John Williams should provide the score for the video game industry from mid-May to mid-June every year. Make it a mix of his work on Jaws and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. What better way to soundtrack the absolute idiotic madness that surrounds the behemoth that is the Electronic Entertainment Expo? It could have started just before Microsoft’s May 21 press conference for the Xbox One, with the bass-heavy, eerie foreshadowing of a shark attack. Duh-nuh. Duh-nuh. Duh-dah-duh-duh-dah ALWAYS ONLINE, YOU DON’T OWN GAMES! Then when the press conferences for Sony, Ubisoft, EA and Microsoft kickoff on Monday, we can shift into the song “Duel of the Fates.” It’ll be perfect. Trust me.
Yes, the game world is losing its collective mind this week, crippled with anticipation of the unannounced while dealing with anxiety over the changing face of business. And it’s everywhere, not just here in the U.S. That doesn’t mean Jetsetter can sit idly by and not peer outside our borders as per usual. There are games abroad that won’t be covered at E3 and it’s our responsibility as Digital Trends lens into the world of import gaming and international game development to stay vigilant. So what’s happening?
Konami lets Electronic Arts wade into waters of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 soccer alone.
One game far more popular outside the United States than within is Konami’s long-running, still-standing Pro Evolution Soccer franchise. Known in its glory days as Winning Eleven, PES has lagged in the face of FIFA Soccer’s rising quality over the past five years, even in its homeland of Japan. The series will keep on trucking with Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 this year, but Konami is taking one impressive risk with the series: no next-gen versions. PES14 is only for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and, bizarrely, Sony’s nine-year-old PlayStation Portable. “Not in the business for highres nextgen ports,” said Konami’s Adam Bhatti, “We can’t and shouldn’t be just using high quality textures, etc. Should be new.”
“In the past people accused us of being lazy. We’re adamant of not making the same mistakes, and making sure we create amazing football games.”
Konami is making an admirable decision to stay their hand. Electronic Arts may be plunging forward with its next-gen FIFA 14, complete with fancy Ignite Engine, but the publisher is also famous for its awful cross-generation sports games. Madden NFL 06 and 07, the first for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 still largely based on the PlayStation 2 versions of the game, were god awful. Konami is getting its ducks in a row for the future, and while patience can kill a company’s earnings, it can also allow it to find new creative vigor.
Dust off that PlayStation Move with India’s new Kite Flight.
Sometimes I think American sports are boring as sin. What’s the best thing we’ve come up with in the past twenty-five years? The X Games? Please. Did you know that India they have KITE FIGHTING!? This is a real thing. People fly kites with razor wire attached to them and you try to cut your opponent’s string. That’s amazing. Slightly less amazing, but still novel, is Indian studio Gameshastra’s new PSN game for Move Kite Flight. Available in India and the UK, Kite Flight unfortunately doesn’t have hard core kite fighting, but it does let you fly a kite in idyllic European locales with neat mini-game goals like trying to dodge helicopters without getting your string cut and popping balloons. It’s nothing if not unique. Seriously though, Gameshastra: Kite Flight 2 needs kite fighting.
G.Rev lays down Game Center CX on Nintendo 3DS, import players weep.
If you aren’t already, you should be watching Game Center CX, arguably the best show about retro gaming ever made. Actually, it’s the only broadcast television show about retro gaming ever made. The Japanese TV show has been running off and on for ten years now. It is amazing. The host, comedian Shinya Arino, plays classic games and gets housed trying to beat them. It is far more entertaining in practice than it sounds. Despite multiple attempts to bring it to the U.S. as Retro Game Challenge, it’s never gained more than the most cursory following outside Japan. Which is a shame because the show has produced a series of games for Nintendo handhelds that are amazing. The first was released on Nintendo DS in 2009. Called Retro Game Challenge as well, developer IndiesZero made a selection of games that looked and played like lost NES classics but were entirely made up. A sequel, Game Center CX 2, also had made up classics meant to look like Game Boy and Super Nintendo games, but that game has sadly never made it out of Japan (excluding as an export).
First, the good new news: There’s a new Game Center CX game getting made and it’s by none other than G.Rev. We love G.Rev, especially its spectacular PS3 game Under Defeat. Now the bad news. The game is for Nintendo 3DS, which means that even import gamers won’t be able to play it in Japanese without getting a Japanese system, thanks to Nintendo’s idiotic and superfluous region restrictions. Why must we be teased with these treasures?