Square Enix is getting back to their ’90s JRPG roots with I Am Setsuna [official site], and its latest trailer is a somber look into the frozen world where a young girl has to make a pretty terrible sacrifice.
Against the welcomed deluge of classic Japanese games that’ve landed on western PCs recently, you’d be forgiven for assuming I Am Setsuna [official site] was another rejigged and repackaged oldie. It’s not, though, and is in fact the work of Square Enix’s Tokyo RPG Factory studio, a team who are inspired by the JRPG classics of yesteryear. I Am Setsuna is a throwback to those tried and tested games, and now has a new nostalgia-spun trailer and a summertime release date to match.
Sounds like we were just talking about nostalgia, and here we are again: Square Enix has opened an entire studio, tellingly named “Tokyo RPG Factory,” to work on new titles “inspired by the golden era of Japanese role-playing games” like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger.
Their first work, I Am Setsuna (Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna in Japanese) [official site] was released in Japan in February to positive, if not enthusiastic, reviews. They’ve now announced a western port of the game scheduled for this summer, and it will include a PC version too, even if that’s totally out of place with that nostalgia thing they were going for.
RPS Feature The war is over.
The slow-down of PC tech has left a strange hollow in my life. If you’re older than a tiny baby, you’ll remember the days when your PC was perpetually on the verge of not being able to play the current crop of games no matter how frequently you upgraded it. Now, my PC insides are a couple of years old, and playing everything on maximum. This is, I think on balance, a good thing. But there are downsides to it too.
Trailers don’t always turn me into a shrieking teenybopper, but I’m not ashamed to say I made high-pitched noises — think long, loud “EEEE”s of raw and immeasurable glee – at the King’s Quest announcement trailer. A joint production between The Odd Gentleman and the newly resurrected Sierra Games, the upcoming reboot is all about a doddering King Graham going, “In my time – ” at his granddaughter Gwendoyln while he shakes his cane-sword at shadow bunnies.
RPS Feature Mars, Ragtime, Brothers and Hats
Some moments in some games stay with you. The right event, the right surprise or the right hats at the right time, and it’s imprinted on your memory forever. I’ve been playing PC games for almost 25 years: I’ve got a million of these, and so have you. I’ll show you just a few of mine if you show me yours.
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RPS Feature The Good Old Days?
When interviewing Charles Cecil about his Kickstarter for Broken Sword 5, I interrupted him at one point to ask about a claim I’ve heard many making during this recent crowd-funding surge: that publishers prevent innovation. Perhaps they do, perhaps they don’t, but what exactly does that have to do with remaking games people liked in the 90s? I think perhaps this theme reaches its parodic zenith with the title of the proposed project from Brathwaite and Hall: Old School Role-Playing Game.
Kickstarter success stories have so far been firmly rooted in nostalgia, not innnovation. We’re seeing some of the biggest talent in the industry openly abandoning the ambition of innovation, and we’re paying them to do it.
For no other reason than because I love you, below you can see an American programme – Computer Chronicles – looking at the current state of computer games, almost 30 years ago. Beyond knowingly laughing at how they just don’t know stuff from the future, and their jumpers, it’s a fascinating perspective. Not just to see how gaming was already considered both old by then, and just how much the presentation in the media hasn’t changed. They ask, “Are computer games here to stay?” You can see the half-hour PBS programme below.
Precocious, pondering, prattish younger me used to stand in game shops holding Jane’s Combat Simulation games, marveling at the heft of the box, the grandeur of the screens, imagining Jane at her desk, making a game and being so proud she’d put her name to it. I was stupid. Now I know better: Jane is the second name of military enthusiast Fred T. Jane, and he died in 1916. He didn’t make those games, although given that they were basically manuals made into gaming form, with his love of detailing military hardware he’d probably have enjoyed their elegant air battles and cockpit rendering. As for the latest incarnation, Jane’s Advanced Strike Fighters, being released a full decade after the last one, I’m pondering how he’d react. The video below looks fun, sure, but I’m sensing developers
Evolved GamesTrickstar have taken a bit of a diversion around realism.
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“Fury of the Furries.” Snort. D’y’know, that wasn’t funny back in 1993. Now, though, hoo-boy. Angry men defending their rights to dress up in teddy bear suits is a game that simply must come to pass. 1993’s Fury of the Furries, though, was a platform game about cute fluffy things with goo-goo voices fighting for their right to exist. Oh.
On with the story, anyway. A warning: this post is more nostalgia than restrospective, I’m afraid, but everyone has a unique gaming heritage, so maybe it’ll be at least a little interesting in that respect. Maybe. I suspect it stands a better chance of being the longest piece of writing about Fury of the Furries on the entire internet. Read the rest of this entry »