House Forrester falls
Must do everything to thrive
Ramsay Snow, the worst
Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.
Alternative title for this blog post: In the Game of Thrones cover design, you win or you die
Well, I was trying to enjoy my strawberry Poptarts and a cup of coffee this morning, but was rudely cover farted on by Game of Thrones: The Game, a new RPG based on a TV show based on a series of amazingly captivating books, dropping next month from Cyanide Studio. Let’s just cut to it then. Look at how dreadfully boring this looks:
This cover makes me think someone literally pitched “game” of “throne”, and no one said mum against it.
I was worried before about some of the odd changes and unnecessary additions being dumped into Game of Thrones: The Game, and I certainly wouldn’t be more interested in picking up a copy based on the cover art above. I understand that HBO is immensely proud of the throne they actually built for the set, often bringing it around to conventions for fans to sit in and briefly feel kingly, but an empty chair shrouded by pepper-black smoke does not say “roleplay in George R.R. Martin’s massive Westeros.” It says that no one tried, and that’s a real downer, given that there is countless material to pull from to present an exciting and enticing image; if anything, a map of Westeros would’ve been a better choice or a shot of a Night’s Watch member looking down from the Wall or–and I’m a wee reluctant to say this–some dragons despite the fact that they are not around at the given time of this videogame. I mean, dragons do sell, which is why they are on a lot of fantasy book covers whether integral to the plot or not.
That said, I’m still getting this game, if only to tell y’all about how terrible it is likely to be. I will try my hardest not to go into it totally biased by all of this, but that could be nigh impossible. We got the televised show that A Song of Ice and Fire deserves, but it’s looking unlikely we’ll get the same kind of treatment in the realm of videogames.
I am not a trusted scholar and saucebox of all things A Song of Ice and Fire. Sure, I love the books immensely, am a big fan of HBO’s take on blood and dragons and heraldy and fine-ass beards, and am a dude that’s attempting to draw just about every character ever named by George R.R. Martin–but I don’t know everything. However, I do know that there’s no place called Riverspring in Westeros. Except, thanks to the forthcoming Game of Thrones: The Game (ugh, what a name), now there is. Here’s how the developers describe it:
Bordering the Riverlands, the interests of this town and surrounding countryside are held in the name of Sarwyck as bannermen to the Lannisters. From their family keep, they have presided over their people for generations, but now unrest begins to grow in wake of the death of the reigning Lord Raynard Sarwyck.
All right. That’s believable enough, given just how many houses, big and small, there are, and the Lannisters do have a lot of support. And Sarwyck is a fine, Martin-esque name, but I got problems with Riverspring. Here’s why. In Fallout: New Vegas, upon emerging from a premature shallow grave, you discover the town of Goodsprings. In Rage, the first true city you come to call home is Wellspring. EverQuest fans might remember a halfling city called Rivervale. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, after stepping out of a cave, so long as you follow the path, the first settlement you unearth is called Riverwood. And in…y’know, I’m just going to list all of these forgettable names in bullet format to really drive home the point:
The videogames market is currently inundated with spring places, and yes, pun freakin’ intended. Also, don’t forget about Riverrun, the ancestral stronghold of House Tully. The place that actually matters. But yeah, I get that the devs wanted to A) create a new location to do with whatever they wanted and B) keep it in line with Martin’s naming schematics, but seven hells, they picked the most generic thing ever. I think if I ever make a robust RPG set in a typical fantasy land, the first town I name will be called Good Riverwater Springs. You heard it here first, people.
Okay, fine. I have problems with Riverspring and just how little it adds to a world brimming with detail and construction. Moving on, thanks to Greg Noe, a new trailer has hit the Interwebz:
Wow. Look, no one–and I do mean no one–is playing Game of Thrones: The Game for its story. You just can’t outdo or even come close to the story-telling power of GRRM, so don’t bother trying. Instead, give us the goods on the videogaming side. Make it fun to play, fun to swing a sword or dabble in seedy politics or create some kind of unique dialogue tree system, but don’t pretend to be all high and mighty. This trailer tries to sound exciting, but even the narrator sounds bored–and rightly so. I’d rather see how the game will play, whether it will be more like Dragon Age: Origins or Dragon Age II, as that difference is vital. Certainly it won’t be anything original, but if it is closer to DA:O then I’m in. If it’s DAII…well, I’m probably still in as I am a huge fanboy of the source material, but man, it’s just going to be one letdown after the other. Granted, there still seems to be a second storyline to follow based around the Wall and the Night’s Watch. Maybe that tale will be more inspiring.
A release date of May 2012 is being tossed around. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more details before I take the black. Ugh. Between this, that RTS flop from Cyanide Studio, and an upcoming MMORPG, it just doesn’t seem like A Song of Ice and Fire can get the videogame treatment it truly deserves. At this point, I’d be down for something like this.
As I was inching closer and closer to completing George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons last night, I took a small break between powerful chapters to see how the Internet was holding up. Maybe I shouldn’t have as I already knew that the night was gonna get sad and frustrating once I closed the latest ASoIaF tome for good, but the Internet exists for checking, and checked it I certainly did. Scrolling through my Google Reader feeds, a headline popped out at me, and I read on, grimacing, trying to fathom the what and why: Capcom had announced that they were canceling Mega Man Legends 3, citing that certain criteria had not been met to push the project forward into full production. See Capcom community liaison Greg Moore’s words right here:
“Part of [the game development] process includes an assessment of whether the title will go into full production, and is based on a number of criteria with input from different sectors of the company. Unfortunately it was not felt that the Mega Man Legends 3 Project met the required criteria.”
Sigh. That hurts.
There’s not much on the horizon that has looked appealing enough to warrant more use of my Nintendo 3DS, but Mega Man Legends 3 (and its Prototype Version demo thingy) were definite contenders for my gaming hands and eyes. I still swear I have a copy of the original PlayStation Mega Man Legends somewhere around my apartment, but have not gone looking for it yet; it’s a game that was different enough to be a Mega Man title and more. I liked it for how hard it tried to not be the same ol’ same ol’, and while I never got to play any more titles in the series after that I knew that I’d pick up MML3 and its demo on day one. A portable MML is enough to get me smiling. I was definitely bummed to learn that the Prototype Version wasn’t going to be available when the eShop opened, and I should’ve seen through that thin veil, that Capcom was out for revenge against Keiji Inafune, that they’d rather push less exciting franchises forward than give a series that, without a doubt, has its fans, has personality, has a thousand and five stories yet to be told.
I have to wonder what criteria wasn’t met. More than likely, we’ll never know. Farewell, Mega Man Legends 3. May your health gauge refill sooner than later.
There’s a reason I didn’t just dive into the next topic train from the 30 Days of Gaming meme after the relatively easy previous two topics, and I’d like to think it’s a sound reason. Antagonists, by their very nature, are not meant to be liked. They are the reason the heroes we root for are stressing out so much, crying over dead girlfriends, striving to be a better person, or trying to save the world. Generally, videogame antagonists are one-dimensional, a single being with a single goal and a single way to get to it; this also makes them hard to like, their lack of depth. If only George R.R. Martin wrote every villain, right? Then this would be a different case indeed. SIDE NOTE: I’m doing drawings of characters from A Song of Ice and Fire.
Not every videogame has a clear antagonist. In some occasions, it’s time; on others, it’s your skill level. And that’s okay, not everybody needs to be poked and prodded forward.
I mean, there’s been a ton of antagonists that are memorable, but being remembered is not the same as being liked. Dr. Nefarious from the Ratchet & Clank series was over-the-top and goofy, but a perfect mad scientist to take down in the end. Psycho Mantis did wonders at freaking me out and telling me how many hours I’d logged in Suikoden as he battled Solid Snake. Clockwerk, a large, robotic owl, ends up doing some truly evil things. Gideon Graves gets all Dragon Ball Z-like, going from just an average dickhead to a larger-than-life threat and nearly impossible to beat. I still can’t say with authority if Final Fantasy IX‘s Kuja is a guy or a girl. Saren Arterius is a big jerkbag that released the Reaper fleet back into the galaxy in Mass Effect. Lastly, always fresh in my mind, is Koopa King Bowser, and how jumping over him or running under him–now a rather simple task–was exhilarating those first few times because he was three times Mario’s size and the little plumber that could was taking down Goliath.
Are any of them my favorite? No, never. But they’re still worth writing about, just not lovingly.