This Week in Games
Parting Ways

by Heidi Kemps,

Huh, I wonder what's going on in the great kingdom of nerdery toda-

*opens twitter, sees unending trashfire*

Yeah, this is gonna be one of those weeks.

WHAT IN THE FRESH HELL IS UP WITH PLATINUMGAMES AND CYGAMES?

It feels like few developers have breakups as public as PlatinumGames does. We all remember the tragedy that was Scalebound, the promising-looking Xbox One exclusive helmed by Hideki Kamiya, which was cancelled publicly and quite messily. Now we've got another public breakup between Platinum and a publisher: Granblue Fantasy and Shadowverse developers/publishers Cygames.

A while back, Cygames announced Granblue Fantasy Re: Link, an action-oriented adaptation of the world, characters, and story of their hit Granblue Fantasy mobile/browser RPG. Heck, we just saw it again at a special Cygames event a little while ago, and it was looking great! Cygames made sure to toot the horn of Platinum's involvement every chance they got, since they have plenty of cred among consumers and critics alike for making fine action games.

Which is why everyone was blindsided this week when both Cygames and Platinum posted official statements saying that Platinum was no longer working on Re: Link, and Cygames would be taking over 100% of development. It came from nowhere, because, unlike Scalebound and its lengthy, messy gestation, the relationship between Platinum and Cygames was looking quite healthy from an outside perspective.

There's a lot of speculation as to what could have happened between the two companies, but all we know for sure is that Platinum is no longer involved with the project. It's not uncommon for outside developers to help out with big-name games on a limited basis – Tri-Ace worked on the Final Fantasy XIII sequels, and Bandai-Namco's involvement with Smash 4 and Ultimate is well known – but it's also not terribly common for companies to have a big announcement when their work is done and the baton gets passed. Was the split planned? Was it acrimonious? Is Platinum in trouble? I don't think we have to worry about the developer's solvency, honestly, but who knows about the rest?

Game Informer editor Imran Khan had the best take on the situation, but even so, there's a lot we don't know. What's done is done, however, and now it's up to Cygames to finish up what Platinum started. And given Cygames doesn't really do console development… ooof, I certainly hope they have some idea of what they're doing.

Also, the Arc System Works-developed Granblue Versus is still in the capable hands of The House that Sol Badguy built, so there's that.

FINAL FANTASY XIV IS OFFICIALLY HOPPING TO IT

Easter is still a couple months off, but Square-Enix is putting us in the spring spirit a little early with the addition of a new playable race to Final Fantasy XIV!

Yes, after years of speculation and teasing and fan demand, Viera are finally a playable race in the new Final Fantasy XIV expansion, Shadowbringers, launching July 2nd! I simply don't have time in my life for a big MMO, but if I did, I'd definitely be playing FFXIV as a badass bunny girl. Will there be male Viera too? Who knows – is there really that much demand for Viera dudes? I mean, I feel like actually seeing one would eliminate a lot of the mystique.

There's also a brand-new job called Gunbreaker that makes use of Final Fantasy VIII-style gunblades to blast foes with magical ammo while acting as a damage-sponging tank. You've also got an increased level cap, some new areas (Il Mheg, Rak'Tika Greatwood), an NPC companion feature if you want to take on instanced story dungeons solo, a New Game+ feature to let you take on old story quests, and a whole lot more…

… including a very surprising NieR: Automata themed crossover! It's a new Alliance Raid called YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse, Yosuke Saito and Yokoo Taro are involved, and the teaser images shows us 2B and some familiar-looking machines in the background. Except that it's the alternate-color 2B, the one from Soul Calibur VI. Hmmm, very interesting! That's all the info we have to go on right now, but I'm sure more details will drop within the next few months.

Somewhat less surprising is the Final Fantasy XV crossover content, as FFXV had its own little collaboration with FFXIV earlier. Still, given that a lot of the planned FFXV downloadable content got the axe, it's nice to see Noctis still getting some love.

WHAT'S GOING ON WITH SENRAN KAGURA 7EVEN?

In a recent interview with Japanese website Inside Games, Senran Kagura series creator and lovable chap Kenichirō Takaki talked a bit about Senran Kagura 7even. His comments have been translated by SiliconEra

, and I feel a bit uncomfortable simply paraphrasing, but here goes: The long-in-development 7even needs to have some key parts changed in order to comply with Sony's current content regulations. They don't have to redo the whole game like Metroid Prime 4, but some key stuff they wanted to do probably isn't happening. (I wish he'd elaborated more with examples of what he wanted to do, but since the game's still under development I understand why he didn't.) He also mentions that he's looking at platforms like Switch and PC, but mentions that content regulations may soon come to other platforms as well -- which he expected, but not quite so soon.

I feel like I've made my position on this sort of thing clear in previous columns: Developers have every right to make sexy games, but companies have a right to dictate what content they want on their platforms. Traditionally, PCs (both in the West and Japan) have been the Wild West in terms of content – there's nobody dictating what you can and can't publish on them, unless there's government-level censorship regulations in a territory – but now Steam has an absurd amount of power in that market, and their content policy is basically a game of Calvinball at this point, so if you want to make something sexy that's also not looking like such a hot option. And that's why we need as many viable market alternatives as possible, so everyone can be happy!

Interestingly, not long before Takaki made these comments, it was announced that the Japanese release of the strip mahjong game Super Real Mahjong PV on the Switch eShop has also been delayed for unstated reasons. I'm pretty sure there wasn't going to be any nudity in the Switch version, but perhaps it was still a smidge too risqué? Or it could have just failed something in certification. Who knows, it's probably just a coincidence.

NEW RELEASES

There are some pretty solid new releases coming out this week that are worth a look… assuming you're not still spending quality time with Sora or Leon Kennedy.

First off is Etrian Odyssey Nexus, and… hey, whaddya know, I reviewed that over at GameSpot! Go look at that if you want more details on one of the last great 3DS RPGs. (Spoiler: I liked it.) God Eater 3 also hits Western shores this Friday, so if you like Monster Hunter-type games but prefer them with a more futuristic, anime-tinged flavor, you'll definitely want to grab that one on either PC or PS4.

If you're looking to practice some combos on the go, BlazBlue Central Fiction’s Switch version hits this week. It's got all of the DLC of the PS4 version, but unfortunately for the handful of you that play Blazblue for the story (and boy, there's a lot of it), there's still no English dub. If you prefer your fighting games more old-school, the incredibly underappreciated World Heroes Perfect is now available on PS4, as well.

That wraps up another week! We're due for some snow up here in the Pacific Northwest, so I'm preparing to settle in for a weekend of looking at Wonder Festival pictures for my figure fix. How about you all?


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