Like Ms. Black Intended

On a personal note it’s been a long week and today just couldn’t come fast enough but with it finally here how about we talk about some things that will help us collectively unwind.

First up I was delighted to see the news that there is a new Ni No Kuni game in the works as I was quite a fan of the first two. Not perfect by any means but immensely entertaining and very reminiscent of classic JRPGs with some modern aesthetics and mechanics.

Looking around for more information I ran into this article over at Gematsu which gave some details about it and my luck this week has apparently continued, unabated –

Level-5 and Netmarble have opened the official website for Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds, its massively multiplayer online RPG due for iOS and Android in 2020 in Japan.

I generally try to not to be too down on a game series I enjoy going in a new direction just because it may no longer appeal to me but I feel at least a little bit justified here. It’s not so much that they’re shifting focus on a core mechanic to something new or exploring a new area, story or even changing leads. It’s combined, in my opinion, two of the worst ways to enjoy RPG’s, as an MMO and exclusively on mobile. Before I get knocked for being an elitist or something by looking down on mobile gaming I play my fair share of games on my phone and have enjoyed many of them. Unfortunately as fun as they can be there is generally nothing to be gained by porting a full game to mobile for anyone other than the developer or publisher. It makes the game more accessible and immediately puts it into an arena where borderline predatory micro-transactions are par for course so monetization becomes much easier. In addition to this development costs are lower on almost every front so it’s hard to argue with why they do it from a profitability perspective. For us as players however it seems like we mostly lose as we can no longer enjoy the games on larger displays without using sketchy third party emulator programs and are now subject to the monetization I mentioned. Mechanically I have yet to find anyone who actually enjoys using the game controls on a mobile device and instead just finds them varying levels of usable or not monstrously uncomfortable or awkward. As it turns out a medieval rack would probably be cheaper than a chiropractor but, is it worth it?

The whole switching to an MMO thing is another rant that I wont subject you to right now but suffice it to say they’re just not really at their best in this format. I’m sure there are probably one or two out there that pass for half decent approximations but I have a hard time believing they aren’t just shadows of their fully realized siblings. Naturally I can be wrong about any of this but to date I haven’t seen much evidence to the contrary.

I guess I’ll be left hoping that if the mobile game is successful enough maybe they’ll return to full releases in the future, until then I hope a new audience of people can find some enjoyment in the series.

When it comes to content that is based on properties I love or in some cases grew up with and in a few rare cases both, it’s hard to not look at it with an exceedingly critical eye.

This week I, and many other people, saw Netflix confirm that it was in fact producing a live action Resident Evil show and then I read the actual tweet–

When your heart swells with good news and then you die immediately from a lurking aneurysm in your brain.

Now for all I or anyone else knows this show could end up being amazing but I have an unfortunate feeling that we’re in for a story which will be meaningless to longtime fans, confusing to newcomers and packed with references that just annoy everyone. I’ve spoken about this before when talking about games that are adapted into other media, specifically movies and TV, in that there is a delicate balance which must be struck by the writers and directors. They cannot be so in love with putting their own stamp on it that they ignore the established fiction nor can they rely too heavily on merely turning in a copy of someone else’s homework. Choosing the Wesker kids as your stars to me feels like someone suited up, when dumpster diving in RE lore and dug up this idea while proclaiming, “No one else would think of it!”

It’s true and you might be right but there could very well be good reasons for that.

Resident Evil is indeed a legendary property in gaming for many reasons, and to a lesser extent well known for both the good and very, very awful things that came out of the movies but the Wesker kids moving to Raccoon City is not one of them. My gut tells me that they should have started with one of the baseline stories that really cemented RE in the pantheon of all-time greats and used that solid base to branch out into some of the lesser known characters and stories. As Capcom proved last year with the incredible Resident Evil 2 Remake release there is plenty of hunger for seeing those classic stories done up right for fans old and new.

I hope it turns out fantastic but for the moment I am at best, pessimistic.

Last but not least and very quickly, this game looks fucking wild and I am incredibly curious–

I’ll leave it there for this week. I hope you’ve been well and have a relaxing couple days ahead of you.

Stay safe and happy gaming!

  • Anthony