This Week in Games
Metroid's Saddest Birthday Ever

by Dustin Bailey,
Greetings and welcome to This Week in Games, our new weekly gaming feature here on Anime News Network that probably reminds you a whole lot of our previous column, The X Button. But where the X Button was a roundup of weekly news with a good bit of editorializing and opinion layered over top, This Week in Games will be a roundup of weekly news with a good bit of editorializing and opinion layered over top, albeit a little shorter and a little more streamlined. Simple, isn't it?

This column is, presently - as you may be able to tell - a work-in-progress. We'll be adding elements and removing them over time, so feel free to let us know in the forums what you'd like to see in this space! Let's keep the introductions short: I'm Dustin Bailey, and I'm very disappointed that Todd already took my awesome Metroid password joke. I've been covering games in a professional capacity for about a year now, though naturally I've been immersed in this stuff for far longer. Achieving 100% in Kirby's Adventure is still one of my proudest memories. I'll leave out the dating profile stuff—sorry, ladies (and lads), I'm married—and just tell you that Mario has always been better than Sonic, the Wind Waker was the last great Zelda (but not the last good one), and that I'm willing to hear arguments for any numbered Metal Gear Solid game to be called "the best".

Also, The Big O is still my favorite anime.

Let's get to the news, shall we?


One of the wildest X-factors when it comes to console gaming right now is exactly what effect the upcoming hardware revisions from Microsoft and Sony will have on the overall market. The specs on Sony's Neo leaked ahead of E3. Microsoft responded by announcing and detailing the Scorpio at their press conference, while Sony said only that the Neo is coming and stayed quiet on any further details.

Rumors have been circulating for a few days that the Neo would be officially revealed at an event on September 7, and Sony has just announced an event taking place on that very day in New York. That's unlikely to be a coincidence.

If you've been following the reports up to this point, it might seem like the Neo is a known quantity, but remember that very little has been officially announced. The specs that leaked earlier this year are entirely subject to change, especially now that Microsoft has detailed the Scorpio and Sony is in a position to respond to that announcement.

The real question is how this will end up affecting actual games, and that's something we'll only start to find out once the details of these consoles are out in the open. Games are supposed to work on the old consoles, but perform better on the new ones. But what if the old consoles technically run these games, but do a bad job of it? We saw that with a lot of PC and console cross-platform titles late last generation, and we saw it again with Hyrule Warriors Legends on the New 3DS this year. It's not that the games are just better on the new hardware, they're straight-up bad on the old stuff. That's a very real danger as both Sony and Microsoft move into developing mid-generation hardware revisions.

Hey, how about some unequivocally good news? Suda51's PlayStation murder-mystery, the Silver Case is coming to Steam later this year, translated into English for the very first time. A DS remake was in the works for some time that was supposed to come West, but eventually those plans evaporated.

You might recall Suda51 (a.k.a. Gōichi Suda) as the dude behind No More Heroes, Killer7, and Lollipop Chainsaw. I'm not sure any of those games are actually good, but they are definitively awesome, and their wildly diverse punkish aesthetics make them all fascinating if you're into weird things. The Silver Case is a combo of visual novel and adventure game, where you'll read a lot of text and occasionally solve some puzzles along the way. The closest analogue is probably Policenauts, another Japan-exclusive game by another auteur developer.

There's a demo up on Steam right now, and while the English script is a bit over-reliant on profanity to sell its grittiness and the controls are bordering on nonsensical, the idea of a game this obscure being brought back to life and translated fills my heart with warm, fuzzy feelings.

Hey, there's this Metroid II fan game! Titled Another Metroid 2 Remake, it gets abbreviated to AM2R, and as it sits on my desktop I keep misreading it as either ASMR or A2M, neither of which bode well for psychoanalysis. I've only played about 15 minutes of it, but it's kind of awesome. The controls aren't quite as responsive as you'd hope, but it still plays well, looks good, and sounds great. It's also a new Metroid game, and you know we're not getting one of those from Nintendo.

Of course, just because Nintendo isn't making one doesn't mean they're gonna let some random fans on the internet do it for them. After all, they've got copyright to protect! Dreams to crush! Metroid games to never, ever make! Nintendo hit all hosts of the game file with DMCA takedown notices, and while the maker of the game has yet to be hit with a cease and desist letter, one certainly presumes that he is expected to do both.

I like Nintendo quite a bit, even in their modern form. Despite the lackluster sales of the Wii U, the company has still managed to put out some of the best games they've ever made in the past few years. And even if they aren't directly responsible for Pokémon GO, one of their IPs is behind the biggest mobile game ever. Yet despite those successes, they can't or won't modernize themselves in one meaningful way: they won't let fan projects be. Fan-built content, whether that be art or mods or fan games or YouTube videos, has proven to be an essential pillar of what modern gaming is about. Unless you're a Nintendo fan.

I (vaguely) understand the need for copyright holders to actively protect their intellectual property so that they have a stronger case to defend it in the future, but it's just a bummer, man. It's especially disappointing since the last Metroid game was released over a half-decade ago in the form of the profoundly disappointing Other M. But hey, at least we're getting a new multiplayer first-person shooter with Federation Force next week! We're all excited for that, right?


Developer: Plastic
Publisher: SIE Santa Monica Studio
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: August 16
MSRP: $19.99 / $15.99 (with PS+)

One thing I continue to appreciate about Sony is their willingness to keep publishing weird, visually striking games about thoughts and feelings and stuff. Of course, when that process brings you a hit like Journey, I guess it's a move that makes financial sense, as well.

The product page on the PlayStation store describes Bound's setting as a “beautiful, fantastical world that exists in the mind of a woman revisiting the memories of her childhood,” so you probably already know whether or not this game's for you. Just based on gameplay video it's got some light platforming and puzzle-solving elements, though those are unlikely to be any more involved than in something like Journey.

If you were into weird downloadable stuff in the early days of the PlayStation 3, you might recognize one of the developer's other titles. Plastic also made Linger in Shadows, which is perhaps better remembered as “that interactive movie thing with the Flying Dog and the giant tentacle face machine thing.” Or was it just me that played it? It's entirely possible that I'm the only one who remembers that thing.

In any case, Bound looks absolutely gorgeous, and I'm always down for a video game tone poem.

There's not a whole lot this week, as I imagine everyone wants to get out of the way of No Man's Sky, or at least they're taking the week off to play it for themselves. Ubisoft's Grow Up will expand on the charmingly awkward, small-scale platformer action of Grow Home, and I hope that doesn't just turn into a mess when it gets bigger.

Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars will be hitting Steam if you've been waiting for your magical baby-making to happen on PC, and Tales of Berseria will be hitting Japanese shelves, though we'll be waiting a bit longer for a Western release.

See you next week!

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