The Sunday Papers
Sundays are for doing your best Ed Thorn impression, because he’s holidaying in Japan right now and you said you’d cover the Sunday Papers for him. Okay, here we go: "Hi I’m Ed and here is this week’s best writing about games (and game related things)." Nailed it.
For NME (or the NME, if you're of a certain age), friend of RPS Jeremy Peel profiled Brenda Romero. It’s a meaty and wide-ranging interview with one of gaming’s few true titans of industry, spanning Romero’s early days at Sir-Tech, the making of a Playboy-themed Sims clone, and the rough launch of Prohibition strategy caper Empire of Sin.
"I think it’s fair to say it kind of tripped and fell on its face," Romero says. "There were a couple of exploits that we just didn’t see. And unfortunately, they were big exploits.” One allowed players to win the game in the space of an hour. “If you can just imagine the matrix of 14 possible bosses, all having unique missions, interacting with all these characters, there’s lots of amazing room for emergence," Romero says. "But that also means there’s lots of amazing room for bugs."
Bullet Points have been running a series of pieces on Like a Dragon: Ishin, including this short but sweet musing by Chris Brecault on the storytelling potency of a nice jacket.
You do feel oddly proud to walk around in that blue coat. Without overplaying their hand, the developers load it up with so much meaning—a symbol of cruelty and power, a disguise, a mark of fellowship—that you feel like Ryoma has taken an irreversible step when he puts it on. I can’t remember the last time I saw a game studio manage that kind of narrative flourish. I think most other devs couldn’t resist turning the coat into an item that gives you +10 strength.
Tom Phillips of Eurogamer and Mo Mozuch of Inverse both managed to get Redfall director Harvey Smith talking about the political bite of its vampires. From the Inverse piece:
"Vampires are a pretty good metaphor for today, where a tiny group of people are living like kings at the expense of everyone else," he says. "Rivers are drying up, well water is being poisoned by various chemical processes, California is burning and covered in snow. Meanwhile, people have islands, private jets, and all. There's a tiny group of people feeding on everyone else."
Waypoint’s Patrick Klepek considered how Metroid Prime Remastered allowed itself to keep feeling old, mainly by forgoing the player-nudging techniques of modern actioners.
There are many times where you’ll mutter to yourself "am I doing something wrong?" In the process, you’re likely to find a door you forgot about earlier that hey, you can now access with a new upgrade! That door might not lead to linear progress, towards seeing the game’s end credits, but it creates further investment in the world and the environment, adding new layers of understanding to the way the geometry is laid out — the key to any Metroid game.
Similarly, the launch of the Resident Evil 4 remake had Destructoid’s Sorrel Kerr-Jung revisit the 2005 original’s tank controls. A force for good, she argues, or at least for more effective horror.
Leon is out of his element in RE4. He’s more graceful than he was back in Raccoon City, but as he quickly and aptly notes, he’s not dealing with the same zombies this time around. He’s learned a cool roundhouse kick, and he moves like he’s in his own skin, but caution automatically takes over when it’s time to open fire. He can feel the controller. When he’s established control over a situation, he can smoothly sprint ahead and start throwing kicks and punches, but usually he’s frozen in place, firing his gun with shaky hesitation.
Music this week is Only Revolutions, Biffy Clyro’s second-best album. Spotify and YouTube, go.
I’m also away from this coming Wednesday, so there’ll be yet another Ed impersonator here next week. Have a good’un!