast games most deserved the treatment. Jet Set Radio seems the most obvious, since its controls could also do with a severe modernising. Along similar lines I’d love to see the same thing happen to Ecco The Dolphin and Skies Of Arcadia, although they’re the important thing is to get rid of or lessen the random battles.
I know some people are against modernising games, but that’s fine. Just through in a straight port at the same time. But I believe that if these games were just updated a little bit they’d be as good as anything else today. And then we might finally get a sequel too!
Not that I expect anyone will be that keen to celebrate it but there’s another anniversary coming up soon: six years of the PS Vita. It’s actually six years this week for American and next week for Europe. Not a big year in terms of birthdays, but then the PS Vita wasn’t a big console – in any sense of the word.
I loved it, and continue to love it, although I recognise that relatively few other people are ever going to be interested in an expensive portable that’s only good for indie games and obscure Japanese games. They happen to be my jam though, so I’ve always loved it and it’s been accompanying me to work for… well, I guess six years now.
I hope support continues for a while yet, although I’m resolved to the fact that it probably won’t. And that Sony will probably never make another portable. And if they do it’ll probably be some kind of Switch clone. I’m curious though is the system just as dead in Japan? I know it always did much better there, obviously, but I’m worried the Switch may have eaten its lunch.
GC: It’s not dead in Japan, but it’s definitely dying. It sells about 4,000 consoles a week now, compared to 10,000 for the 3DS and around 50,000 for the Switch.
Art house hit
Was interested in the recent discussion about stealth games not actually selling as well as you’d think and I wondered what this might mean for Death Stranding. I assume one of the problems with Metal Gear Solid is that they’re really weird games, with some problems with cut scene-to-gameplay ratios (at least pre-number five). And it seems fair to imagine that Death Stranding is going to be the same (considering they haven’t actually shown any real gameplay yet.)
But I wonder if this time that might actually play in its favour? With Sony as publisher I imagine they’re going to go big with the publicity, especially as they’ve got all these well-known actors in it who actually seem to get on well with Kojima and are doing something more than just picking up a pay check.
I can see (well, okay, I’m imagining) Death Stranding being held up as some art house sci-fi classic, like Blade Runner or Arrival, and actually being quiet a big hit. It could even bring in people that aren’t usually into games, if it proves to not be that hard as a game. Wishful thinking perhaps, but I don’t think Sony would through their money around for no reason.
PS: Any chance the game will be out this year, GC?
GC: There’s a chance, but officially it’s just TBA.
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For those introduced to Arc System Works through the excellent Dragon Ball FighterZ I came across this interesting interview with their head developer Daisuke Ishiwatari. He seems like yet another Japanese creator who should be much more famous than he is, if it weren’t for the language barrier and the fact that they never seem to do Western press interviews.
He talks about his long career, and how he won’t stop until he dies, as well as the next Guilty Gear and how he’ll try and make it more accessible for new players. I hope he can balance that with the usual amount of depth because it definitely deserve to be a mainstream hit, and coming off the back of Dragon Ball this may be the best chance.
At the very least it’s good to know there will be a new Guilty Gear, and I would like to support the reader who suggested that they should get the Marvel licence after Capcom. I’m sure they won’t but if they can snag some sort of high profile Western licence, and make a good game of it, that could also do very well for them. Not sure what cartoons are currently popular though, I don’t see something like Rick & Morty being very suitable.
Sing the praises
So if we dare to hope that the industry, and even EA, are actually learning from the mistakes of Battlefront II and moving away from loot boxes, is it fair to start getting excited about Anthem now? I know we know almost nothing about it at the moment, but it’s clearly had a ton of money pumped into it already and with Destiny 2 turning out to be a disappointment there is a clear gap where it can takeover from Bungie’s game.
There’s not much to go on, but I imagine it might borrow a lot from Mass Effect’s co-op modes, which I always though were great and very much underappreciated. (Even if they were one of the first EA games to have modern style loot boxes).
For a studio that was only known for role-playing games the controls and map designs were really good and certainly made up for any minor disappointment with Mass Effect 3. For those that didn’t play they were very close quarters squad-based combat, so imagining the same sort of thing expanded out a bit and featuring Titanfall style robots. Add in Sea Of Thieves style microtransactions (i.e. fair and honest ones) and that sounds a pretty good set-up to me.
Although I can totally understand how it wouldn’t be your thing if you don’t like hard games I would just like to talk up Celeste a bit. For me it is a fantastic game and probably already one of my favourites of all-time. As someone that does have problems with depression (relatively mild compared to some people) the game has struck a real chord with me. The gameplay might just be a 2D platformer but the story and characters is better than most role-playing games, better really considering how they’re never ‘about anything’.
And I don’t think it would all really have the same impact if the game was easier. The gameplay being hard matches the story, and the two wouldn’t mesh together so well if it was different. I’m trying to avoid spoilers here, but hopefully you see what I’m getting at.
I won’t say keep on with it if you don’t like it, as maybe it’s just not for you. But as far as I’m concerned the game is great, and part of that greatness depends on it being hard.
PS: Thanks to GC for their review, or I would never have even known the game exists!
Whetting the appetite
I’m kind of a little surprised there hasn’t been any mention of Metroid Prime Trilogy collection for the Switch. Personally I’d like versions that take the motion controls out of number three and gets the first two back as close to the GameCube versions as possible. I don’t think most people realise but the Wii version actually lost some of the special graphic effects, that were in there the first time.
If Metroid Prime 4 isn’t out this year (which seems to me a good chance of) I think it’s an obvious move for Nintendo and I welcome it. Although, I suppose they might see it as potentially having people get sick of the concept if the fourth one isn’t actually that different. If that’s the case, just do it afterwards!
GTA: The Movie
I just wanted to contact you about this project that I’m working on, it’s a GTA movie. I just released the trailer today, if you have a minute to look at it, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Ocean Drive will be the GTA movie that the people always wanted, it’s got pizza, guns, cars, two main characters… and a lot of action!
Not a lot of GTA videos on YouTube have this much production quality, so Ocean Drive is trying to make that happen, the goal is to make the whole movie using the Rockstar Editor and… a lot of third party video editing. As you can see from the trailer above it looks kinda unique!
The movie first introduces Adam Pinkman (the main character) who lives in Vespucci Beach, struggling through life as a pizza boy and desiring to find an additional source of income. Until he catches on with his friend Eddie from junior high school, who specialises in boosting classic sport cars and reselling them to a secret high-tech firm… basically he’s a big time criminal! Eddie offers him a job as a partner in crime, and Adam eventually agrees.
Do you know when you’ll have Secret Of Mana reviewed, GC? It came out today but I don’t see any reviews from any site I trust. Which smells like intentional on Square Enix’s part, for a game that is already looking worryingly low effort.
GC: It came in late, so we’re afraid it won’t be until next week.
I actually really like the idea of an action role-player version of Fire Emblem, I hope that’s the direction Nintendo go in. Maybe almost a modern version of Ogre Battle where you’re building up an army as you go.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grackle, who asks how your taste in video games has changed in recent years.
Have you noticed a shift in terms of the types of games you play, or major franchises you’ve changed your opinion on? Do you play more or less multiplayer games now than you used to, and has the format you play on most – including consoles, portables, PC, and mobile devices – changed as time’s gone on?
How have the games you play evolved to match the amount of free time you have? And are there certain types of games you’d like to play now but don’t have the time, or expertise, for anymore?
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The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.