This Week in Games
What Is Even Going On

by Heidi Kemps,

Hiya, folks! Just a heads-up: This Week in Games is probably going to be a Friday thing from now on. This benefits me because game companies, for whatever reason, just love dumping news on Thursdays, leaving me to either delay the column or look horribly out of date. Hopefully Friday publication solves this issue somewhat.

As much as I dislike starting the column off with sad news, I feel that I need to mention the death of voiceover artist Jeanette Maus, who played one of the main enemy witches in the upcoming Resident Evil Village. Her family is running a GoFundMe that was originally set up for her cancer treatments, but will likely now be used for other expenses related to her passing. Please do consider dropping a few dollars in for her family during these difficult times.

Alright, so… the news this week. Um. *begins sweating profusely* Oh, how do I do this…

…LOOK, EXPLAINING FINANCE STUFF WASN'T IN MY JOB DESCRIPTION, OKAY?

The biggest game news this week is only tangentially related to gaming. That's because it involves GameStop, the troubled gaming retailer we all have a weird love/hate relationship with. They're in the news again for reasons that nobody was expecting.

Okay… so, like… I have to step out of my comfort zone for this column every so often, talking about game series or genres I'm not particularly familiar with. But finance stuff? HOO BOY. This is completely out of my league. Forgive me more making this a bit of a link-fest, but there are folks out there who understand this stuff far better than I do and can explain it a lot better.

So, basically, from what I can surmise from articles like this, this, and this, GameStop – who we're well aware has been having troubles lately – hasn't had the healthiest stock, and a bunch of rich guys managing hedge funds were hoping GameStop stock would tank further in order to make big bucks down the line. The idea of “making money from a business failing” is gross to me on so many levels, and apparently I'm not alone in that feeling, because a bunch of people over on Reddit decided to band together and inflate GameStop's stock to absurdity, causing the aforementioned hedge fund guys to lose literal billions of dollars. And then word got out and everyone else, including Elon Musk, decided to screw around with GameStop stock. (I know a handful of folks who made a nice bit of extra money this week.) Now the same thing is happening with AMC and a handful of other “meme stocks.”

I am grossly oversimplifying this (and probably wrong about something), so please, read those linked pieces above if you want to learn more. But things got even weirder today: popular stock-trading app Robinhood restricted trading of many of those stocks, including GameStop, only to begin backpedaling when users across social media – including US politicians from both sides of the aisle – called foul. They will be allowing “limited buys” of said shares going forward.

So, you might be asking, “what does this mean for Gamestop stores?” Well… not a lot, it seems. They're a retail business, so sales, not stock, are the driving force behind whether or not they're doing well; the stock, at this point, is mostly being used as a football for a bunch of people online to kick around. But since their name is all over the news – even being mentioned as high up as the White House – they're getting a lot of publicity. I'm not entirely sure it's good publicity, but right now more people are thinking about GameStop than ever before, so who knows what will happen?

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG'S VOICE IS CHANGING

Hey, did you know that the original Sonic the Hedgehog released 30 years ago? (God, I'm old.) While Sega hasn't said too much about their plans for our blue buddy's big three-oh, there's clearly something being worked on behind the scenes. Unfortunately, it seems like that something might not involve longtime Sonic voice actor, Roger Craig Smith. He made this tweet early today, which indicates that his time as the speedy needlemouse has come to a halt.

Sonic's had a lot of English voice actors over the years across various media, and everybody has a favorite… and, because the Sonic fandom seems to attract weirdoes like flies to honey, some are very, very vocal about their preferred Sonic. (For the curious, his Japanese voice actor, Jun-ichi Kanemaru, has been unchanged since Sonic Adventure.)

So who will replace Roger? Good question! Sega hasn't announced anything yet. The Ryan Drummond stans linked above are no doubt hopeful, but he's mentioned before that he wasn't happy with what Sega offered him previously to officially reprise the role. Perhaps Ben Schwartz from the movie will be voicing across all media now? I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.

R-TYPE FINAL 2 GETS A RELEASE DATE

It's been a while since that R-Type Final 2 Kickstarter. I've been following it since it was successfully funded, and while there have been a couple of things that made me a bit nervous: a promised backer demo never materialized, and a second and third round of crowdfunding seemed to indicate that developer Granzella may have overestimated what they could do on their Kickstarter-provided budget.

The game was also delayed from its planned December 2020 release date, though with COVID still being a thing that's certainly understandable. Thankfully, the delay isn't too long, as we'll be able to enjoy R-Type Final 2 on every current platform come April 29th! Well, in Japan, at least. I don't think that this one will take too long to make the voyage West, though.

NIS America will be handling the game outside of Japan, and they've already got a pretty swanky limited edition ready to go. Japan is getting their own, separate LE box, however – it's being done by Games Glorious, a gaming fashion brand, and it looks like this:

You've got it all here: A shirt! A mask! Reproduction arcade flyers! A CD with the game's theme song by MCU of Kick the Can Crew! Even a keychain mock-up of a theoretical PC Engine version of R-Type Final 2! The only thing missing is, uh... the game, which you actually have to buy separately. That's a bit odd, but okay! I own some Games Glorious stuff and can vouch for their quality, so seeing them get into making special edition goodies makes me quite happy. If you really want this version, you can order it on Amazon.jp. I'm not a massive R-Type fan, so I'll be passing – and I've already got a huge shooter LE preorder on the way in the Darius Cozmic Revelation box.

FIGHTING GAME NEWS ROUNDUP: KING OF FIGHTERS XV RE-INTRODUCES AN OLD FAVORITE

Another benefit of moving TWIG to Friday? We'll be able to catch the apparently-weekly King of Fighters XV character announcements, which have been debuting on Wednesday evenings. This week, we're greeted by a character who has been a King of Fighters participant from the get-go, Benimaru!

He'll be on the same team as Shunei and Meitenkun, as TranceLimit174 on our forums correctly predicted. Congratulations on your clairvoyance! I owe you a cookie if I ever meet you.

Meanwhile, Guilty Gear Strive's release date and final character reveal draw ever-closer! In the meantime, however, Arc System Works has dropped a lengthy new trailer showcasing all of the game modes that will be available in the finished retail product.

Well… this sure has been a weird column to write! I've never felt quite so… unsure about submitting this weekly piece for publication, because I don't know if I've adequately explained the week's big news. Then again, I never expected a bunch of nerds to wage class warfare via buying GameStop stock and make international news, either. Hopefully next week's gaming news will be a bit more, ah… “traditional?” Anyhow, have a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you again next week!


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