Utada Hikaru working on Kingdom Hearts III theme

Confirmed by her manager

Crytek closing down five studios

The official press release:

Frankfurt am Main (Germany) December 20, 2016 – Crytek today outlined a series of changes to its future business plans that will see the company refocus on its core strengths of developing innovative games and game-development technology.

As part of the changes, Crytek will concentrate on development in its Frankfurt and Kiev studios and continue to develop and work on premium IPs. CRYENGINE will remain a core pillar of Crytek’s overall strategy, with enterprise licensees and indie developers alike continuing to be served by regular engine updates. All other development studios will not remain within Crytek and management has put plans into action to secure jobs and to ensure a smooth transition and stable future.

Crytek Co-Founder and Managing Director, Avni Yerli, said: “Undergoing such transitions is far from easy, and we’d like to sincerely thank each and every staff member – past and present – for their hard work and commitment to Crytek. These changes are part of the essential steps we are taking to ensure Crytek is a healthy and sustainable business moving forward that can continue to attract and nurture our industry’s top talent. The reasons for this have been communicated internally along the way. Our focus now lies entirely on the core strengths that have always defined Crytek – world-class developers, state-of-the-art technology and innovative game development, and we believe that going through this challenging process will make us a more agile, viable, and attractive studio, primed for future success.”

Atlus to announce a new fantasy RPG game

Atlus will be announcing a brand new RPG on the 23rd of this month. The new game, set to be announced during a livestream, will not be related to Persona or Shin Megami Tensei. 

Read on for the official announcement:

25 years ago, the Atlus RPG uttered its first cry. Speaking of RPGs in those days, the stories in so-called “fantasy” worlds were mainstream. The Shin Megami Tensei series was released as an “opposition” to such a “common” world view, and the Persona series was released as its spin-off. Both series, even today in their latest entries, have always been made with the concept that it will be a counter to the times. And now, in addition to continuing the titles within those series, what will our approach to a new RPG be? That is, to challenge the norms of the genre gamers have been consuming for decades. The challenge is about to begin. We would be happy if you would stand by for the moment we began from zero and the moment we began our challenge from zero.

-Katsura Hashino, producer and game director

Lgndary Thoughts - What Have You Been Playing?

Two games, a combined 20 years in the making. And that isn’t even everything that has released lately! Needless to say, I think it is time for another What Are You Playing? Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!

My main gaming focus over the past few weeks has actually been Pokemon. I have actually managed to avoid every spoiler for the latest release. Meaning the only thing that I actually watched was the reveal trailer that showed the starters and legendaries. It took a ton of will power to not look at any of the new Pokemon, but it certainly payed off in the end. Especially considering how much Game Freak revealed before the games had come out. 

Going in blind created an awesome experience that replicated the feeling I had when playing Pokemon games as a kid. Being able to see brand new Pokemon for the very first time in the game is very different from seeing artwork of them online, I could not recommend doing this enough. 

The actual game itself is great too. I love the region of Alola, and it brought a lot of great Pokemon with it. This is also the first time that I have decided to play it competitively, and I am already on the road to building a team. Just yesterday I hatched a perfect IV Minior!

I have also been loving The Last Guardian. I don't want to say too much, since it is new, but it is definitely living up to my expectations. Trico is the obvious star of the game, and seeing something that big move the way it does is incredible The amount of detail that went into the game really is astonishing. From things like how the boy puts his hand up against a wall when he gets near it, to how realistic Trico feels. I can’t wait to see what the whole game has in store for me!

Final Fantasy XV has been seeing a lot of time from me as well, but I plan on keeping my thoughts on it private, at least for now. 

What all have you been playing recently? Be sure to leave a comment below!

Lgndary Thoughts - PSX 2016 Impressions

Wow! What a weekend! The Game Awards were held on Friday, followed by The Playstation Experience, which was followed by Capcom Cup. There were plenty of announcements made, so I decided to talk about a few of my favorites. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!

One of my favorite announcements was Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite. I hate that the news had leaked a couple of weeks before the event, but it was still exciting to see a game that I didn't think would happen for another 10 years. I will say that it is not as visually impressive as I had hoped it would be, but I don’t think that should detract too much from the game. I am also not bothered by the rumors suggesting characters like Wolverine won’t make an appearance. I know many people will disagree, but I say good riddance. 

Another game I am actually really happy to see announced is Knack 2. I know this is an unpopular opinion, and I know that I have already written a detailed thought on why I believe the first Knack got such bad reviews. But I still feel strongly that Knack is a very enjoyable game, and it is one that more than deserves a sequel. And co-op play is a great addition to the game. My only hope is that I can play the entire game with a friend online. 

And while it was not a new game announcement, I believe the new Death Stranding trailer stole the weekend, at least for me. I thought the first trailer was unique, and it definitely piqued my interest. But the second trailer is something different. It feels like a real game to me know, with real characters, and a real world. And more importantly, it feels like a Kojima game. Something I loved about the Metal Gear Solid series was the unique blend of technology with supernatural elements. It seems that Death Stranding will have a similar approach, and I could not be more excited.

But overall, I think PSX 2016 was a really great show. It had a little bit of something for everyone. I imagine most people will pick The Last of Us 2 as their favorite announcement. I disagree, but that’s okay. I had more than enough other announcements to get me hyped for a long time. 

What was your favorite announcement over the weekend? Be sure to leave a comment below!

Persona 5 Delayed Until April

Coming from the PS Blog:

Brace yourselves: Persona 5 is now launching on April 4, 2017.

I know, I know. It stings. But Persona 5 set the gold standard for Atlus with its launch in Japan, and we wanted to put the utmost care into ensuring it winds up the best when it launches in the west. And — and this is a very special “and” — we have some exceedingly good news for you in light of this delay:

Persona 5 will have dual audio. For PS4 and PS3.

We’re including it as DLC for logistical reasons, but it will be free, for forever. People have been asking for this since P5 was announced, and through herculean effort from just about every division of Atlus, we managed to arrange this. This was something we especially wanted to do for the Atlus Faithful, the ones who still appreciate our English dubs and respect all the effort we put into localizing. You all are the reason we get to do the jobs we do, so we’ve been fighting for this for a long while, and we are glad we can make this happen for all of those who support us and love our games.

Considering the game is already done and out in Japan, it certainly seems like this decision was made for reasons other than it's development.

Lgndary Thoughts - Prioritizing

Happy Monday everyone! News was a little slow today, so I decided to write up a quick Thought for the sake of discussion. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!

The holiday season is upon us, and it feels like there is a larger rush of games this year than most. And on top of all of the games coming out soon, we have several consoles that have released as well. The average consumer will certainly not be able to grab everything, and many people will have to pick and choose. Here are the games that I am looking forward too, and the priority list that I have.

The two larger items that have released recently is the PS4 Pro, and Playstation VR. Both cost the same, and they are both a bit on the pricier side. I have yet to purchase either yet, but I plan on getting a Pro before I get a VR headset. Now I know many people would reverse that, and understandably so. Playstation VR offers entirely new experiences, while the PS4 Pro simply enhances games that I can already play. But after thinking about it, that is exactly why I would prefer getting a Pro.

While the Playstation VR does offer something entirely new, that doesn’t mean they are good experiences. And they certainly aren't plentiful. VR is still new, and it is going to be awhile before we have a strong healthy library of great VR games. The PS4 Pro improves upon games that are already out, and games that we already know are amazing. Plus, it is much easier to create a PS4 Pro patch for a game than it is to create a PS VR game. 

Final Fantasy XV is actually one of the few games that I plan on getting this year, and it is also a large reason why I plan on getting a PS4 Pro. There are some games coming out that I want to play in their best of forms. Final Fantasy XV, The Last Guardian, Gravity Rush 2, and many others will be supported. And I would very much prefer to play them on a Pro. 

Other than picking between the PS4 Pro and PS VR, I have narrowed down my priority list to two games. Final Fantasy XV, and Pokemon. Final Fantasy XV is an obvious one. I remember when it was announced way back in 2006. I have been waiting for this game for 10 years now, and I certainly don’t want to wait any longer than I have to. Even if that means having to wait on other games. 

Pokemon is also right there at the top. It is a Nintendo game, so I won’t go into detail, but I could never miss out on a new Pokemon adventure.

Well there you have it! There are tons of games, and even systems out this year. Here are the games that I have put at the top of my list, now it is your turn to share. So don’t forget to leave a comment below!

Lgndary Thoughts - What are you playing?

As we near the end of the year, more and more of 2016’s biggest titles are launching. And considering how long it has been since I last asked what you all were playing, I figured it was time. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!

Now this may come as a shock to some, but I will not be talking about Final Fantasy XIV today (crazy, I know!) That isn’t to say that I haven't been playing, of course I still do, but there isn’t much to report since the last time I talked about it. 

Instead, I am going to be talking about a game that actually released last year, Fallout 4. I actually purchased Fallout 4 at launch, but only ended up playing it for 30 minutes before putting it down, and forgetting about it. But a couple of weeks ago, i decided to give it another go. And I have not been able to put it down since. 

For starters, I made a new save file. I had only played on my previous one for 30 minutes, so nothing of value was lost in deleting it. But right off the bat I decided to make a few early changes that really helped. The first thing I did was invest more time in my character. I don't really do well with character creators that give a lot of freedom, but I stuck with it, and I am really happy with how it turned out. I also took the time to edit some settings, change some button mapping. These changes were obviously not enough to drastically improve my opinion of the game, but they were enough to keep me going for a little bit longer. 

Moving on to the actual game. Fallout 4 marks the second Bethesda game I have ever played, the first being The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. And even very early in my Fallout 4 journey, I could feel some of the same magic that made me fall in love with Skyrim. There is nothing quite like having a NPC character running up, and saying something that starts a new quest. Or hearing a NPC mention a special area in the game that is found days later. Even things like how open the world is, and how my character moves feels very similar to Skyrim, and I think that is a good thing.

Having said that, there are plenty of differences between Fallout 4 and Skyrim that I have had to adjust for. One of the biggest changes has to be in the main weapons of each game. In Skyrim, I would almost always use a sword, or some type of melee weapon. But Fallout uses guns, and I struggled with that early on. The main difference between the two is the fact that guns has ammo. So, unlike swords, the possibility of running out of ammo is a real threat. And it means that the player has to think differently when deciding what to do in the game. This was a challenge for me, as I have never played a Fallout game before. 

Something else that I find Fallout does differently is how the world is built. It has been a few years since I played Skyrim, but I remember there being a lot more friendly folks throughout the world of Skyrim. There were plenty of big cities, but there were also a lot of different villages with a good amount of people living in. So far, I am finding that Fallout is not the same. I feel that the commonwealth is full of more raiders and mutants than regular people. 

Early on, I disliked both of these changes and vastly preferred my gameplay experience in Skyrim. That didn't mean that I don’t like Fallout, but I wished it had been more like Skyrim in several ways. But the more I have played it, the more I changed my mind. I have grown to appreciate the differences between the two, and everything that is possible because of those changes. At this point, I don’t even know if I could tell you which game I prefer.

I could write a lot more about Fallout 4, and I probably will one day, but this has gone on a little bit more than I had originally planned. I know it reads more like a Fallout 4 impressions post, but I hope nobody minds! Having said that, it is now your turn to tell me what you have been playing. So be sure to leave a comment below!