Good morning, Escapists. Welcome to a new Monday column that will take a look back at the news of the previous week, while putting a slightly irreverent opinionated spin on it. I will attribute it to all the Pepsi I drink, hence the column name. In our inaugural column, we hit on EA, Fire Emblem: Fates and a few other topics that caught my hyperactive attention.
Electronic Arts Wants Your Trust Again
This week brought a pair of stories from EA, most notably that the company was doing what it could to regain the trust of the PC gaming populace. Actually, while putting out some decent games in the past few years, the company has been in the crosshairs of many frustrated gamers because of its somewhat arrogant approach to games in general. Remember that, rightly or wrongly, EA was voted the worst company in America in 2013, and while revenues continue to be high, the perception among many gamers is that if EA can screw you, it probably will, either through anticipated games that are only multiplayer (“No one would play Star Wars: Battlefront single-player”), forcing “always online” into a game (SimCity anyone?), poorly thought-out business models (Origin) or some other punch below the belt (Dungeon Keeper mobile – ouch).
I liken this to what Sony went through when the PS3 was announced, and later what Microsoft went through with the Xbox One, where the companies seemed more interested in getting you excited about what they thought was cool, as opposed to what users really wanted. Sony learned its lesson when it launched PlayStation 4 and the PS4 continues to outperform Xbox One, while Microsoft has been scrambling to make up ground and actually had a very solid E3 showing for its console this year.
This attempt to regain trust could also be a reason that EA has decided to forego having a booth at E3 this year in favor of its own EA Play event – which will be in Los Angeles during E3 week. An EA spokesman said the goal of the event is to “put players first,” a move that has been quite successful for Blizzard the last decade with BlizzCon.
It remains to be seen how successful the company’s new-found conscience will affect its user base, but right now, EA seems to be saying the right things.
Fire Emblem: Fates Gets the Nintendo Neuter
Nintendo has a history of altering its Japanese games when they are released in the West, and this week, Fire Emblem: Fates became the latest to feel the knife – not once, but twice. The first cut involved a scene where Soliel has her drink spiked causing her to see genders reversed, giving the potential for what some called a “gay conversion.” The second revolved around the 3DS touch screen where players could “stroke” characters and get suggestive responses in return.
Chalk another one up for the morality police. The feedback from players seems to be split on whether the moves are good or bad, but its just another example of how the United States has an appearance of prudishness in Japan. Remember that Koei Tecmo decided not to bring Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 to the United States to avoid the controversy of its depiction of women. A noble effort to be sure, but still a move that keeps people from playing a game they may want – and will probably import anyway if they so desire.
To be clear, I have no horse in this race. I won’t play any of these games, any more than I would play Postal or the controversial Hatred. I’m not into gratuitous sex or violence. That said, I do believe the games should be available to those who want to play them. If the game is worth making and selling in Japan, then it should show up unaltered here in the States. Let players vote with their pocketbook and let the ESRB rating system do its job. ‘Nuff said.
Great Detective Pikachu was announced this week with a live action trailer, and somehow, fans got it in their heads that actor Danny DeVito would be good to voice the electric yellow Pokemon. They started a petition and created a video. I’m onboard. Someone call The Pokemon Company and DeVito’s agent. … Age of Mythology got an expansion this week called Tale of the Dragon. Expansions aren’t unusual, but 12 years later? Time for a Grim Fandango sequel. Better yet, hey Ubisoft, get Beyond Good and Evil 2 going. … I don’t know about you, but I’ll be prepping for Valentine’s Day by going to the theater and watching Deadpool when it comes out on February 12. Good timing, as I’m sure there will be plenty of red in the movie to keep with the holiday theme. And if you don’t get enough from the R-rated wisecracking fourth-wall breaker, then you’ll want to get the even more intense Director’s Cut. Give your loved one a real heart for Valentine’s Day, courtesy of the Merc with a Mouth … And finally, Peter Capaldi may make the 10th series of Doctor Who his last. I wasn’t a fan when he was initially announced as the 12th Doctor, but last season was spectacular and he really made the character his own. I will be sad to see him go. Now the question becomes: Who will be Who next?
With the announcement this week that there will be a Blade Runner sequel, I immediately played Roy Batty’s death soliloquy in my head. You can’t replace Rutger Hauer. The movie really was ahead of its time. So I pose the question to you, Escapists, what movie classic would you like to see get a quality sequel?
As this is the first column, I’ll be massaging the style as I go. Feedback is welcome and encouraged, as well as possible news tips that you may want to see in future columns. Bring it to the forums.