The Tuesday Inbox looks at the positives of video games today, as one reader plans to go on holiday with the Nintendo PlayStation.
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So I guess Sony and Microsoft must be at the point where they’re going to have to make a decision pretty soon as to whether the new consoles are actually coming out this year or not. I know Sony said they still were but that was a few weeks ago and I’m not sure I believed them then anyway. Microsoft hasn’t even really hinted at a delay but they’ve got the same problems with Chinese manufacturers, whether they admit it or not.
At this point what do we reckon the chances are? Better than 50/50? I’m not so sure. Delaying the new James Bond film for half a year was a big step I feel and I’m sure lots of other entertainment companies must be looking at that for a clue as to what to do. I think Black Widow is the next big film after that, which doesn’t seem to be delayed yet, but if it does I think we’re going to see mass slippage from everyone.
The irony is that video games are the perfect thing to do while you keep you ‘self-isolate’ and yet we’re currently in a massive games drought. The problem with launching new consoles is you need to have the hype going for a good six months, at least beforehand, and Sony in particular has basically done nothing so far and we’re eight months, tops, out from the probable release date.
Some hard decisions coming up and I’m really not sure which way it’s going to go.
So Sony has a pretty great line-up for this summer: Persona 5 Royal, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Predator: Hunting Grounds, Marvel’s Iron Man VR, The Last Of Us Part 2, and Ghost Of Tsushima. I mean, that’s even better than I thought it was before I sat down to write this email!
Seriously, that’s better than any Christmas line-up they’ve ever had for the PlayStation 4, which is kind odd. Obviously the idea is to get them all out before the PlayStation 5 launches and then advertise them all working with backwards compatibility. Nice plan, but of course that was all before the coronavirus, so who knows what’ll happen now.
But the fact that they haven’t tried to push Ghost Of Tsushima back to sometime nearer to Christmas makes me think that they are still counting on the PlayStation 5 coming out for Christmas. Bit of a gamble seeing as how the news is going at the moment but I guess we’ll see. And I guess we’ll have plenty to play, finally, in the meantime.
It’s true, all of it
Well, that Warzone reveal for Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare was as big a mess as I’ve ever seen. As far as I can see every single leak and rumour was true, dating back well into last year. They even managed to have a leak the day before of everything, although I think that was just due to YouTuber stupidity.
Ever notice how these kind of leaks only ever happen with Western companies? Hardly anything ever leaks out from Japan and never on this kind of scale. People are upset at the lack of news from Nintendo but if they had the same set-up as Activision we would’ve known about everything from last year.
With Call Of Duty it’s probably because they’ve got three separate studios and there’s currently all the fallout about who’s making this year’s game. That’s why I bet the stuff about Modern Warfare 2 Remastered is probably true. Although I’m surprised they didn’t try and get the whole trilogy done before they rebooted. It’s be a bit odd when reboot Modern Warfare 2 comes out in two year’s time.
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So let me get this straight: mobile phones get the seminal Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night before the Switch does? What is Konami these days but a miserable pile of lousy decisions!
I just realised that last year saw the release of not only a Hideo Kojima production that echoed the Metal Gear Solids in madcap spirit and refined stealth gameplay, with the meditative and memorable Death Stranding, but also an excellent spiritual successor to Symphony Of The Night with Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night, and a wildly successful homage to Contra with Blazing Chrome.
Therefore, 2019 shall from now on be known as the year other developers and publishers did what Konami couldn’t/wouldn’t!
Interesting to hear there might be a new Elder Scrolls on the horizon but it’s a very far away horizon.
2025 would make… 14 years since the last one? Sure, there’s been Elder Scrolls Online but I’ve no interest in perpetual online games.
I can applaud them not rushing these games out every year but this kind of wait is ridiculous – they have definitely left the proverbial money on the table.
At this rate I’ll be near the grave by the time part 7 is released.
GC: Elder Scrolls 6 was announced two years ago at E3, so that element of the story isn’t new. You could argue the 2025 release date isn’t either, as that was the sort of time frame implied at the time.
Next gen prediction
I find the response by some people to the current games drought by some people very odd. They’re acting like someone’s just insulted their mother, just by pointing out there aren’t any new games out at the moment. The guy grudgingly admitting this was a ‘mini drought’ was the one that got me (when has there ever been a drought longer than this?!) but some seem to be denying it entirely or making up strange explanations for why Nintendo isn’t doing anything either.
Especially combined with the coronavirus I think it’s pretty obviously just bad luck and poor timing but the important lesson, I think, is that it shows how few big budget games are being made nowadays. When they all come out when they’re supposed to there isn’t a problem but when they get delayed, especially a few at once, suddenly we get these huge gaps in the schedules.
The thing is, this probably isn’t the last time this is going to happen. Even if there’s no delays games are going to get even more expensive next gen which means even fewer to go around. It’s a huge opportunity for indie developers. Although given how they’ve completely failed to take advantage of the last four months I’m not sure that’s going to work out either.
I would absolutely go to a museum with 800 vintage coin-ops in it. Heck, I’d probably organise a holiday to America to be able to go. So very glad to hear that the guy that bought the Nintendo PlayStation is going to let other people see it.
But does anyone else feel weirdly disappointed it didn’t make more money? Doesn’t make any sense, I know, but I would’ve really liked it if it had gone for £2 million or thereabouts. Kind of cements how important it is. If I was rich I definitely would’ve wanted it.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
I’m a glass half empty person but even I’m surprised by some of the pessimism shown due to the current triple-A games drought. So, I’ve been thinking of some of the positives about the current state of gaming.
Mobile gaming didn’t kill console gaming like it was predicted to at the start of this gen. Even though mobile gaming does now generate over half of the total revenue for gaming it hasn’t put console gaming to the sword. In fact, with over 100 million PlayStation 4 sold, 50 million and still going strong Switch’s sold, and about 45 – 50 million Xbox One’s sold console hardware is very popular indeed.
Japanese gaming has its identity back. How long ago was it now, five years? Japanese gaming was in the mire, seen as lagging technically behind the West and pandering to it by making its games more western. Now it’s a complete turnaround. Capcom, From Software, Platinum Games, and a resurgent Nintendo are all smashing it and have put Japanese gaming back at the fore front of gaming culture where it belongs.
Digital distribution has allowed indie and triple-A indie games to flourish. Just over 10 years ago the only real financial model for developers was triple-A retail releases. Games were not questioned on their play time duration for being too short but accused of bloat to pad the game out to justify its full price retail tag. So many games are released outside of the triple-A now and often they are more unconventional as the reduced production costs means risk is lessened, so you can get games like Outer Wilds and Hellblade.
Console gaming is pretty consumer friendly these days. Cross-platform play is now within reach for all titles, as Sony finally had to relent. PS Now and Game Pass both now offer excellent value. Going into the next gen backwards compatibility is seen as a major marketing feature, so no starting from scratch. I have 200 PlayStation 4 games and a PlayStation VR that will work on the PlayStation 5, hopefully with performance boosts.
Aggressive monetisation of gaming and escalating triple-A budgets meaning fewer triple-A titles are a concern. I’ve no interest in Candy Crush Saga or League Of Legends but the truth is they are way more popular than Dark Souls and most console games. It sucks no triple-A game has been released for four months but I don’t know, it genuinely seems to me right now console gaming is doing well.
Has anyone else seen the new programme Game Changer: Inside the Video Game Wars? It’s on catchup on the History Channel from Oscar-winning director Daniel Junge.
I love Picross too but I hate Phoenix Wright, that leaves me in a very difficult position for Murder By Numbers.
This week’s Hot Topic
Last week was the 20th anniversary of the PlayStation 2’s first release, so for this weekend’s Inbox we want to hear your memories of Sony’s second console.
Did you own a PlayStation 2 at the time and if so what did you think of it? What games did you own and play, and which were your favourites? Have you played any of them recently and how do you think they hold up?
What do you think is the legacy of the PlayStation 2 and what should it be best remembered for? How would you rate it compared to other PlayStation consoles and do you think it deserves to be the best-selling format of all time?
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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
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