News: Sweet Release

A cross-gen release on the eve of 2017?

Square Enix Reveals PS4 Release Window for Rise of the Tomb Raider

Square Enix backed the wrong horse and lost. They are currently saddled with a tired old nag, and the relationship is very obviously an uncomfortable one if their squirming is anything to go by. It was obvious that something did not sit quite right with the relationship between Square Enix and Microsoft even when the partnership was first announced, as word quickly spread that it was a timed exclusive. Regardless, at the time discipline held up well enough to ensure that gamers were given the run-around, and nobody knew quite what the deal was with Rise of the Tomb Raider on Sony’s PS4. Incredibly, Square Enix’s discipline broke this week, and this is the first such Microsoft deal to have had the release dates for alternate versions officially announced before the game has even been released on the Xbox One.

Rise of the Tomb Raider will launch exclusively on the Xbox One and Xbox 360 on November 10 this holiday season. It will then launch on Steam early 2016, and will launch on PS4 during the 2016 holiday season. It is pretty obvious that Square Enix is getting some seriously cold feet about their exclusivity deal with Microsoft, so much so that they now appear to be compromising the sales of the Xbox One version of the game with promises of the PS4 port to come! How many Xbox Ones will this exclusivity deal help to move now? Still, it will be very interesting to see just how interested PS4 owners will be in paying $60 for a game that has already been on the market for twelve months, especially one hobbled by being a cross-gen Xbox 360 port in 2016!

It seems unlikely.
Will a twelve month delay be enough time to fix everything that is wrong with Mighty No. 9?

Mighty No. 9 May Have Been Delayed by a Year

Over the week news began to break that Mighty No. 9 may have been delayed for up to a year. Ian Miles Cheong of Gameranx was the first member of the game media to notice a NeoGaf post which seemed to suggest that Keiji Inafune’s disappointing follow-up to Mega Man, Mighty No. 9, had been delayed into 2016.

Mighty No. 9 has been delayed by a year according to a post on NeoGAF. Deep Silver should just cancel it.

Mighty No. 9 was [is?] originally intended to launch on September 15 of this year, yet it would seem that a broad selection of American and Canadian retailers have changed the game’s release date to a placeholder date of December 31st, 2016. These retailers include: Amazon (both US and Canada), GameStop, EB Games, GameFly, Walmart (US/Canada), Best Buy (Canada). The game’s publisher, Deep Silver, has been contacted by various gaming sites, yet has declined to comment on the situation. Postponing the game’s release may ultimately prove to be the best course of action for this mismanaged project, yet one cannot help but wonder whether a year is enough time to save Mighty No. 9, given that the game’s chief problem appears to be with its level design.

In other Comcept news this week, Red Ash continues to languish on Kickstarter – and how could it not? Keiji Inafune’s choice of community manager destroyed the game’s community and any goodwill that gamers had toward the project, then the Beta version of Mighty No. 9 turned out to be awful, and now two Red Ash projects have been launched simultaneously on Kickstarter while Mighty No. 9 might still be over a year away from release. As of writing Red Ash‘s Kickstarter campaign is sitting at $460,000 out of $800,000 with only ten days to go. What really takes the cake though is that it would appear that backers must spend $79 to even get access to the full version of the game and $89 in order to get a physical copy of the game – though consumers could be forgiven for being ignorant of this owing to the campaign’s exceedingly poor description of its tiers:

TIER UPDATE! Now, when you pledge $79 or more, you will receive the main story of RED ASH (“The New Order Conspiracy”, estimated at 12 hours) for free! This will be a digital copy on PC or console, and you will receive it in addition to your copy of “The KalKanon Incident”.

Red Ash will still reach its funding goal, but only just. It is a project which has been hobbled by Comcept’s own arrogance. They will not source enough money to produce the game that they want to make, and nor should they. It is difficult to imagine how the legacy of Mega Man could be any more debased. Hideki Kamiya was right.

... Or a wasted opportunity.
This could be a complimentary pairing…

Spike and tri-Ace Join Forces On RPG Project

Over the past couple of days a teaser site has popped up to countdown the announcement of a new ‘side-view RPG‘ project produced by tri-Ace [of Star Ocean fame] and Spike Chunsoft [the makers of Danganronpa]. This pairing is conceptually brilliant – here we have tri-Ace who are extremely skilled at putting together the technical aspects of an action RPG, but are lousy at crafting a narrative; and joining them are Spike Chunsoft, who have been extremely successful at selling games on the strength of their writing and world building prowess. Mere months ago tri-Ace appeared for all the world to be moribund and dormant, then it was announced that they had been purchased by Nepro Japan to produce phone games. It was a shock to everyone when tri-Ace subsequently announced that Star Ocean 5 was in production, and now we have them collaborating with Spike on a new RPG project. Spike Chunsoft could very competently compensate for tri-Ace’s weaknesses, so this could potentially prove to be a game well worth playing.

So what could the parties involved do to completely squander the potential of this happy union? One may be jumping to conclusions here, but tri-Ace’s Masaki Norimoto has been confirmed by Siliconera to be working on the project. He is the fellow who wrote the scenarios for Valkyrie Profile and Resonance of Fate. These are not the most poorly written of tri-Ace’s cannon to be sure, but their narratives are far from compelling – which is reason for some small concern. That being said, Masaki Norimoto is also listed as a tri-Ace designer, so he may not in fact be working on the project as a writer.

Because zombies totally aren't overplayed...
An adorable school drama with ZOMBIES!

Anime Spotlight: School-Live!

Ever wanted to live at school? Yuki Takeya sure does, which is why she is a member of the ‘School Living Club’, along with her friends Kurumi Ebisuzawa and Yūri Wakasa. The girls live at school and spend their days looking for fun school activities. Why do the girls live at school? Because they are the final survivors of a zombie outbreak – PLOT TWIST!

School-Live! is produced by Lerche, the same studio responsible for Ranpo Kitan, Assassination Classroom, along with Persona 4 and Danganronpa animes. It is available via Crunchyroll and began its run on July 9 2015. There appear to be three episodes currently available.


  1. Re: Tomb Raider. It looks like a decent enough series. But they’re taken the ass kicking female Indy and turned her into a whimpering mess right out of a Lifetime movie. That Xbox timed exclusiveness doesn’t do anyone any favors. Certainly won’t make the impact MS was no doubt hoping for. Particularly in a gamingscape where we’ve been conditioned to expect waiting means more bugs are worked out and the promise of more content without an extra charge.

    Re: Mighty No 9: This trainwreck just gets better and better.

    Re: Tri-Ace: No idea what to expect, but the promise of a new JRPG is always cause for excitement on my end.

    Re: School-Live: This is one of those anime with a premise so bizarre it baffles even me. I could easily see it as horror RPG.

  2. I was really hoping that we were going to see a delay for Mighty No. 9, because I figured that was the only way they were going to be able to address the concerns I have about level design. The fact that they seem to have chosen to delay rather than release unready is, frankly, a good choice in an industry which often prefers to release broken shit rather than delay and get things right.

    I will always support a delay to fix a troubled product. The alternative is far worse.

  3. I’m inclined to agree with the notion of postpone and complete the game, but another year of development for pretty standard platformer raises more doubts than reassurances. But hey, I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

  4. @Wolfe: I always thought that their original goal was optimistic considering how much stuff they intended to put into the game. It seems to me like the overpromising of features is one of the main problems with Kickstarter projects–those stretch goals are inherently destructive.

  5. Red Ash is running some really shifty shit.

    A look at the main page says that backers get “a digiltal copy of the game for PC”
    The rewards section at the bottom of the page adds, furthermore, that the $25 level is a “digital version”.

    Straightforward enough, right? But then this update:

    From which is excerpted this:
    It only takes a pledge of $25 or more to get a digital copy of “The KalKanon Incident”, the prologue to RED ASH.

    NOW, when you pledge $79 or more, you will also receive the entirety of RED ASH (main story, estimated at 12 additional hours) when it’s released! How’s that for an upgrade?

    If you look at the main page, a paragraph buried in the middle of their campaign description reads:
    That’s why for this Kickstarter project, we’ve decided to start with a prologue chapter we call “The KalKanon Incident.” This story has always been planned as a key jumping-on point for the universe, and we hope to use this small, but dense taste of the RED ASH universe as a foundation on which to build future content. Whether it’s through additional funding, revenue from “The KalKanon Incident” sales, or teaming up with a publisher, this is a story we are determined to tell, and we want all of our backers to be on the ground floor for the creation of this new game universe. We have a vision of a story and universe that we feel deserves to be told, and we need your support to make it a reality!

    “The KalKanon Incident” is planned for a playtime of 8 hours across 4 chapters. The number of chapters may change depending on the status of the stretch goals reached.

    Indeed, the number of chapters may change depending on the status of stretch goals. More, right? Nope. Check out the yellow box.


  6. Thanks for mentioning the new Tri-Ace game, Julian! There are three “keywords” on the teaser site. Those so-called keywords are actually the names of the talent on board. The three they have up right now say Scenario: Masaki Norimoto, Music: Motoi Sakuraba, Character Design: Tarou Minoboshi.

    Mino is a former Konami employee. I believe he designed characters for Love Plus and Tokimeki Memorial. So perhaps we can expect a school RPG with lots of cute girls. Nepro said they bought Tri-Ace because they wanted to make console games. I hope this is the first Nepro-produced console game and I hope it’s good.

    It would be funny if the fourth keyword was “Voice Talent: Nolan North”. Hahaha!

  7. @Lusi: If you think about it it’s actually even more scandalous than Ground Zeroes, as at least that demo was upfront about what people were paying for.

    @Zoltan: I don’t understand why they would join forces with Spike Chunsoft and then have someone from tri-Ace handle the scenario. It just doesn’t make sense.

  8. Music: Motoi Sakuraba

    Music: Motoi Sakuraba

    Music: Motoi Sakuraba

    Music: Motoi Sakuraba

  9. @Lusi: There’s a catchphase that will help them get over the line: “More scandalous than Ground Zeroes!”

  10. OK. I could swear those keywords weren’t there before. Now there actually are words flashing in the background. They say destiny, life and death, goddess, god. It could also be any combination of the plural forms of those words, too. As soon as I heard the phrase “side view” the game that came to mind was Valkyrie Profile, but I ruled it out because this is a collaboration with Chunsoft. But those words, as general as they are, sound a lot like Valkyrie Profile. It’s probably a brand new I.P. Are there any other side view RPGs? The only other one I can think of is old school Ys games.

  11. Won’t be Ys. Falcom is still at work on that series and showed their first footage from Ys Next last year.

  12. Yeah. I know it won’t be Ys. Later Ys games aren’t side view, anyway. Oh, my kingdom for a new Valkyrie Profile game. They gotta make the story telling like it was in the first game though. I don’t really care about the overarching story, I just want to see all those dramatic death scenes and then see the Valkyrie descend and lecture them before judging them.

  13. Are there any other side view RPGs? The only other one I can think of is old school Ys games.

    Anything by Vanillaware tends to be a sideview RPG.

  14. I think Ys 1 and 2 were also. I just recently played Ys VI and it was not.

    Oh, yeah, Vanillaware.

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