E3 2019 Reaction

A few years ago I did a recap of stuff at e3 I thought was cool, and I thought, why not do it again? This time I started taking notes and then realized I was just doing a liveblog, so that’s more or less what this is. Each line is a new trailer, and stuff in quotes is Mr. Act’s comments.

I’m also not including Nintendo’s stuff here, because Nintendo is where I go to fangirl without thinking and my reaction to the Direct can be summed up as OMFG ANIMAL CROSSING AHHHHHHHH. They also had a clip from Silksong which was neat.

Anyway, enjoy.

 

Microsoft

Microsft making a game about ~destroying corporations~ is some high-level irony

An Overwatch clone, how boring

Oh, a new Ori game. I never played the first one of those and I should. I legit thought ‘Is this a Hollow Knight knockoff?’ at the beginning though. It seemed like a pretty transparent call to cash in on HK’s bugginess.

NGL a Minecraft RPG seems… kind of fun? It’s like DiabloCraft. I guess how interesting it is depends on how well they integrate the crafting and rpg elements though. If it’s just an RPG with MInecraft graphics that’ll be crappy.

Star Wars, whatever.

Blair Witch is a weird, weird thing to do. A) The whole point of the movie was that you never actually see the monsters B) Who is this for? What was the demand for this? Why now? I mean, it looks fine as a horror game, but why attach that IP to it? I don’t really get it.

CD Projeckt Red, still mad at them, fuck them. I referred to their games as ‘dick-waving nonsense’ out loud and Mr. Act requested I use that phrasing here, so, yes, this does look like dick-waving hypermasculine nonsense. Also, this trailer is really uncanny valley. “It’s just Blade Runner: Grand Theft Auto,” adds Mr. Act. Not a single woman in this trailer even as eye candy, so technically worse than GTA. Wait… is that Keanu Reeves…? Yes it is. Is this a game with… a guest star? “I guess graphics are high quality enough that you can have people star in games now,” Mr. Act muses confusedly. It’s literally called ‘Cyberpunk,’ what even is effort.

Ah, this looks much more my speed. Dark-skinned girl with pets building shit. This game looks pretty adorable and fun. It’s called Spiritfarer, add it to your watch lists!

Is this… Battletoads? No. Yes…? Why…?

This handcrafted thing is weird. Is it like a Mario Party thing…? Guess we don’t get to know. Weird.

A bunch of quick small trailers. Oh, Pathologic 2. The only other thing I caught was a LOTR-themed Hearthstone ripoff. Hard to know what to say about the others, didn’t recognize any of the names and they were tiny short bits.

Hey, a Hollow Knight shoutout. Guess it got an XBox port.

Unclear whether this Pass thing is just another way to pay money for ~access~ and not actually own anything or whether it’s a Steam competitor where you can play offline. Ah, it is a subscription. Why would you pay for this, I don’t understand.

The flight sim is equal parts gorgeous and disconcerting. I didn’t know scenery could be uncanny valley but this kind of is. It’s incredible, though.

Another Age of Empires rerelease? Oh, it’s in 4k. Totally necessary for pixel graphics from 1996. “Better be 100 FPS,” Mr Act shouts from the other room.

Oh, Wasteland 3! I still have not played 2. I should do that.

Microsoft bought DoubleFine. That’s kind of surprising. Huh.

I see the new Psychonauts is just as visually unappealing as the old one.

More Star Wars? “How many Star Wars games can there be…?”

Whoever is doing the camerawork should be slapped. They keep giving us stadium view during the trailers so we can’t see what’s going on.

Huh, a DBZ game on XBox, kind of odd. Is this a game that covers all of DBZ’s plot, or just the Frieza arc? They don’t explain.

‘Interactive Thriller’ is some pretentious-ass shit to call a game. There’s no indication what the gameplay actually is, but it seems like it’s probably just a VN. Ah, this is a ‘play the same scene over and over and try to save someone’ thing. It was a good trailer but not a super original concept. Mr. Act really liked it though.

This is like post-apocalyptic Might and Delight, interesting. ‘Way to the Woods’ looks like it’s about a deer family trying to get home, kind of cool.

Gears of War 5, don’t care. “Even I recognize how cliche this dialogue is.”  What a bizzaro arrangement of this music. “I never get these trailers that don’t tell you anything about what it’s actually like to play the game.” Me neither. I will say this is a very egalitarian cast. Good for GoW.

They went out of their way to dress all the presenters like gamerbros.

In case you wanted to pay a bajillion dollars for a controller.

Dying Light is something else I know nothing about. Oh, it’s more zombies. Whatever.

I’m not sure I care about any series less than I care about Forza. Okay, the Lego cars are pretty funny. OH man the 1/1 Lego car on the stage is pretty legit.

Oh jesus fuck POP is making games now. Why. Just why. Oh god it’s mobile too. Whyyyy

“Is this more zombies? There’s so many zombies!” Yup, more zombies. Looks like a black woman PC though, which is pretty cool. Oh, but she shares being PC with Generic White Dude. Of course.

Japan’s Greatest MMO…? Oh, Phantasy Star.

This next one has 650 million players but no global release? How is that possible? “Must be Chinese.” Oh, good point. ‘Crossfire.’ Never heard of it.

This is pretty. Bandai…? Hmm. This looks pretty cool. Oh, it’s a new Tales game. Whelp, so much for that.

Borderlands! Lilith!! Oh, sweet, is the plot of this one going to revolve around the sirens? God these games are always so much fun. Borderlands always has such great character design. I need to catch up on the DLC for 2 so I’m ready for 3.

Oh, this is the Miyazaki Hide/GRRM game. Seems too grimdark for me, idk. It is nice to see a new fantasy RPG IP though.

“Project X-Cloud” is the most nonsensical congloeration of 2010s buzzwords, I s2g.

I don’t care about the nextgen Xbox stuff so I’m skipping it.

Did he just say this is Halo? Mr. Act rolls his eyes at the lost-in-space dude with a motivational wife and child: “This is every sci-fi story ever.” Master Chief swooping in to save the cowardly latino was pretty squicky, ngl.

.And then it’s just over. The only new thing that stuck out to me here was Spiritfarer, I’m definitely going to look into that one more.

I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about Nintendo, but… the Nintendo Direct is really worth watching because, I think, of what it says about Nintendo’s approach as a company as opposed to Microsoft’s. It’s lighthearted gags about Doug Bowser, it’s nonstop gameplay footage of games coming out very soon, its lack of weird moneygrabs and over-the-top gimmicks like a lego McClaron, of all things… I think holding Nintendo up to other devs highlights both an earnest love of games on the part of Nintendo as well as a genuine respect for their audience. I mean, again, Nintendo actually showed gameplay. They then spent three days following the trailers by just showing people playing the games in real time and having the devs there to talk about their games directly and honestly. There was a very sincere lack of self-aggradizement in the way Nintendo presents itself to fans that makes this exhausting by comparison.

Bethesda

I assume if there had been any TES6 announcements I would have heard; I’m not sure I care about anything else they do. But we’ll see.

Oh right they’re Fallout 76. Reddit claims it was terrible but Reddit is angry about everything so who knows. I don’t know anything about it myself. Lol, this whole intro video is them going ‘we love our fans’ through gritted teeth. At least they can be self-deprecating about it. Maybe it was all dudes on the dev team so no one had dudebros sending death threats to their house, who knows.

Did not know there was a TES mobile game. Not here for microtransactions, though, which I assume it is. Huh, it’s going to be on Switch. Does Switch do microtransactions? If there’s a pay-up-front version I’m into it.

More 76. Have any of our Fallout fans bothered to check it out? Apparently they’re introducing NPCs… how were there not NPCs before…? They’re apparently adding a battle royale mode, lol. Gotta cash in on those trends. Well, at least it’s all free DLC.

A dev from a company called Tango Gameworks. Never heard of them. The game is Ghostwire Tokyo. Oh my this woman is so bubbly. What a happy human being. Good for her. This actually sounds pretty cool, like an urban fantasy mystery. Mr. Act and I are both into it. She explicitly says it’s not survival horror. Looks like it’s based on Shinto mythos, which is neat; Shinto is weirdly underrepresented in AAA games. Yeah I’ll def keep an eye on this.

TES Online is next. I’m always tempted to violate my no-MMO rule for this but alas. The trailer is very pretty. Not much else to say about it though. It went on for way too long.

Holy shit this is weird. Commander Keen. Apparently this is an update of an old PC game from the early 90s, repurposed as a money-grubbing pay-to-win mobile game.

On to their Fallout mobile game and TES Hearthstone mobile game. Christ, is subscription and P2W shit all they do now?

Rage 2. Never heard of it. Looks like a Borderlands knockoff.

On to Wolfenstein. I’m glad we’re still functioning on the premise that Nazis are bad, at least for the purposes of E3. Two women killing Nazis. This is a good premise for a game. Daughters rescuing father is also pretty cool just as a general premise. Actual gameplay footage for this one too.

Two very French guys come onstage for the next game. Wow, it looks like the coprotags of this game are a black man and woman. That’s pretty cool. ‘Deathloop’. No idea what it’s about or what the gameplay is, but it looks neat and it’s from some of the same people as Dishonored.

They’re also doing cloud gaming. Neither of us understand the appeal of this.

Finally, the new DOOM game. Not my thing, but Mr. Act enjoyed the last one. Also, there’s actual gameplay footage. “This is making me want to play DOOM again.” He has lots of praise for the tempo and level/puzzle design.

So the winners here don’t seem to be Besthesda Softworks’ IPs, but the smaller devs they work with. Bethesda proper just talked about stupid sub and p2w games, while the small devs brought out Ghostline, Wolfenstein Youngblood, DOOM, and Deathloop, all of which look innovative and engaging. Ghostline is the definite winnder to both of us, though, it looked fascinating.

Ubisoft

Ubisoft will always mean Rayman 2 for me, and apparently it’s that game’s 20th anniversary, which is pretty neat. That’s a series that did one great game and never really was able to match it again. But man what a great game.

LONDON. This isn’t fiction, extremists are grabbing power. “Beating up cops seems like a bad idea in a police state.” What is fiction without incompetent dystopias? Oh, this is pretty cool, an old lady PC. The gameplay here is interesting, but the setting doesn’t really catch me. Nice to see a gameplay trailer, actually. Ah, this is the new Watchdogs game. Yeah the gameplay here is super neat. I just wish the premise seemed more original.

This is… the Always Sunny theme? Lol it’s Mac? Lol, he made a comedy that takes place in a game studio. That’s pretty funny. I support this endeavor.

Rainbow 6 esports promo. Whatever.

Now.. Adventure Time? Looks like one of their games is getting AT DLC.

Well this looks stupid. ~the only real test of a man is battle~ sure bro you do you. Oh it’s a Tom Clancy game, no wonder. Lol a doggo on stage. What a good boy. I don’t give a fuck about this game I’m just here for this dog.

Ugh another mobile game. Nothing has ever appealed to me less than the phrase “Tom Clancy mobile game.”

Is this a gritty trailer for Just Dance, that’s pretty funny.

For Honor. I don’t know anything about it and don’t particularly care about a content update for it.

MORE Tom Clancy. Jesus. “Half of their catalogue is Tom Clancy??”

And even MORE Tom Clancy.

Also a Tom Clancy movie.

Jesus Christ they’re ALSO doing a subscription service?? This is why I play Nintendo and indie games. You will be paying forever and never own anything indeed.

Is this like, roller derby rocket league? Roller Champions. Could be fun, depends on the gameplay. We don’t get to see gameplay.

OOh, this is pretty. Gods & Monsters. Just a teaser trailer. Shame, it seemed like the most interesting thing here.

So this was a not-my-thing-but-maybe-interesting cyberpunk game, a roller derby game, an itty bitty teaser trailer and a shitfuckton of Tom Clancy.

Square Enix

Time for some good ol’ JRPGs! I need this after all that Tom Clancy nonsense.

Ah, the FFVII remake. I still have not played the original. I actually bought it for the Switch a few weeks ago. The trailer is v v pretty. Geez, it’ll be on two blu-rays. Huh, they’re going in a Tales-style hack-and-slash direction. Kind of weird. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Have the newer FF games also had a more Tales battle system? Maybe this isn’t as big a departure as it feels to me.

Oh, another game from the Life Is Strange people. This looks like LIS reskinned. Oh it’s the sequel. Looks equally as overwrought and irritating.

Oh, is this a new Crystal Chronicles? How cute. The VA just pronounce ‘miasma’ as ‘my asthma.’ Oh, it’s a remake for mobile. I actually like this, I’ll probs grab it. SEs mobile ports have been pretty good.

A PC release for Octopath Traveller. I decided against this one when everyone was raving about it but I don’t remember why. Mr. Act thinks is was by a dev of a game I hated. That sounds familiar.

The Last Remnant remake… I know that title but I can’t remember why.

DQ Builders 2. The first one has been on my wishlist for a while, it was actually supposed to be pretty good.

DQXI for the Switch. I’m still emotionally dealing with the ending of this game.

Ah, the indie showcase! Something about cars. A fun-looking racing game. It’s very cute. Circuit Superstars. A war game. Coop FPS. Battalion 1944 Eastern Front. 

SqEnix’s music is now on streaming services. That’s cool.

Looks like Kingdom Hearts next. Never got into it, not a Disney person. A DLC announcement.

FFXIV announcements. The director guy is very animated. This is a really cool trailer. The no MMO rule strikes again.

Oh, hey, Metric. A good band. Dyling Light 2. Very much Not My Thing.

Looks like some late official localizations of classic jRPGs. Missed the title of the first one. The second is a SaGa game.

A FF Brave Exvius announcement. Looks like a sequel to the original. Not here for microtransactions, as always.

A very pretty cinematic trailer. Looks like a scifi shooter. Outriders. Interesting. I’m all about lady warriors with buzz cuts.

Reincarnation is the cornerstone of our way of life is a fascinating way to start a trailer. This seems really cool. You play as grim reapers who help souls move on it seems like. Very neat. I’ll def keep an eye on this one. Oninaki.

A FFVIII remaster for this-gen consoles.

A Marvel game. Looks like Avengers. Don’t care. They promise no gatcha and no P2W. Good for them.

Well, that was fun!

Thoughts

Just because it continues to blow my mind, why were there so many announcements of games without telling us WTF kind of game they are? How am I even supposed to know to be excited for something if I don’t know what in the world it is? Are there really that many people out there who buy games solely on how pretty the cinematic trailer is as opposed to, you know, the actual game? I am so baffled by this.

Also, the amount of pay-us-for-nothing from Western devs was mindblowing. Gaming has become so stuffed to the brim with this anticonsumer nonsense. Mr. Act pointed out that if sub services are the only way to play the games you want you’re left with no choice but to pay for them, but I’m not sure I agree with that. Yeah, you may not have access to Tom Clancy #3290, but if you actually like games there’s so much indie content out there that gives the same experience that I don’t think you can argue you really have no other option. But until people care enough about how they’re treated to stop tolerating it there’s not much that can be done.

But there was some really cool stuff here. Ghostline, Deathloop, Spiritfarer, Oninaki. Even the smidge of Gods & Monsters we saw looked pretty neat. I don’t think any of this beat Nintendo, though. A short, lighthearted, no-frills presentation packed with stuff fans wanted and no sub service bullshit… it’s not hard to see why people are so affectionate toward them and barely tolerate everyone else.

I will also say I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of women and POC across all devs. This seemed to be an especially good year for nonwhite characters. The gamer community may be complete and utter shit, but it looks like they’re going to have progress imposed on them from the top down, which is heartening.

I don’t have an outro.

46 Comments

  1. Roarke says:

    Star Wars, whatever.

     

    The early aughts were the golden era of SW video games. Battlefront, KOTOR1/2, the Jedi Knight series. SW was really well-represented across several genres. I would like to see a return of that, if possible.

    Hey, a Hollow Knight shoutout. Guess it got an XBox port.

    Yeah, it was ported to the consoles September of last year. Play it, everyone! Re: Ori 2, it’s somewhat a Hollow Knight follower, but its first iteration, at least, was much more focused on the puzzle-platforming than combat, so I don’t think I’d call it one. I can confidently say Ori 1 is its own thing; it’s not nearly as polished as HK but it has the same ‘labor of love’ feel. Good game, would rec.

    The Tales Game stuff

    God, I might just play it for the costuming alone. At least someone put a (still fairly long) leash on the costume designer so he couldn’t go “scraps of a jacket with whole tummy out and underboob”.

    FFVII Remake

    I saw a Reddit thread steeped in murderous anger over the size of Tifa’s boobs, which the gamerbros say are smaller than they should be based on the blocky polygon original. What they mean is that her boobs are smaller than 20 years of hentai doujins have led them to expect. Also, the gameplay is Kingdom Hearts style. I believe most FF games are still doing a pseudo-turn-based thing.

    Elden Ring

    GRRM is whatever these days and he has nobody to blame but himself. Miyazaki on the other hand is the Dark Souls/Sekiro guy and can do no wrong in my eyes. I am looking forward to it, though with some trepidation due to GRRM’s close proximity to something that seems inspired by LOTR.

    Beyond that, idk. I didn’t watch E3 and try not to pay too much attention to stuff beyond what friends directly tell me about. They are my treasured buffers between me and all that shit.

    1. Act says:

      I saw a Reddit thread steeped in murderous anger over the size of Tifa’s boobs

      This is the least surprising thing I’ve ever read.

      Tales of Arise

      The character design is less wtfy than Berseria, but still par for the course for the series imo, in that the male and female protag look like they’re from completely different universes. That’s like my least favorite part of costume dimorphism, they can’t even keep the same art style. The game itself though looked absolutely beautiful.

       

      1. Roarke says:

        Yeah, that’s fair. Berseria definitely got hit with costume sexual dimorphism ludicrously hard, which was all the more noticeable because, like, the party was actually balanced, gender-wise. Heck, it was the first in almost 20 Tales games to actually have a female protagonist not overshadowed by a man! And her Count of Monte Cristo-style character arc of being betrayed and imprisoned -> psycho vengeance -> eventual resolution and return to being a kindhearted protector was very refreshing. Too bad that game didn’t stick the landing.

        I’d be interested in your opinion on the costuming for Valkyria Chronicles 4, which came out late last year. That whole series is about war ‘n’ stuff, so basically everyone is wearing a soldier’s uniform of some kind, with special embellishments for the protags. It’s kind of like that one Atelier game you reviewed, where basically all the fanservice was packed into a (DLC) beach episode.

         

          1. Roarke says:

            … JFC. I want to say it’s unfair to judge the games by that figure, but it’s not like the games are totally innocent of having pretty women around and sexualizing them in (what seems like the depressingly standard) JRPG fashion.

            No longer trusting myself to be objective, I read an article detailing some of the sexualization/harassment in VC4, the recent one, with its comment thread set ablaze by GGers howling at the criticism. So never mind.

            1. CrazyEd says:

              To be fair, in the games themselves, you’d almost never know that the character designer was the guy who did the art for Minamoto no Raikou in FGO. Even the concept art itself is surprisingly… anatomically accurate… for Raita Honjou.

              That’s not to say it is anatomically accurate, just… you know, by the standards of Honjou’s art.

              Reply
            2. Roarke says:

              Well, over and above the character design, which is indeed admirably restrained for a hentai artist, the game itself could at best be said to be treading water in terms of sexism. There were lots of active women with varying personalities and prominence, which is good, but there’s still a prominent Brock-type character, which is bad. It’s not as bad as the very low bar for games, but that in itself is saying something.

              Reply
          2. CrazyEd says:

            That’s a mistake. Your exposure to Valkyria Chronicles should be this.

  2. SpoonyViking says:

    Is this… Battletoads? No. Yes…? Why…

    Nostalgia, most probably. Plus, it always was an IP with lots of wasted potential: the NES game had terrible co-op gameplay (a cardinal sin for a beat ’em up), the arcade game wasn’t very popular (which is a shame, because it was really, really good), and the sequels are more miss than hit, to put it mildly.

    That said, the art style in this one is so not my thing.

    1. Act says:

      There was a lot of couch coop stuff this year, so maybe they wanted to do CC and that was one of the IPs they had laying around. I’m glad the Switch seems to have brought local multiplayer back. ty nintendo

      1. SpoonyViking says:

        Oh, yeah, Act, since you liked Rayman, I highly recommend “Rayman Origins”. I’m not a fan of the series – I don’t dislike it, either, it was just never my thing growing up -, but Origins is SO good!

        1. Act says:

          Origins was the cartoony platformer right? I watched my brothers play it and it looked very cute.

          1. SpoonyViking says:

            The same! There’s also a sequel, “Rayman Legends”, but I haven’t played it yet.

  3. Y says:
    O wow this is really similar to a lot of my thoughts as well!

    I’m not sure if you’ve seen any of the stuff about Cyberpunk and especially regarding that one ad but I really don’t want to open that discussion here and risk starting some messy shit in your comments so I won’t say anything else rn. I do really like the aesthetic but it definitely does look all style, no substance to me as well, which is super disappointing since I’ve really been feeling cyberpunk as a genre lately because I had to read Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto a few weeks back for class, but this is really just wearing all it’s ideas as a skin.

    I think the Final Fantasy 7 remake has gameplay similar to FF12 and 15, but I haven’t played either of those so I don’t know for sure. the gameplay of the original is the same system as in FF6 which I remember you saying you weren’t a fan of? Like I suppose you should play it if you’ve already bought it but if you can’t stomach the gameplay I can point you to a solid lp on youtube.

    I’ve heard basically nobody talk about life is strange 2 except for a few fans of the original saying that its boring as hell.

    Did you see the stuff for Vampire: Bloodlines 2? I feel like the modern style didn’t really click with me very well and combat still looks messy but besides from that I think it seems interesting still! I really hope it turns out well.

     

     

    1. Y says:
      Wow, that came across as a bit of ramble! I’m sorry if that makes it hard to read :(
      1. Act says:

        Haha, not at all, made perfect sense!

    2. SpoonyViking says:

      It’s a completely trivial thing, but you know what baffles me the most about the Cyberpunk game? That it’s based on the Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop RPG, instead of just being generically cyberpunk-themed. I mean, was that game ever so popular that it merited getting its own licensed game?

      1. illhousen says:

        Cyberpunk 2020 was pretty huge back in 90s, spoken of as an alternative to Shadowrun for those who wanted pure cyberpunk rather than D&Dpunk, and while it lost a lot of goodwill over the third edition, it still has a modest fanbase.

        I’d think the license was cheap enough that it was worth it to grab for some nostalgia bucks.

        1. Roarke says:

          I guess there’s something to be said for picking up an old IP to cut out most of the legwork in terms of lore and name recognition (looks at Bethesda and Fallout).

        2. SpoonyViking says:

          Interesting! It was never a big thing here in Brazil. I mean, it got attention, sure, but GURPS Cyberpunk, for instance, was much more popular.

          And yeah, I suppose that makes sense, nostalgia + cheap license.

      2. Act says:

        Yeah, I found this out after I wrote the post, which transfers my jab at the name being silly to someone else.

        As far as I’m aware CD has no unique IPs, so I’d guess the logic was, “What can we crib worldbuilding from that a) we can afford and b) doesn’t have a big enough following that we’d end up with angry fanboys?”

    3. Act says:

      I’m not sure if you’ve seen any of the stuff about Cyberpunk and especially regarding that one ad 

      Oh god do I want to know

      FFVII

      I actually strongly prefer turn-based and quite enjoy the classic FF style! Seeing it went for an action thing actually turned me off the remake. I had my eye on FFXIII but if it’s largely that kind of real-time I’ll probably skip it.

      Bloodlines 2

      I’ve seen some of the promo stuff. I’m cautiously optimistic about it. What I loved about the original was the world and character depth, which there’s no way to know about from the trailer, and that it was willing to put female characters in major plot roles without criticizing them for it, and my big fear is that a 2019 (or whenever) iteration will turn into fully-clothed dudes and some weird-ass Freudian shit about women with power and their giant tits.

      1. Roarke says:

        Bloodlines 2 feels weirdly relevant to our day and age, given that Bloodlines 1 was also released during a terrible Republican administration and, not coincidentally, dealt with themes challenging entrenched power structures and the corruption they cause.

        1. Y says:
          Lol I was reading through discussions when the announcement first came out and they were all full of people saying they hope they don’t make it political this time around, and the handful of people who pointed out how the first one had pretty political themes were dragged pretty hard. It was really mind boggling to me, the complete inability of capital-G Gamer’s to pick up on themes and morals is absolutely crazy.
          1. Roarke says:

            Yeah, the original Bloodlines even made at least one direct dig at the GOP, considering voting for them an unpardonable sin. The game was not trying to be subtle about who the real bloodsuckers were, you know. That said, I do see how a gamerbro could get through it thinking that it’s not ‘political’ just because, like, it’s full of scantily clad women calling each other whores and sluts. If that’s where your thought process begins and ends, you’ll think it’s just an edgy, juvenile game about vampire drama.

            Fallout: New Vegas had this same problem, where the whole Obviously Evil Roman Legion guys tricked half the player base into assuming the ‘Murica Reborn NCR were shining patriots, ignoring all the signs that ‘recivilizing’ the wasteland was just a rehash of Manifest Destiny and all that glorious imperialism crap. Plus House’s whole deal. You can kind of just assume there’s a filter on when gamerbros have to read words and make connections to understand a game’s point.

          2. illhousen says:

            I mean, really, White Wolf stuff as a whole was always deeply, unsubtly political.

            It was also always cringe as fuck because while authors’ hearts were generally in the right place, they often had no idea what they were talking about.

            And, OK, it’s easier to overlook in Vampire than in, say, Mage or Werewolf because Vampire books don’t literally bash your skull open with a club with “Discourse” written on it, but it’s still a game where a faction named Anarchs is presented as the most sympathetic, just as an example of surface reading.

            1. Roarke says:

              The even more obvious parallel is the entire Ventrue clan, which explicitly draw a line between old-school nobility and modern corporate executives etc. Get it? A Ventrue capitalist! Yes, remarkably subtle. Ol’ Lacroix even did a colonizer stint in Africa, where he found the Sheriff. Just a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it thing, not political at all.

              Reply
            2. Spoony Viking says:
              Man, the Sheriff was such wasted potential.
              Reply
          3. Act says:

            I would guess there’s a significant cause-effect relationship between the fact that Gamerbros tend to be conservative and in the US conservatives tend to be on the lower end of the education spectrum — things like thematic analysis are generally saved for higher education and honors or AP high school courses, or, idk, states that aren’t 50th in education. If no one ever taught you how to identify themes and motifs, you’d probably just take things as face value.

            1
            1. CrazyEd says:

              It’s also true, though, that higher education tends to be liberal in nature, and that contributes to those statistics; in the same way that a few centuries ago, it’d be true to say the same about the connection between higher education and a church career.

              The over-emphasis on the “importance” of higher education is the main cause of America’s current skills gap. We have millions of unfilled positions in good careers, and millions of unemployed college graduates who aren’t qualified to do those jobs because they were told by state education it was more wise to rack up tens of thousands of dollars of debt to be taught that those jobs were beneath them. There are probably millions of homeless people and millions of good, honest, well-paying jobs in construction that go unfilled, but between overly strict government regulations on putting up new housing (looking at you, San Francisco) and a lack of the required skillset, these two problems can’t solve each other.

              Reply
      2. FFXIII is… kind of the worst of both worlds. It’s ostensibly turn-based, but it doesn’t pause while you’re inputting commands. It generously provides you a way around this by automatically selecting recommended commands via an AI with a single button press, which in practice is all you’ll ever do. You can watch a gameplay video if you’re confused.

        FFXIII is… not good, in my opinion.

        1. Roarke says:

          Isn’t that basically like, uh Dragon Age? Or even Bioware RPGs in general. Though I guess those do allow you to pause.

          1. Y says:
            I’d say the biggest thing is that in DA you’re automatically attacking all of the time, and so whatever time you spend fumbling for commands isn’t really wasted since you’re still doing something with the time. On top of that DA menus are just way more convenient than FF menus finding and using abilities is smoother
            1. Roarke says:

              I guess DA is more similar to an MMO, then. Bioware better not get any ideas.

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        2. Nerem says:
          I actually think FF13’s battle system if the best in my eyes. It’s very fast-paced and frantic and actually pretty difficult. Just using the auto-attack isn’t really a good idea and there’s a lot of strategy and tactics in how you set up your party to do damage, because magic and physical damage are both needed to win most fights.

           

          It’s also not anything like Dragon Age Origins. The auto-attack button is pretty much for spamming basic attacks since instead of magic points or what-not you’re limited by Action Points which regenerate swiftly and so saving them up for a properly times combo is always a good idea.

           

          I could probably talk forever about how much I like the battle system.

      3. Y says:
        Oh god do I want to know

        Absolutely not! The short version is that there was a very transmisogynist ad somewhere in the footage. The game’s twitter page also made a bunch of annoying jokes about assuming gender a little while back. On the other hand, apparently there are transgender options in the character creator, which is legitimately interesting, but given everything else there are a long list of reasons to be cynical about it. I feel like you could probably find the ad pretty easily if you wanted to look for it so I won’t link it, but if you decide you want to you should know that its nsfw. (As if that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know!)

        FFVII

        O great you’ll probably enjoy VII then! It does have some fairly problematic bits but nothing unusual for something from the late 90’s, and there are some really good themes in there about corporatism and the environment. I’d actually say its a better cyberpunk rpg than Cyberpunk’s looking like it’ll be tbh.

        Bloodlines 2

        In the bad part of the internet there was a lot of whining when the game was announced because one of the writer’s said something about how they’re  consciously trying to punch up rather than down, so hopefully it won’t turn out that way! The lead writers are the same guy from the first one and a lady who seemed pretty aware about what worked and what didn’t with the first one, and so I think that’s a pretty good sign for the sequel

        1. Roarke says:

          Ah yes, that new lead writer they’re introducing is a riot. I remember seeing an interview where she led with a joke about expanding the sewer levels when asked how she’d improve the game. That’s how you know she’s the real thing.

        2. Act says:

          Woooooow.

          Though I think the thing where they apparently coopted a trans visibility hastag to post an ad is far worse.

          Way to live down to my worst assumptions, CD.

  4. Socordya says:

    Jesus Christ they’re ALSO doing a subscription service?? This is why I play Nintendo and indie games. You will be paying forever and never own anything indeed.

    *Karl Marx’s Voice*: “That’s not what I meant when I said abolish private property“.

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    1. Act says:

      Abolishing property: apparently totally fine when the wealth goes to Bill Gates instead of poor people.

      3
  5. CrazyEd says:

    That ad (the in-game one, that is) actually seems to have just been a message that was misfired.

    1. Actislazyandwontlogin says:
      Yes, that seems to have been their selection from Low-Effort Damage Control for Dummies. Rote recreation continues to not be a form of critique.

      I would say the odds of this game containing a meaningful examination of trans fetishization are roughly zero, but who knows,  maybe someone on the team looked at the whole “women who don’t carry pregnancies to term will be murdered by fetuses” thing and felt remorse.

      1. CrazyEd says:

        I don’t think there’s enough context in one screenshot to tell if it’s part of the game’s commentary on the commodification of humanity or just rote recreation.

        1. Farla says:

          I think it can be intentionally commentary but commentary that’s built off an unintentional transphobic base at the same time. What I think happened is they started with their own bias in viewing trans people as hypersexualized then tried to make a evil corporation version by amping it up further.

          If the point is just hypersexualization/being reduced to body parts due to corporations, there should be cis dicks getting featured too. Or if it’s specifically focusing on trans fetishism as corporate evil, that would suggest there should also be burly trans men in cameltoe outfits. If nothing else, it fails as a future prediction because lol chick with a dick has been the state of shitty trans stuff so long it’s old hat and would probably not still be cutting edge by then.

          1. CrazyEd says:

            Either way, or even if it’s a third or fourth way, I still don’t think there is even close to enough information, or context of the information presented in that trailer, to make such a call yet.

            It’s not as if that poster was seen hanging on the wall while the trailer walked through the Hall of Objectification next to all the other kinds of objectification that’d be going on. You need more than one nail to close a coffin, and I’m still willing to give Pondsmith the benefit of the doubt because he’s one of the few guys who has been doing cyberpunk since the eighties who is still doing it, and who doesn’t think cyberpunk isn’t real cyberpunk if it doesn’t fetishize anarcho-communism.

            I just wish he’d hand the reigns over to someone else when it comes to the mechanics of the complementary pen and paper RPG. Jesus Christ, it’ll use  Interlock. In the modern day. I’d almost take the anarcho-communist fetishism for a modern system. Almost.

            1. Act says:

              No one is saying, “We absolutely know for sure what the context is and it’s terrible,” we’re saying, “Given the CD’s track record with trans issues specifically and social issues in general, as well as the problematic way this was presented, we’re incredibly concerned about the message the game is going to send.” I personally think it’s stupidly unlikely there’s any secret meaning here. I would love to be wrong about that — it would be a great thing if I am — but I’m also perfectly comfortable being cynical about CD.

              Also, expressing these concerns during development is probably the best time to do so. It gives the team a chance to respond and make changes. Waiting until everything is finalized to say, ‘Hey, maybe no?’ seems silly.

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