Ben's Week In Review: July 1
It has been super hot...thankfully, I've got a super great cooling system. Good thing, too, because I despise the heat. Gimme the Arctic.
Since when is large-scale development a problem at Square Enix?
So the company says they plan to do more distributing and outsourcing because they can't seem to budget their time very well when it comes to internal large-scale development projects. ...what? Why? They took steps in the right direction with the creation of Final Fantasy XIII-2. When compared to FFXIII, which they admit took far too long and rumors abounded over what the team was forced to omit, FFXIII-2 development was pretty streamlined. They put it out fast and incorporated a lot of fan feedback. It's still not where FF should be as a franchise in my opinion, but it seemed like a positive thing. Saying you need to outsource more almost sounds like you haven't learned anything.
While it's certainly true that games these days require much larger teams and many more man hours, even when compared to the Final Fantasy classics, I refuse to believe that it's necessary to outsource just because internal teams can't allocate time well enough. There has to be other reasons behind it, and I fear the biggest reason is their drive to cater more to the Western audiences. It just doesn't make sense for one of the industry's veteran game makers to say, "Oh, we're not very good at big-budget projects so we need help." Just weird.
Not enough people seem excited about Dishonored
I always worry about this kind of thing: Promising new IP that just doesn't seem to be getting enough attention or exposure pre-launch. Dishonored is set for early October and although we get all sorts of great media - like those 14 minutes of stealth gameplay - the hype isn't even in the same universe as it might be for other Bethesda projects. If this was another Elder Scrolls or Fallout, I guarantee there'd be three times the number of headlines on a weekly basis. New IPs are getting harder and harder to launch, even if they clearly look a lot like established franchises. In this case, Dishonored would remind any hardcore gamer of a mix of The Elder Scrolls and Bioshock.
So I really hope they actually market the hell out of this one, because it has supreme potential and it doesn't have the name recognition factor, which is becoming increasingly important in this industry. New IPs can still flourish but they really need two things: 1. Top-notch quality that is acknowledged by most critics, and 2. A whole lot of exposure via advertising.
Personal gaming update
As usual, we're in the midst of another summer doldrums, where very few games arrive. I've been done with Max Payne 3 for a while, and I'm still slowly working my way through Shadow of the Colossus. I also spend more time with my Vita when there aren't any great titles I need to play on my PS3 or 360, so that means Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational, Touch My Katamari, and Michael Jackson: The Experience HD. I'm still playing Lollipop Chainsaw, and I'm considering finishing Spec Ops: The Line, which isn't a bad game. I was just disappointed that the best concepts weren't fleshed out enough, and overall it feels too generic.
I'm also looking forward to Rainbow Moon and Quantum Conundrum; you can expect reviews for both. If you're an old-school RPG - or strategy/RPG - fan, you should definitely check out the Rainbow Moon dev diaries. Fair warning, though; they might make you cry. ;)
6/30/2012 Ben Dutka