Thursday, January 31, 2013

What to Expect for Sony's Surprise February 20th Presser

Sony pretty much popped out from behind everyone, scaring the shit out of them today, by announcing a surprise press conference for February 20th. They're teasing the future of the PlayStation brand, showing the traditional PlayStation face buttons (cross, circle, square, and triangle), with the date February 20th.

The biggest shocker? Sony is actually keeping their goddamned mouth shut.

Recall back to my Wii U editorial that I published late last year, I called Sony out for their numerous leaks in the past. Just about any piece of hardware (PSPgo comes to mind) or major software (PlayStation Home) is leaked well before Sony's intentional release. They know they fucked up - and was even humble enough to joke about the PSPgo leak during their E3 09 conference - and they're making sure it doesn't happen again.

Some are already pointing out stills from the 45 second teaser, that there may be hidden images of the system itself. Such as the one below, seen at 0:04 in:

Sorry, Polygon, but I'm not seeing it. I see what you're getting at - and it can look like a piece of hardware - but I doubt they're showing it there; watch it in action, and you'll see for yourself.

I Call for a Reboot of Resident Evil


For years, Capcom has divided the Resident Evil fan-base into two camps: those that hate Resident Evil 4, and those that hate those that hate Resident Evil 4.

Look at the franchise post-Resident Evil 4. Look at how Capcom has handled it. Resident Evil 5; Operation: Racoon City; Revelations; Resident Evil 4 and Code: Veronica X on XBLA and PSN; Resident Evil 6. Ports/updates aside, Revelations is the only game that actually garnished good reviews, less criticism, and is actually being ported to the 360, PS3, PC, and Wii U.

Simply put, Capcom is fucking up Resident Evil.

My personal concern started about two years ago, with an open letter to Capcom. In it, I simply told them to "please, for the love of fuck, treat Resident Evil with respect." Did they? Of course not! This is Capcom, afterall.

::if you honestly thought i expected them to listen to me, thor help you::

The franchise has been in dire straits lately. For starters, it all began with Resident Evil 4. It divided the fan-base, with your "zomg, wheres the zombies?!?" or "an action game?!?". People were pissed that it wasn't in the same style of yore. They, however, are the ones that can't handle change. It was still a great game, and, despite no zombies, it still had menacing foes; fuck, it was a great game, and the best thing that's happened to the franchise since it started.

Today, Kotaku ran a story about series producer Masachika Kawata saying it's due for a "slight reboot", before putting the series future on the shoulders of the aforementioned port of Resident Evil: Revelations:

"Once we see Revelations released on consoles, we'll be looking very carefully at how the title is received and what feedback we get...we'll definitely be looking at that as a signpost for where we need to be going next."

I can see that Revelations will be received fairly well; it currently holds an 82 on Metacritic, with 68 of 78 critics giving it good reviews. Considering that half of the game is akin to what the series was once known for (survival horror) and what it was praised for, while the other half is what it's mutated into (action shooter) and is what many critics were bemoaning about, it's hard to tell how Capcom will take it.

I'm afraid for those that hated - and still hate - Resident Evil 4, because, come reboot time, they're either going to love it, or fucking ragequit on Capcom. However, I'm more afraid for how Capcom is going to handle the reboot. Which direction will they take it? Will they go back, see how they drew fans in with the first one and start there? Will they see how they started to alienate fans with Resident Evil 4 and 5 and take that to heart?

I say bring it on, Capcom. You owe us.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nintendo Combining Home Console and Handheld Divisions February 16

Ready for this bombshell? Nintendo confirmed to Engadget that they will be "[merging] its handheld and console gaming units into one division to create next generation hardware".

Are you nerd-raging yet?

Nintendo isn't saying anything more about it - I expect some sort of formal announcement soon - but this could simply be a more streamlined approach to the home console/handheld relationship, or something in the cards for the next-gen DS that would interact heavily with the Wii U, possibly even replacing or working alongside the GamePad.

If you recall back to August, I talked about this very functionality, simply asking Nintendo to "allow the 3DS to act as a controller for the Wii U". I summarized the functionality, asking them to not only allow the handheld to work as a controller for the home console, but to allow games to have interoperability; allow DS games to be played on the TV, and stream Wii U games to the handheld, ala GamePad.

This all sounds like a goddamned pipe-dream, but this news could shake up the traditional handheld/home console business plan they've had for 25 years. A handheld that works directly with your home console as the controller? I'm not talking about Remote Play that Vita/PS3 has, but direct connection. A full-featured controller that the handheld can be featured as. There's bits of evidence here and there, but they're starting to add up. You've got the GamePad itself, the second screen to your DS. Then you have Nintendo who says they essentially took the concept of the DS, and applied it to the living room; Miyamoto is quoted as saying "[Hiroshi] Yamauchi had no direct input in the development of the Wii U, but indirectly, you could say his idea from the DS is connected." Then, you have this announcement, about merging divisions.

I mean, why hasn't the GamePad been available for purchase since the Wii U's launch? I'm thinking - and this is as hair-brained as theories go - the GamePad is simply foreshadowing what the next-gen DS system will be, and what it can do.