See You Next – This Week in Games

And here it is, my final This Week in Games column. It’s been a fantastic run, y’all. There’s plenty of stuff to talk about this week, but before we get into that, I want to thank you all for reading this for so long. It’s been a lot of fun having a place to editorialize on the news every week. (Except for all of the Activision shit. God, that was just miserable to read and report on.)

There were some interesting announcements at Anime Expo over the holiday weekend, but rather than do my usual trailer-by-trailer reporting/breakdown/commentary, I’ll link you all over to the special ANN Anime Expo 2022 page, where you can find details on stuff like Inupara, My Hero Ultra Rumble, Witch on the Holy Night, Anonymous;Code, and Aksys’s stunning slate of otome titles. The AX reporting crew did an amazing job this year, made even more impressive with how long we’ve all been away from big physical events like this. I’ve worked the Anime Expo news beat before, and it’s tough, so I’d be very happy if you all checked out the fruits of the ANN con crew’s labor.

Now – let’s move on to this week’s big news.

THE DEAD E3 MONSTER HAS FOUND ITS DR. FRANKENSTEIN

We all know that E3 has been kind of a shitshow for the past few years – and that’s when it actually happened. Ever since COVID emerged, the already-ailing event, hobbled by numerous major publishers pulling out, has struggled in any form, be it in-person or online. It’s not hard to see why: E3 is big, expensive, crowded, and is so over-stuffed with announcements and hype that it’s hard for anything to get the attention it deserves. Does any publisher need E3 when they have the online outreach to make announcements and promote themselves on their own terms? The answer seems to be “no.”

But, you see, E3 makes money for the Entertainment Software Association (the industry trade group responsible not just for E3, but for the ESRB rating system and lobbying against preservation and right to repair laws). That money is important, and goddammitif they have to hire somebody else to attempt to reshape and pump some life into E3’s bloated corpse, then they’re gonna do it!

And that’s where ReedPop comes in. ReedPop should be a familiar name for those of us on the geek con circuit, as they run a whole mess of shows across the United States and abroad: New York Comic Con, C2E2, Florida SuperCon, and all of the PAX conventions. They’re the folks who will be running E3 from 2023 onwards.

It’s certainly not a bad choice. ReedPop have done some corporate-focused event work before with gameindustry.biz, and E3 is (ostensibly) an industry-only show… but we also have seen the ESA’s flailing attempts to make a public-facing E3 to draw in more attention (and, more importantly, more exhibitors). ReedPop has a track record of running really big public-attendance nerd events. It’s not hard to see where this is going.

But will it still be the E3 we remember from years past? Probably not. I’m expecting something more like a less fan-involved PAX, geared more towards general attendees than industry business. Will it bring back the companies who left? Hard to say, at this point: events like this are definitely more appealing due to the direct-to-consumer connections (and the ability to move merch), but there’s a lot more competition in that space. Even if it does try to stay more corporate-focused, events like Summer Game Fest and first-party promoted showcases still seem to be the preferred choice of consumers.

We’ll see how it goes, I suppose, but I’d keep expectations tempered.

SQUARE-ENIX DOES THE RELEASE DATE SHUFFLE

It’s already been a pretty busy 2022 for Square-Enix, but whoa boy, the fall and autumn release months of this year are looking absolutely jam-packed. Release dates for Star Ocean the Divine Force (October 27), Harvestella (November 4) and Dragon Quest Treasures (Dec 9) were announced not too long ago, but there’s more where that came from. A lot more.


For starters, The Diofield Chroniclethe strategy-RPG that was surprise-announced during a State of Play event, is coming a lot sooner than most of us expected on September 22nd. This was announced on a Japanese livestream focusing on the title. I am, however, just slightly concerned about how little marketing there has been for the game since its initial debut. Obviously, SE has a lot to sell us this year, but seeing that the official Twitter account for the game has less followers than I do is somewhat alarming!


Next up is Valkyrie Elysiumwhich is launching a week later on the 27th. Also sooner than I expected. (PC players, however, will have to wait until the 12th of November).

But wait, there’s more! not only is Valkyrie Elysium launching, but a port of Valkyrie Profile is coming to PS4 and PS5! This is included in the digital deluxe version of Elysium, but it will be sold separately as well. Great news for those of you who have heard nerds like me talk endlessly about how great Valkyrie Profile is but don’t want to spend the time and money needed to hunt down PSOne or PSP copies of the game! hopefully Valkyrie Elysium will be good enough that it won’t be completely overshone by its predecessor.

Add these two to the aforementioned titles (and the ambiguously-dated “winter 2022” FFVII Crisis Core remake) and things are looking mighty busy for the big SE over the holiday. Unfortunately, there’s some bad news here as well: one of their heavy hitters has suffered yet another delay.

Forspoken has been pushed back yet again, moving from October 2022 to January of next year. No reason was given for the delay, aside from some non-specific “conversations with partners.” It could be that the devs need more time to polish it, or it could just be that Squeenix wants to launch it in a less crowded timeframe where it’s not competing with the publisher’s other games. Whatever the reason, this is hopefully the Forspoken‘s final delay.

Also, Live A Live is out on the 22nd of this month on Switch. I’ve been playing a preview build for the past few days, and I’m loving it so far. The remake team very clearly had a lot of love for this obscure gem, and they’ve done a bang-up job sprucing up the visuals and music: Detailed sprite animations, extensive voice acting, even a redone theme song sung by anime’s king crooner himself, Hironobu Kageyama. Download the demo if you’re curious and haven’t already!

ASSORTED NEWSBITS

  • There’s a Lollipop Chainsaw remake coming from Dragami Games! That’s pretty exciting… or it would be, if not for the fact that the two biggest names attached to the original game, Suda51 and James Gunn, are not involved at all, and were actually sort of surprised by the whole thing.

    So… yeah. That’s a bit of a red flag there, especially if you were hoping for some additional story or dialogue!

  • God of War Ragnarok finally has a November 9th release date. Now we don’t have to hear all of the social-media complaining about the lack of new information. Ha ha, just kidding, people on social media always complain about something!
  • Don’t have an OLED Switch yet? Still on the fence about getting one? Perhaps this new model might finally pry your wallet open: the Splatoon 3 Limited Edition, launching August 26th. Included are two special Joy-Cons, a special dock, and an OLED Switch hardware base. Not included, however: The actual Splatoon 3 game, which debuts two weeks later. What’s with these console LEs not even including a proper game pack-in?

  • Ray’z Arcade Chronology is launching on Switch and PS4 on March 9, 2023… in Japan. Still no word on an international release. In an infuriating move, there is a special limited-edition bonus that is only available to those who order the game on Amazon Japan during Prime Day on the 12th: R-Gearthe canceled sprite-based Rayforce Or, more specifically, what was made of the game before it was scrapped and everybody moved to make Raystorm instead. Hey publishers: PLEASE STOP MAKING GAMES FOR YOUR RETRO COMPILATIONS PRE-ORDER ONLY. IT SUCKS AND WE ALL HATE IT.

And now we reach the conclusion. So, where am I going after this? I’ll still be doing reviews, previews, and features for various outlets – including ANN, so I’ll still have some presence here. However, my main focus will be on writing about Japanese games, retro games, and indie games for the PlayStation Blog. I’m super excited to be working with some amazing folks over there, and I’m eager to shine a spotlight on the games I love on a very big platform. I’m also working on an as-of-yet unannounced project with some very cool members of the fighting game community, which I hope will be revealed soon. If you want to keep tabs on my exploits and hear me talk about my favorite Taito titles, you can find me over on Twitter. You can also find me hanging out in the Twitch channel of my partner Matt, aka LordBBH.

Tonight, I’m meeting with ANN reviewer and frequent This Week in Anime commentator Jean-Karlo over at Quarterworld to discuss him taking over for me. I have no reason to believe that this column is now in anything but very capable hands. And with that, my time at TWIG concludes.

THIS WEEK IN GAMES: JOURNEY TO TAITRONICA


EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Christopher MacDonald

PRODUCER

Lynzee Loveridge

DIRECTOR

Heidi Kemps

PROGRAMMERS

Kim Morrissy

Choo Sum Lee

IN MEMORY

Zac Bertschy

SPECIAL THANKS

Matt “LordBBH” Hall

Todd Ciolek

All ANN Staff

THANK YOU FOR PLAYING!!!

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