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This Week in Games
Summer Games Fest 2024 Wrap-Up

by Jean-Karlo Lemus,

Welcome back, everyone! A major downside of this column is that the nature of its publication makes it a little hard to cover the news; by the time last week's column went up, Summer Games Fest was already in full swing, after all. While a lot of stuff here might already be old news, it comes with the bonus of me picking and choosing certain bits to shine a light on that I think were overlooked or deserve a second glance. I appreciate you guys for nevertheless tuning in for my input on matters.

Also: my review for Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance went up earlier this week. This was a hard one—not because the game is hard or anything, but because so much of the game is overshadowed by the nature of the Atlus Remake™. It's unfair to the SMTVV team to claim that they held content back for the sake of the remake (all of the new content is stuff they couldn't realize the first time around, either for budget reasons or lack of time). But I think people have the right to be upset at the notion of buying a game for a second time with stuff that really ought to have been in the first version. Most Atlus Remakes™ at least have the excuse of being ports on newer consoles. Way back on the PS2, I think Atlus was justified in localizing vanilla Persona 3 instead of the FES version because why bother putting in extra work for a new game in a series that has historically never been that big? These days, you may as well incorporate the Atlus Remake Girl™ into the main party. We'll love her sight unseen, anyway (especially if she's a load-bearing character, plot-wise).

This is...

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Art by Catfish

Summer Games Fest 2024 Overview

It was Summer Games Fest this past weekend, starring Geoff "Please Wrap It Up" Keighley. There was a lot of buzz this year, not only stemming from Keighley's bad reputation among gamers but also because Esquire broke the news on how much it cost to run a trailer during Summer Game Fest; prices for trailers started at $250,000 for a single minute, going all the way up to $550,000 for two-and-a-half minutes of screentime. While these are jaw-dropping figures, it's important to remember that in the grand scale of advertising, these costs are pretty par for the course; Gene Park saliently pointed out that these costs are in the ballpark of what it would cost to take a full-page ad in The New York Times. That said, a few indie devs have pointed out that even the starting price costs more than their entire development budget. (For those wondering how this compares to the belated Electronic Entertainment Expo: Gene Park claims "E3 would cost companies millions".) Yeah, it's a small wonder Nintendo doesn't even bother with Summer Games Fest. They can probably produce a single half-hour Nintendo Direct for $250,000 and still put out bigger announcements than any amount of time Keighley would give them (unless you hate RPGs).

The other thing that wrinkles my brow is that Keighley tried tempering people's expectations before Summer Games Fest by telling folks it would be a "light year." I dunno, man; if I'm paying $550,000 to advertise my game at Summer Games Fest and someone potentially affected the number of eyeballs on the screen by dashing their hopes by saying, "Oh yeah, don't expect anything majorly interesting this time around," I'd probably say "deuces" to the whole deal and make my own showcase.

Credit where credit is due, Keighley gave some lip-service to the absurd number of layoffs in the industry. Bullying self-styled industry figureheads work, I guess! Keighley didn't name names (because he can't risk threatening his relationships with the corpus who give him access to stuff), but baby steps, I guess. It's still rather twee how Summer Games Fest divides all of its streams into stuff like the "Cozy Game Fest" or the "Woman-Led Games Fest,"... but at least he made an effort.

Also, hey, there was a showcase for Latin-American developers! It showcased a ton of amazing-looking games I'm genuinely interested in checking out. I think there's an impression that because something comes from an "ethnic" studio (read: someone not based in either the United States, Europe, or Japan), it'll be a "political" game that "shoehorns" a ton of "political" themes into the story, which is complete bullshit, top-to-bottom (and you can quote me on that). Some folks worldwide—including south of the border—love games and want to share their passion. The boat has sailed on Latino influence in gaming; one of the founding fathers of first-person shooters as we know it is John Romero, who's always been very up-front about his Mexican/Native roots. Behold Studios, a team of Brazilian devs, celebrated Brazil's love of tokusatsu with Chroma Squad. And we can't forget the Sukeban Games. Not only did their lived experiences in Venezuela contribute to really nailing VA-11 Hall-A's dystopian cyberpunk setting, but they nailed the PC Engine-inspired aesthetic so well that it became a tremendous success in Japan. All I'm saying is that the only other major figure on the Internet I know who is also a huge fan of Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja is RebelTaxi—who is also Latino.

There are some serious weebs in Latin America (shout-out to my fellow weebs that grew up watching Saber Marionette J on Locomotion). We also know a thing or two about Japanese RPGs. For what it's worth: I wanna give the nod to a handful of the 70-plus games promoted at the showcase: ABYSS X ZERO, Codex: Eternal Eclipse, Into The Grid, and Wind Runners caught my eye practically by their aesthetic alone. Sky Ocean: Wings for Hire looks like it's trying hard to be a spiritual successor to the much-beloved (and sadly-ignored) Skies of Arcadia, which is a noble goal. And despelote earned my affection with its title (the term is Ecuadorian, but we also use it in Puerto Rico to refer to big messes or catastrophes).

Can I say I care about Summer Games Fest? No, not really. More and more, I think devs are realizing that they can make their showcases and stream them on their own. The folks who would benefit the most from this kind of arrangement would be smaller studios, which are also the studios that get overlooked or priced out of being able to get showcased instead of the usual major players. Sony and Nintendo have the right idea by having their respective showcases outside of Summer Games Fest's streams. A coworker asked me about Summer Games Fest since she knew I covered games for this column. She asked if Summer Games Fest was something done because most college students who play games have free time during the summer, making it an ideal time to release big titles. Which, for a woman who doesn't play games, is a rather sensible idea. The simple truth is that Summer Games Fest exists during the summer because E3 used to be held during the summer. And E3 was held during the summer because the announcements for games could be held at the end of the fiscal year (padding out a company's numbers at the last minute) while also giving retailers time to figure out which games to stock during the holiday rush. There are too many games to curate in any meaningful way, and all of the smaller titles that need the bump don't get it; so much of the corporate side of the gaming industry is just one big mess, man. Oy.

CAPCOM and SNK Playmore, Together Again

One thing that weighs a bit on my conscience is that I don't offer as much attention to the fighting game community as my predecessor, Heidi, used to. And it's not for lack of interest! I love fighting game culture! I'm nowhere near being a seasoned fighting game player. I've played a ton of fighting games going back to Street Fighter 2 and the original Samurai Shodown, but I mostly appreciate fighting games and the culture around them. If I don't talk about them more often, it's hard to dedicate space or conversation to the announcement of a singular character. Slayer and A.B.A. returning to Guilty Gear is neat! I don't have anything more interesting to say on the matter. Mea culpa. Thankfully, we had a goodly amount of fighting game announcements this week, both from the luminaries at SNK Playmore (the house that Fatal Fury and King of Fighters built) and CAPCOM (home of the World Warriors of Street Fighter). And, best of all, there's some commingling here!

Now, no discussion of SNK is complete without the reminder that SNK is majority-owned by the Saudi Arabian crown prince, who currently stands accused of human rights violations against women and minorities, including the murder and dismemberment of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Prince Salman is dedicated to simply letting SNK be and supporting them economically in the hopes that they return to their glory days of the 1990s, which some applaud given the numerous times SNK has almost died in bankruptcy. Now, I value the rights of my fellow people above games, a stance I've seen claims that "trivializes the real problems," but I think that we can agree that our games being funded by blood money does take the fun out of things a little. I don't know, man; I love Izuna, but I wouldn't be happy to hear Pol Pot was also an avid fan and was funding Success. The folks at SNK deserve support, but maybe not from someone who can and has had people murdered.

So, with that out of the way, let's start with the obvious SNK stuff. First, we have another character reveal for Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves. Many of the pugilists from SNK's games are... well, they're very colorful freaks of nature, that's for sure. And even the weirdest, goofiest character like Duck King have folks clamoring for their return. And who can blame them? SNK is weirdly great at making charming, characterful personalities and bringing them to life with all kinds of great key art. Terry Bogard already cuts a striking figure, what with his striking red coloring, his trucker cap, and his braggadocios "ARE YOU OKAY?". The art of him two-handing a massive footlong while Joe Higashi and Andy Bogard are chowing on a burger and a bucket of fried chicken (as drawn by the legendary artist Shinkiro)? That elevates him from a "cool character" to "my patron saint." Everyone knows Mai Shiranui as a bombshell sexpot; only us old-heads have seen her rollerskating in the dorkiest of kneepads. All this to say, even if you've never heard of B. Jenet before (because what's one more SNK bombshell from a series where Mai Shiranui doesn't have the most endowed of all figures), folks are thrilled to see her back.

B. Jenet (pronounced "Jenny") hasn't exactly been missing for very long—after all, she was last seen in King of Fighters XV. But it's not often that she gets pulled into the ring. The leader of a gang of pirates called the Lillien Knights (who are more like The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything), B. Jenet is known chiefly for kicking her way around the ring. The new trailer showcases plenty of her high-kicking action (and her phenomenal new voice acting courtesy of Amber Lee Connors—welcome aboard!). But there's one thing I'm missing. See, one of B. Jenet's most famous specials involves her getting so angry at her opponent that she reaches down, pulls off one of her heels, and bludgeons her opponent with them until they keel over. I can't imagine why they'd take that move away since it's so iconic of B. Jenet—you may as well take away Sonya Blade's Fatality, where she burns someone alive by blowing a kiss at them. But it's not in the trailer, so you'll understand my confusion. We'll await further news regarding B. Jenet's assault by shoe.

Now, onto CAPCOM! Street Fighter 6 has been doing amazing lately, and CAPCOM showed off the characters they'll be working on for its second year. Most folks are a little disappointed that the whole listing was revealed in one go instead of the usual one-at-a-time reveal. Still, given the nature of the characters involved (three surprises and one disappointment), I can see why they wanted to rip the bandage off.

First off, Elena is back! And they let her keep her melanin this time, too! Elena is another character who hasn't been around in a bit, so fans are happy to see her. There is no word on whether or not her animations will copy backup dancers from David Lee Roth's music videos, but oh well.

What doesn't have fans as excited is that M. Bison is back. That might confuse several casual Street Fighter enthusiasts, but the bigger fans have words about this. It's akin to Zelda fans who are tired of the games only having Ganon as the final boss (hi, I'm Jean-Karlo...). As of Street Fighter 5, M. Bison had only just been killed, finally letting players experience different stories for the World Warriors and introducing new characters—characters like A.K.I. M. Bison canonically has a system that lets him transfer his soul into new bodies (long story), but it doesn't mean folks want to keep fighting Bison. Especially if he keeps returning and potentially taking character slots from other legacy characters that people do want to see return. Makoto is a name several fans have thrown around, mainly since Makoto hasn't been seen since Street Fighter 4. And I'm with them. It'd be nice to see some older faces again, especially considering how much CAPCOM has been nailing it with the new characters.

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The one upside is that Bison has a radically new design, ditching the traditional red dictator suit for a look inspired by Fist of the North Star. He even has a massive horse he rides into battle, akin to Raoh's Kokuoh. It's a good reminder of how much of Street Fighter is inspired by anime and manga, even if the inspirations aren't conventionally seen as "mainstream" anime in the U.S. The other news is that Bison's appearance in Street Fighter 6 comes with a new voice actor for M. Bison. Norio Wakamoto, famed for his performances as villains like Cell from Dragon Ball, Castlevania's Dracula, Chu from Yū Yū Hakusho, and Chiyo's Dad from Azumanga Daioh, is aging into his 80s. All of those cries of "BU-R-R-RAAAAAAGH!" aren't as easy for the guy as they used to be. So Taiten Kasunoki will voice M. Bison in Street Fighter 6. For a preview of Kasunoki's portrayal as Bison, you can tune into Wreck-It RalphKasunoki voices Bison in the Japanese dub. I have to wonder if this means Wakamoto will also pass on the role of Johnny from Guilty Gear to another VA, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Until then, folks will have to contend with a new Bison. There's not much else to do but wait for the possibility of a third year of support for Street Fighter 6.

Especially since the last two DLC spots for this wave will be taken up by Terry Bogard and Mai Shiranui, of Fatal Fury fame. (See? I told you there was commingling.) Terry and Mai are no strangers to the World Warriors; while this is their first actual appearance in a Street Fighter game, they've rubbed shoulders with CAPCOM's best during the beloved CAPCOM vs. SNK fighting games. Those went so far as to have cute special intros for specific character match-ups, like Mai using her ninjutsu to impersonate Chun Li or Ken tossing Terry his famous cap. Terry can also fight against Ryu and Ken in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but that's largely because Sakurai knows his fighting games—and we all know Mai is absent from that one because Smash Bros is a game for good little boys and girls. I've seen a bit of trepidation from folks with Terry and Mai's cameos, if only because SNK has been hitting that cameo juice for the two of them for a while. I don't think there's much sense in choosing Andy Bogard over his significantly cooler brother, or Joe Higashi. And Mai may as well be the poster girl of SNK besides, what, maybe Nakoruru? And even then, Nakoruru's heyday seems to have ended with the '90s.

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At any rate, folks are looking forward to seeing Terry and Mai done up with CAPCOM's RE Engine for Street Fighter 6. They'll have no lack of costumes! I'll never need Terry in anything other than his traditional red-and-white duds with the blue jeans, and Mai will always have that red one-piece. But consider Terry's Garou: Mark of the Wolves outfit (even if it means he doesn't have his cap). And Mai's had a pretty extensive list of designs. A lot of folks are gunning for her Maximum Impact design, which is striking in how unique it is (what with the black outfit and the short hair). I'm not wild over the short hair, but credit where credit's due: it's a cool look (and she kinda looks like Izuna in the outfit). However, consider:

Leather jacket and torn acid-washed jeans. Or, I dunno, slap her into the "MILK" t-shirt she was wearing in Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture. Modders are going to go nuts either way.

Rita's Rewind Show's Power Rangers's Future Is Stuck In The Past

Hey, I have an excuse to talk about tokusatsu again! One of the many games we saw revealed over the weekend was a new beat-'em-up based on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, done up in the same lovingly-rendered style as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge (or that recent Toxic Crusaders game). And I have Thoughts™!

Okay, first off, this game looks amazing. It's been a while since we last had a new Power Rangers game that wasn't some free-to-play deal (or Battle For The Grid, incredible as it was). And the old SNES/Sega Genesis Power Rangers games were pretty boss, be it the beat 'em-ups or the fighting game that borrowed the engine from the Gundam Wing fighting game. I like the addition of the funky "super-scaler"-inspired sequences. That's a novel approach (and it satiates my desire for a modern-day super-scaler game). And hey, it even looks like they're trying to tie into recent Power Rangers canon, as the story involves time-traveling shenanigans on behalf of Robo Rita from Power Rangers: Once and Always finally going to the past to help the non-robotic Rita Repulsa stop the Rangers from ever being assembled. It's fun stuff!

... But it's yet another retread through Power Rangers stuff we've already seen before, man!

I'm in a weird position because I was very attached to Power Rangers as a kid, which led to me getting into tokusatsu at large once I got older. I even started watching Super Sentai. I'm not one of those types that thinks Power Rangers is an insult to Super Sentai or anything like that; it's interesting to see how so many bits and pieces from Super Sentai are recontextualized. With that said, man, Power Rangers seriously is suffering from the same problem Transformers had where G1 ruled everything. Buy this year's G1-inspired Optimus Prime; he's 20% more cartoon-accurate than last year's model. Go sit and spin if you're one of those losers who preferred Armada Prime with his neat combining gimmicks, Animated Prime with its slick simplicity, or—God forbid—2001 Robots in Disguise/Car Robots Prime and the neat way he combined with Ultra Magnus by shaking hands. It's only been fairly recently that the Legacy line of toys has dug up some weird and unconventional 'bots from the past and given them a new coat of paint—hell, we have new versions of all the Primes I just listed here, plus other characters Hasbro normally leaves out in the rain in favor of yet another Jazz, yet another Ironhide, and yet another Prowl. Power Rangers has been going strong since 1993... and we're still retreading Mighty Morphin'. So, like, go sit and spin if you're one of those losers who misses Lightspeed Rescue or Jungle Fury or Time Force.

There's a simple explanation: Mighty Morphin' is best known in pop culture. But also, it's the one you can't do much with. Not only have we already explored the story forwards and backward (you can only do the "Green With Evil" bit so many times; Lord Drakkon ain't foolin' anybody), but unlike Ninja Turtles or Transformers there are fewer ways to reiterate on the Rangers in any meaningful capacity. You can't radically redesign the Mighty Morphin' team because the diamond pattern is what they look like. You can't pull a Transformers: Animated and give them all big Derek J. Wyatt chins or do a Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and give them all radically different redesigns and body types. You can't change the characters all that much because the Rangers are pretty simple in their characterizations. And you can't change the dinosaur powers because then you've just created a brand-new team of Rangers. So Power Rangers is stuck chasing ghosts of its past while forced to retread the same old ground where other franchises—hell, even the original Super Sentai in Japan—experiment with wild ideas. Heck, Super Sentai was on the ropes for a minute over in Japan,e and then they decided to get weird with Zenkaiger and Donbrothers, and the results have been some of the best Sentai we've seen in years.

There's also the question of why we need to adapt Super Sentai as Power Rangers in this day and age. Power Rangers is from the time when it was a lot harder to pass off Japanese media on American television (nevermind how well Ultraman did in the '60s and '70s or how people had been watching Japanese cartoons unwittingly since Speed Racer in the '50s). It's from the era where GoLion was rebranded as Voltron, Kyatto Ninden Teyandee was rewritten as Samurai Pizza Cats, and folks tried to make their own Sailor Moon cartoon in the U.S. And we're not in that era anymore. Kids watch My Hero Academia with its blatantly-Japanese names. Kids went nuts for Naruto and its obvious Japanese origins. Do we have to repurpose Super Sentai so that all of the actors are American (or New Zealanders passing as Americans) in 2024? Do we need to keep re-writing shows to explain how this team of heroes (that look like pirates but pretend they're not pirates) tie into these old dinosaur-based heroes? Heck, you don't even have to stop calling it Power Rangers, but the question of why this piece of media has to operate under a production model made in 1993 still dangles over Power Rangers in ways that you can't answer with "nostalgia."

Hasbro doesn't know what to do with Power Rangers outside of jangling the old "nostalgia" keys, but it's not working for them too well—especially since Hasbro has split with Netflix with regards to Power Rangers. The future of the series seems pretty dark. But, uh, at least Rita's Revenge looks really, really fun. I'll pick it up.

Sonic × Shadow Generations Really Primed To Take Off

We had a new trailer come out for Sonic × Shadow Generations, the upcoming remaster of the beloved Sonic the Hedgehog title! Seemingly because we all know the Sonic-related bits like the backs of our hands, Sega has decided to emphasize the Shadow-related bits.

There's quite a lot here. Folks might have expected Shadow to play like he did in Shadow the Hedgehog riding vehicles and slinging weapons around. But it seems like Sega feels that Shadow doesn't have to do that anymore; his levels look parallel to Modern Sonic's stages, only based on what little we know of Shadow's history. More importantly, Shadow grows evil mutant wings. Folks have been going wild over this because it's so sick.

Sonic the Hedgehog was on the receiving end of a ton of complaints from folks over how "lame" and "try-hard" it was for so long, and a lot of that was aimed at Shadow the Hedgehog. But with age comes understanding, so now folks realize that a genetically modified lifeform in the shape of a hedgehog born of a mad scientist and his collaboration with an alien species growing weird gross vein-wings is actually the sickest thing ever and it's a shame Chester Bennington isn't here to enjoy it with us. I always believed that many franchises would wish they could fail as long as Sonic the Hedgehog had. I mean, even with the catastrophic failure of Sonic '06 (and yes, that game was a failure), we still kept getting Sonic games. Heck, man, how many years was it between Donkey Kong 64 and Donkey Kong Country Returns? People feel comfortable enjoying Sonic now, and we're all better for it. This game is going to be so fun.

That said, folks are disappointed that the Chao Garden isn't coming back in Sonic × Shadow Generations. Folks saw some Chao hanging around in a new screenshot of Sonic's birthday party in the game and suddenly decided that meant the Chao Garden was coming back, and honestly, I think that's on them. I get it—I love Chao too, and I'd be over the moon for a return to the Chao Garden. But this is another case of fans letting their expectations run away with them.

Sega has also started promoting the pre-order goodies for <Sonic × Shadow Generations—and yep, the Japanese merch includes another collab with everyone's favorite dog VTuber, Inugami Korone. And this time, she's wearing a hoodie that looks like Shadow! It's not the first time that Korone has collaborated with Sonic the Hedgehog, and sadly, all of these collaborations have been Japan-exclusive. We in the U.S. get Dr. Gerald Robotnik's insanity-driven journal written throughout Shadow's creation, as well as a new skin for Modern Sonic that gives him that polygonal Sega Dreamcast look, but Japan gets Korone's voice going "Pyon~!" for the many springs in Sonic Frontier. Or Korone in an adorable outfit. It's just not fair, man. Sonic × Shadow Generations arrives on October 25 for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.

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We also have news from Sega concerning Sonic: Dream Team. Sadly, it's still landlocked to Apple Arcade, but it's getting its third content update! First up are a pair of new acts for the Sweet Dreams stages, which include a fun "keep off the floor" challenge. It's like playing The Floor Is Lava, but you're an anthropomorphic animal with running shoes. Then there's an expert-level challenge in Bittersweet Way, which is only unlocked by collecting all Dream Orbs and Moons. All of these come with new achievements, competitive rankings, and collectible music tracks you can play in the in-game jukebox. Again, you can only get Sonic: Dream Team on the Apple Arcade. It's a real shame since it looks like a fun Sonic game, and I'm sure it would play just as fine on a Nintendo Switch. Ah, well. The new stuff should be accessible by the time this column goes live.

Metal Gear Solid Δ... Might Not Be Terrible?

Well, this past week also gave us a glimpse at Metal Gear Solid Δ: 🎵 SNAKE EATER~ (doo doo doo do doooo) 🎵. And I, like a lot of folks, have been extremely iffy on this one. Not for no good reason—this is Konami, after all, and they've earned every bit of infamy they've garnered, if not for how badly they've bungled their other games, then for how they treated Hideo Kojima. Going forward with remaking Snake Eater, possibly the most beloved game in the entire series, without Kojima at the helm, is audacious, at the least. Now, Konami has been rather unflinching in its honesty; a few days back, they had a video featuring Solid Snake/Old Snake/Naked Snake/Big Boss/Iroquois Pliskin voice actor (and famed writer of the first live-action X-Men film) David Hayter conversing with producer Noriaki Okamura about their intent with these games. For one thing, Okamura and company are taking full responsibility for the poor reception of the Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection and are at least vowing to take the necessary measures not to have a repeat of those messes. They're also bringing back the one-time lead star of Guyver: Dark Hero (i.e., Hayter) to reprise his role as Naked Snake, which has fans happy. Folks didn't like Kojima recasting Kiefer Sutherland as Snake (possibly the one decision Kojima fans don't forgive him for), so Hayter's return is something everyone's happy about. But the question remains: how will Metal Gear Solid Δ pan out without Kojima overseeing it? Well, we have a trailer.

So, yeah, the transition to Unreal Engine 5 means the visuals are ostentatious (skin pores, check). They didn't even use the Fox engine. Hayter's Legacy video promises that among the graphical enhancements will be improvements to the injury system originally used in Snake Eater; not only will players have to go into the menu to treat all of Snake's wounds, but all of the injuries Snake sustains will remain on his body throughout the game. Okay, that's not outside of the realm of possibility of what Kojima would want to implement in a game (heck, Snake Eater even has a sequence where Colonel Volgin comments on your body depending on how much damage you've sustained over the game). Sadly, the old yellowish tint to the game is gone—and I have thoughts about this. I've spilled a ton of ink about how bad the "piss filter" era of gaming was. Still, Kojima gets a pass because there was intent behind the decision: Kojima, film nerd that he is, was intentionally trying to capture the atmosphere of Apocalypse Now in Snake Eater, which fits given the massive anti-war theme of both works. It's like the green filter over cyberspace in the Ghost in the Shell movie; it looks wrong without it. More on this later.

We've also been promised a new "modern" control set-up to accommodate folks much more used to modern shooter control schemes. Again, I can't give them too much hate for this decision because it's the same thing Kojima did when they made Metal Gear Solid: Subsistence, the updated remake to Snake Eater. Subsistence not only offered the traditional overhead view of the Metal Gear Solid games, but it also allowed you to play from a third-person perspective. It allowed you to admire the lush environment, and still allowed you plenty of elbow room to sneak around properly. And Subsistence is widely considered the optimal version of Snake Eater, so cribbing lessons from that version of the game isn't too bad of an idea.

Again, according to producer Okamura, the staff is dedicated to maintaining the spirit of the game as best they can, hence they're maintaining the creative vision and even the voice cast from the original version. Their main concern is doing right by the fanbase while also giving newer players an introduction to the series. God help me, I'm starting to believe them. Okamura had worked closely with Kojima since Policenauts—if anyone can respect his vision, it's him. Of course, the big question is, "Why not bring Kojima back?" Konami would never want that (and Kojima is enjoying the freedom Sony is granting him with the Death Stranding series as well as the new tactical espionage action series he's purported to be working on).

Now, let me unpin that bit about the game's visuals from earlier. Many folks might ask, "Hey, if they wanna preserve the vision so much, why change the filters and the control scheme?" Well, this is the other reason why I'm giving Metal Gear Solid Δ the nod: in addition to a "modern" aesthetic and control scheme, Metal Gear Solid Δ will also offer a "Legacy" mode with the old overhead view and controls complete with the cinematic filter. The folks working on this know what they're doing.

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We still don't have a concrete release date for Metal Gear Solid Δ, but we did glimpse the pre-order bonuses available now at retailers. The Collector's Edition even brings a fancy terrarium with a little Naked Snake inside. See, his backpack is stuck in the tree like at the beginning of the game! Don't forget to feed your Snake Calorie Mates. Metal Gear Solid Δ will be released later this year for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Steam.

Let's wrap up with some quick tidbits

  • How convenient—after the recent announcement of Astro Bot (and I played Astro's Playhouse the weekend before last), Sony has uploaded a free update to Astro's Playhouse. The update offers some new gacha rewards and a handful of new goodies to tie in with the upcoming Astro Bot. Good move on their behalf!

  • After having vanished for a few years, Metal Slug Tactics has returned to development! There's a new gameplay trailer, plus a demo available on Steam. Better move fast, though—the demo leaves on June 17!

  • God only knows why you'd want to play Resident Evil VII on a mobile device... but CAPCOM is readying a port of the game for all iPhone 15 models and up. It's slated for July 2. They're also working on a Resident Evil 2 port.

  • IntiCreates has shared a cute trailer for Card-En-Ciel, their upcoming card-based RPG series. Being that it's based on fictional video games, they've shown off the in-game insert songs for one of their fictional games, Spirit Machine. The '90s anime vibes hit hard and fast; the only way they could do better would be by getting Megumi Hayashibara herself involved!

  • If you've been watching Delicious in Dungeon, you probably know that series creator Ryōko Kui really loves the Wizardry games. Good news: Wizardry Variants Daphne is on track to release on iOS and Android this October, with a PC release soon after. Hopefully, a US release comes after...

  • That'll do it for this week, I think. I wanted to address something I saw some folks discussing on Twitter last weekend. I saw a poor young man lamenting that he wouldn't be able to break into voice acting or that he was "too old" to keep trying, all at the ripe old age of 22. I already mentioned it in my response to the poor guy, but my own experiences were pretty similar. I never got into voice acting or toku, but I wanted to work with ANN.

    In 2007, when there was an opening for new reviewers, I tossed my hat into the ring and made it to the second round of applicants. Problem: I didn't have any proper writing samples (I was starting out in college), and living where we did in Puerto Rico meant I had no regular internet access. So it went nowhere. I was just 17. Fast-forward 13 years, and I finally manage to get a piece published on ANN about anime fandom in Puerto Rico. (Fun fact: that's 22-year-old me in the fedora in the picture with Toshio Maeda!) Later that year, my lovely editor offered me a position on This Week in Anime, and two years after that, Heidi put me on the very top of her shortlist to succeed her in This Week in Games. I got my column at 32, an entire decade older than the guy I was responding to.

    I wasn't even trying to get my gaming column; I just like writing about anime and manga, and here I am. It can be hard when you're in the thick of it and barely making headway, and there's very little anyone can say to make it easier. It sucks! But you're not done until you want to be. If there's something worth doing and you want to go for it, it's worth doing—badly, even. And sometimes, you have to be ready to work on it for the long haul. Not everyone is an overnight success. Hell, even overnight successes can take decades of hard work. Give yourself time, and learn to enjoy the process; you deserve it. Working on This Week in Games is a lot of work, and I will never become famous—but it's fun, and I get to talk to folks about games. That's all I could ask for. Put in the elbow grease, be good to the people around you, and roll with the punches. There's no rush to any of this. Be good to each other; I'll see you in seven.


    This Week In Games! is written from idyllic Portland by Jean-Karlo Lemus. When not collaborating with Anime News Network, Jean-Karlo can be found playing JRPGs, eating popcorn, watching v-tubers, and tokusatsu. You can keep up with him at @mouse_inhouse or @ventcard.bsky.social.

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