This Week in Games
Denials of (fan)Service
by Heidi Kemps,
Hey folks! It's another relatively quiet week in terms of game news, so I'll take this opportunity to do my civic duty and remind you all that annual speedrunning marathon Summer Games Done Quick is going on right now and you all should watch at least part of it.
By the time this goes up, the marathon will have passed the halfway point, but there are still some impressive speedruns planned to happen today, tomorrow, and Saturday: A two-games-one-controller Pokemon Red and Yellow run, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, TASbot breaking a ton of games, a Super Mario Maker blind race, and the Final Fantasy VI finale, among many others. Great runs like Super Metroid 100% map completion, Cuphead, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Rocket Knight Adventures, and Resident Evil 4 have already happened, but you can catch up through YouTube VODs. If you enjoy what you see, shoot them a donation!
THE FORTNITE VERSUS PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS LAWSUIT ENDS IN A WHIMPER
I know this isn't usually what I cover here on TWIG, but I think it's worth bringing up for two reasons: You can't go five minutes without hearing something about Fortnite nowadays (hey Sony stop being jerks), and the case, had a ruling been delivered, would have potentially affected anyone looking to make a game that kinda, sorta resembled something else that was popular.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds was the surprise hit of last year, becoming one of the most popular games on the planet and introducing millions to the genre du jour, the Battle Royale. Things were looking pretty darn good for publisher Bluehole… until Epic Games grafted on a Battle Royale mode to their existing title, Fortnite, which is now currently the number-one game in the genre. Bluehole, faced with stiff competition from one of the biggest names in gaming, responded to this challenge by… suing Epic and alleging that they engaged in “copyright infringement.”
Needless to say, the case was looking pretty bad for Bluehole. The whole thing reeked of the time CAPCOM tried to sue Data East over Fighter's History copying Street Fighter II's “look and feel.” They failed miserably then, and this lawsuit was likely to fail miserably now. Bluehole likely realized how they were about to be laughed out of court and decided to cut their losses. There's no mention as to whether Bluehole and Epic settled out of court, but if they did, I seriously doubt much went in Bluehole's favor. I mean, PUBG runs in Unreal Engine… and you're suing the company that makes Unreal Engine.
Everything about this stupid legal seemed like sour grapes. PUBG was coasting on top of the world last year, but the publishers were taken off guard by Fortnite Battle Royale's success. It's not hard to see why Fortnite quickly eclipsed PUBG in popularity: its bright, colorful visuals, goofy charm, and crafting mechanics make it appealing to a bigger audience – in particular, teens who grew up on Minecraft. Just think for a moment about how the effort wasted on this legal idiocy could have been used to improve and make PUBG more competitive instead. Then again, it's still making bucketloads of money each day, so being “not quite as big as Fortnite” isn't even a bad place to be! Lord, it's all so stupid.
THE GUNS N ROSES BOSS NAMES WON'T BE IN MEGAMAN X5 IN THE MEGAMAN X COLLECTION
…What's even the point of playing X5 if I can't fight Duff McWhalen?
OMEGA LABYRINTH Z GETS SUCKED INTO THE VOID
PQube Games is known for not shying away from fanservice-laden titles – they brought out Valkyrie Drive and Gal*Gun, after all – but it seems like their most recent attempt to bring out a boob game has fallen abreast of troubles that cannot be overcome. According to a statement on Twitter, Omega Labyrinth Z for the PS4 and PS Vita has been blocked from release for unspecified reasons… by Sony themselves.
Omega Labyrinth, for those not in the know, is a series of RPG/roguelikes where the breast size of the female characters increases along with the experience points they earn. It's littered with suggestive art and dialogue, too. It's hard to see it as much more than an anime tiddy delivery system – which, I should note, I have no inherent issue with. But Omega Labyrinth Z is the sort of game whose questionable content would likely ruffle a few feathers on certain game ratings boards. That's exactly what happened: Australia and the UK both refused the game classification based on sexualization of characters who looked perhaps a bit too young.
… yeah, Omega Labyrinth Z has the sort of content where even a pro-fanservice lady like me starts to go “okay, uh, maybe putting a bunch of effort to try to bring this out here isn't a great idea, guys.”
Nevertheless, the game made it through other European rating bodies and the ESRB (who generally frown very hard on anything sexual they see as lacking consent). However, on the eve of the game going gold, Sony themselves stepped in and shut it down.
So what exactly happened? It sure looks like Sony suddenly changed their mind about allowing the game to be released after stringing PQube along for some time. I hope that's not the case, because whether or not you find this game's content distasteful, that's a crappy thing to do. Localization and certification costs are not cheap, and if Sony really had a problem with the game's content, they should have stepped in earlier.
Of course, given that reasons for Sony to reject games are tied up in a bazillion NDAs, it could be something else entirely. Maybe the certification testers discovered a severe, nigh-unfixable bug that caused the game's ever-expanding funbags caused PS4s to overheat and melt. We'll probably never know.
FIGHTING GAME NEWS ROUNDUP: CODY CHARMS STREET FIGHTER V, A NEW KOIHIME ENBU RYORAIRAI INVADES STEAM AND PS4
Hey there everybody. This is Cody! From Finals! Did you know my favorite things are: jumping into double kicks. Banana Bread. Water with a glassful of ice. The new gacha CAPCOM just added.
Aaaaaaaand pipes. See you in Street Fighter V, everybody!
Meanwhile, over in anime fighter land, we have Koihime Enbu RyoRaiRai, a brand-new edition of Koihime Enbu for both PS4 and PCs. The original game was a spinoff of the Three Kingdoms-themed eroge Koihime Musō that won praise from fighting game fans for its surprising accessibility. RyoRaiRai (say that five times fast) looks to be a rebalancing with new characters Choryo and Kaku. If you're interested in the flash and spectacle of anime-styled fighting games but turned off by a lot of their quirks, this is one to take a look at.
FIGHTING EX LAYER (PS4)
A lot of folks aren't aware that the Street Fighter EX series wasn't developed by CAPCOM – it was actually the work of Arika, a small company that Street Fighter II creator Akira Nishitani built when he departed his former employer. Recently, Arika decided to try their hand at a new fighting game in a similar vein to the SFEX series – though, since they don't have access to the Street Fighter license anymore, they just loaded up the game with the SFEX characters they owned outright, like our pal Skullomania.
Anyhow, Fighting EX Layer is a game made by and for people who enjoy the style of fighting games popular in the late 90s through around the mid-2000s. The focus here isn't on an elaborate story mode or a never-ending grind for in-game money: it's pure, technical one-on-one versus fighting. The unique “gougi” system allows you to assign a batch of custom boosts to your fighter of choice. The game comes in two versions: a lower-priced “light” version with twelve characters and five gougi decks, and a slightly pricier version with ten more gougi decks and an additional character.
PENGUIN WARS (PS4, Switch)
There were a few countries where the MSX computer format was a really big deal. You probably know that it did quite well in Japan, but it was also a hit in other regions, like Brazil and the Netherlands. One game I always, always hear about from MSX owners is Penguin Wars, a port of a Japanese arcade game where you control a cute critter (usually a penguin, as per the title) and try to beat your opponents by sliding a bunch of balls across an arena and into their scoring area. It's simple, charming, and addictive fun, and I can see why folks who grew up on the MSX adore it.
Well, guess what? 30 years later, we've got a new Penguin Wars with a visual overhaul, up-to-four-person multiplayer, a story mode with RPG-like leveling, and more. Sure, it looks simple, but if you've ever seen a high-level Windjammers match, you know that these deceptively basic-looking competitive games can get seriously intense. So yes, please check out Penguin Wars, because I want it to become eSports.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY RELEASES: Ys VIII is hitting Switch this week. I'm tempted to double-dip since I like the thought of portable Ys VIII, but I'm waiting to see if there are any tech issues before I buy. Ikaruga is coming to PS4, as well, so you can buy it there assuming you don't already own it on every other platform. The visual novel Maitetsu is coming to Steam, though you can only get the 18+ version through Fakku!. Lumines Remastered is making its re-debut on literally every modern console, so you can once again experience the phenomenon of seeing squares and strobing lines in your sleep. (Personally, I was more of a Meteos girl.) Neo-Geo puzzle game Money Puzzle Exchanger is getting a port to Switch, though the lack of online play is somewhat disappointing. Still, if you liked Atsuko Ishida's character designs for Magic Knight Rayearth, you'll definitely get a kick out of seeing her art again in Money Puzzle Exchanger. Game's pretty fun, too!
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