No more distractions. It's been four years since the last real Persona, and the people behind the RPG series want to release a fifth one.
Speaking in this week's issue of Famitsu, as translated by Andriasang, Atlus exec Katsura Hashino said the team has submitted illustrations and made progress on Persona 5. No word on an official announcement or release date. But hey, progress!
Hashino is also developing "a collaborative project that will surprise everyone," he told the mag.
The latest spinoff in Atlus's popular series, fighting game Persona 4 Arena, came out yesterday for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Atlus will release Persona 4 Golden on Vita later this year.
More Future Talk From Japan's Big Producers [Andriasang]
If archery is an Olympic sport and shotput is an Olympic sport, consider the Olympic prospects of pulling back a virtual slingshot with one's fingertip, mentally calculating the best trajectory and then letting an Angry Bird fly and smash into some green pigs.
Video games, perhaps, should have had a place in the ongoing London Summer Games of the XXX Olympiad. Not surprisingly, I've been able to find several video game experts who agree, though all do not and some make good cases against.
The case for video games is that they are, for starters, popular competitions. They're competed in around the world more broadly than, say the non-Olympic sport American Football. And while they may not involve running fast, jumping high, or even that much sweating, the one-on-one virtual combat of Street Fighter or the simulated clash of futuristic armies in StarCraft require a dexterity with a fighting stick or mouse that certainly exceed the muscular dexterity needed for the non-Olympic sport of competitive eating but maybe, possibly as much as is needed for the Olympic sport of competitive shooting.
"In my eyes, there's no doubt that digital gaming will at some point be part of the Olympics," top StarCraft player Sean "Day 9" Plott told me. "Video gaming is a full medium on its own, with developers exploring new mechanics and players forming vibrant communities."
"There can be no serious question that fighting games are a superior gauge of human competitive excellence compared to, say, the Biathlon," fighting game expert Seth Killian, formerly of Capcom and now at Sony, told me. "It's easy to get sidetracked by semantic questions about what is or is not a sport, but compared against many, many existing events, fighting games are more competitive by a thousand times, more nuanced, more egalitarian, and a better overall reflection of mental and physical achievement."
The International Olympic Committee chooses which sports they will recognize as sports and, among those, chooses which will be included in an Olympic programme. They have standards, standards that have gotten tennis or rugby added and baseball and softball, most recently, dropped from competition in the Summer Games.
The official criteria, according to the IOC:
To make it onto the Olympic programme, a sport first has to be recognised: it must be administered by an International Federation which ensures that the sport's activities follow the Olympic Charter. If it is widely practised around the world and meets a number of criteria established by the IOC session, a recognised sport may be added to the Olympic programme on the recommendation of the IOC's Olympic Programme Commission.
Games have that international part down. Angry Birds is popular in more than 60 countries. Street Fighter is big in America, Japan and Europe. Counter-Strike is played competitively around the world.
Games don't have the "international federation" part down. There is no sanctioning body and, while there are leagues such as Major League Gaming the games themselves are owned by private companies, which is not a complication with, say, the game of competitive 100-meter sprinting or the game of javelin-hurling.
"Our fans are already world champion bird flingers and pig poppers," Sini Matikainen, a spokesperson for Angry Birds development studio Rovio said. "So of course we would love to see them battle it out on the global stage!"
Video games seem like an odd fit for the Olympics, but for much of the last century, chess backers have lobbied to get that globally-popular game included in an Olympic programme. Chess has the international federation and the decades of high-level competition that video games lack. It doesn't, however, require as much physical skill. It's a brain game.
"Fighting games obviously have a huge mental component," Killian said, referencing the Street Fighters and Mortal Kombats of the world, "but while a game like chess is almost purely a mental endeavor, nearly every fighting game competition is decided by truly amazing physical execution as well, on par with the kind of technical excellence you see reflected in events like Olympic archery."
But get this: chess is a recognized sport by the International Olympic Committee. It achieved that status in the late 90's during the XXVIIth Olympiad (at a time when the Tug of War International Federation was granted only provisional recognition, believe it or not). Chess simply hasn't been added to an Olympic programme by the IOC, earning explicit rejection as recently as 2002, alongside bowling, water skiing, billiards, and roller sports.
In 2009, David Jarrett, then the executive director of the World Chess Federation, made a pitch at the Olympic Congress event in Copenhagen to get chess and other "mind games" added to the Winter Games:
The world Chess Federation (FIDE) feels that the Olympic winter games do not currently reflect the worldwide sporting spectrum. To broaden the appeal, we suggest that Mind sports are added to the programme. The sports of Chess, Bridge, Go and Draughts are actively practised in many countries where ice and snow sports are not in the mainstream of sporting endeavour. It would offer opportunities for individuals in africa and asia to participate in this great sporting spectacle. (Editor's note: read the rest of his pitch on pages 234-235 of this document)
The Mind Games proposal hasn't been accepted by the IOC, but if it did, the Winter Games would suddenly seem like a very good home for some video games.
I first tried my video-games-as-Olympics idea on Frank Lantz, one of the smartest game designers I know and one of the only ones in earshot when I got this brainstorm during a recent event at New York's Hayden Planetarium (we were attending an event celebrating innovators and dreamers, sponsored by Kotaku sister site Gizmodo). I argued for Angry Birds as an Olympic sport, saying it surely had many of the qualities of archery.
Angry Birds didn't have the right density, Lantz replied. By "density," he meant the number of possible outcomes, the complexity of variables. It felt, to him, as if it would be too finite, that people would ascend some curve of mastery and then all peak, that accomplishment could stall. This wasn't necessarily true for all video games. The Chess-like StarCraft, I thought, might have enough density. But in an e-mail a couple of weeks later, he dismissed that one as well. "Olympic sports need to be highly physical," he said. "Despite the amazing degree of technical skill it requires, StarCraft isstill essentially a strategy game. I don't think it would ever make sense in the Olympics." I should note that Lantz loves StarCraft; he's no enemy of the game. "If you are interested in digital games in the Olympics," he continued, "I would look at things like Fencing, which incorporate digital sensing technology into a physical game to create a fascinating, futuristic hybrid."
Chris Hecker, designer of the one-on-one spy-vs-sniper one-shot competitive game Spy Party is also skeptical. "I think, even though it's not really mentioned explicitly, 'spectatability' is a huge part of what makes a sport universally interesting," he said. "I don't think any of the popular competitive games are very spectatable right now for non-experts. As some proof of this claim, Frank Lantz is writing a series on how to spectate StarCraft 2 on
Edge-Online. He's on the third article, and I still have absolutely no idea what's going on in a match, even with good commentating… In contrast, I watched a bunch of Olympics on TV this week, and it was totally clear what was going on, even on sports I'd never seen before." Most competitive video games are just played too briskly for spectators to comfortably follow what's going on and appreciate both the competition and the psychology behind it.
Even StarCraft pro Sean Plott, who does want video gaming in the Olympics, sees some big hurdles. These Games only happen every four years, he observed, but how many video games even stand that test of time? "Only two or three gaming titles have ever had players for more than 10 years, so which title can we choose from?" he said. "I think the answer lies in competitive genres instead of titles… I'd imagine that the Olympics could have an RTS, FPS, and Fighting Game category that would stay up to date as games are patched or sequels are released." That sounds… complicated.
The status of Chess as essentially an Olympics bridesmaid but never a bride may encourage or discourage those who would like to see video games make it as an Olympic sport. Maybe there is a road that brings Street Fighter into the same Olympic venues as that sport that has horses jumping over obstacles and the one where the person hurls the disc. Maybe a Street Fighter VII player will some day be going for gold. Or maybe, as one Kotaku reader put it, video games should just have their own Olympics.
Or maybe, just maybe, Spy Party's Hecker argues, the Olympics just aren't for video games because video games have a special destiny of their own. "The Olympics is more about human
physicality than just pure competition of any sort," he said. "Chess has been trying to get into the Olympics for a long time, but I'm guessing it won't ever happen, because a huge part of the Olympics is watching ripped young people get sweaty and do things with their bodies normal people could never do. Maybe if the overall tone of marketing and popularity around the world switches away from physical appearances and towards mental acuity it could happen, but I wouldn't hold my breath. I think this is okay, though, and it doesn't bother me much.
"There's room in the world for lots of different kinds of things, and eventually games will figure out where they live in the space of art and entertainment and sports. I'd rather let that happen naturally as we get more of a clue about how to design emotionally compelling games, than try to beg our way into one group's or the other's already-existing structure."
I know everyone is disappointed that they don't get to see my crappy red tablecloth and hear my children babbling in the background, but trust me, this is for the best, if only for the myriad opportunities to dust off "that's what she said". It's Felicia Day! And Guild Wars 2!
A new teaser for Square Enix's rebuilt MMO has surfaced, showing off more of the world and characters that players will encounter when the 2.0 version of the online RPG launches later this year.
Fairly or unfairly, Star Wars creator George Lucas is often pegged as public enemy number one for a variety of reasons. But for sci-fi author David Brin, there's another baddie: Yoda.
I consider Yoda to be just about the most evil character that I've ever seen in the history of literature. I have gotten people into tongue-tied snits unable to name for me one scene in which Yoda is ever helpful to anybody, or says anything that's genuinely wise. "Do or do not, there is no try." Up yours, you horrible little oven mitt! "Try" is how human beings get better. That's how people learn, they try some of their muscles, or their Force mechanism heads in the right direction, that part gets reinforced and rewarded with positive feedback, which you never give. And parts of it get repressed by saying, "No, that you will not do!" It is abhorrent, junior high school Zen. It's cartoon crap.
Tell us what you really think, David! In the rest of the Wired interview, the author also discusses his brand new novel, Existence, among other topics. More in the link below.
Unlike many characters, who have a single set of trademark threads, Samus has two: her Power Suit (or its upgrades) and her Zero Suit. Some fans did not like the advent of Zero Suit Samus, saying it not only sexualized a strong female character, but pointing out that it made her weaker when she wore it.
Both suits, however, have found their place in fandom. And both suits offer challenges for cosplayers. For the Power Suit, cosplayers need, well, a Power Suit—no easy task! Then there's the skin tight Zero Suit, which requires a degree of confidence to pull off.
In the above gallery, there's a sample of some of the best Samus cosplays—in heavy armor and out. Which one portrays the Metroid heroine the best?
To read more about Samus, check out the character's Metroid wikia.
Click the lower corner to expand the images to full size.
The Shanghai television program in question is Ipartment (which loosely translates as "Love Apartment" in Chinese). It features a couple of guys, a couple of girls, and an apartment—and a whole bunch of storylines and dialogue you've enjoyed before. (Ha, not that Western sitcoms are a breeding ground for novel ideas!)
Ipartment's first season was apparently original, but its latest season, season three, is raising eyebrows in China. People are pointing out how brazenly it copies Western shows. The sitcom does tweak the characters and their relationships, but side-by-side comparisons confirm just how closely Ipartment seems to regurgitate shows like How I Met Your Mother and Friends.
Legally, this brazen copy might exist in a gray zone as brand new Chinese regulations state that the country's TV studios cannot remake foreign shows. That's why Ipartment, which steals from a whole bunch of shows and not a single one per se, could be "okay". Yes, I know, that doesn't make much sense! But, hey, if a Chinese variety show is willing to copy Conan's opening credits...
Online in China, some are criticizing Ipartment for its lack of originality, and there's even a blog that calls out and compares each rip off (one thing Westerners forget is that it's often Chinese who first point out rip-offs and express displeasure over them). Others say that the show is good, so it doesn't matter. Good, maybe, very familiar, definitely.
Compare for yourself.
Nakagawa, who has done Zelda commercials for Nintendo, recently seems to have come into possession of a PS Vita. She's been playing Ragnarok Odyssey, adding, "The graphics are unbelievably beautiful and the touch panel is great, too."
Continuing, she added, "If only God Eater, Resident Evil, or Final Fantasy would come out, that'd be heavenly! There's no news yet on Final Fantasy X?!"
Other than we probably shouldn't expect it anytime soon? Um, no.
"It's such a waste that there are few games," she continued. "Even so, the potential is great."
So there you go, Sony. Get God Eater, Resident Evil, and Final Fantasy on the Vita, and you'll probably make more than this Japanese gamer happy.
When the game was first shown last month, game maker Nippon Ichi Software did not disclose which platform it was headed for. This week, Nippon Ichi did: The Paradox of God and the Fate Revolution is PS3 bound.
Info was scant, but now reports out of China state that the woman, who lives in the city of Shangdong, was fed up with cars speeding through a pedestrian crossing. Figuring that something was needed to get drivers to slow down, the woman decided to tie a sex doll in lingerie to the tree—in front of her house.
And guess what? Traffic has slowed down considerably.
According to news source Record China, it's pretty easy to acquire a sex doll in China (Record China says this is due to the high proportion of men compared to women) and pointed out that 18 cops recently fished one out of a river in the same city, confusing it with a real person. Here, however, a sex doll is using its powers for good! Not that the doll's usual function isn't for...oh, never mind.
男の本能を利用した交通安全対策？！ダッチワイフ作戦が話題に―山東省 [Record China]