News Roundup for 12/07/11 -- Again? Seriously? (Updated)

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What happened here? At the end of last week’s post detailing how hellacious of a day last Wednesday was for gaming news, I specifically said we didn’t need another day like this. Apparently no one heard that, because this Wednesday is following the exact same theme.


OK, so this news is admittedly lower on the pure craziness scale, but some of this raised eyebrows for many of us.



Americans woke up to news from Japan that Tecmo Koei has acquired Atelier franchise developer Gust. Gust has had a rather successful run this generation with building the Atelier brand on PS3 in Japan, which was considered an interesting-yet-risky move with the mass migration of many Japanese developers to handhelds. But Gust decided to stick with the system, and it paid off for them. The second game in the “Arland” trilogy “Atelier Totori, had the best first week sales in the franchise; the third game, Atelier Meruru, ended up topping that. The Atelier series is stronger than ever, something Tecmo Koei took notice of.


 At this point, it’s too early to tell if this will be good or bad for Gust, franchise, and fans, but that sure isn’t stopping some from freaking out like their “Ruined FOREVER” doomsday scenario has been fully realized. The news itself caused some panic attacks -- see the comment threads for the news at AndriaSang and Siliconera (especially the former) for prime examples -- but the subsequent info stating that an Atelier social game is coming figuratively gave them heart attacks. Just because a social game is coming doesn’t mean Gust won’t continue providing mainline console entries, and we don’t even know if Gust is developing it. Not to say there’s no chance this acquisition will be a cause for concern in the future, but there’s no need for outrage right now.



Similar to a week ago, we received news of yet another Sony employee departure. This time, it was announced that The Last Guardian executive producer Yoshifusa Hayama has left Sony. But this might not have as big of an impact on that game’s development as you would think from reading the story. The roles of executive producers vary depending on the project, but they usually have a very hands-off role in its creative process. It’s possible his departure won’t affect the game’s production at all. But you still have to wonder exactly what the hell is going on at Sony.


Hayama left to join Bossa Studios, a social game developer in London, as their creative developer. The vernacular used on their website seems to demonstrate a tenuous grip on the English language. The best example is found in their slogan: “We are Bossa. And we make games. But not just games. They’re different from other games.” There’s enough redundancy there to make an English teacher lose it. It’s probably intentionally done, though.


There’s also an update on Fumito Ueda. Though plenty have asked him through Twitter and other services, he won’t comment on whether he’s still employed at Sony. He did, however, assure fans that TLG is still continuing development. But there’s a twist! Develop reported that “Sony has employed a company-wide gagging order on publicly discussing Ueda’s employment situation.” The rumors of his departure are looking much more plausible.



And just when we thought we were out of it, an article was posted on Game|Life mere moments ago saying that Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the most influential individuals in video gaming ever, is retiring.


But not in the way you might think upon first reading that. He’s saying he’s retiring from his current position as the head of Nintendo’s large projects, the ones that take years to develop. Those will be handled by other, while Miyamoto wants to work on smaller projects with younger staff that won’t take long to develop. He basically wants to go back to working on the games he used to work on, before budgets for individual projects rose exponentially. This really isn’t bad news, though that didn’t stop certain people from overreacting before actually reading the article.

Update: It seems Wired misinterpreted what Miyamoto will be doing. Bloomberg reported that he'll be lessening his involvement in bigger titles to spend more time working with younger developers -- likely to prepare them for a time in the future where he'll no longer be there. Reuters reported that Nintendo issued a statement saying he will remain in his current position. So, uh, this was actually non-news.


So yes, this means that opening paragraph was kind of deceptive. This Wednesday was nowhere near as mortifying as last week’s material. These are the kind of news days we should be having more. People have to deal with too many hardships in their daily lives as is, and they don’t want to see a day full of morbid news like last Wednesday. Hopefully that really was the last of them, at least for a good while.


(I probably just jinxed all of us, didn’t I?)

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1 Comment

The departure of Ueda I just can't see as being _anything_ but bad news, although I can't understand why the man has so much trouble finishing a single game in 7 years.

The problem isn't that the game won't be finished, as it likely will. It's more that for many fans, Team ICO was the main first party team that fans were interested in playing on Sony systems, and now, it is likely to collapse. So there are likely to be no more games from Team ICO.

I can't say that I'm happy that Sony has neglected to develop their Japanese studios for such a long time, but at least the Silent Hill creator has a good game coming for the Vita. To me, that is the root of the issue.

I didn't regard Hayama's departure as seriously, since I don't think he is critical to the survival of the team. Or, at least I don't think he is that critical. But social games? I suppose he just got burned out working on Ivory Tower games like "The Last Guardian".

To be clear, I haven't followed Team ICO much in the past, but I am very disappointed about these news. I don't really see how this can be good for the gaming community, either.

That said, I am not convinced that a new company will even happen. Heck, he might end up just developing for a social games company, as Hayama has done. If he does form a new company, it's possible that fans of many of his games might not even be able to play them without buying more systems, (if another console vendor either pays him for exclusivity or buys his company) such as the case with Mistwalker and Sakaguchi, or Monolith Soft and Takahashi.

Most of the other news (especially Miyamoto's "retirement") were just misinterpretations.

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