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Chroma Squad photo
Chroma Squad

Let's Chromatize: Chroma Squad heads to home consoles next year


It's time for some colorful explosions
Sep 02
// Salvador G Rodiles
It may have taken a while, but the gang at Behold Studios are now closer to helping Chroma Squad achieve its new form on the home consoles. Thanks to the help of Bandai Namco, the game will morph its way to the PS4, Xbox...
Final Fantasy XV photo
Final Fantasy XV

Despair: Final Fantasy XV delayed to late Fall


A special message from the director
Aug 15
// Josh Tolentino
One of the most remarkable things about Final Fantasy XV's development isn't its epic length, but how open the process has been over the last couple of years. Since the reins were handed over to director Hajime Tabata (who ha...
Code: HARDCORE photo
Code: HARDCORE

Feast your eyes on Code: HARDCORE's sweet robot sprite animations


Giant chest beams included
Jun 22
// Salvador G Rodiles
For a good while, I've been waiting for the day that someone would create an indie mecha title that was inspired by the Super Robot Wars series. While this day hasn't arrived, the Chinese Indie Game Development Team known as...
Overwatch photo
Overwatch

Go full weeaboo with Overwatch's anime intros


Go further down this rabbit hole
Jun 13
// Josh Tolentino
Overwatch. It's all anyone can seem to talk about when it comes to hot new games, and with good reason: Blizzard's team shooter is kind of rad, and appeals to a lot of folks. Part of the reason for that is its deep bench...

Review: One Piece Burning Blood

Jun 07 // Christian Chiok
[embed]35078:5681:0[/embed] One Piece Burning Blood (PS4 (reviewed), PC, PS Vita & Xbox One)Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: Bandai Namco EntertainmentReleased: April 21, 2016 (JP), May 31, 2016 (NA), June 3, 2016 (EU)MSRP:$59.99 (PS4, PC & Xbox One), $39.99 (PS Vita) When playing Anime fighting games, unless it’s Dragon Ball Z in which I already experienced the story mode so many times, I generally like playing through long hours of story mode. In One Piece Burning Blood, you’ll only play through the Marineford arc from four different perspectives — Luffy’s, Whitebeard’s, Akainu’s and Ace’s. It gave few hours of entertainment, especially since the cutscenes were great looking. I still think we could have gotten more than that, though. Aside from Story Mode, there’s also the Wanted Mode which allows players to hone their skills while taking on a series of wanted posters, earning yourself in-game currency which can be used to buy the remaining of the locked characters. The higher the bounty, the higher the reward you will get. While the mode is generally fun, the serious spikes of difficulty can be off putting. This was also an issue with Story Mode during the end. However after beating a difficulty fight, it definitely feels satisfying and you come out a better player. Like a good anime fighting game should, the game offers a Free Battle mode allowing players to fight against the computer or a friend. There’s also a Training Mode, giving the player various options like Opponent’s action as well as gauge levels. One of my favorite features is that the game lets you choose nine playable characters and three support characters. The only catch is that the game divides it into three teams (3 vs. 3), so once you lose the first round with the first set of three characters, then you’ll be allowed to use the second set of characters. You can also just do 1 vs. 1 battles. You will also be able to take the battle online, allowing you to play the usual Ranked and Player match types. From experience, the network is pretty solid so you’ll be able to play the game flawlessly with friends, the way it’s meant to be played. Although the story mode only covers the Marineford arc, most characters shown in recent arcs as well as popular characters from old arcs appear in the game, totaling over 40 playable characters and 65 support characters. My gripe with the support characters is that a lot of them should have been playable like Rob Lucci or Arlong. In top of that, support characters don’t appear on increase but give you battle effects such as restoring part of your HP or making your attacks a little stronger. In comparison with J-Stars Victory Versus, Spike Chunsoft’s previous anime fighter, I feel like this game is a lot better in terms of gameplay. The square and Triangle buttons are your main basic attacks which can also be used to create combos or even stronger attacks.  There are more in-depth features such as ranged attacks, special moves, guard-breaks, tag moves called Unity Assists and Breaks, and the powerful Awakened state, allowing you to perform your special attack as well. After three One Piece games with only the Original Japanese track, by now it shouldn’t be a surprised that Burning Blood only includes the original Japanese voices. Even with the Naruto English dub (the other languages too) not being caught up with the game, they were still able to get the game fully dubbed. While it’s really a shame, I think it’s something minor and shouldn’t dictate if you should skip the game. With the power of current gen consoles and PC, this game manages to be the most beautiful One Piece game up to date featuring cinematic cutscenes and amazing in-game graphics. My only gripe with the game is that it runs at 30 frames per second, with the upcoming PC version running at 30 fps as well. While the game still runs well at that frame rate, 60 frames per second could have definitely been better. If you’re like me who’s been wishing their One Piece fighting game fix for a while, Burning Blood definitely meets the criteria. While it lacks some essential playable characters, the game still offers a variety of good characters, both who are present in recent arts as well as popular ones.  
One Piece Burning Blood photo
Fighting To Be The Pirate King
Ever since the consistent video game releases of the Ultimate Ninja Storm series by CyberConnect2, the 3D Anime fighting game based on the popular Shonen Jump series Naruto, One Piece fans have been wishing that the series wo...

Review: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

Feb 28 // Josh Tolentino
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Cyber Connect 2Publisher: Bandai NamcoReleased: February 4, 2016 (JP), February 5, 2016 (EU), February 9, 2016 (NA/SA)MSRP: $59.99 Indeed, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is purportedly the last of the series, despite this particular installment being the first of its kind that Cyber Connect 2 have brought to this generation of consoles, complete with jazzed-up visuals and just the right place in the Naruto storyline to take advantage of some high-octane ninja magic.  And there is a lot of ninja magic in this one. With the characters at the height of their power and the stakes almost literally apocalyptic, there's no holding back on a grand series of massive, world-shaking battles. That's what the whole single-player mode really is, come to think of it. With the previous numbered installment covering the minor and major skirmishes of the Fourth Ninja World War, the entirety of the story is spent almost exclusively following the original members of Team 7 - Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, and Kakashi -  as they take their final steps and confront the last three villains of the saga. I'll decline to name them here on the off chance that there's a reader out there whose primary source of information about Naruto is these games, but suffice it to say that the matchups are suitably grand in scale and significance. The game makes few allowances for people new to Naruto, but the story is simple enough to follow even without in-depth familiarity, and Naruto fans will find that the visuals and action lend a spectacular, explosive edge to a manga finale that practically slogged at the end.  [embed]34755:5449:0[/embed] With the narrative being as condensed as it is to the principal cast, one might be forgiven for thinking that Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 would have a shallower bench than usual, but the opposite is true. Dozens of characters across the entire series' timeline are present and playable. Young or old, dead or alive, if one was a ninja in Naruto, one is on this game's roster. Of course, a large cast has always been a selling point for the series, so that's hardly surprising at this point. Perhaps more damning is the fact that many of the fighters available are, but for a different costume and a high-resolution touch-up, almost identical to their incarnations from previous titles. Though that does dull the value proposition somewhat for longtime players, in this case it's better to have too many options for play than too few. Both concerning and comforting is how similarly the game plays to almost every other edition of the franchise. The controls haven't changed - most characters control similarly, and differ mainly in their selection of combos and available powers - and minor adjustments to balancing won't really resonate outside the minority of players that take the combat and competitive aspect of the game seriously. That said, folks into either aspect of Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's combat are well-taken care of. Online play comes with a number of desirable options for customization, stat-tracking, and organizing tournament and ranked play. The online experience is quite connection-dependent, though, so one shouldn't expect matchups from faraway lands to play especially well. The real party piece is the new ability for players to swap between any member of their chosen team during a match, almost at will. Whereas in previous games players would select a character and two supports to be called at the tap of a shoulder button, a flick of the right stick can switch out characters to extend a combo, escape a bad situation, or even move over to a more suitable moveset. In adding this new feature, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 evokes shades of Marvel vs. Capcom, a similarly frantic fighter, and one whose vision of team-based play fits well with the coordination and combination techniques so common in the manga. In the end, the game doesn't stray too far from formula, trading the risk of the overly familiar to refine and emphasize the aspects that made the game so notable in the first place: A massive roster, eye-popping visuals, and an obvious love for all things Naruto. That doesn't make for a huge amount of novelty, but thankfully, endings aren't about the new, but about remembering all that came before. In that, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is a good way to go out.   Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Cyber Connect 2Publisher: Bandai NamcoReleased: February 9, 2016MSRP: $49.99
Naruto Storm 4 Review photo
Ninja War Never Changes
Endings are hard. Whether you're putting the finishing touches on a blog post or finding a way to wrap up a decade-and-a-half-long epic, concluding almost any affair in a way that satisfies all involved is a challenge. That's...

Kingdom Hearts III photo
Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts III and HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue Trailer at Jump Fiesta


There's a traitor somewhere
Dec 20
// Anthony Redgrave
Over the past weekend anime, gaming and manga fans have been attending Jump Fiesta in Tokyo. One of the new trailers released over the weekend was for the upcoming games Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue and the l...

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's demo goes big and sparkly

Dec 05 // Josh Tolentino
[embed]34555:5235:0[/embed] The demo itself is fairly lightweight, at under a gigabyte, and contains nothing more than the cold open and title card for the main game. But what a title card it is! Things kick off immediately, flashing back to the epic battle between Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju, the progenitors of Naruto's ninja world. History is in the making for fans, as this is the fight that ultimately created the Valley of the End, the massive hole in the ground that serves as a place of dramatic import for many key moments in the series proper.  Madara and Hashirama duke it out with Wood-style jutsu, massive weapons, and huge creatures like the Nine-Tailed Fox and Hashirama's tree giant grappling in the background. For better or worse, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 looks to be almost unchanged mechanically from previous games. The controls are simple, with buttons for melee and ranged attacks, as well as ones for channeling Chakra magic and dashing around. The Chakra serves as a modifier, supercharging the next action when pressed, turning a regular dash into a chakra dash, and turning a standard attack into a special. So far, so Storm.  The main differences between this year's release and the last are largely presentational. CyberConnect2 largely maintains the games' style of cell-shaded polygons, and if not for the likes Guilty Gear Xrd, this would easily be the best-looking "anime-style" game on the market.  That said, where Arc System Works maintain their lead in detail, the Naruto title wins out on sheer scale. The aliasing present on the polygons is much less pronounced, and the most noticeable addition are veritable founts of glowing particle effects. Dust clouds, debris sprays, and novel takes on fire, both actual and magical, spice up the game's look. It's so intense that framerate issues sometimes crop up in the most intense scenes, such as when Madara fills the screen with burning triple-tornado. The game also doesn't skimp on the Quick-Time Events. Though a hoary old design contrivance at this point, CyberConnect2 has at least mastered the form, using the button prompts in a way that engages with the onscreen insanity, and promising rewards for players with impeccable timing. One can only hope that the team decides to get all meta with the user interface, like they did in Asura's Wrath way back when.  From the looks of things, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 will be off to a promising, if perhaps too-familiar start. Fans of Naruto and of the games themselves can look forward to a game that covers the thrilling conclusion of the Naruto story, while everyone else can expect a good dose of over-the-top anime spectacle. And with luck, CyberConnect2 will have something just as insane, and perhaps more ambitious, planned for the engine they've created here. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 will be released on February 9th for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. [embed]34555:5236:0[/embed]
Naruto Storm 4 photo
Talk to the Thousands Of Hands
Naruto may have ended more than a year ago, but nothing keeps a good franchise down. Between the lagging anime series, books, more manga, and several feature films, Masashi Kishimoto's world of superpowered ninja is far ...

Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

Metal Gear Solid V opens the race to total nuclear disarmament


Consoles in the lead to Peace
Nov 29
// Josh Tolentino
Metal Gear's never been shy about having an anti-nuclear message (despite arguably glorifying most other types of military violence), but for the most part, the series has put making the world a nuke-free place out of the han...
Final Fantasy XV photo
Final Fantasy XV

Go on a Sunday drive with Final Fantasy XV


But what's on the radio?
Sep 01
// Josh Tolentino
Based on what we've seen so far, the most interesting parts of Final Fantasy XV  are looking less like "epic adventure" and more like "awesome road trip". And I'm totally down with that notion. Riding in a car with...
Kingdom Hearts III photo
Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts III goes peak Disney, includes Big Hero 6 world


Inflatable Keyblade to follow?
Aug 16
// Josh Tolentino
Let's face it: Kingdom Hearts III has been in development for so long that it's practically associated with a now bygone period of Japanese game development, dominated by the dread spectre of Square Enix at the height of...
Naruto: Ninja Storm 4 photo
Naruto: Ninja Storm 4

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 summons the flashy ninja techniques


Gameplay no Jutsu!
Jun 17
// Salvador G Rodiles
I may have dropped Naruto back in my early college years, but to this day, I still enjoy the gameplay and ridiculous animations of the series' fighting games by CyberConnect2. Speaking of which, the folks at Bandai Namc...
Shenmue III photo
Shenmue III

Quick Fund Event: Yu Suzuki's Shenmue III kickstarter already funded


I'm looking for some backers
Jun 16
// Josh Tolentino
E3 usually isn't the biggest thing to look forward to for fans of Japanese games, but there are always exceptions. This year is one of those exceptions, and Nintendo hasn't even begun its broadcast yet! Everyone brought some ...
Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

This is Metal Gear Solid V's big trailer, and its thesis


And a lot of talking
Jun 15
// Josh Tolentino
No matter what you might think of Hideo Kojima and the series that made his name, there's no doubting that each one is something of an event, and it looks like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain won't be an exception ...

Review: Bladestorm: Nightmare

Mar 17 // Josh Tolentino
Bladestorm: Nightmare (Xbox One, PS4, PC, PS3 [reviewed])Developer: Omega ForcePublisher: Koei TecmoReleased: March 17, 2015MSRP: $59.99 (PS4/Xbox One), $49.99 (PS3) [Note: This review was originally posted on Destructoid. Screenshots used in this review are taken from the PS4 version of the game.] As an aside: this game, based on 2007's Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War, is one of the weirdest choices anyone could've made when deciding on which games to add to the growing number of "remastered" titles popping up on current-generation consoles and PC. Despite initially generating excitement among the Dynasty Warriors-loving crowd as a long-desired European-themed entry to the franchise, the original game came and went without much comment. That was thanks to its odd-duck design, which even led Jim Sterling, a much bigger Warriors fan than yours truly, to call it a real-time strategy game in his review. I'm not quite as inclined towards that drastic recategorization, but ol' Jim does have a point: Bladestorm is, for good or ill, of a more thoughtful mind than most of Omega Force's  offerings. Indeed, whereas typical Warriors games take history's leaders and convert them into armies unto themselves, Bladestorm takes the player and molds him (or her) into a leader of their own squad of troops. If Dynasty Warriors is about being a human Cuisinart,Bladestorm attempts a wartime version of Katamari Damacy. More on that in a bit. [embed]33644:4594:0[/embed] Bladestorm: Nightmare comes with two main modes. "The Hundred Years' War" mode is essentially identical to the original 2007 release, aside from graphical/mechanical tweaks, and drops player-created mercenaries -- or "merthenaries" to hear the comically bad European-accented voice-acting say it -- on the battlefields of medieval France. There players can work for the French or English factions, supporting one or the other as pay and scruples dictate. They'll interact with luminaries of the era like Edward, the Black Prince, Philippe the Good, and Gilles de Rais, and participate in key engagements like the Battle of Crécy and the Siege of Calais.   The second mode, "Nightmare," is a more linear, scripted campaign set when a monster invasion interrupts the Hundred Years' War, forcing France, England, and the merthenaries they employ to ally against hordes of hellbeasts commanded by none other than Joan of Arc herself. Interestingly, though Nightmare mode is clearly designed to be played after finishing off The Hundred Years' war, players can switch between the two freely, with progression data like levels, money, equipped gear, and distributed skill points carrying over with virtually no restriction.  Graphically, Bladestorm works best on newer hardware. Aside from the added special effects and improved draw distance and environments, the frame-rate drops that I experienced on the PS3 are absent on the PS4 version. Additionally, the Nightmare campaign on PS3 is prone to drastic loss of frames as well, likely due to the much larger squad sizes and the hordes of monsters.  Both modes essentially boil down to an expansive form of territory control. Each of the battlefields is divided into numerous forts, towns, and castles defended by allied or enemy troops. Most missions ("contracts" in merthenary lingo), particularly in the more open-ended base campaign, will task players with conquering one or more settlements by killing off their defenders and beating their commanding officer. The bigger the settlement, the tougher the commanders, and some particularly large castles are basically defended by mini-boss enemies with distinct attack patterns. In Nightmare mode, those defenders can even include dragons, cyclopes, or grim reapers. Doing the killing involves taking command of a squad of troops. Though broken down roughly by weapon type, each soldier type is unique, with strengths, weaknesses, and a set of special attacks mapped to the face buttons. Players can pick up or drop squads they find in the field, or summon reinforcements directly. New to Bladestorm: Nightmare is the ability to create multiple squad leaders, commanding them separately via the battle map or attaching them to a personal unit as a bodyguard, ultimately allowing for up to 200 troops to move and act as a single unit, rolling everyone in the way (hence the Katamari analogy). This type of of structure provides Bladestorm with the same kind of dynamic as the typically more action-oriented Warriors games. Like in those titles, players in this game are often "fire-fighting," moving as quickly as possible between crisis zones, keeping scores and rewards up by plowing through everything along the way. Though ultimately shallow, Bladestorm's battle mechanics do lend the game an impressive sense of scale, particularly when playing as a cavalry leader. I must have done it hundreds of times in my hours with the game, but it never gets old to trigger a charge and flatten dozens of enemies under the hooves and lances of your soldiers. It also never gets old to watch horses slide across the ground like they are hovercrafts, a testament to how rough-hewn the game can be at times. Balance issues are also a concern, as properly leveled cavalry units basically trivialize the whole game except at the highest difficulty levels. I'd actually be more mad that cavalry are so overpowered if they weren't already the most fun class to play, but that's neither here nor there. Bladestorm: Nightmare isn't a Dynasty Warriors game, but it doesn't aim to be, and still ends up being good time when taken on its own merits. In fact, it's a little ironic that its unusual qualities doomed the original release commercially, but help this new release feel much more fresh and engaging than even the latest "core" franchise entries. [This review is based on a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.] 7 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
Bladestorm Review photo
Merthenary Lyfe
Bladestorm: Nightmare is not a Dynasty Warriors game. That bit of information might be good or bad news, depending which side of the fence one falls on with regard to Tecmo Koei's long-running brawler series. A...

Naruto Storm 4 photo
Naruto Storm 4

Is Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 the last of the series?


Clear skies at last?
Feb 04
// Josh Tolentino
I mean, sure, this new, lengthy video from Bandai Namco showing off in-development gameplay from the latest entry in the Ultimate Ninja Storm franchise has other things to gawp at, like hot particle effects and ridiculo...
Tekken 7 photo
Tekken 7

Meet Shaheen, Tekken's first Saudi character


Say "Salam!"
Jan 06
// Josh Tolentino
Bandai Namco are revving up the hype machine for Tekken 7, and with their latest character reveal, we finally get our first glimpse at what came of that call for feedback Chief Developer Katsuhiro Harada made in August. ...
Naruto: UNS4 photo
Naruto: UNS4

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's first trailer gets straight to the end


More particles, more ninjas, more QTE madness
Dec 22
// Josh Tolentino
The Valley of the End, that is, which, if you're unfamiliar with Naruto history, is a big ol' waterfall created by the final battle between ninja historical figures Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju. The location f...
Final Fantasy XV photo
Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV's really looking nuts


Towns, toys, and trippy clothing
Dec 20
// Josh Tolentino
OK, Square Enix, you've got me. Despite my best attempts to remain thin-lipped and cynical about the prospects of Final Fantasy XV, the latest trailer you lot put out at Jump Festa yesterday has officially gotten me hype. Fo...
Final Fantasy XV photo
Final Fantasy XV

This is what Final Fantasy XV sounds like in English


And they sound pretty!
Dec 15
// Josh Tolentino
And here it is, the dub of the long-overdue Final Fantasy XV, aka Riding In Cars With Boys 2. It's a good sign that Square Enix seems to be putting out information about this perennially delayed game on the regular now, afte...
Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 photo
Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 takes it to the next-gen


Well, finally!
Dec 15
// Josh Tolentino
Japan isn't very well-known for the phenomenon of annualized franchises, at least not at the level of top-tier triple-A productions like Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed. There are exceptions to that rule, of course, and...
Tekken 7 photo
Tekken 7

Tekken 7's producer is NOT happy about what you think of his idol


Great job, internet!
Dec 10
// Josh Tolentino
Another day, another teacup-sized tempest. Today's videogame drama is brought to you by Tekken 7, which began its spate of character reveals by leading with a new girl named Lucky Chloe, a blonde, twin-tailed breakdance-figh...
Oneechanbara Z2 photo
Oneechanbara Z2

TGS 2014: Oneechanbara wins the TGS booth wars


Quite roomy!
Sep 18
// Josh Tolentino
[Update: A bonus piece of fan art from an animator at Lab Zero games, makers of Skullgirls. - Thanks, 2-D!] D3 Publisher are promoting their new game, Oneechanbara Z2: Chaos, and for that they built a booth at the Tokyo Game ...
Final Fantasy XV photo
Final Fantasy XV

TGS 2014: So this is Final Fantasy XV


Is your body ready?
Sep 17
// Josh Tolentino
Well, it took 'em long enough - the better part of a decade - but it looks like ordinary players might actually see Final Fantasy XV in playable form before the heat death of the universe. And it might even be fun, judg...
Tekken 7 photo
Tekken 7

Please tell Harada about Arabs so Tekken 7 gets better


Pretty please?
Aug 11
// Josh Tolentino
When it comes to character design, fighting games aren't usually known for nuance or sensitivity. For most creators it's generally more important to have a distinct, stylish character than one that's entirely sensitive to wha...
Tekken 7 photo
Tekken 7

Tekken 7 announced with teaser trailer


King of fighting tournaments returns
Jul 13
// Josh Totman
During this year's EVO fighting tournament, Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada revealed that the latest installment in the Tekken series is in development at Bandai Namco.  The teaser trailer doesn't show any gameplay and...
Final Fantasy Agito photo
Final Fantasy Agito

E3 2014: Final Fantasy Agito gets a trailer, Type-0 going HD


Your dreams answered
Jun 10
// Josh Tolentino
Wow, the last few hours just became pretty good ones for Final Fantasy fans. Square Enix may not have brought Final Fantasy XV to E3 this year, but they just blew some minds all the same by announcing that in addition t...
XBOne photo
XBOne

Can you use the new Kinect in a Tokyo apartment?


Does size really matter?
Dec 10
// Hiroko Yamamura
The hilarious team over at RocketNews24 were on a mission. The last version of Microsoft's Kinect system for the XBox 360 was a very cool idea. It had one huge problem, it needed a lot of room and light to work. Both things ...
Xbox One Kinect photo
Xbox One Kinect

Xbox One might now be better for Japanese living rooms


So says a leaked manual scan
Oct 27
// Josh Tolentino
Hey, remember Kinect for Xbox 360? Microsoft's big camera and motion-control gimmick was interesting - moreso than the PlayStation Move at any rate - but sadly it stopped short of being a genuine revolution. There are a numbe...

Editorial: When erotic designs, cosplay and figures meet

Sep 05 // Jeff Chuang
It's easy to hand-wave the whole thing as a statement of the obvious: sex sells. It's equally easy to write a pull-quote and say the next MGS game will be more sexy. I think the wording from Kojima's tweets can be better, certainly, but the idea feels as if it could be kind of offensive. Why does it feel this way, when in reality a large number of us enjoy and surround ourselves with media that are create in a similar way? The truth is a little more complicated than that character designers will make sexy or erotic characters in order to get people to desire or otherwise express themselves through interacting with the intellectual property in question. It might be a video game character here, but it applies to film, anime, and even prose and trading card games. It might affect how we cosplay; what kind of outfits we see at cons, or even what kind of public service announcements regarding dealing with creepers at cons. It might be a part of gamer culture or the way a community views its members or their representation in the games they play. But that's the thing--it might. There's no clear relationship between sexy characters and every implication as a result of their popularity, other than popularity itself. Sexy doesn't even always sell. The icky feeling feels skirts a little puritanical and ungenuine.  As I woke up this morning and went through my morning routine, I spotted the latest post from Good Smile Company's Kahotan, featuring the Good Smile Racing girls in their latest costume, inspired by a combination of stereotypical race queen attire and Hatsune Miku. It might be a nice thing to wake up to, but it reminded me of what Kojima was talking about. I thought this image spoke exactly what Kojima is talking about, in even fewer words. Here we have a very big brand in Hatsune Miku, who really isn't related to all this besides that Good Smile Company typically creates a more sexually-charged version of her figurine each year, under the "Racing Miku" label. And Miku isn't some sex bomb, although her sexuality tend to reflect that of her largest audiences, made up of teens and young adults of both genders. That crowd is not very different than what you'll see at a large anime convention; Miku herself isn't so different than your average pop idol. At the same time, by spinning off a sexy version of Miku and turning that into race queen costumes and pre-orderable plastic, it's a good business that will appeal to a segment of Miku fans that GSC serves. This is one of the implicit understanding behind the whole proposition; by creating one sexy Miku it doesn't change the big picture besides that it will appeal to some people, and GSC can profit from it. So what's wrong with this picture again? It's a similar deal with Metal Gear Solid. The sprawling video game franchise has fans all over the world, and it appeals to people of all walks of life, for all kinds of different reasons. It seems counterintuitive that the fact there is at least one sexy female character in one MGS game can really fundamentally change anything that many of us enjoy MGS for: the presentation, story and gameplay, for starters. Maybe the "confession" that in recent years Kojima has been dishing up the erotic styles more so than before could mean something, if people thought Metal Gear Solid was a game that shied away from everything that is sexual. And for that, would we not rather judge by the game itself rather than what Kojima has said? What's probably more puzzling is why Kojima wants to see people cosplaying Quiet. I suppose as a creator it's great to see fans cosplaying your work, but that seems more like a challenge and a tease issued from Kojima rather than a statement about the state of video game characters and how they are designed. For more discussion, also check out the Tomopop reaction piece! [Image credit]
Cosplay v. Characters photo
Kojima points out the obvious, so what's next?
You might have noticed some people talking about the description of how Hideo Kojima and his team create the next Metal Gear Solid project. Specifically, Kojima tweeted how one of his characters are designed. The reaction see...


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