Friday, May 3, 2013

Good News and Bad News for Zone of the Enders

So remember when the Zone of the Enders HD Collection was announced and I was all "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee~" because it's friggin' Zone of the Enders in HD?  And then remember when it came out and was, er...less than well-received because of speed and framerate issues which are absolutely debilitating to fast-paced action games like this?  And then it was...largely unspoken of from any angle as they just went ahead and did other things?  Well, there's where the good news comes in, as there's a patch for the game in the works.  For the PS3 version.  And....maybe don't click that link just yet.  It'll become a little obvious as to why in a few minutes here, so just bear with me.

In reality, the article makes it seem like the patch is already more or less 'done' and they're just testing it out and such before it's released.
Zone of the Enders HD Collection’s transition from 30 FPS to 60 was not as smooth as Kojima had hoped for. While it wasn’t as noticeable to first-time players, those who enjoyed the original seamless fast-paced games were able to feel the choppiness. (For a comparison, check out Spencer’s playtest.) Kojima believes that such action-heavy games deserve nothing but the smoothest gameplay to fully enjoy. Due to this problem, Kojima and his team have re-programmed the entire game, and will release a free PlayStation 3 patch that should fix the problem and greatly enhance its performance. There won’t be a patch for the Xbox 360 version for the time being.
It's hard to tell if the 360 version won't be patched for the same "technical reasons" as the Silent Hill HD Collection or if it's just because it didn't sell well at all, but in either case, I'm not too sure there'll be the same Konami out-reach for people who have purchased the 360 version.  Which is a shame, of course, and I might be wrong, but it's reasonable enough to think as much considering how low-profile this whole thing really is coming across as.  And to be fair, I'm not quite sure the extent of the issues with the ZoE Collection versus the Silent Hill HD Collection, while knowing that the latter has been described as 'dire' at times.  Which is, you know, a Bad Thing™.  Still, issues are issues and I haven't personally played my copy of the ZoE HD Collection (that I literally picked up for the REVENGEANCE demo and then never played), but knowledge that it might become 'flawless' in comparison to the originals sparks an excitement in me that only the original announcement managed to get.

So that's the good news.  But, as stated, there is bad news and....well, bad news might be under-stating things a bit here.  In similar fashion to the good news, remember when The Enders Project was announced?  As in the threequel in the Zone of the Enders series where actual, literal models of the robots were being made and then scanned into computers and rendered with the FOX Engine to look badass as all hell while also being fully-functional and such as a regular model?  Well, er...okay, now you can click the link above (or this re-link).  Maybe also sit down if you're not already.  Because, well, The Enders Project might just be cancelled.  Or at least postponed for a while which...might ultimately lead to the same fate as that sometimes happens.  Regardless of the future of it, the present of it is that the game has entered a period of re-evaluation, which is never a good statement to hear.
Not only has this incident prompted Kojima to work on a patch to fix the problem, but it has also put a halt to the Enders’s Project which was announced last year as a Zone of the Enders sequel. The entire team behind the project has been dismantled, as Kojima would like to re-evaluate the franchise before moving forward, he says. Furthermore, he also wants to re-evaluate fans by asking once more, whether they would still like to see a Zone of the Enders sequel.
Obviously the most worrying piece of that is the statement "The entire team behind the project has been dismantled" as that really hammers in the idea that it's just out-and-out done.  Yet, as the eternal optimist, I can't help but say that maybe it was just dismantled to know, reassembled, reconfigured at a later date once they know for sure whether or not they're going to go forward with the project.  Which will most likely be once more work on The Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes has been done, since, well, I can't imagine Kojima Productions has enough manpower for three AAA-Quality games to be worked on simultaneously, or at least not to the degree of quality that we expect from the studio.  Because, especially with the FOX Engine involved in all three projects, it's likely a bit tasking to work on all three games, no matter how many people are around (though it's likely not enough, as stated).

Yet another piece of optimism that I can't help but attempt at is wondering if this realization of the HD Collections issues, and the subsequent work in re-programming the entire game, has been the reason for the radio silence on the announced Vita version of the collection.  Obviously, it's easier to say that it's just been quietly cancelled and that could very well be the truth to it, but the issue was likely apparent right from release and the programming work probably didn't start right away, but as soon as it was feasible, meaning a 'hold off' order on the Vita version for the...ahem, very busy High Voltage Software, if they, indeed, were even tapped to work on that version as well.  Or if anyone had been tapped by that point.  Basically what I'm saying is now that the PS3 version has been entirely re-programmed and it's apparently very easy to port from PS3 to Vita that perhaps the game -will- see a release on the handheld, given Kojima's support for it, if nothing else.

Unfortunately, this is something that we might not ever really 'know' about, in the realm of it actually being announced.  If the game actually comes out on the Vita eventually, well, we'll know, but if 2014 rolls around and there's still no word on it...then, well, we'll probably know that way as well.  Still, it doesn't hurt to have some -hope- for something like this, as a portable version of Zone of the Enders:  2nd Runner is always something to hold out hope for.  Without an official statement, it'll be something that I'll consider a possibility for a time yet, and it'll only be when the time for 'timely' release has come and gone and left the house cold that I'll accept anything less.  Since, as stated, a fully-functional version of the HD Collection on PS3 (as well as the very loose release window of it) could very well mean good things and a simultaneous announcement.  We'll just have to see how KojiPro handles it, really, but the patch is certainly something to look forward to for PS3 owners.

in all seriousness, I will choke a bitch for ZoE HD Vita

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