If there’s one type of game that has struggled to find its footing in the modern era, it’s been the Japanese RPG. Looking at a console generation that has seen a major RPG from the creator of Final Fantasy struggle to achieve a Western release, and one where the once-mighty RPG giant Square-Enix has become more known for Tomb Raider than for their RPG output, it’s without a doubt been an interesting ride for the genre.
In recent years it’s been the games that have deviated most from the typical format, such as the Persona series and Dark Souls, that have garnered the most mainstream appeal outside of your usual Final Fantasy releases. As the seventh console generation wound to a close, however, we’ve also seen the smallest signs of a shift back. With more traditional Japanese RPGs like the 3DS’ Bravely Default being warmly received worldwide, it’s shown that developers can look to the past to find inspiration for the future.
And if they look back at Skies of Arcadia, there’s plenty they can learn from the Dreamcast’s biggest traditional RPG.
IGN has conducted an interview with Al Hope, creative lead developer for the upcoming Alien: Isolation.
In it, he specifies a number of different things, many of which should make Alien fans quite happy. His team, he says, from the start set out to create a different Alien game than Colonial Marines was: a true horror experience, something completely unlike the shooter-focused direction its predecessor took on.
Isolation, which according to Hope has been in development for the past four years, has always aimed to take the series back to its roots; the first movie, in particular, where the horror, not the action, took center stage.
“It would be awesome to show Ridley Scott what we’re doing,” Hope said. “I’d like to think he’d really appreciate the care and attention and level of detail we’ve put into re-creating his original vision and original universe and I think he’d appreciate it.”
Alien: Isolation hits stores this November.
Sega Sammy has released their financial results for what was a fairly quiet Q1 for the company. Japanese tax increases and advertising costs took a toll on their bottom line, while their games divisions, including arcade, console, and mobile, all struggled due mainly due to a lack of new content. In short, Sega Sammy has certainly seen better days, though some big titles coming up should help them regain at least some of their traction.
From its announcement, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric has drawn a healthy bit of skepticism, especially among the hedgehog’s older fans. Developed outside of Sonic Team by the unproven Western studio Big Red Button and intended to coincide with the release of the Sonic Boom cartoon series, fears typically associated with the phrase licensed game immediately came to mind. Having had the opportunity to play the demo, it’s evident that Sonic Boom has potential, I just hope that what I played isn’t too indicative of what we’ll be playing when the game releases this November.
I should preface this by saying that I’ve never been a huge Aliens fan. I’d seen Alien years ago, and while I thought it was a fun and creepy movie, it’s never been a series that I’d become overly familiar with. I was excited though when SEGA picked up the license, hoping to see what type of spin they’d put on an IP that offers a lot of opportunity.
On that note, I’d like to thank whatever deity exists out there that made me forget to place my preorder for that Colonial Marines game. But Alien: Isolation is from the start an entirely different beast. Planted firmly in the survival horror genre and not feeling, based on this demo, like a shooter of any kind, this game is scary. It’s a wonderfully, ridiculously scary bit of survival horror that has the potential to reinvigorate a genre that’s become so much less about scares in recent years than it ever should have been.
It’s the type of game that will have you diving for the light switch.
While it’s a surprise to absolutely nobody, Toshihiro Nagoshi and producer Masayoshi Yokoyama have confirmed to Famitsu that they’ve begun work on the next Yakuza game, following the release of Yakuza Ishin earlier this year.
Details are scarce, with a more formal reveal likely to take place in the near future. For now, the two mostly discussed the process of auditioning the game’s hostesses.
As has become typical, it’s unlikely that we’ll hear anything about a Western release, though I’d love to be proven wrong.
Keep it glued to SEGAbits for the latest on the Yakuza series and of course all other SEGA news.
On January 4th 2006, I submitted to Gamefaqs a review for Shadow the Hedgehog , a game which at the time I boldly declared “the worst SEGA game I’ve ever played.” To date, the 2/10 score I gave it is the lowest I’ve scored a game in any context, on any site I’ve reviewed for, and nothing I’ve played either before or since has inspired a similar score. My outlook on SEGA at the time was incredibly bleak; it was a game that really tore down my confidence in the company and where it was headed, and for those reasons I’ve left this review, for the most part, as is, as a piece of history for how I viewed SEGA at the time, and where I feared the company was headed. Though I’ve edited it a little for form and trimmed it down, the message remains intact. Read on for my thoughts on Shadow the Hedgehog, directly from 2006, as I sat down to review what was (and still is) the worst game I had ever played.
From their garage hidden amidst the alleyways of Shibuya, to the neon-drenched streets of Benten-Cho, they ride high on the funky rhythms being streamed directly into their brains. They are the GGs, and when their story was first told on the Dreamcast, it brought the world the beautiful synergy of cel-shaded graphics played to Hideki Naganuma’s incredible soundtrack. It was a game that further cemented the Dreamcast’s place as the platform for artsy and innovative adventures, and while some aspects of its gameplay still frustrate slightly, Jet Set Radio is every bit as fun as it was back in the day.
With the remake of Castle of Illusion gracing the PSN/XBLA this past summer, it seemed only fitting to revisit its sequel, World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, for Genesis Month. Though it featured far superior graphics and an expanded scope, along with the addition of Donald Duck and cooperative play, World of Illusion has, for whatever reason, struggled to retain the same classic status as its predecessor.
And that’s unfortunate, because World of Illusion is an incredibly capable sequel to Mickey Mouse’s first Genesis adventure; one that sends its title characters into an enchanting world and builds upon the magic of Castle of Illusion to deliver an entirely satisfying follow-up.
It’s the year 2049. Earth, as portrayed in BlueSky Software‘s Vectorman, has become completely uninhabitable by the human race. Having left their polluted planet behind, they’ve set off through the galaxy in hopes of finding a new home, while a crew of mechanical Orbots remains in their place to clean the Earth up.
Into this scenario (one which today seems oddly reminiscent of Pixar’s Wall-E) appears Vectorman; one such Orbot with an attitude and the courage to stop Warhead, an Orbot who went rogue and took control of the planet. The adventure that ensues is a fun one with great atmospherics, an addictive scoring system, and a bit of an edge. Vectorman was a great showcase of the Genesis’ capabilities back in its day, and even today remains a must play for those who want a stylish and futuristic sidescroller.