Hello, my readers! It’s been a bit of a hectic week for me, on the “work” side of things. A lot of really amazing projects have come my way, some game-related and some not—I hope you guys look forward to them. But being busy means that—of course—I haven’t played Xenoblade Chronicles 3. But something I did manage to squeeze into my breaks is Pokémon Café Remix!
I had played the original version of Pokémon Café when it was released on the Switch. And it was fun… but very unbalanced. Your selection of Pokémon sometimes felt ill-equipped to handle your puzzles, and outside of using items there wasn’t much you could do to tilt the odds in your favor if you had a really annoying board to clear. Pokémon Café Remix added new Pokémon, lets them level up, gives each Pokémon individual specialties that makes them more effective against certain obstacles, and gives you way more special events where you can nab rare Pokémon—as well as cute alternate outfits for your Pokémon. The monetization is still annoying—the “Delivery” (which is basically rolling a gacha) takes an absurd number of Gold Acorns for a ten-roll, and you can sometimes get fragments of a costume (collect five for the whole suit!) when all you want is freaking Victini. Also, when your stamina maxes out at five and keeping up with training requires you use two or even three stamina, you don’t get to spend a lot of time, y’know… actually playing the game. But with all those foibles in the way, it’s still oddly engaging. And! I got both Mewtwo and Mew! Now I just need Scizor and Shuckle and I’ll be happy.
I’ll settle for just Shuckle. I’ll do anything for my little mold-worm buddy.
So, let’s talk about some other games. This is This Week In Games.
New Puzzle Bobble Game Coming Out, Local This Week In Games Writer Has Concerns
Folks who’ve followed me for a while know that I’m very sweet on Neo Geo titles, from Fatal Fury to Metal Slug to Samurai Shodown. And the one Neo Geo title that really makes me a kid again is Puzzle Bobble, especially because of that classic theme song. The little calypso beat, the cheerful little cries of “Alright~!”… the whole thing gets stuck in my head for hours and makes me smile so hard my eyes water over. (PS: I love the “Gachimuchi” parody, too.) It’s such an obscure title these days, but there’s nothing quite like playing a match of Puzzle Bobble with someone. Taito surprised me this week with the announcement of a new Puzzle Bobble game: Puzzle Bobble, and even the title is adorable: Puzzle Bobble: Everybubble! There’s a convenient little trailer for it, too!
There’s four-player co-op for the story mode, all of the characters are adorable, the design is cute and eye-catching, all the parts are there–but. But, but, but. The game sounds all wrong. The bubbles pops lack that bit of crystalline ringing, making the match-ups feel unsatisfying. There’s no satisfying puffing-sound when the bubbles are shot. The bubbles themselves somehow look lower-res than the old pixel-versions. What’s worse, and what breaks my heart the most: there’s no sign of the Puzzle Bobble theme, even as a rearrangement.
I know this comes off as nitpicking, but ask yourself: is the Home-Run Bat as satisfying without that splitting crack? The auditory experience of a game can really be a central part of its identity. And with the low-rent visuals Puzzle Bobble: Everybubble just lacks that bit of energy to its presentation that makes it the tactile must-play the original Neo Geo version is. Thankfully, that version is available for play on the Switch (and I pop into it every now and then when I need those soothing bubble sounds to produce some serotonin). I’m very much hoping Puzzle Bobble: Everybubble‘s presentation gets some TLC before it’s launched in 2023: the world really needs a new Puzzle Bobble.
Banned On Steam Before Release
I wanna thank my readers for bringing this one to my attention; it’s my desire to ensure coverage for visual novels, as I believe them to be integral to anime fandom. This one fell under my cracks, so thanks to everyone politely bringing it up.
This past week, it was revealed that , a visual novel from the Science Adventure series that includes and Robotic;Notes, was banned by Steam ahead of its planned release. It’s still coming out on the Nintendo Switch on October 7, but as localizer Andrew Hodgson noted, the game was banned by Valve before ever being released.
Chaos;Head Noah banned on Steam.
Nice to see the curse is still alive and well, even now. pic.twitter.com/5LMnAkVOsK
— Andrew ‘Steiner’ Hodgson (@DistantValhalla) August 17, 2022
As Hodgson wrote, this is somewhat par for the course for Valve; even though doesn’t really deal in erotica, the horror aspects of the story might have tripped a few flags at Valve—especially since many of the cast members still wear school uniforms, which Valve doesn’t like. The hope is that Spike Chunsoft is able to reverse the decision, but the decision still leaves a sour taste in people’s mouth given how much else on Steam is allowed to remain up. Never mind the fact that I’ve got a goodly list of VNs and games on Steam that I definitely could not mention in polite company (never ask a woman her weight, a man his salary, and a Steam user their backlog of shame), never mind that there is no end of low-effort asset-flip titles that both do and do not dabble in erotica present on the storefront, and never mind that a lot of AAA titles have full-on bared boobs and love scenes and get away with it scot-free. As a tangent: isn’t given the O-K for Steam but we can have free-hanging dong and tit in the $60 error message titled Cyberpunk 2077 featuring Keanu Reeves from the Seriously, You Guys, You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Seen Keanu Reeves As A Mexican Werewolf In The 1993 Comedy “Freaked”-series.
There is understandably a lot of consternation given that anime isn’t really all that well understood outside of us fans, which has a lot of people very worried that there’s some kind of plot against anime. When I look at how much of the general structure of the internet is unfriendly to pornographers—or hell, even indie artists in general—I find that harder to believe. eBay removing porn from their listings didn’t just target hentai—it targeted anything that was porn in general. Patreon pushing for worksafe content wasn’t specifically targeting artists that drew the sexy pin-up art of the flavor-of-the-month waifus: it was to push off the sex workers and models that had established themselves and helped the platform reach the heights it had attained. OnlyFans would’ve done the same if there hadn’t been such massive, massive pushback against it. The concerns about the internet scrubbing itself of all the weird lurid stuff that lurked in the corners is very real, and counter to the spirit of what the internet was supposed to be about when it was first made, and we should not allow it to be sanitized of that just because the billionaires that own PayPal are scandalized by anything that isn’t done with the lights off. But if you’re concerned about the state of your sexy anime or the artists that draw them, I’m urging you to take a moment and listen to the LGBTQ+ people around you—many of whom are the artists and cosplayers who create the content you keep on your hard drive for “research.” They’re the canary in the coal mine, not your VNs getting scrubbed off of Steam.
As for ? Hey, it’s still shameful of Valve to remove it from their platform. I hope Spike Chunsoft is able to contest the decision, and I hope fans are able to get on Steam once it’s out on October 7.
Sony Won’t Make A New Gravity Rush Game, But They Sure Can Make A Movie
I’d expect Sony fans to be really miffed at them over how they’ve treated their first-party titles. They shut down their first-party studios to focus on re-releasing The Last of Us for the umpteenth time, games like Gravity Rush get their servers shut down so you can’t enjoy the multiplayer anymore, and while people just want to see more new games from them, they want to focus on motion pictures. So… their solution is to make a Gravity Rush movie. As you do.
Deadline: Gravity Rush movie in the works at PlayStation Productionshttps://t.co/lTubeytABq pic.twitter.com/Ejp8an0mPV
— Nibel (@Nibellion) August 22, 2022
Gravity Rush had a very strong following, inversely proportional to the effort Sony put into promoting it. A fun pair of titles about a girl who can control gravity and uses it to jump and smash-kick her way around a cool city, the series always felt like it languished on the wayside of Sony‘s plans while they shoveled more “prestige” titles onto our plate, expectantly looking up at us in search of approval. That they’re making a movie of it feels like some kind of weird last-ditch mad-lib. It has the potential to be great, but Sony‘s past treatment of Gravity Rush doesn’t exactly inspire courage among the fanbase. There are some names attached to it: Anna Mastro is pegged to direct while Emily Jerome is handling the script. No release date is set yet, so we’ll have to sit back and wait to see how this one shakes up. Hopefully, it’ll light matches under a few seats at Sony and we might see a Gravity Rush 3. Or at the very least, remind them that folks care about more of Sony‘s properties than the sad dad and the zombies. How about throwing a brother a bone and bringing back Legend of Dragoon?
Kirby and Smash Bros Creator Launcges A YouTube Channel
Now that Masahiro Sakurai doesn’t have to pay attention to people banging on his doors asking for Scrimblo Bimblo to be added to Smash Bros, he can do other stuff like… starting a YouTube channel, apparently.
The creator of the Kirby series has a lot of video game knowledge to share with folks, and as he puts it, his many speaking presentations at gaming academies only reach so many people. Sakurai’s got a good eye for technical design, as anyone who’s enjoyed the tactile sensation of playing Smash Bros. can attest. Details like the crowd cheering when you land a good hit or the screen zooming in on a lethal blow lead to Smash Bros having that perfect “stand-up-from-the-couch-and-cheer” vibe that a party game needs, while anyone who’s played a Kirby game can tell you just how right it feels. Sakurai’s penchant for scalable difficulty also makes his games plenty addicting.
There’s a channel with English subtitles for his videos, if folks are interested. It’s not often we get to see Nintendo-aligned developers pour out their grey matter for fans, not since the belated Iwata Asks series, so we’ll definitely have a lot to be grateful for from Sakurai with these coming videos.
Gamescom “World Premieres”
I won’t lie, I dreaded having to touch upon anything related to Geoff Keighley’s dog-and-pony-shows. The trumped-up pageantry of it all feels completely wrong and rubs me entirely the wrong way. It’s a side of the gaming industry I deeply resent and want nothing to do with, like that gross cousin your parents force you to interact with at family get-togethers. But, needs must; while there was a lot to cover at Gamescom 2022 (too much for me to cover on my own), there are still some standout announcements I wanted to point out.
Hey, so, remember the first Dead Island and how that first trailer was earning all these awards for its artistic presentation and then the actual game came out and it turned out the trailer had nothing to do with the game and Dead Island was just a ho-hum action game with a few lame bits of humor? Anyway, Dead Island 2. It was originally announced back in 2014 and I had to check several times to confirm it hadn’t already come out. I had been confused with Dead Island: Riptide and that tasteless statue of a dismembered woman’s torso they had as a feelie for one of the fancy sets. The rep on stage mentioned wanting to lean into it’s “B-movie” tone with the sequel and we’re definitely getting some Troma vibes from all the gore in the trailer: folks getting their heads ripped off, zombies exploding into red goo from being punched, a very irreverent tone… I kinda wish there was just a bit more of a Dead Alive tone to it, but at least this trailer is honest about what the game is like and what it’s about. And it doesn’t look half bad, to be quite honest: lots of dumb fun to be found in blowing up gas tankers and rampant dismemberment. Folks who aren’t entirely exhausted of zombie games can look forward to raising some Cain and chopping up the undead this February 3, 2023.
I know a lot of folks swear by the Borderlands games, but I only have cursory knowledge of them. I’ve seen some folks stream Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, and that looks fun, and that one invisible gun shoot-out from that one other Borderlands game looks fun, and that’s about it. But we’re getting a new Tales from the Borderlands game titled, er… New Tales from the Borderlands. An unlikely trio of scrappy protagonists find themselves fighting against the invading Tediore military force. Their only hope is to locate a vault said to contain vast riches and weaponry. The Borderlands-brand of wild guns, irreverent dialogue and whacky characters is still there, although it’s not being written by anyone from TellTale Games. No word on a release date yet.
So, one of the many things I enjoy in my personal time is Dune—the original Frank Herbert novels, and both the 1980s David Lynch film and the recent remake with Zendaya (both amazingly complimentary films). Dune is extremely relevant to gaming history as Dune 2 was (along with Herzog Zwei) one of the pioneers of the RTS formula. So here we have Dune: Awakening, which is obviously an… open-world survival MMO. As you do. It’s an interesting choice, to say the absolute least, but survival MMOs are pretty common today. Sure, it might give a different perspective to the Fremen and their way of life, but I’ll need to be convinced of this one working out. The trailer looks cool, but you don’t pay $60 to sit down and watch a trailer, if you catch my drift.
Ah, this is more like it! Lies of P has been billed as “Pinocchio by way of Bloodborne”, a descriptor I wanted to avoid because it felt too reductive. But after watching that trailer… it really is Pinocchio by way of Bloodborne, in a lot of really good ways. The game doesn’t look to be a rip-off of Bloodborne’s brand of aesthetic or gothic moodiness so much as it uses it in its own way, and the bizarro automatons that make up the enemies feel as inspired in their design as all our good friends from Bloodborne like the Cleric Beast or Lady Maria. Our boyish-faced protagonist has a prosthetic arm that can adapt into a variety of weapons, we’ve got a lantern that may or may not house a talking cricket, and a kindly old man seems to serve as our father figure. Also, the combat seems to be an extremely fast-paced Souls-like with wild parries, counters and elegant swordplay mixed in with some brutal enemies. Again, it feels reductive to call this a Bloodborne-like or “something to tide you over until we get a Bloodborne”. Honestly, Lies of P looks amazing and anyone who likes Bloodborne ought to keep an eye out for it. It’ll be coming for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series S/X, Xbox One and PC.
For those of you just joining us, I’m a lifelong fan of Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was my first video game, and from then on I have always bled SEGA sky-blue. And sure, a lot of Sonic’s games aren’t great, but a lot of franchises wish they could be as “bad” as Sonic and still endure in public consciousness for so long. Folks have been excited for Sonic Frontiers since it was announced, but… I’m not too sure about it, even now with this new trailer. I still struggle to find the appeal of a Sonic game in an open-world setting, because even if Sonic can just blitz through a map it defeats the purpose if you still have to fast-travel (might as well have localized levels at that point). And the stages don’t inspire a lot of confidence; Sonic has always had some amazing visual design to it. The term “SEGA-blue skies” exists for a reason: the best SEGA games punch you in the face with their bright palettes and attractive visuals. Even “gritty” games like and Yakuza still look bright. But Sonic Frontiers has so many muted palettes and visual filters that even in stages where they have the iconic checkerboard-looking mountains the whole thing just looks… drab. Sonic himself looks out of place. It doesn’t help that the weird robot-enemies Sonic fights look fairly unmemorable; even the “realistic” Badniks from Sonic 06 have a goofy bit of over-serious charm to them. But I can’t fault SEGA for trying something new, and hey: being an open-world game means “mandatory fishing minigame”, and fishing minigames means Big the Cat.
Heck. Yes. Now to see if SEGA follows through and allow Big his big comeback when Sonic Frontiers releases this November 8.
3 Reveals Content Roadmap Ahead Of Release
Man, the Gunvolt games… where Mighty No. 9 wanted to be a spiritual revival for classic Mega Man, felt like IntiCreates’ attempt at revitalizing the concepts they had established with the Mega Man Zero titles they created on the GameBoy Advance: a series of blistering-hard action-platformers with strict grading system, demanding mastery not only to clear the game but to unlock all the fun goodies. And as much as I love Mega Man Zero, I’ve never gotten a chance to play any of the Gunvolt games. They started coming out on the 3DS when I was in college, so I couldn’t afford them. I have the Gunvolt two-pack for the Switch, but as we all know I’ve basically been sequestered by Xenoblade ever since I bought the thing.
Anyway, Gunvolt came out this past July 28th for the Xbox consoles, Steam and Nintendo Switch. IntiCreates put out a trailer detailing some of the new features available for Gunvolt 3, including an actual roadmap promising monthly updates for the first five months after the game’s release!
First off, Gunvolt 3 gave players the ability to swap between two playable characters: Gunvolt and the priestess Kirin. One of the first bits of major DLC which released earlier this week was the option to play as Kirin XX, a version of Kirin that loses access to some of the game’s strategic features in exchange for stronger attacks. There was also D-Nizer mode, a playthrough of Gunvolt 3 where you can only play as Gunvolt himself. It’s a time-attack mode where his energy is constantly depleting, requiring you to defeat enemies in order to extend your playtime. Points earned from playing D-Nizer mode can be used to buy skills to customize Gunvolt’s abilities in D-Nizer mode. It kinda turns the game into something akin to Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, a game you’re not really meant to beat the first time in one go but one where you can steadily progress further as you gain further abilities upon your inevitable failure.
In the coming months leading to December 2022, players can look forward to new bosses, a Trial mode, an online scoreboard, and a playable Epilogue mission to be added to Gunvolt 3. All of the content will be available for free, with other data packs being made available for free for the first two weeks after release.
IntiCreates does a good job supplying their games with DLC; I recall all of the Blaster Master Zero titles having a good bit of DLC including alternate characters. I’m hoping this isn’t the end of the Gunvolt series—especially since it’d be really nice if there was a Luminous Avenger iX collection sold sometime later down the line…
Feature: Interview With Rinaldo Wirz and Adrian Stutz, co-developers of Captain Velvet Meteor: The Jump+ Dimensions
Last month saw the release of Captain Velvet Meteor: The Jump+ Dimensions (which we are currently working on reviewing): a fun strategy game that not only lets players team up with several fan-favorite properties like or , but also has a lot to say about loneliness and anxiety. We were able to sit down and interview Rinaldo Wirz and Adrian Stutz about the game.
Anime News Network: The first question I have is, most Shonen Jump crossovers are fighting games like Jump Force or Jump Super Stars. What led to the decision to make Captain Velvet Meteor a strategy game?
Rinaldo Wirz: First of all, it started with how we started to create the game […] then research what kind of mechanics we could use. The story is like Kingdom Hearts but in the opposite way. Like instead of going into different worlds, every character goes into the world of the main character. It’s also the story of this boy Damien who becomes Captain Velvet Meteor. It’s not a confrontation game. It’s more like characters helping this boy go through situation challenges and all that. From that point we had a lot of possible stuff we could do. Personally, I love isometric top-down games. From that point it was like, “What do we want to feel in the game design?” One of the ideas [we had] was like, I would like the character to run inside a monster and kill them by just running because they are so strong. It would be nice to use the grid to be able to position the character and all that. By design, what we wanted to it feel and have in terms of positioning, it became a tactical [game]. But it’s not 100% tactical. It’s kind of a hybrid between action and tactical [gameplay]. You have only two characters, not like a lot of characters to control quickly. You don’t take five minutes to prepare [your turn] and just wait.
Adrian Stutz: It’s really about two characters working together. You control both of them. In a typical fighting game, that would be difficult.
ANN: Did the manga creators for the individual series have any input or special requests for the final game?
RW: Yes, but no. The game is ours. We wanted to create a game with their license. It’s really a collaboration between both [of us] and how to balance everything. We needed for visual purposes or for story purposes to ask the mangaka when we use the specific character. For example, if we use Loid Forger from , so we create one story [where] we learn how the character behaves, and we try to link it with our story. Once we wrote that, we send it to Shueisha, who will have a first look and correct stuff and ask us to make some correction because they know how to be careful with that. They don’t have a say on the game, but they have a say how we use the character in the game. But generally they were really open. I think they were happy to have their characters [in the game]. Even like, one guy, I think [Megasawara] from Slime Life […] was really happy and drew the character and all that. [Naoya Matsumoto] from didn’t ask for any corrections, almost. He said, “Oh, they really know my character well!” Some were more difficult. We had some difficulty, like, rewriting a whole story, but it was just for one [character] and it was okay. We [initially] were afraid that suddenly we would needed to rewrite everything. I was happy and surprised how open they actually were. Like, we redrew all the characters in our style and that was kind of new.
AS: It’s also mainly the Captain Velvet Meteor game, it takes place in his world. It crosses over into the manga series. It’s not the game. We had like, this freedom in writing our own world and then just the crossovers we needed to check with manga authors.
ANN: That’s interesting. If it started out as a Captain Velvet Meteor game, how did Shueisha become involved to start with? Because Captain Velvet Meteor is your own character, right?
RW: It’s not exactly that we wanted to create a Captain Velvet Meteor game. It’s more like we had a discussion with [Shuhei] Hosono-san [the editor-in-chief of ]. We had another game and we were listed among the top ten best indie games in Japan. We received a special prize from Shonen Jump for our game, from Hosono-san, and I started to talk with him. We wanted to do first a small project, but then I had some ideas and one of those ideas was a bigger game. I was in a meeting there in Tokyo and we talked about it and I said that those ideas were good, but personally, the idea I think is the best for both of us is this one. And that was Captain Velvet Meteor. Actually I had ideas with more [characters], but we needed to limit the scope of the game as well. Like eight characters from different manga being able to go in this world, because the other ideas were like, “Okay, we can do a game—only that.” Like the freedom of what we can do and all that was kind of complicated. [Hosono-san] told me he would like to open to other creators as well. For me it was like, “Yeah, I want to do my game, but I want to do my game with you.” I have an idea that is good for both [of us]. I would be really glad to use some characters because just Captain Velvet Meteor alone would be boring. It’s because he meets heroes that he likes in his imagination. It’s like, how you say, like “eikyo”?”
AS: It’s like “influence.”
RW: “Influence,” yeah, he has influence from imaginary manga characters. When I was young and I read and he’s like, “But I can do it!” I was taking an exam or whatever, I was like, “I can do it!”
ANN: Do you retain ownership of Captain Velvet Meteor or is there any chance that character could start appearing outside of the game?
RW: Yeah, okay, so that’s my dream as well. That’s my character. I still have it, it’s my license. I don’t know if you saw, but we had a 36 page manga by a mangaka, drawing it with me. I don’t know if you saw that.
ANN: Oh, I didn’t know that, but I’ll look it up after this.
RW: Yeah, it was the opposite for us. We used their manga and one mangaka drew our character to make a promotional story. I started by doing the storyboard. And so it was a collaboration. But at the end, that’s his manga. For me, it’s a first step to something that could be really interesting. It’s like having this character come back in manga and anime. But for now, it’s just a dream. Sometimes I kind of talk to them and say, “That would be cool, too.” Each time we can talk about it, I joke, “Oh yeah, and the Captain Velvet Meteor manga series, right?” But nothing official.
ANN: How did your team manage to balance Damien’s ordinary life with his fanciful daydreams as Captain Velvet Meteor?
RW: It was quite simple, I think, in the structure, because it’s just a game loop where each time you start an episode—we call that a chapter episode—it’s like one episode with one character. In one, you have a start, you have a boss and you have a finish. Instead of just starting the game and finishing the boss and going to the next one, you start in the real world in Damien’s house, have a transition to the first part, then you have the whole episode with the boss fight, and then you come back to reality. You have kind of a second game where you just walk around the house, interact with objects and understand who Damien is, what his family does and stuff like that. Another trigger and [then] you start a new episode. So it was kind of two games. You have kind of one little game where you’re in the house, the main game where you do battle with the other characters and you have the transition.
ANN: Are the bosses also taken from the manga or those unique characters?
RW: No, they’re unique characters linked with the problems Damien faces. For example, in the first episode, you have his dog, Damien’s dog, that is kind of aggressive. He just killed a bird because he’s kind of panicked because they just moved to Japan. The dog doesn’t even recognize Damien. In the head of Damien, it’s a Kaiju. You have the kaiju dog called Dogzilla. And for that you have . You have Hibino Kafka helping [Captain Velvet Meteor] fight him and at the end it’s the fight of the fear [of his dog] and then it finished. Like he’s hugging his dog and comes back to reality. That was 1 second in reality. The [amount of time the] battle took depends on the player. Maybe 1 hour. That’s why we didn’t take so much stuff from the manga as well. We tried to keep it to a minimum, and keep it real. If we take too much stuff it would be difficult to balance. Some fans would not like it or like the mangaka would maybe not like it.
AS: Maybe to clarify it’s like every character that Captain collaborates with is tied to one challenge in the real world. For us, each chapter, as you said, with and the dog. You can play this in one go or you can also start different challenges and then jump between them. But you need to complete the chapter to really solve the problem in the real world and continue.
ANN: That kind of brings me to my next question, which was Captain Velvet Meteor touches on very down-to-Earth themes like loneliness and fear of new people. I was wondering if there’s any specific inspiration behind those themes in the game?
RW: Yeah, for example, I moved in 2013 to Japan to work there. I left all my friends, family, everything. That was my choice, that was the difference [compared to the game’s story]. With only two suitcases, I started my new life. You have a lot of stuff happening, right? It’s not a new country, it’s a new planet. It’s different. I have kids, so I’m thinking about the future, if we move, what kind of feeling you can have. It’s all a lot of stuff mixed together. Modern stories are more like emotion that people can have in certain situations. Yes, some difficulty you could have in that kind of situation. How a kid can have like stuff that we think is small, but that can be big, really. Like my son is four now and I see already how small stuff can be really like traumatic if you don’t hear him at that moment when it was so important but something you think is not important. That’s probably the thing when you are ten. Generally parents or other people think you are big enough to do stuff or you are big enough now. I think you are never big enough, even now. If you move for the first time in Japan, for example, and you never move from your country, even at, let’s say, 40, you will have trauma.
ANN: Did you have any concerns then, that including characters would distract from the emotional themes of the story, or do you feel that they mesh pretty well?
RW: Four of them Hosono-san said it would be necessary to include them. That’s simply like , and Hell’s Paradise because they have animation and they are quite well known. For those, we were searching how to put them in, but it was quite simple. Like, for Hell’s Paradise, it was a fear of death. For it was the father image, Damien thinks that his father is kind of evil. , we needed to search more, but we found something. For the four other, it was kind of the opposite way. It was like, “Okay, we have this kind of stuff. We want to talk about what kind of manga could link with that,” and, for example, for Princess, from ‘, it’s food based and comical manga. She’s not fighting in the manga, she’s talking about when she was fighting. We needed to ask, “Can we use the her from before the manga began?” That kind of stuff, we needed to link everything and find the right manga that could include battle but also match the different challenge we wanted to give to Damien. We had more listed, but then at the end, those were fear of the dark, ghosts.
AS: I wasn’t really involved in the initial pitch. But for me, what really drew me about the project was the contrast of those battles, typical shonen battles with lots of action and are pretty bombastic. You contrast it with the real world of Damien and that’s really where it’s interesting for me. Where those who come together and how the battles can help them to overcome those challenges in the real world.
ANN: Do you see this game as one where you’ll be able to maybe add more levels, so to speak, to it as you go on and include more characters as you go? Are there any characters that you weren’t able to add the first time around that you would like to add later assuming everyone agrees to it?
RW: Oh, yes. It was not that were not able to do, but first the had the whole family, I mean, without the dog [Bond], because it was not here at the point we started, but at first it was that. In terms of a lot of discussion about that, it was better to keep only Loid first. For now we are waiting depending on the sales, how the game goes, and all that. I think generally speaking, in terms of just the idea of DLC like that is really in the mind of everyone. In terms of ideas, it’s not that we couldn’t put them in. Like for example, Yor and Anya, we had some ideas, but then it would be in the same episode with Loid. Right now it’s separated. That means if one DLC comes and we can still use them, we have some new ideas about just using maybe Yor. At the point where we started, we didn’t have a lot of characters that were for example, a lot of people like …
ANN: I was going to bring up …
RW: At the same time I was like, “It’s a ten-year-old boy, does he read ? Should he?” Yeah, maybe, probably not. The thing is, if we need to integrate that inside, it would be something like a trauma of the manga itself. For me, it was complicated to go with that. That’s cool, it’s a cool manga, sure, but it’s a 10-year-old boy, I will not make my 10-year-old read that. Same for . It would be something I would pick up if we have a DLC one day. We need to find something that is clever enough to not just have a redundant fear for the story part because everything is important. You can have a lot of battles and we have different ways to do that kind of stuff. You need to have really a consistency between everything: reality, the [conflict in the real world], the manga [conflict] the boss and then how you solve it. All that needs to be one line.
ANN: Do you have any final parting words for our readers to get them to try out Captain Velvet Meteor?
RW: I would say that the stories of the character they will see is the same character that they love, but in a little original story where they are picked up out of their world and they would need to interact with a 10-year-old superhero. I think we did a good job also. With Shueisha, they also wrote the stories with us. I think it’s really funny and it’s really engaging and sometimes profound. Even without knowing the character, I think it’s funny. Like, I had one of the testers who didn’t know the manga and he said this episode was so funny. And so that’s cool. But if you know the characters, maybe you will understand more. Just for that, I think it could be interesting.
AS: I wonder if it can be misunderstood if you see that it’s a tactical game, you think it’s really complicated and you’ll need to think a lot, but it’s not the case. It’s really an action tactical game where you don’t really see how much damage you do, how much health everyone has. It’s really more about moving forward and doing the big attacks and solving the levels with slight puzzles. It’s not really a game where you need to think a lot.”
RW: It’s really action, more like action puzzle, because you have some puzzle parts as well. We needed to find a way to describe the game because you have also a strategic tactical part, and it’s more action tactical than puzzle, because then the puzzle people will say, “Yeah, but it’s too much action, blah, blah, blah.” You know, it’s kind of new. I don’t know, but it’s kind of original gameplay that is easy to play.
Let’s wrap up with some quick tidbits:
And that’s about all I’ve got for you guys this week. Look forward to my Captain Velvet Meteor review, I ought to have it up next week. Lots of love to the folks at Shueisha for letting us interview Rinaldo and Adrian, their insight was amazing to share. I hope you guys enjoyed it! Also, apologies for my headers not being very funny; I try to inject wit into them, but it’s hard to do that without resorting to just spouting the same old memes over and over and you guys deserve better than that. But I ask you: what, if anything, are you guys looking forward to from Gamescom 2022? Are you guys gonna be picking up on some other platform? And hey, what is it that you guys are excited about? I’m always down to try out new games you guys bring to my attention. Have a good weekend, and be good to each other. I’ll see you in seven.
This Week In Games! is written from idyllic Portland by Jean-Karlo Lemus. When not collaborating with AnimeNewsNetwork, Jean-Karlo can be found playing JRPGs, eating popcorn, watching v-tubers and tokusatsu, and trying as hard as he can to be as inconspicuous as possible on his twitter @mouse_inhouse.