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This Week in Games
Judgment Looms

by Heidi Kemps,

Heya folks! Well, it's the end of April, and so far, 2021's been a great year for gaming. The release schedule is calming down a bit in May, but I can understand why – most publishers really don't want to compete with Resident Evil Village. Lady Dimitrescu has almost the entire month to herself, and I have no doubt she's going to be all over social media next month. More than she already is, anyway.

Meanwhile, I just got my first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. The shot itself didn't hurt all that much, but the residual aches the day after were a little annoying – if you still haven't had your shot yet, you might want to plan on taking a day off of strenuous gaming. I'll be going back in a couple weeks for my second dose. Once that's done, I'm ready to get a haircut, get a back massage, and start going back to the local arcades! We recently had a Round 1 entertainment center open across the Oregon/Washington border in Vancouver, just about 20 minutes away from where I live, and I am extremely ready to attempt to get good at a rhythm game or two.

Anyhow, what do we have for news this week? Let's see… oh, here's one!

FORMER STREET FIGHTER PRODUCER YOSHINORI ONO HAS A NEW POSITION AT DELIGHTWORKS – wait, what

Well! We can quite safely put this news in the “things I never, ever could have saw coming” category quite nicely. You might remember a few months ago when longtime Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono announced his departure from CAPCOM. The announcement happened amidst a cloud of rumors and speculation that a proposed Street Fighter VI wasn't going well. Where would the man famous for helping revive the Street Fighter series go next? All was quiet for some time, until…

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT. I was thinking he'd land at Namco or SNK or someplace… but Delightworks? I never would have guessed that in a million years.

You might remember that last week we were also talking about Delightworks, the developer most famous for Fate/Grand Order… though it wasn't particularly good news, as they had just announced the shutdown of their highly-budgeted, heavily-marketed Sakura Wars spinoff Sakura Revolution amidst a cloud of rumors and speculation. Said cloud consisted primarily of hearsay that another (in)famous industry producer, Hideo Baba, mucked things up with Sakura Revolution. (You can check last week's TWIG if you want the details on that.) So the timing of announcing that Yoshinori Ono – another industry figure with a rather checkered history as a producer – is joining in a very high executive role is certainly interesting.

As for what Ono will be doing as COO, I… don't really know! Probably standard COO stuff, making sure projects are on time and under budget, et cetera. It hasn't been stated if he's going to be “hands-on” with anything at DW to the degree that he was with Street Fighter back at CAPCOM. Some have speculated that he might be doing some work on the Delightworks-published Melty Blood remake given his background in fighting games, but that's all there is: speculation. If he's directly involved with something, I'm sure we'll hear it from the horse's mouth.

What does this mean for FGO, Delightworks's biggest game? Probably not much in the near future. A lot of folks besides Delightworks (such as Aniplex and Type-Moon) have their fingers in that particular pie, so any potentially sweeping changes that are proposed have a few desks to cross before they could take effect. Given Ono's history, though, there is a high probability that we might see him come out on stage at events dressed as Saber.

SEGA IS GETTING BOLDER AND BOLDER WITH ITS JUDGMENT ANNOUNCEMENT TEASING

A couple of weeks ago, we saw Sega's official Japanese website for Judge Eyes (the Yakuza series spinoff renamed Judgment in localization) get an update. The update was primarily to promote the enhanced Xbox Series/PS5 re-release of the game, but there was something else, too: a counter ticking down to May 7th, “Judgment Day.”

So, what does this mean? Is SKYNET ready to take over the Yakuzaverse in a spinoff that's somehow even more ill-advised than Yakuza Dead Souls? Probably not. Patent-watchers at Gematsu noticed last month that Sega had filed a trademark for something called “Lost Judgment,” which sounds a lot like a direct follow-up to the previous title. The countdown is almost certainly leading towards a full unveiling of the game.

Sega, however, isn't content with just a timer tease. In-between tweets showcasing footage from the PS5/Xbox Series Judgement have been some clips that do not come from those games at all. The always-wonderful folks at Gematsu have kindly compiled what's been shown so far. Have a look!

While there might not be much there yet, we can see what looks like a few key locations from Like a Dragon's Isezaki Ijincho. Is Takayuki Yagami headed to Yokohama? I mean… it makes sense from a “we made all these nice assets, let's get the most out of them” design perspective, and it would give us the opportunity to see favorite Yakuza: Like a Dragon locales alongside a different style of gameplay.

The full reveal happens in a little under a week, so we'll know what kind of investigation Yagami will be embroiled in quite soon. Also, am I the only person who still just calls the main character of Judgment Takuya Kimura? I know his in-game name, but… it's so hard to separate the famous figure from the character he's “playing” in-game. I know I can't be alone here.

FIGHTING GAME NEWS ROUNDUP: AND CHRIS MAKES THREE

We're back to weekly King of Fighters XV content from SNK after a week off. We've seen Yashiro, we've seen Shermie, so it's time to finish off the Orochi team roster with the return of Chris!

Also, Guilty Gear Strive is launching on June 11 – just a little under two months away! – but you'll still have one more chance to play the game in open beta before its release!

What's even better is that both Anji and I-No (who were added to the roster after the last beta) will be playable, making this the first time anyone outside of Arc System Works will be playing these two returning fighters. If you were looking to make either of the two one of your go-to characters, you'd do well to take them to the lab for a test drive while the beta's ongoing.

I think that's everything for this week. Oh, there's one more little newsbit I want to bring up: a collection of three very rare Saturn shoot-em-ups was announced for Switch and PS4! This set includes the heavily 90's-anime styled cute-shooters Cotton 2 and Cotton Boomerang, along with the mech-heavy vertical-horizontal hybrid Guardian Force. All of these games are very good… and cost a small fortune on the secondary market, so I'm very happy to see that they'll be available at a reasonable price. The Saturn is my all-time favorite console, but its game prices have become absurd, so I want to support any and all Saturn re-releases to help more people play great games they missed out on!

So, what's on your mind this week? Eager to see the new Judgement announcement? Befuddled by Yoshinori Ono's latest career move? Excited that the Orochi bandmates got back together again? Join in and give us your thoughts in the forums, linked right below this! We'll be back again next week with all the news that's fit to recap… and I'm sure we'll have more Judgment content to discuss. See you again soon!


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