Rundown the Street (03/03/13)
This week had way too much bombshell news, and I’ve forgotten a lot of it because I didn’t note most of it down. As such, this week’s post will be just a quick and short summation of things I do remember. My apologies – I’ll note this stuff down in the future.
Skullgirls Devs Run IndieGoGo Campaign for DLC Characters
The current development team working on Skullgirls recently started an IndieGoGo campaign where they asked for $150K to add a new character to the game. They were extremely transparent about the costs, and the fanbase rallied behind them to barrel them past their goal in a matter of one or two days. The team has since added stretch goals, which will add more characters.
Despite their transparency, a large amount of sceptics surfaced, who believed that $150K is too much to create one character, when the reality is that it should be far more expensive than that, and producers behind major fighting game series like Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom affirmed that the budget made sense. Rumour has it that each character in the Street Fighter games cost over a million each to create, which is not surprising given the amount of work that goes into balancing each character. In fighting games, the characters are the game.
Despite absolutely hating the demo, I shelled out $15 to but the game on PSN due to the sceptics. The DLC will apparently be free to download for a few months once it gets released.
Skullgirls is available as a download title on PS3 and Xbox 360. A PC port is coming soon.
Fun fact: The IndieGoGo campaign, if it somehow manages to keep this same momentum, will earn around $2M, more than three times the amount required for all of their current stretch goals, which would probably lead to a rather large increase in the size of the playable roster, which only has eight characters at present.
6 Major Anime Publishers Create New Streaming Platform
In what is probably this week’s biggest piece of news, Toei Animation, Aniplex, Sunrise, TMS Entertainment, Nihon Ad Systems and ADK are working together to create a new worldwide anime streaming service targeted towards the worldwide English-speaking market. The service will be named “Daisuki” (Japanese for “I love you”), and ownership is split as follows:
Aniplex Inc. 13.4%
SUNRISE INC. 13.4%
TOEI ANIMATION CO., LTD. 13.4%
TMS ENTERTAINMENT CO.,LTD. 13.4%
NIHON AD SYSTEMS INC. 13.4%
DENTSU INC. 6.5%
ASATSU-DK INC. 26.3%
All six are major anime publishers, and intend to host titles from the back-catalogue of 500 owned by the 6 publishers when they open in April. One Piece, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Mobile Suit Gundam, Lupin the 3rd and Prince of Tennis will be available during the debut of the service.
If this is truly available available worldwide, this could have major effects on the anime industry as a whole, including direct adverse effects on Crunchyroll and FUNimation. Crunchyroll currently holds streaming rights for Puella Magi Madoka Magica, while FUNimation holds the rights for One Piece. Will they take the licenses back? Well, either way, this could either be a godsend or a trainwreck, and only time will tell which – we’ll see in April.
To be honest, I’d much prefer if manga publishers had done something like this instead, as the anime streaming market is already fairly stable without Daisuki’s intervention.
PS4 Will Block Used Games by Publisher Choice
In an interview last week, it was revealed that whether or not the PS4 would accept used games would be a decision that has to be made by the game’s publisher. This flies in the face of Sony’s earlier claims that the patent that allows them to do this was not related to the PS4. To be perfectly honest, this and the lack of backwards-compatability could be a dealbreaker to a lot of people.
In unrelated news, Sony has patented ads that require voice input to end.
In also unrelated news, Sony’s PlayStation Vita sharply rose in sales in Japan last week due to the price drop taking effect. It still only managed just over 11K copies, which is more than the Wii U that week, but still really low.
Nintendo Fans Bashed by Activision, Shunned by EA
An Activision representative stated in a recent interview that the sales of the Wii U port of Call of Duty: Black Ops II were abysmal. Rather than considering that most people who actually care about that franchise already have another system to buy it on, they instead believe that this proves that Nintendo fans are “all talk” and actually wouldn’t bother buying good 3rd-party titles on the system.
I’ll be honest, this conclusion simply makes no sense. That said, I actually really want to pick the port up because I heard that there are no stupid 12-year-olds who’ve apparently all slept with your mother on Nintendo’s servers.
In addition, you may have heard about the old rumour that EA refuses to support the Wii U because Nintendo refused to make Nintendo Network a part of EA’s Origin platform. It has recently gained legitimacy with an interview with a representative from Crytek, who said before the Wii U was released that their proprietary engine Cryengine 3 runs extremely well on the Wii U. During the interview, he said that he actually had a port of Crysis 3, which came out just last week, running extremely well on Wii U. However, they were unable to release it because EA’s relationship with Nintendo was far too poor for EA to allow it.
If this is the truth, EA is being childish.
As these two publishers are among the largest (Activision being THE largest, with the two most profitable series per game under their wing), this is most definitely not good news.
A recent GDC poll showed Nintendo systems lagging behind in developer support.
EA: “All of Our Future Games Will Have Micro-Transactions.”
burnpsy: “You Won’t Catch Me Dead Buying Any of EA’s Future Games if That’s True.”
EA has recently announced that all future titles they publish will contain micro-transactions. This follows their release of Dead Space 3, which essentially made their DLC with the same logic as micro-transactions in that they ruin the horror aspect by giving you the option to buy powerful weapons before beginning the game.
The most likely reason for this new policy is that their smartphone games have been bringing them a lot of money and that people have been willingly complying with their practices enough for them to wish to do this.
There’s not too much to this story, so I’d prefer not to drag it out, but suffice to say I’m not too pleased with the decision. Still, it’s what’s best for EA’s bottom line. Doesn’t mean I have to support it.
Neptunia Victory Delayed by 9 Days in North America and the UK
NIS America recently announced that scheduling issues have forced them to delay the release of Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory by 9 days in North America and the UK. The game would have been released on the 12th and 13th, respectively, but is now coming out on the 21st and 22nd. The rest of Europe is keeping their release date of the 15th. This move was likely to prevent competing directly with Atelier Ayesha, which they localized and is from a series they used to publish, so they’d be competing with themselves. Atelier Ayesha comes out this week for the PS3.
If you haven’t played a game she appears in before, Asagi is a character that was supposed to be the protagonist of a game named Makai Wars eight years ago, which was indefinitely postponed. As a result, ever since then, she has made appearances in practically every game made by NIS, trying to take over the main character role.
In my opinion, the joke is wearing itself out at this point.
Siliconera is running a poll as we speak about whether or not she should get her own game.
Bravely Default Twitter Account Claims They’re Listening
The Japanese Twitter account for Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, a 3DS-exclusive JRPG series that’s meant to kick off a new Square Enix IP, recently put out a tweet that said the following:
I accessed Twitter after a long absence. A voice of the foreign one arrives properly!
The next day, another tweet was put out, saying:
There is very much comment from overseas one! I do my best to have all of you play!
(Both tweets contained Japanese text that, if translated, admitted to use of translation software to translate their Japanese into English.)
Bravely Default is currently one of the most requested games for localization for 3DS. It was recently thought that All the Bravest, which had its existence leaked through a trademark filing, would be the English title for the game. However, it turned out to simply be a bad iOS game that serves no purpose except to make people pay loads of money over nostalgia, and Square Enix already has other iOS games that do that but haven’t been as critically panned.
Bravely Default: Flying Fairy was released in Japan on October 11th last year, in a black box (which is rare for games on Nintendo systems). Square Enix took fan reaction to the demo into account when working on the final product, including speeding up animations to make the turns go by faster, which was a major complaint.
Sakurai Claims Arm Problems Won’t Affect Smash Bros. 4 Development
Masahiro Sakurai, the creator of the Kirby and Super Smash Bros. series, has reported the following about his health:
Not only am I getting calcific tendonitis, but they’ve also found what are apparently several ruptures in the muscles, my upper arm hurts, and there’s this chronic dull pain in my elbow joint as well. On the lower arm, there’s this feeling of fatigue around the flexor muscles that turns into pain when I use a keyboard or game controller with my fingers.
Which is horrible. After an outcry of support, he later tweeted:
Thanks a lot of encouragement messages. Please don’t worry about my injury & SMASH BROS development.
Masahiro Sakurai is the director of Sora, Ltd., and worked personally on Kid Icarus: Uprising (pictured above), currently still one of the best games available on the Nintendo 3DS. Needless to say, he has his fans, and they’re all still worried. I certainly am, even with him telling us not to. Aside from the games previously mentioned, he also worked on Meteos and Mushiking.
The fourth game in the Super Smash Bros. series will be available for both 3DS and Wii U, and will be present at this year’s E3 convention.
Fairy Tail Anime to End This Month
In a surprise announcement, the Fairy Tail anime will end at the end of the month, having caught up to the manga. The anime has run since 2009, and will end with 175 episodes and a movie. Fairy Tail is currently one of the top-selling manga series in Japan, and the top-selling one from Kodansha.
When the story broke, the creator of the series, Hiro Mashima, tweeted the following:
Until the time comes, I cannot say something I’ve always wanted to say, even on Twitter. Please be patient and wait until the time comes for me to announce some good news.
Fairy Tail is an action series that follows the members of the titular mage guild as they deal with issues thrown their way by life (PSA: It’s not as good as it sounds.). Kodansha USA publishes the manga in Japan, while both Crunchyroll and FUNimation are streaming the anime as it airs. FUNimation has also dubbed the beginning of the series and is planning more.
The series’ great performance in terms of sales and ratings mean it will likely return once more space has been made between it and the manga.
Negima! OADs Recieve Blu-Ray Box Set in Japan
In somewhat interesting news, the special episodes, drama CDs and movie that were previously only available on DVD, bundled with special edition volumes of Negima! Magister Negi Magi in Japan have received a limited Blu-Ray run.
The special episodes adapt parts from the middle of the manga, starting from the end of the Mahora Festival arc and skipping all over the place. The drama CDs primarily covered events not shown during the manga proper. The movie depicts an alternate ending to the series.
While all of the components in this box set would have been expensive to license before, this makes it possible for it to be licensed without too much of the additional cost commonly associated with licensing those sorts of special episodes.
There is no word on whether or not it actually will be licensed. FUNimation handled both of the previous anime series.
The manga was is being released in North America by Kodansha USA, which also handled all of the spin-offs. It was their top seller in North America before they started reprinting Sailor Moon. The creator of the series, Ken Akamatsu, will be starting a new series soon.