Friday, March 29, 2013

Despite it being GDC I'm not sure what to talk about.

So, here are what's in my drafts:

Why Graphics are no guarantee of Quality

Part 2 of the Fridging article (Currently focusing on the difference between a Sacrificial Lion and Fridging)

David Hayter and Metal Gear Solid

Character Analysis: GLaDOS

Game Design: Luigi's Mansion

Why we  need female protagonists

Character Analysis: Goddess of Time (Half Minute Hero)

What do you want to see? (Or if you have an idea, drop it in the comments.)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Deleted Content: Golden Eye

Golden Eye on the N64 is considered the father of modern shooters and one of the best games of all time.  I have not played it.  What I HAVE found out is a lot of items were cut before the release. 

For starters, and the most well known, is the "All Bond" mode.  Licensing kept this from being easily accessible in the final game.  (Basically, either not all the Bonds said "okay"  or Rare could not pay enough for them to say okay.)

But there are others.

Xenia Onnatopp may have been in the final game.  She's known to fly a helicopter, and helicopters either appear or were going to appear in several of the levels.  There is a model of a female helicopter pilot in game, and you meet her by a suspiciously large and empty room..,. a boss fight room perhaps?

Snipers were also supposed to be in the final game.  That's why there are empty sniper towers in several of the levels.... however the way sightlines and bullets work in the game, they could only shoot at Bond when he's at the bottom of the ladder.  Therefore, they would be almost entirely ineffective.

Digging into the code reveals items for a casino level.  There are gold bars, poker chips, and other items which show that one was planned (and there is one in the movie) But it was cut for unknown reasons.

And, the one many have suspected for years, the island!
Near the end of the Dam level, you can glimpse an island in the distance.  Yes, you were actually going to go to it originally.  There is a spare bonus armor on the island, and there is a dummied out but fully modeled boat too.  However, the island itself is unfinished. But the fact it is modeled hints that there was supposed to be something rather significant here.

If you keep on digging, you can find a lot more.  Hidden doors, secret items, unused characters...  interesting what is kept on that little cartridge, isn't it? 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Game Design: Localizing Pokemon Names

Pokemon, much like Phoenix Wright, has so many double meanings that translation to get the idea across can be difficult.

 Take, for example, Farfetch'd.  Farfetch'd (in English)  refers to something being "Far fetched"  which, according to Webster's, means " not likely to be true or to occur"  The Japanese version means (Literally) "a duck comes bearing green onions'" which is a reference back to a Japanese proverb which means both "Something surprising but convenient" and also means something along the lines of something which is good now, but you traded it for something else which would be better long term. (You trade either Spearow of Pidgey for Fearow.  Both are weak now but evolve into powerful flying later) 

Other examples are Ampharos:
Which refers both to an Amp (A measure of electricity, perfect for an electric sheep) and the Pharos lighthouse in Alexandria.  (and remember where you find an Ampharos in the game?  Yep, at a lighthouse.)

and Empoleon:
Which manages to refer to Emperor Penguins, The North Pole, and Napoleon at the same time. 

Okay, okay, some of them are rather basic (Gears, anyone?)  and others are... guesswork.  (Such as Lairon, Iron maybe, but where did the La come from?)  but there are over 500 pokemon and any amount of digging will turn up a high amount of references, clever translation, and more depth than you would think.  My hat is off to the Localization team.  They make it work. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Today's Post: Interrupted by Jobs

For the record, I have around 6 posts in drafts.  GLaDOS, Half Minute Hero, more on Fridging, why we need women in games...

But I haven't had the time or the inspiration to properly finish them off.  Add this with me starting work tomorrow and the computer being in use, I do not have a proper post for you today.  Have some OC remix.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Musical Monday- Baba Yetu (Civilization IV)

You need to know two things about Baba Yetu

1) It's the first video game song to win a Grammy (and this is before it was specifically stated to be in the category)

2) It's the "Our Father" in Swahili. 

Now, I'm going to go tear up over it like I always do. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mother 2/Earthbound FINALLY released on the (Japanese) Virtual Console!

(Deep Breath)
Mother 2/Earthbound is a cult game on the SNES that did moderately well in Japan and became a cult game despite a unique translation (Which is one of the best parts of the game) and Nintendo horribly mismanaging the promotion of a game that came out near the end of the SNES cycle.

However, Mother 2/Earthbound has a complicated legal history, mostly due to the fact that the games creators loved music.  So they put music everywhere among other things.  Eventually,  Fans gave up all hope of ever seeing it re released.  Too much would need to be changed.  This was especially tragic since it WAS planned to be released on the Wii VC.  If you have a copy of the Japanese Super Smash Bros Brawl, you can play a demo of the Wii VC game for several of the characters, including Ness. 

I'm not sure what happened, but the game was released a few days ago for the Japanese Wii U Virtual Console.  Itoi, who created the game, is going to do a stream tomorrow morning (7 AM Eastern Time)  To celebrate the release and he's trying to fight for the game to be released in Western Territories.  We'll see if it actually happens, but now we're one step closer for the gamers who missed the game the first time around to play it the first time. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Character Analysis: Riku (Spoilers)

Riku: What are you making me choose now?
DiZ: Between the road to light and the road to darkness.
Riku: Neither suits me. I'm taking the middle road.
DiZ: Do you mean the twilight road to nightfall?
Riku: No. It's the road to dawn.

Sora, while the hero of Kingdom Hearts, is kind of blank, especially when compared to the around 5 people living in his heart.  (Trust me, it makes slightly more sense in context)

Riku is much more complex.  Riku is the could have been hero who followed the failures of his predecessors and found success.

For starters, Riku was selected by Terra to be the next Keyblade wielder.  Terra ultimately let his anger take root in him and was taken over by Master Xehanort.  So far, his true heart has not been discovered. 

Riku, as he grew older, grew restless over his inability to experience the outside world.  He knew it existed, when he met Terra he knew Terra wasn't from Destiny Islands immediately. And that knowledge that there WAS something outside his idyllic island life gnawed at him.

So, he decided to make a raft and leave.  Or that's what he said.  The night before Sora and Kairi planned on leaving with him, he opened up the Heart of the World to connect it to the Darkness so he could use it to travel. After all, he wasn't scared of the Darkness.

At this point, he mostly disappears from the first game until around mid to late game.  What we DO see is Maleficent slowly seducing him to evil.  Maleficent manipulates situations so it looks like Sora is ignoring Riku.  She asks him to do little evil things for him in order for her to help him find Kairi.  She gives him power over the Heartless.  And this power he accepts.  He never really revels in it, but he takes it as a necessary evil in order to find his friend Kairi.  And it works, mostly.  He kidnaps Jasmine, he uses the Heartless to attack Sora on Captain Hook's ship, and he does find Kairi.

So, he claims the keyblade back.  It was supposed to be his, after all.  He summons it from Sora and leaves Sora out  in the open.

Sora, though, manages to summon the Keyblade back later.  Riku loses and then Ansem comes, offering him power.
(start at 7:55)

Riku accepts, and mostly disappears for the rest of the game.  Ansem has taken him over.  Riku is somewhat aware of what is going on during the takeover.  Ansem and Riku's voices overlap.  Sometimes, especially when talking about Kairi, Riku's voice is stronger and overwhelms Ansem.  When Ansem attempts to kill Kairi, Riku manages to physically hold him back for a short time.    The only time his heart/soul appears after that, is when Sora is attempting to shut some doors to seal the Darkness away, but Riku would be trapped on the wrong side.  Riku tells him to do it anyway, and to take care of Kairi.

Then Chain of Memories happened.   In Chain of Memories, Riku is a playable character with his own story line. In it, Riku must grapple with his use of Darkness. Vexen makes a copy of him, Lexaeus tells him he should accept the Darkness so he can't be destroyed from the inside out, He has to face a clone of himself who revels in the darkness, and then Zexion tries to trick him to drown in either light or darkness.  Of course, this is not counting Ansem constantly trying to use him as a vessel (and he's working independently of the Organization) and Ansem the Wise/DiZ imitating Ansem to try to get Riku to work for him.

Then Namine comes in to save him.  She tells him that Riku is both Light and Dark, and while neither side can claim him, his path is wide open to do what he wishes, and he can use both to save every World.  That's what he needed to hear.  He manages to defeat Ansem's conciousness, seals him away himself, and goes off to save everything with King Mickey.  (This is where his quote at the top of the page comes in.)

That's the plan anyway.  358/2 shows he had a lot of trouble with the plan.  Ansem's heart continuted to bother him, so he left Mickey to travel the worlds by himself.  He rejoined Ansem the Wise/DiZ.  He half kidnapped half saved Namine. He covers his eyes with a blindfold. He stalks Xion to figure her out,and ends up becoming close with her.  He helps her figure out what exactly she is, who she keeps on dreaming about, and what she is supposed to do.  After she returns to Sora through Roxas (Sora's nobody. LONG story),  Roxas challenges Riku.  Roxas and Riku fight to a stand still, but Riku wins... by tapping so deep into Darkness he embraces Ansem in his heart.  And by embracing Ansem, he turns into Ansem.

This is where Kingdom Hearts 2 picks up chronologically. Riku is sulking behind the scenes.  He watches over Roxas in the digital world.  When Sora wakes up, Riku keeps an eye on both him and Kairi.   He fights Sora in the "Land of Dragons"  for unknown reasons, he saves Kairi the first time Axel tries to kidnap her, but he generally stays out of the way until the last level.

In the last level, he finally managed to rescue Kairi and Namine, he helps Sora in a fight by holding off Heartless, he gives Kairi a keyblade, Kairi shows Sora that the Ansem:SoD who's been following them around is actually Riku after he tried to leave, and he protects the group after DiZ blows up a fake Kingdom Hearts (again, makes somewhat more sense in context) 

The blowing up did have a good side effect, it gave him his body back. He fully reclaimed his identity as Riku.  He helped Sora defeat Xemnas.  He used some dark abilities to protect them, Sora gave him a keyblade to use,  and while he is injured in the final battle, he doesn't fade.  Instead, he finally manages to return home with a clear concious.

His story does NOT end there (In all seriousness, this has taken quite  a chunk of time)  After an undetermined amount of time, Riku has (FINALLY!) Cut his hair, and YenSid (as the only master currently in existence) offers to give him and Sora a Test of Mastery.  There's a lot of dream craziness, but Riku finds himself being stalked by Ansem:SoD and Young Xehanort throughout the game. They begin by urging him to fall to the darkness.  To accept his fate as Ansem:SoD's pawn.  Riku, however, continually refuses.  Then he runs into either the image of himself or Repliku.  We're not given clear notice either way.  As time goes on, Young Xehanort eventually appears to tell him Riku is no longer needed, especially because Riku is firmly set in such a way so he can not fully succumb to darkness or light.    So Chernabog is to kill him.

After that, Riku FINALLY manages to track Sora down... and finds out he's  been captured by the new Organization to be the Thirteenth Vessel for Master Xehanort.  (Again, makes slightly more sense in context).  Riku, of course, says that is a horrible idea and manages to mostly hold the possession off.  Mostly, because after that point he can't wake him up.

As it turns out, Riku knew something was wrong from the beginning and became a dreameater for Sora's dream and protected him through that.  So, to wake Sora up, he'd have to go BACK into the dream and defeat a shadow version of Sora wrapped up in Ven's armor then answer questions from Roxas, Ven, and Xion (while not knowing who Ven or Xion are) then finally making it back and finding out he's the new keyblade master.

(Deep breath)  Okay, got all of that?    Yeah, it's a bit of a doozy.

So, let's analyze all of this.

First off, Riku may value freedom highly, but he always valued his friends more.  When he left, he did seem to want to talk his friends with him. When his friends are in danger, he will do anything to protect him.  Kairi lost without a heart? He'll drown in darkness to get her back.  Sora's currently drowning in darkness?  He'll risk his life to wake him up.  Random person who's in trouble in the world?  He'll protect them.  Mickey has a very high priority since the two are besties (and I can't show it here.)  As for Xion?  Well, he did all he could to save her, even when he knew he would forget her.  Even though Xion had to go back to Sora, he still tried to find a way for her to exist separately from Sora at the same time.  As of right now, it hasn't worked out but it still may in the future.

Second:  When it comes to him falling to Darkness, he fully admits he was wrong but he not only tries to fix it but to keep people from following him.  In other words, he may be a kind of anti Xehanort.  He understands that what he did was wrong, even if he may end up becoming the most powerful and wise keyblade master because of it, and he is willing to sit down and explain why it worked for him but it wouldn't really work for anyone else.

Third: He's blunt.  If something isn't going to work, he's going to say so and say why.

Fourth: He's very focused.  When Shiki attempts to flirt with him, he doesn't know how to react and he freezes up. He wants to save Kairi, he WILL save Kairi.  He wants to save Sora, he WILL save Sora and ignore all the other distractions, unless they are "The world will be destroyed"  type of distractions.  Those cross his path quite frequently.

Fifth: He's very compassionate.  He knows what it's like to be wrong, to face the darkness, so when people face any sort of problems, he wants to sit down and talk it out.  He wants to make sure they are okay before he moves on.   He doesn't worry about anyone's pride, but he can tell when people need help and he'll reach out.

Sixth: He's focused on redemption.  He knows he screwed up in KH1, and he's spends the rest of his time trying to fix it.  It may not always be right, and it takes a while for him to get there, but he's always eying the possibility that he can do something to save the worlds and everyone in it.  And if he gets redemption, then so can everyone.

Riku is one of my favorite characters, especially from Kingdom Hearts.  Riku is complex, sympathetic, and caring.  So, what will he do when the games start up again?  Especially as he is know the universe's only Keyblade Master.

I guess we'll find out in Kingdom Hearts 3.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rumor! Final Fantasy XV


Do you remember the Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer? Noctis teleporting to kill guards on the side of a building, the discussion of a political revolution, The guy from Jurassic Park driving a car... (Seriously, didn't he look like Jeff Goldblum to anyone else?) That was the first one, the second one gave a bit more detail, but it was unfinished and disjointed.  The characters would flip in between being voiced and not, some things seemed a little unfinished,  and the in game sections (while looking amazing) were slightly odd.

  And while Versus generated more buzz than the other to XIII titles (Final Fantasy XIII itself and Final Fantasy Agito XIII - later renamed Final Fantasy type 0) but the thematic elements always felt a bit off from the other games.  There were no mention of Fal'cie in the trailer, the world looked dramatically different from either of the two other games,  even the crystals mentioned in the backstory worked differently from the crystals used in Final Fantasy XIII. (though they might have been more similar to the Type 0 crystals)  Either way, it looked amazing

After 2011, there was nothing.  No information about story or programming, Noctis didn't show up in any Final Fantasy events.  No other trailers were released.  Information just stopped.  Until now.

A rumor is starting to leak out today. The reason why we haven't heard anything is because there is no Final Fantasy Versus XIII anymore.

It's now Final Fantasy XV, and it's going to be on the PS4.  In addition, Sony itself is going to help out.  It sounds like they will mostly help out in the art assets, but that is still a big help.  Right now, it's all unsubstantiated, even if Gamestop may have leaked it coming out this year, as Versus XIII.

So, has Versus XIII been saved?  Or was it always on track and they just wanted to finish KH 3D before they put their effort back onto Versus?   What do you think?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Deleted Content: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Digging into the code and connecting some dots has revealed a few things about Ocarina of Time.

Such as, there may have been 3 more dungeons.

Looking into the code of Legend of Zelda, the forest medallion and the water medallion are listed as "Wind Medallion" and "Ice Medallion" respectively.  In addition, the ice in the Zora's domain was never properly cleaned up, there is an odd ice mini dungeon in the game, and the respective mini dungeons in Ganon's Castle are wind and ice themed.

Okay, that's two dungeons.  What's the third?

The third is a light temple.  You see, the Spirit Temple has light based puzzles, but the light symbol, light arrows, windows, and the "Prelude of Light" all link back to the Temple of Time.
Connecting the dots, it appears that a "Temple of Light" Did indeed get partially programmed and themed but for some reason was scrapped.  As a result, and to gain the light arrows, the assets were split between the spirit temple (to provide extra puzzles and the mirror shield in addition to the gloves)  and the Temple of Time (To meet Zelda on an important ground and to gain the Light Arrows.)

The dungeons were not re added in Ocarina of Time: 3D.  But, how do you think the game would have gone if the dungeons/temples were kept in the game?

Friday, March 15, 2013

TV shows, choose your tie in game genres carefully

I really should go back into Character analysis, deleted content, and game design soon.  I actually have one planned but it will take time to do right.  Anyway, sorry about the delay, I didn't think of the idea until this morning and then the computer was tied up.

Doctor Who, being a hugely successful and fifty year old property, has released a few video games.  Like most Sci Fi shows, Doctor Who has a large focus on technology, problem solving, and saving the world.  The Doctor is a technical pacifist (Normally) who prefers to out trick his opponents and save the universe with a minimal of casualties.  His Companions are both his moral compass and his muscle.  Especially companions like River. 

And he really likes it when he's clever.
 (The first Doctor is my favorite, though I like the others)

What makes Doctor Who fun is WHEN he's clever and brilliant and his companions get frustrated with him because of how he's acting. 

The perfect fit for this type of show would be a point and click.  Sure, it's  bit out of style (Like the Doctor's clothes.)   but with the Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver as an all purpose tool, and his ability to save the world through rewriting machines the puzzle based format would fit well.  Instead, the developers went for a platforming scenario for when he's doing the "Running through corridors" bit. 

As a result, the game was moderately good and did not make enough money to justify a sequel though it was left on a cliffhanger.  The quality of the models was honestly very good and it is actually Matt Smith and Alex Kingston talking.   But Doctor Who does mix things up even as it follows the general TV formula (see Blink, Midnight, The Doctor Who Movie, and so much more in the "Classic" who)  while the game just repeated puzzles with increasing difficulty.

Companies, use your tie ins well.  Racing games work best for speed based characters, DC and Marvel having fighting games makes sense (and they are great), and a MLP Freemium Farmville Clone does make a certain amount of sense (though an adventure or point and click may work better)

But then we also have SuperMan 64,  Back to the Future on the NES, and Lost: Via Domus.    I don't have to go into Superman: 64, Back to the Future was a dodging side scroller and Lost: Via Domus attempted to be an adventure game.

Lost as a puzzle, RPG, or a climber would have been great.  (Especially if it was based on the new Tomb Raider system.  Just with less fighting.)  Superman 64 should be an action game or possible a side scroller beat em up.  Back to the Future... I don't know.  But not a side scroller like that.  TIME TRAVEL is a critical plot point in the series and you go with that?

So, companies, when deciding what to do, keep the source material in mind.  The genre can turn any property from "Bad" to "Okay" to "good" to "This is freaking awesome."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How Tron: Legacy owes a debt to KH

In 1982, Disney released a movie about computers that utilized the first significant use of CG in film.  And, for the record, that amounted to about 10 or 15 minutes.  Most scenes were done in black rooms with flourecesnt tape, but considering how code had to be entered in line by line, 10 to 15 minutes of basic CG is amazing.

The movie had a devout cult following, but it never really had any significant financial play. 

Until 2005/6 when Kingdom Hearts II came out.   In it, one of the worlds was Tron.  But here's the thing.  Because Kingdom Hearts has a large and different install base, it suddenly introduced a new generation to the world of Tron.  And Tron is a rather interesting world.

The reason why this is important, is then people began to seek out Tron 1.  For example, my family rented it on VHS.  (which should give you some idea of how hard it was to find a copy.)

While I have no proof, I have always found the sudden interest in the Tron property, especially how it was released a few years after Kingdom Hearts.  In addition, it was a continuation of the first one, rather than a new story. 

 Not only was it released a few years after KH2, writers were hired in 2005, Disney hired the director in 2008, and they released the movie in 2010. It takes years to develop a game.  In fact, Kingdom Hearts 2 started development in 2002/3.  Disney has to approve all of the worlds in the game, so they would have known about KH2 using the world.

Admittedly, the story used the Flynn family (who did not appear in Kingdom Hearts 2) but the thought is still there.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

AA5 spoilers: Apollo Justice

Well, Apollo has been injured and he may be our new prosecutor.  Traditionally, the silhouette at the end of the Ace Attorney teaser trailer is the new Prosecutor.
 And, right now, that silhouette is matching Apollo's sprite. 

Now, people in AA changing professions isn't unheard of.  Miles has doubled as defense in a pinch, Godot started as defense before becoming a prosecutor, etc.  But the bandages are particularly interesting.

Apollo doesn't have a magatma in order to see the truth, instead he can see the little twitches people do when they're lying.  Something happened recently, something that took away the use of one of his eyes (at least temporarily) Something that may keep him from perceiving.

In addition, prosecutors are traditionally (In AA) very bitter people. What could cause Apollo to become a prosecutor?

I hope they didn't fridge Trucy... 

In any rate, Apollo is confirmed and something tells me he will be VERY important.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Musical Monday: Welcome to Fyrestone (Borderlands)

Again, this game isn't my cup of tea, at all, but from what I hear it also has some really great and relaxing music.  I still have to listen to the OST, but it's something.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Why we should stay away from "Always On" DRM

Sim City launched this week.  The Sim series has been around for quite a long time.  Usually a single player game, the player constructs worlds and simulates the environments.  You can play it straight and try to run the best city you can, or you can turn everyone into vampires and make your city live in a state of perpetual tornadoes.  It's honestly up to you. 

And people honestly want to do that, but they've run into a problem.

In the most recent version of Sim City, you must be connected to EA's server's to play.  You can swap materials and trade with nearby players and talk about your accomplishments on twitter, but to do that (or not) you must be connected. That's problematic for many reasons, but let's focus on the current one.

The server's are so overloaded people are having trouble simply getting into the single player mode.  Even reviewers are having difficulty reviewing the game.  After three days, it hasn't been fixed.  I'm not sure if it's fixed now.

This problem has popped up elsewhere. Assassin's Creed was unplayable for a bit after the server's went down on Ubisoft's end.  Spore honestly deserves it's own pedestal over how bad the DRM was and how it was handled. 

On the flip side, GOG has no DRM and it seems to be doing quite well.  People don't want to be treated as criminals, and DRM does that.  Especially always on DRM and similar practices.  Pirates can play it freely, actual customers get punished.

I am NOT condoning piracy, but there needs to be a paradigm shift.  Companies need to understand this is damaging them in the long run. People will be less likely to buy from them next time.  The Sims is a very long franchise, and I would hate to see this ruin it.

In addition, what happens when the servers are permanently pulled off line?  Will people no longer be able to play Assassin's Creed, Sim City, and Diablo III?  Will they need to keep the power on forever?  

So, in short, Companies, pull the plug on always on DRM. It doesn't help the consumers and it just builds ill will for the developers. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Game Design: Why Beast Boy is unlikely to be in Injustice (AKA Programming!)

In my post yesterday I mentioned that Beast Boy is unlikely due to him being difficult to program.  Today I'm going to follow up on that.  But to do that, I need to bring up something else.

Sephiroth in Dissidia.

In Dissidia, each character has two modes.  Default and "Ex" mode.  In Exmode, the costume usually involves something dramatic from the series (for example, Terra turns into an Esper and Onion Knight accesses his end game jobs), a simple recoloring and villians take the forms of themselves at the end of the game.

Except for Sephiroth.  This is his end form.
It's known as "Safer Sephiroth" (It's a most likely mistranslation of "Seraphim")

Why was this form not put into the game?

Because to do so would require an ENTIRELY different model. While the game does has space for it, to load a new model.  Each other model was a simple reskin with altered hit boxes.  Those can be done in that flash of light. But Sephiroth's final model in FF7 was so different, it would require a new model to load, and that could not be done without the game freezing.  As it is, his Ex attack does make the game pause so they can switch sides on the "set."

So, what does that have to do with Beastboy?

Unlike Vixen who adapts the traits, Beast Boy actively changes his appearance.  To do so would require an actively different model each time.  An Elephant is different from a Cheetah which is different from a gorilla which is different from a dolphin which is different from a hawk. The game would pause to load the new one up, and that time used would be a large problem in a fighting game that requires such quick instincts.

Admittedly, a PS3 and an Xbox 360 has more power than a PSP.  But creating each model and keeping them ready to load would not only add time to the system, but also take up too much space.  and processing power.  It's for a similar reason why Johnny Storm was taken out of "Marvel vs Capcom 3"  He would take up too much space and time when he was programmed.

Would Beast Boy be great? Yes! Is he possible! Totally!  Would it be problematic to program?  Oh most definitely. 

I'm not going to count him out of the game just yet.  As I stated before, he would be a draw and he has a unique skillset.  But he's going to be problematic in a purely technical standpoint (as is entirely possible)  Another with similar abilities should take his place. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hopeful characters for Injustice

Confession, I like comic books.  DC, Marvel, I don't really care.   I find the stories can be interesting, the art gorgeous, and when done well it can be jaw dropping how they make you feel. 

And while I like All ages ones that appreciate the inherit silliness of comics (Looks at Tiny Titans, Superman Family Adventures, and Super Hero Squad) comics can be dramatic and that is great. For example.... see Tiny Titans vs DCAU

 ((To be fair, Batcow Beyond IS in a dream and is fighting against the Justice League of fruit.  There is a normal Batcow, Aquacow, and flamecow that lives in normal Tiny Titans continuity.  There is not a Justice League of Fruit in TT continuity.))

So, I'm actually kind of excited for Injustice.  As I have no idea how to play fighting games (seriously, I have had Brawl for years and every attempt to try to get me to learn the buttons has failed)  I won't get it, but I am fully enjoying this character list.

The current roster is:
  • Batman
  • Nightwing
  • Catwoman
  • The Joker
  • Harley Quinn
  • Bane
  • Superman
  • Lex Luthor
  • Green Lantern
  • Sinestro
  • Solomon Grundy
  • Green Arrow
  • The Flash
  • Aquaman
  • Wonder Woman
  • Hawkgirl
  • Cyborg
  • Deathstroke
  • Shazam/Captain Marvel
In addition, Raven, Robin, Doomsday, Ares, and Black Adam have been spotted but it is unknown if they will be playable.

But with all this history, who else should come in?  (Please note the length of my dream list and realize that a lot of this will be reaching.)

Katana (Katana, Justice League of America, Birds of Prey)
Tatsu, a swordswoman from Japan, had two wonderful brothers as suitors.  She chose one, the other joined the Yakuza, became interested in mystical weapons, then killed his brother and Tatsu's and the brother's children with a sword that absorbs souls.  Tatsu took the sword, found out she could hear her husband in it, and ever since then she has been working to dismantle the Yakuza and protect innocents.  A member of several groups, she is also one of DC's rising stars (She will be on Beware the Batman and has her own solo series in addition to JLA)  And is a master swordswoman.  She can easily handle herself in battle and can often go for the kill, or disable the opponent. Likely.

 Black Canary: (Birds of Prey, Justice League, Justice League (Unlimited), Young Justice).  Dinah Lance was rescued from the filler group by Gail Simone.   Now one of their lead second string heroines, Dinah Lance is a charter and permenant member of any Birds of Prey team. In addition to her potentially lethal Canary Cry, she's a master of hand to hand combat and has been the leader of the Justice League.    She has a very good chance at getting in, at the very least as DLC.

J'onn J'onnzz (Justice League, Justice League (Unlimited), Justice League of America).  Depending on the continuity, he is either the last Martian or one of a thriving race.  Regardless, one must speak of his cleverness.  He may be super strong, can phase through objects, read minds, possibly some telekinses, eye beams, and can transform his body, part of his skill is in HOW he uses it so he can do the job quickly and with the least amount of hassle. However, that also includes making sure the most people are safe. He doesn't lobotomize if he can help it. Almost guaranteed.

Hawkeye (Justice League/Avengers)  No, I'm not joking.  Hawkeye is actually the only Marvel character to be canonically allowed into the Justice League.  He and Flash saved the day when... okay.  I'm honestly not entire sure what exactly went down. I need to read the trade.  Point is, it's canon.  Hawkeye (at least until the  New 52. I'm not sure the status now)  is on the roll of the Justice League and that image is not photoshopped.  However, this will NEVER happen in game.  Would be great though!

Big Barda: (Birds of Prey, Justice League, Mister Miracle, Justice League Unlimited, Batman: Brave and the Bold).  You do not mess with Big Barda.  At All.  Ever.  A woman of Apokolyps (Where they are all gigantic, powerful, and generally villanous)  she escaped Darkseid's mind control/brainwashing and returned to earth.  She's a giant, pure muscle, loves battle, has been known to forget about bullet wounds, and cares for everyone she can find.  She also uses a gigantic mace as a weapon and can warp with a boom tube. Fifty fifty.

Vigilante (Greg Sanders): (Action Comics, Justice League Unlimited).  He's a cowboy on a motorcycle.  Quite frankly, this is all you need to know.  If you can, watch "Patriot Act" from the "Justice League" TV series to see him really play out.  He's also very good in "Hunter's Moon".  We have very few ranged fights.  Long shot.

Shining Knight: (Justice League Unlimted, Adventure Comics) Don't let the horse fool you.  This is a knight out of time.  Torn from the time of King Arthur, this knight uses his powerful sword, shield, and winged horse to protect the poor and downtrodden.  See "Patriot Act" again, and keep in mind we don't have a pure sword/shield combo on the team yet.  This is also a long shot.

Starfire: (Teen Titans, Red Hood and the Outlaws)  An alien adrift in a new planet, Starfire's power run on her emotions and she has a focus on energy blasts (aside from strength, flight, etc) She would also be a distant fighter, but she can fight hand to hand.  Plus, she would be a lot of fun to watch.  Decent chance at getting in, even better when you consider the other titans in the game.

Brainiac: (Action Comics, Justice League (Unlimted), Superman: The Animated Series).  Accept it now, Braniac can not be killed.  He is a computer in a constantly replicating tissue based body.  He goes to absorb data from worlds, then he destroys them.  He copies himself into powerful duplicates.  He's a planner more than anything, but beware when he fights.  Also likely to get in, Superman needs a few more villains.

Gorilla Grodd: (Flash, Justice League (Unlimted)): A super strong, super intelligent gorilla with the ability to read minds, control people, create illusions, and psionic blasts.  A powerful foe, in comics and tv.  It's a bit more complicated to do him in a game.  Most of the super strong/hulk smash items can be done by Solomon Grundy.  His Psionic abilities could be put in, but might be a bit limited to pull off, especially telepathy.  Entirely possible, but as a mix between J'onnn and Grundy it would be unadvisable.  Unlikely.

Black Manta: (Aquaman, Young Justice, Justice League Unlimted, Batman:TBATB):  Various origin stories, but it ends up with a man in  a very capable suit.  More than able to breathe underwater, he can also survive it's depths, which means he is very strong on land.  He also has an assortment of weapons at his disposal.  Likelyhood:  Somewhat.  If they use all the various weapons, it would differentiate him from Deathstroke and Aquaman.

Huntress: (Birds of Prey, Justice League Unlimited, Arrow, The Huntress, Sensation comics).  There are two Huntresses.  One is Helena Bertinelli, the daughter of a Mafia don.  The other is Helena Wayne: Bruce Wayne's and Selina Kyle's daughter from an alternate universe.  Good with hand to hand, better with her crossbow.  Possibility: Likely, but in DLC.  There are a lot of bat characters, we have few distance characters, and Helena has appeared in several other media.

Static Shock: (Static Shock, Static, Justice League, Teen Titans, Young Justice) Doused with chemicals as a side event in an intercity gang war, he gained the ability to manipulate and create electricity, electro magnetic fields, magnetism itself, wireless signals, etc.  Likelyhood: Very.  Ever since the Static Shock TV show, Static has been a very popular character.  His power set is very different from the other announced characters, and he has shown up in alternate media beside from his TV show. In addition, there are a lot of white characters in the game right now. If you have any more doubts, look at Cole in Playstation Allstars or Street Fighter X Tekken.  Static would be somewhat similar.

Felix Faust: (Justice League of America, Justice League Unlimted) A magician who sold his soul  in order to gain enough power in order to alter reality itself, Felix Faust is a master sorcerer.  Sometimes he needs to read scrolls to focus the power, sometimes he doesn't.  He's summoned demons, turned people to stone, and there are partically no magic users at his caliber.In fact, there are no pure magic users currently in the game.  Possibility: somewhat.   He's a prominent and powerful sorcerer, but others are better known.

Captain Cold:(Showcase, Flash Villain): Like most Flash villains, Captain Cold doesn't need any powers.  Instead, he's the only DC rogue to master "Absolute Zero" temperatures.  Not even Mister Freeze can do that.  His ice guns have abilities which range from creating ice for Flash (and others) to slip on to freezing everything in a certain radius, to creating a field of absolute zero so nothing moves at all.  Likelihood: somewhat.  Flash's villains aren't well known, but more elementals are needed and Captain Cold has a unique skill set. However, if it's based on popularity, Mister Freeze may be chosen but the developers should consider other rogue galleries, especially as the Batfam has a majority of the character slots.

Krypto the Superdog: (Action Comics)/Ace the Bathound (Batman)/Dex-Starr (Red Lantern):  These are the joke characters.  While all are dangerous in their own rights, it would be.... unique to see them play out.  Krypto is Superman's pet and possesses the general Superman powers.  Ace is Bruce Wayne's pet, and that's it.  Dex-Starr is a stray cat who watched his owner(up to that point, the only person nice to him) be murdered, was thrown out of the house, and then some boys threw him off a bridge.  That was then the red lantern ring found him and he proceeded to kill the boys.    Likelyhood:  Not much.  These would require a completely unique set of models and animations, because they all run on four legs.  That being said, they are joke/bonus characters and the developers may want to put in the effort. 

Vixen: (Action comics, Justice League Unlimited, Justice League of America, Batman: the Brave and the Bold):  Vixen possesses a totem which allows her to imitate the skills of any animal.  Living, Dead, mythical, domesticated, wild,  whatever.  She can fly like a hawk, regenerate like a salamander, breathe fire like a salamander, grow a rhinoceros hide, and has been known to imitate human, meta, and alien powers such as Superman or The Flash.  Vixen is one tough lady.  Posibility: Fifty fifty. While she has a heightened profile due to Justice League, and a great skill set, she is at most a B lister and her skill set might be too varied.  I want to see her in, as she would greatly spice up the gameplay.

The Atom (Ryan Choi): (Brave New World, Batman: Brave and the Bold, The All New Atom): One of the most popular versions of The Atom, Ryan Choi skills actually lie in the scientific field.  After he inherited a "Biobelt"  from Ray Palmer, Ryan Choi became The Atom and gained the ability to manipulate both his size and density.  Likelihood: fifty-fifty.  The Atom (in general) is a somewhat known hero and Ryan Choi is a favorite Atom.  However his abilities might prove difficult to program and/or create a varied attack pattern. He is more likely to appear as a non fighter.

Cheshire: (Young Justice, Teen Titans, Secret Six) : a deadly assassin, this triple jointed young woman is one of the deadliest hand to hand combatants (including mastering skills thought lost), poisons her long fingernails and her weapons, and is extremely quick for a human being.  Likelihood:  fifty/fifty.  Young Justice has increased her profile, and it is more recent than Justice League.  We also have very few short ranged weapons attackers.  Her main draw back is she isn't a drawing name such as "Hawkgirl" or "Wonder Woman." 

Blue Beetle ( Ted Kord): Inheriting the Blue Beetle mantle from Dan Garret, Ted Kord couldn't figure out how to make the Beetle work, so he adapted the theme, created tech, and focused on strategy.  Guy Gardner has claimed he's smarter than Batman.  Posibility: Not likely.  While he would be great (and he has hover tech!) his flash/air gun can only get him so far.  Otherwise, it's a luigification of Batman. 

 Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes): ( Blue Beetle, Smallville, Batman: Brave and the Bold, Young Justice) The third Blue Beetle, and the only one to fully integrate with the Armor, Jaime Reyes has alien tech welded to his spine that not only adapts to his will, but has a murderous little voice too. Likelihood: Very.  This Blue Beetle is VERY adaptable in canon (sonic blasts, wings, giant stapler type stuff) and the Beetle can turn power hungry.  In addition, he's prominent in the outside media and his arc is the current main one in Young Justice.

Beast Boy: (Teen Titans, Young Justice, The Doom Patrol) A former member of the Doom Patrol (Don't let the name fool you, they're heroes) Beast Boy is a noted, but reluctant, tatician and can physically transform into any animal he's seen and occassionally mythological creatures.  Likelihood:  75/25:  He's a well known hero due to his alternate media and can be a draw.  However, his constant shifting would make it difficult to program.  Vixen could fit the animal items better since she only adapts abilities. But she may not have the namedraw.

 Booster Gold: A Janitor who stole super hero gear from the 25th century, he returned to ours to be a hero.  General "Flying Brick" powers, energy gauntlets, and the ability to see rips in time and space.  Likelihood:  Not very, except as a story only character.  He's somewhat known in outside media, but his power set is already in use.

Poison Ivy: (Birds of Prey, Batman, Gotham City Sirens, various villain leagues in various comics) Pamela Isley received an overdose of a toxin.  She's now part plant.  Immune to poison, regnerative abilities, and can control plants, she's fearsome enough without her mind influencing abilities. Likelihood: Above average.  The fact there is a lot of Batfam is both for and against her. In addition, she would be a great long distance, provided plants will automatically grow for her. She's also well known, a draw, and has a very unique powerset, though manipulation will be out.  It boils down to whether or not they want another Batfam in the group.


Cheetah : (Wonder Woman, various villain team ups)  The powered version of Cheetah has the abilities of the cheetah.  Speed, claws, nightvision, hunting instincts.  She's lethal in the right hands.  Likelihood: very.  She's easily one of Wonder Woman's best known enemies, she's appeared in alternate media, and we have very few female or visceral villains.  The main issue would be differentiating her from Catwoman.

Razer (Green Lantern: The Animated Series):  A new lantern for the series, Razer is one of the few heroic Red ones, at least in the show.  He became a Lantern after Atrocitous killed his wife.  Originally obsessed with destroying the Green Lanterns, the Lanterns he met offered him a second chance and forgiveness.  This has slowly won him over.  He's a longshot.  While interesting, he's not well known outside of GLTAS circles (where he's a main character on the show, but was created for the show) and his abilities would not stretch much farther than any other Lantern, and we already have Hal and Sinestro.  DLC possible.

Starling (Birds of Prey):  Widely considered one of, if not the only, good thing about the New 52, Starling is slightly foul mouthed, a drinker, and more than capable in Hand to Hand and gun fights.  She also has a running gag of driving cars into churches.  Honestly, read Birds of Prey to see her amazingness.  Long shot, but possible.  While she's very popular, she has only existed for about 2 years.  Because of that, she has no alternate media to draw upon. She has yet to appear in any TV show, so she has no voice casted as of yet.  However, time seems to be the only major problem. DLC is an option.

Stephanie Brown/Cassandra Cain. (Batgirl)  These two girls are NOT interchangeable.  However, this list is way too long and it won't happen. Why?  Despite the numbers these two girls pulled, how inspiring they were to many people, how many times they are requested at conventions... someone at DC considers these two toxic and refuses for anyone to use them in any way.   

Zatanna:  (Hawkman, Zatanna, Justice League Dark):  DC's most powerful and prominent magic user, Zatanna focuses spells by speaking backwards and the magic does whatever she wants.  No, really, she's gone from gagging villians, to manipulating elements, to merging Aquaman's soul with the ocean, to manipulating time, space, and reality.  Likelihood:  Very.  If they can get a spell list straightened out, she would be a very nice pick. Inventive, powerful, and a very good tool.

There are a lot more characters I would love to see.  Aya (GLTAS), Catman (Secret Six), Deadshot (Secret Six),  Aqualad (Young Justice)  Miss Martian (Teen Titans/Young Justice),   Johan Hex (All Star Western), Wonder Girl (Teen Titans, Wonder Woman),  Kilowag (Green Lantern, GLTAS), Tomar Re (Green Lantern), Doctor Fate, Fire, Ice, Vibe, POWERGIRL...

But this has taken me too much time as it is.  And quite a few won't make it on here, even as DLC.  

So, the question is, who do you want to see in the game?  Is it someone on the list? or someone I didn't mention? Do you disagree with any of my ideas?  Or with my probabilities?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The new direction of Mane6: Fighting is Magic

I've discussed Fighting is Magic before.  But, as a refresher, Fighting is Magic was a well developed completely fan made fighting game which used the IP of "My Little Pony" to, well, create a fighting game. 

The reason I say "Was" is because Hasbro finally gave them a cease and desist when they were very close to it being released.  The Mane6 team knew that was a possibility for a while, they had actually been working under that possibility. 

However, recently some fans put the almost complete build up for a slot at EVO (a prominent fighting game tournament) and it's widely speculated this is why Hasbro had to step in.  The game was always unofficial and when it was just some bronies and some fighting game fans who knew about the game it could not severely damage the MLP brand.  However, going for the slot (even against the Mane6 development team wishes)  may have forced Hasbro to take notice because the game IP and fighting style could have lent the idea that Hasbro endorsed both the game and the idea that their main characters could fight each other. 

After several attempts, work arounds, and other ideas, the project has been cancelled.  The current build will not be released.  There is an old build going around, but that was leaked and incomplete.

However, ALL IS NOT LOST!!!

Lauren Faust, creative producer and designer of this current generation of My Little Pony (The Friendship is Magic part)   is now apart of the Mane 6 team.  She is developing a new IP for them to use and the team has confirmed that the IP will include (if not based up) four legged creatures.  (As most fighters use two legged creatures, the four legs did add a new dimension)

Not much is known beyond that.  And Mane6 has taken down all their previous development posts.  But, in those posts they discussed how the abilities they gained working on Fighting is Magic would help them as they went forward and now that they have a new IP they don't have to worry about any sort of Cease and Desist order from Hasbro or any other company.

Beyond that, we're just waiting for information. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Musical Monday: The Dike (The Witcher)

Honestly, I'm not a fan of this type of game.  I REALLY hate Open world Gray and gray morality games.  Everything seems hard to find, the person you save from robbers will probably be a sociopath serial killer, and the person who uses light/religion will almost certainly be evil.   Sex and Violence will be the answer to everything, your team will backstab you, and no one will be happy at the end because saving the world will end up dooming everything.

I do admit I haven't played many, but whenever I start looking into them as a tentative thing, I get scared off by the lack of a good choice.  This is also partly the reason why I haven't played NieR.

At least the music is great. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Weekend Notice

I noticed my hits are picking up.  I hate ruining the momentum, but I due to the fact I have trouble writing like this all seven days of the week, I do not publish on weekends.  I look forward to seeing you all on Monday.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Colmstock, Religion, and Developer blindspots

information came out yesterday that Colmstock in Bioshock Infinite originally had a different... something.  Due to spoilers the incident wasn't really given context but a few things were made clear in the article.  Ken Levine is not religious.  A senior (and well respected) artist in the studio is deeply religious. (It does not say what religion, but considering the Christian imagery in the game, we'll go with that.) 

At some point near the end of the game, the artist booted the game up, played it a bit, turned it off, and sent in a letter of resignation.  Whatever happened had offended him that much.

However, Ken Levine did NOT want to lose this particular artist, so he brought the artist in, sat down, and talked out the problem.  As it turns out, Ken Levine kind of forgot the revolutionary power of the New Testament (his words)


Which, as a Catholic, is kind of bugging me that he only thought about how faith could be corrupted, or that the only people who can be faithful are racist and misogynistic hypocrites. 

However, it appears to have changed since then. 

First off, it appears that the Artist and Ken Levine worked out their issues so they got to a point of mutual agreement.

Second, going by some of the teasers and the sample of "Bioshock Infinite: Mind in Revolt" (the prequel book available digitally)  the religion has changed from a corrupted form of Christianity to a worship of the Founding Fathers.  (I directly quote: "I pray to Father Franklin hourly for our success.  May he open our eyes to The Mystery and allow us to discern the transmundane" )

Thirdly, the imagery has changed so while some is biblical in the abstract, there is very little specifics.  It's a cult of personality drawing on basic and vague biblical imagery, rather than stating chapter and verse.

Finally, forgiveness seems to have been adapted as a theme of the game.  Booker has a repeated phrase "Bring us the girl, and we'll wipe away the debt."  Which is a form of forgiveness, not a good one, but a form never the less.

There also seems to be some questions of forgiveness with Songbird, Elizabeth notably says she's sorry for running away to keep Songbird from hurting Booker.  Again, corrupted. 

And Elizabeth MAY be seeking forgiveness.  At the very least, she seems wary of herself and asks if Booker is scared of God. 

Maybe that's what the game will end up talking about in the end.  Forgiveness.  The ability to let the pain and fear of the past go and treat an incident like it never happened.  No strings, no threats, you just move forward and improve from where you were at that point. 

But, we'll see when the game arrives.  We have less than a month now.