Monday, April 30, 2012

Annoying Games Journalism, Brought to You by Siliconera

I don't really like to slam news sites on the way they do things (even though I can't say I haven't done this in the past), but sometimes there is just a line and I get bothered when people cross it or, sometimes, just skirt it for one reason or another.  This is what just happened over the course of this past weekend with Siliconera and if you frequently visit the site, you've probably already been exposed to it.  It's kind of a big thing over there for a myriad of reasons, though most of them have to do with readers being disappointed.  Obviously, I'm one of those people since I'm taking the time to actually write about it when there are quite honestly bigger things, for me at least not in the broad spectrum afoot (God of War: Ascension talk, how my Persona 3 Portable game is going (Like I said, for me), etc.), but I like to think that my annoyance is steeped in rationality where I can agree that the annoyance (and verbosity of) some are not.

The reasoning is pretty simple and it's all about the handling of the information that Siliconera has.  Yesterday (barely, it was posted at midnight), Siliconera had a post go up with the title "Siliconera Will Reveal A Square Enix Title on Monday", which is, uh, pretty direct.  The body of the article leaves even less room for speculation (as to the status of the title, at least) as well.  (Ignore the obviously editted-in-today part at the bottom)

We have a treat for Siliconera readers this week with news about an unannounced Square Enix game. I can’t say anymore for the moment other than this will be a Siliconera exclusive and the game will surprise you.

News on an unannounced game.  I don't feel I really have to take this single sentence apart and explain where the confusion comes from, but I'm gonna, since apparently there was confusion and there is also confusion as to how there was confusion.  Confusingly.  An unannounced game, in 98.7354% cases (Which might be a percentage I just made up) means a game that is yet to be announced, as in a game with a definite future, wherein there is a logical announcement window that comes before the pre-release or hype window that comes before release window that comes before post-release support.  This is the implication because this is how the word is used.  This is how words are used.  You don't always have to say everything and in fact, sometimes things are better when you don't.  But when using words, there is an unsaid agreement between you and the person or people you are speaking to that you understand how words work.

Now, is it true that "Unannounced" can also stand for a game that was never announced because it died (or, ahem, 'is in limbo') in development?  Yes.  If you're being literal, that is also a way you can use the word because technically it means that.  This, as you can imagine, is where the problem comes in, and there's even precedent for this exact thing, which I will get into in a moment.  Basically to come right out and say it, this "Unannounced" title from Square Enix is, indeed, unannounced, because it is a game that was being worked on by (the now defunct) Cavia, and was planned to be shown off at 2011's E3.  As in the E3 that came and went almost exactly one year ago, wherein this period of a year, the game has not been announced.  The game is called (hell, just codenamed still) "Catacombs".  But, I'll get to that in a moment.  (I know, I know I just said that about something else, I'm getting to that now)

Now, like I said, there is a very clear precedent that's been set here in the past with the way you handle a project that is cancelled, most likely going to be cancelled, or is cancelled but might be revived because hell why not.  In fact, there is a very clear precedent to all of these with Square Enix games themselves which is absolutely all the more baffling that I have to even write this post.  When "Fortress", the Grin Studios project, was cancelled it was, well, cancelled and then news sites were like "Well, this was in development, here's some screenshots and art and such, coulda been cool".  It is still most likely dead in the water.  I don't even know what the hell "Project Dropship" is, but it was another cancelled title that was, well, cancelled and presented as a cancelled project.  And Gun Loco was announced, cancelled and presented as a cancelled project after being cancelled.  Cancelled.  (Because I certainly didn't say that enough)

So maybe, maybe people are a little annoyed with people who present a project that is most likely cancelled as an unannounced title, given the past and the circumstances thereof.  As I said, there is an implication and you can be as coy as you want about it, but the truth of it is is that you just can't do that.  I don't really blame them, however as I don't think it was done 'maliciously' or in an attempt to drum up hits (though it's likely done that), but simply was an example of poor judgement which, as always, should be pointed out sometimes.  The worst part about the whole situation, however? "Catacombs" actually looks pretty interesting.  Cavia is dead, though, has been dead and will continue to be dead.  The last time we had a game that was finished by Squeenix after the creativity left, we got FFXII.  Yeah, -that- ended well.

Maybe I'll fix this up with some actual Catacombs info or do up a post about it individually, but for now, I'm tired of finishing this post on my Vita.  On the plus side, however, -look how dedicated I am to this-.  Also modest.  Screw it, we're doin' this -live-.  (Because the storms have passed and I don't have to do this on the Vita.)

So, as I said, "Catacombs" looks pretty interesting, actually, since it does what Cavia, well, does and just throws a whole bunch of stuff together that somehow just friggin' works.  Reading the little bit of information Siliconera had to offer at this point in time, it seems like it's an FPS, RPG, Action and Roguelike title all in one.  Every floor of the tombs or the underbelly of the museum seems to be randomly generated (save for a few, I imagine), hence the roguelike, the RPG elements come in through the spells which are cast from rings that are found scattered here and there (possibly a level-up system as well beyond the one the weapons get) and the rest is pretty self-explanatory.  Because it's just weird and mish-mashy and pure insanity, I have some faith that it would actually just work (provided Cavia was still together and at the helm, obviously that won't happen and I don't think it would work otherwise), and it really would have been an interesting title to see come out.  I guess technically it could still come out just won't be the same.

The four characters seem fairly unassuming on the surface, but given Cavia's characterization, I can't help but wonder just what the hell would come from the game had it been made.  Based on the backstories for characters in past games, I'm sure not a single one of these people would have had a positive life (Perhaps Matt, but it seems like his son might be dead or missing at the start, so...), nor would it get any less depressing as the game went on.  And that would have been pretty interesting at the very least, since I imagine, despite the type of game it....would have been, it would have been very, very story-centric.  Which, again, would have been pretty interesting to see how they would have pulled that off.  Sigh, too bad about it, though  Damnit, Squeenix.

No comments:

Post a Comment