The reason why Sonic can't stop sucking

..and his name is Akinori Nishiyama.

Listen to this. This is an interview he did with "Level", a swedish gaming mag, entitled "Five minutes with Akinori Nishiyama".
This is how it reads, translated into english:

LVL: Why did you start working at Sega?

AN: I started my career at Sega in 1989. That was the time when the console war between Sega and Nintendo was at its peak. Sega was the underdog, but they were on their way to becoming bigger. I liked the idea of working for such a company and that's why I applied there. I was an artist at first and worked with a handful of Master system games before I got the opportunity to do Phantasy star IV. After that I became more of a producer and soon enough I ended up with the Sonic Team. It has mostly been about Sonic games but the highlight was probably Phantasy Star Online.

LVL: Lately, Sonic's stardom has dwindled somewhat. Does Sonic still have anything to offer? Why is he popular?
AN: Obviously it's important for Sonic to be fast, but I don't think you should forget about Sonic's special character either. He's cocky and independent. Sonic doesn't listen to what other people say and does things in his own way. I think this free mentality appeals to a lot of those who likes Sonic. That's why we want to get more personal with Sonic Unleashed. Sonic should not just be a hedgehog that runs very fast. It's just as important why he's running and what he's thinking about while running.

(This is where the interview turns interesting)

LVL: Haven't that been the biggest problem with the latest Sonic games? He walks too much and falls in love?
AN: Well, I don't agree. There are two kinds of games: the ones that appeals to your mind and the ones that appeals to your body. Sonic have so far been very much about the physical: to press buttons at the right moment and to get breathless from the high speeds. Because I've worked with games in so many different genres I believe I have good opportunities to bring out the other side of Sonic, the deeper side.

LVL: What does it mean that Yuji Naka is no longer working with Sonic Team? After all, he is the father of Sonic.
AN: While working on the whole Sonic franchise, the idea has been to keep Sonic the same as much as possible, but of course we need to change him, and I don't think Naka would had liked the idea of turning Sonic into a monster in Sonic Unleashed. I actually met him recently and he looked at me hesitantly and said: "Was that such a good idea?"

There you have it. The reason why Sonic started kissing girls and overall became a francise for furries and ignorant 10 year olds.
Akinori Nishiyama, in your Sonic franchise, fucking it all up, with a vengeance!

Games that I've bought but never played

  • Disgaea 2 - can't ever find the time to sink my teeth into it. 
  • Okami - just got it
  • Rogue Galaxy - wrapped in plastic for 1½ years now
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Digital devil saga 1 & 2 - also in plastic
  • Fire Emblem: Path of radiance - Where'd I put my Game cube?

..not counting the ones I've played at least 15 minutes.


The return of the return of Sonic the Hedgehog

New Sonic game is in the works!! OMG!!!!11
Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Those last fifteen years worth of Sonic games were pretty
bad but I'm telling you, I've got a really good feeling about this one!
We'll finally see a return to form for sure!

The mascot of relentless self-denial?
The mascot of relentless self-denial?
How many times have you heard someone say something like this about a Sonic game? I hear it every time a new Sonic game is announced. Even the corporate gaming sites are guilty of this.
But we all know what will eventually happen. We know because it always happens. The game will come out and people will get a chance to play it for themselves and realize what they should've known from the very beginning: that Sonic games are not good. They're sometimes downright terrible. If any other franchise were to release such a horrendeous game it would spell disaster for that franchise, but not for Sonic. Somehow he's developed some form of immunity to failure.

I don't understand. Whenever a trailer is released the response is always the same: "It looks awesome! I can't wait!" or  "Finally a true sequel to the original".
Sometimes I wonder if I saw the same trailer as them or some other, shittier, version sent to me by mistake. All I see is usually Sonic running and jumping. Sometimes bouncing all over the screen and the camera swoops around him for dramatic shots. The only thing that bores me more than running and jumping is watching something run and jump. The fun of that is simply lost to me I guess.

Where is all this enthusiasm coming from? Why are Sonic games always given the benefit of the doubt? Apparently it's okay to dismiss Killzone 2 for being "not quite good enough" but there seem to be this general consensus that Sonic Unleashed will set everything right. The Sonic fanbase is like the Jehovas Witnesses of gaming, faithfully waiting for the second coming ... of Sonic 2.

So if a reinterpretation of Sonic 2 is the "messiah" everyone is waiting for, why isn't Sonic Team making it? Why are they creating plots that would only appeal to furries, adding derogatory characters like Shadow and ripping off Twilight Princess? I don't know the answer to that question. Neither can I say for sure how the next game will turn out but I can make a reasonable estimation based on previous evidence. Chances are low.

How many times can you show the same trailer?

Was I the only one who was disappointed with the new Final Fantasy 13 trailer that was shown during the Microsoft press conference at this year's E3? No I don't mean the announcement that it's coming to the 360. I am primarily a Playstation player but that bit of news doesn't bother me. I mean the actual trailer.

My main issue is the lack of any real content. It's like we're watching the same trailer over and over again with every new TGS and E3. Square Enix keeps slapping on the whatever CG their cinematics department has produced since the last time. The only bit of news we can take away from the latest iteration of the trailer is the introduction of a cutesy new cast member.

Looks amazing! Too bad it's all a fantasy.
Looks amazing! Too bad it's all a fantasy.
Where's the gameplay? Is it still too early to expect gameplay footage? Looking back, I don't think we got to see any gameplay footage of Final Fantasy 12 until right before the japanese version went gold. But that game was burdened by delays and other problems in development. Are we witnessing the same thing happening again or is Square Enix deliberately keeping the lid on.

I know what you're thinking. What do I mean by no gameplay? There's gameplay right there in the trailer right? No. That's not gameplay.

The parts where the main protagonist fights a squad of troopers and later that big beast thing isn't real gameplay. It's all baked animations and no player is at the controls. It's most likely from a pre-visualization video. A lot of game companies make these to set a visual goal internally for the team to aim towards. Some other examples of these are the notorious first Killzone 2 trailer and the initial glimpse we saw of the Ryu and Ken in the first Street Fighter 4 trailer. The difference here however is that the fighting scene in Final Fantas 13 trailer is actually running real-time on the PS3 hardware.

Wait, what? Blizzrad?
Wait, what? Blizzrad?
I know this is old news (as old as this trailer actually) but if you look closely at the HUD in the video you can tell it's all placeholders. The most obvious evidence of this is the misspelling of the word "Blizzard". Other than that it's not entirely obvious how the interface will work. It appears they're going to let you perform fast-switching between spells and skills in the middle of the action but I wouldn't be suprised if the final game will look completely different.

I'm super excited about this new entry in the Final Fantasy series and I'm curious to see what kind of changes Square Enix has in store for it. All I'm asking for is some form of proof that the development of Final Fantasy 13 is progressing. Showing the same trailer over and over again doesn't lend us any more hope of seeing this game any time soon.