Okay, so the Illusory Revelations #FE (formerly known as Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem) trailer is a thing and everyone that was expecting a fanservice-y crossover event has been left a bit ... "wut." Don't worry, my initial reaction was excited, but puzzled. I was at work when the Nintendo Direct happened, so I only got to watch the trailer when I ran out on my break, then ran back. Then I thought about it as I pushed through the rest of my shift, came home and watched it again.
The feeling I'm getting overall is the idea of a two multiverses colliding is not happening and instead they had weird baby. HIgh school kids fight brand-new SMT-styled demons while cosplaying Fire Emblem characters or job classes in a Tokyo that's about to get weird. They also apparently go to the high school Flynn and his friends from SMT IV later get ther DLC school uniforms from.
Atlus and Intelligent Systems are taking the "cross" part of the original title seriously, at least more seriously than Street Fighter X Tekken did. We're multiplying SMT with FE here. This is also not the first time I've seen a crossover approached this way because I read Marvel Vs. DC in the 90s.
In the third issue, the protagonist of MvDC uses his universe-hopping powers to merge both the DC and Marvel universes into one world until he can find a way to stop those universes from conflicting and destroying each other, resulting in a wotld where Logan is living the life of Bruce Wayne as Dark Claw. Yes, he still has the adamantium skeleton and healing factor, he was still experimented on to make that happen, but his parents were also shot in an alleyway, he inherited their fortune and decided to be a man dressed as a bat to fight crime. With claws, Bub.
So this is kind of what SMTxFE is doing. Merging the worlds of Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem rather than have them clash with each other. This solves a few differences SMT and FE couldn't reconcile, too.
If we were to realistically to have fan-service-y game, we would have ended up with a Fire Emblem game that SMT characters just happen to be in. It is really the only way you could fit in most of the characters people would want to see and even then they'd whine you left a few out. Especially the Persona 3 and 4 kids that have had plenty of games, need to be a nice guest and finally leave.
So now we're getting none of the characters beyond references and getting an original cast of characters instead. Bonus: Persona fans can't whine they're not bring served now.
Also, there's the matter of Kaneko's demon roster. I love Kaneko's work to death, but you're going ot have a hard time allowing penis chariots and razor-toothed vagina angels into a game Nintendo is footing the bill for and including their IP in. Bayonetta just does a huge burlesque act for her ultimate attacks, but Mara is a blatant dick. Mara is the reason I can't share anything from Persona Q or SMT on the NA Miiverse right now.
Then there's Fire Emblem's permadeath along with SMT's fondness for punching player's in the throat early on - that's before the instant death spells, too. I think its safe to say we're losing the permadeath and just getting the throat punching. As a bonus, we're also trading top-down tactical strategy for dungeon crawling. As much as I like the Devil Survivor games, Atlus does the latter better.
Finally, I'm guessing this is also partly the result of Persona 5 being a Sony exclusive. Nintendo scored a lot of love from Persona 3 and 4 fans with Fire Emblem: Awakening. While romancing is nothing new to FE it is something that gets people excited. Nintendo wants more of that stuff, more of that audience and knows Atlus is good at delivering it. This clearly isn't just a crossover, its meant ot be a new IP Nintendo could carry on to future platforms.
Those are my thoughs and impressions on what we've seen. Its not as dark as i was expecting, but I'm not disappointed, either. Additionally, this choice in direction also makes the game a bit more accessible to newcomers to both IPs - they won't have to know the history of Fire Emblem's nations or the inner-workings of the SMT multiverse to make sense of this game.
One of the biggest problems with crossovers is a lack of coherent narrative. Sure. the Avengers movies are doing well now - but you've seen the list of Marvel properties coming to theaters through 2020, right? There's going to be a point where this becomes difficult to track and people aren't going to want ot watch Captain America, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor 3 to understand why some McGuffin stones are important and dangerous in The Avengers: Infinity War.
This is the sort of clusterfuck DC and Marvel comics are planning to get away from this year by rebooting their entire universes to focus on the sort of character-driven books Ms. Marvel, Thor, Batgirl, Captain America and Spider-Gwen have found success with. Needing to know all this history is fun for long-time fans and nerds, but makes these franchises unscalable for newcomers when they start colliding. Fire Emblem and SMT are pretty good about giving newcomers their own thing to enjoy, but not everyone is going to want to marathon both franchises to appreciate a new game fully.
I can understand why some longtime fans are disappointed they aren't getting what they hoped for or were admittedly teasted with two years ago, but this move is probably for the best and I don't think it means an SMT V will suddenly be more like Persona, SMT will always be there for us, under the radar of the mainstream and it will have its influence here, just not in the way we thought.
The other day I read something that made me drop my glitter and fairy dust - the governor of Indiana and several other American states are giving away money to the rest of America. They're giving away gaming conventions - living, breathing economic opportunities! Not just that, as I understand it Republicans and conservatives wish to send me somewhere my talents can be put to better use - pretty much any grey spot on this map.
I might also consider Canada. They seem nice.
And states are doing this after wanting me to use the bathroom at home more often. Maybe they just wanted to give those hard-working janitors less to deal with. With the growing number of gender-neutral or "family" restrooms out there, this is also great for janitors, as men are forced to pull the toilet seat up now that their wife, husband or daughter or might be following them shortly.
But Republicans and conservatives wanting me to be their economic ambassador to other states? I'm... honored, to be honest. I'm going to put in request to be sent to to Holy Land of Nintendo, Washington state - British Colombia or Ontario would be nice spots, too. I'm just waiting for my local senators and House members to send me the funds and I will be on my way. Thanks to them, I might some day shake hands with Reggie Fils-Amie and Bill Gates.
It pains me to leave, I mean, a couple Hobby Lobby stores just opened here and all they are all about freedom and would never impose their views on me. They're just down the street from a Chik-fil-A where I am always greeted with a smile and waffle fries, but I am more of a Cook-Out gal.
Still, I could trade that for the occasional trip to California for In-N-Out Burger, provided I land on the west coast to begin with. Yes, that will be fine. It has been ages since I last had a Double-Double.
Well, I had better get packed. I wouldn't want North Carolina to keep denying other places more economic prosperity.
I said this thing:
And won this thing:
There were also things in it, like music for my ears, art for my eyes, a case for my future New 3DS XL and a game that says you should draw the maps if you want to remember where to go. Also tarot cards to predict the future, but I think I need a longer nose to do that.
The best part? It also came with bubble wrap! It is very nice bedding material for fairies.
Thank you to Atlus and Destructoid for making a pixie's day with the Persona Q collector's edition! You are all honorary fairies now.
Also thank you for saving me $22 on Majora's Mask 3D. And letting me save my game to the SD card. Now I can get back to that rather festive dungeon I was in.
Over the years I've heard much about mythical "panda rings." I have been told game developers hand them out to certain groups of people to get them to buy their games. I imagine this is why you hear about about Bioware giving "panda rings to the faes" so much. Everyone at Bioware seems to be keen on fairies, making me a key demographic.
I had heard, especially from talk radio pundits - who would never say anything to get attention and the support of people - that those that obtain these panda rings get undue attention at the expense of the majority of people and these ring-bearers get all they desire. That made these rings sound really awesome.
After much searching and many inquiries I was able to obtain one of these coveted panda rings. I was excited to slip on this panda ring onto my finger and abuse such power. The world would be my oyster, everyone would proclaim me their queen and I would be wed to Evangeline Lilly and Zoe Saldana.
Nothing happened. No throne, no wives - not even any pandas.
At first, I thought something might be wrong with the ring. I gave it some thought and theorized that maybe since Bioware, Bethesda, Obsidian Games and other select developers handed these rings out I should play their games. Perhaps then the powers of the ring would activate and give me all that I desired.
So I played the Mass Effect trilogy, experiencing the life and battles of Commander Shepard and her allies. One might assume since I only date women in real life that I might make Shepard a heroic lover of women just like me, but no, I like to roleplay a very opportunistic and tempermental bisexual. A little Paragon here and Renegade choices when people cross me. Kind of like Han Solo except I don't turn dumb later in the trilogy.
My love life in the first game was... well... there wasn't one, to be honest. It seemed like Kaiden and Liara were my only real options. Kaiden was annoying. Liara was very pretty, but also painfully naive and boring. Aside from that mind-meld thing she did to me, I couldn't stay interested in her. Ashley wasn't interested in me and when her racism wasn't pissing me off, her voice was grating on my last nerve, so when the time came for a noble sacrifice I left her with Saren's bomb.
Kaiden might be whiney and needy, but at least he's useful and not a racist.
Anyway, I saved the Citadel and the Council from Saren and the Reapers, then moved on to Mass Effect 2. I died, was resurrected by Cerberus and went off on a journey to track down The Collectors that had previously killed me and wrecked my ship
Miranda was among the first people I met. She wasn't interested in me. Jacob was with her. He was never interesting. Jack wasn't interested in me unless she was threatening me. Samara, however, was totally my type. She was wise, experienced, gorgeous, honorable and commited to her duties as an Asari Justicar. I brought her on every mission I could. I love a mature woman in uniform and she had more than a few centuries on me!
We got to know each other really well, so I eventually made my feelings known.
She turned me down. I was crushed.
So, out of options, I turned to Thane Kiros. He was like an amphibious Adam Jensen and he was mysterious to boot. It didn't really go anywhere, though, mostly because he had that terminal illness and a life filled with regrets. I comforted him as best I could and I think we just ended up as really good friends. I had to get a private dance from Kelly to get my mind off all his depressing stuff.
In the end we all survived the suicide mission against The Collectors, but Kelly was turned to goo for Reaper parts. Still nothing from the panda ring, even after all that.
In Mass Effect 3, I had a chance to get caught up with Thane, at least before he was killed defending a politican from a space ninja. After that I was single again, but I did avenge him by skewering that ninja later on.
Over the course of the game my replacement for Kelly, Samantha, turned out to be rather interesting, fun and engaging. We talked lots between my missions, played chess and, well, one thing led to another and she became my girlfriend. I liked her quite a bit, plus her interest in taking showers together made up for that robot fetish she had. She also kept me honest by instructing me on good dental hygiene.
And so it was decided - after I saved the galaxy from the Reapers one last time we would get married, get a house with a white picket fence and have two kids. And then a star kid gave me four choices, I picked one and I died, leaving Samantha a widow.
Even before I looked to check the ring again, I was pretty sure Bioware was giving me the opposite of what I wanted. I put on the ring once more and nothing happened. No throne, no Evangeline and Zoe.
I played Fallout: New Vegas, slept with Benny and killed him, then tried to woo Veronica but that didn't go anywhere. I ended up screwing over the NCR, the Legion and Mr. House to take New Vegas and the Hoover Dam for myself. In Skyrim, I joined up with the Stormcloaks, learned to shout like a dragon and eventually met a vampire named Serana who had no interest in a relationship even after biting me, drinking my blood and turning me into a vampire. So I married that girl in Whiterun and tore her away from her dreams of running a tavern there so she could be my captive housewife in Solitude - and then I just adventured with Serana all the time.
Nothing from the ring.
So, I've come to the conclusion that this panda ring does not work as advertised. Bioware, Bethesda and Obsidian Games all seem to give me the same nuanced experiences other people get regardless of my interests and differing choices. I did not experience anything different or special because these game developers liked faes. I've heard people make a big fuss about blue, green and red endings, but I'm more cranky about that dying-and-not-being-with-Samantha thing. I could live without Veronica, but Serana would have also been nice.
I'll never trust a panda again. Screw those guys. I guess I can live with the games, though, even if I don't always get what I want. Still, is sitting on a throne and having Zoe Saldana rest her head on my shoulder too much to want from life?
The Inferno Goddess moves in mysterious ways. I am only one of Her priestesses but it as recently come to my attention that a TV show depicted alleged Inferno Goddess worshippers in a negative light. I'll be frank, not everyone genuinely loves my Goddess and are really just arsonists. We do not like them or condone their actions and when they pass on from this mortal coil She will immolate their souls rather than have them join with Her to burn forever.
So when someone portrays arsonists in a negative light on TV, the Goddess doesn't get upset. That TV show is not talking about Her or Her genuinely devoted worshippers. They're talking about arsonists. We burn offerings for our Goddess out of love for Her and only at designated places of worship. Arsonists burn things out of malice toward others. When they run to my Goddess as an excuse for their deeds, we turn them away - though some them now weirdly claim it was about ethics when running to us doesn't work out.
Recently the arsonists went to Change.org to demand that water parks apologize for how these TV shows had depicted them.
Now, I'll admit Inferno Goddess and the Aqua Goddess are not the best of friends - they really only get along where grease and gasoline fires are concerned. Even though Inferno Goddess dislikes water otherwise She doesn't see the connection between these water parks, their Aqua Goddess, water-worshippers and how TV shows are written, much less why these parks should apologize to arsonist assholes for being depicted as arsonist assholes.
We don't think the water parks need to apologize for what NBC writers do. We stand in agreement with Aqua Goddess and her followers on this.
And really, people use this Change.org thing for all kinds of weird crap it really wasn't intended for. I've seen it used to ask Nintendo to make Super Smash Bros. for PS Vita or to demand studios make games they want. One of my fellow worshippers tried to petition for the creation of a mansion for Inferno Goddess to live in, but given that She is living flame and we lost a few places before this, we told him to take it down.
Its not like She has a problem staying warm anyway.
I'd love to see Her all the time, but She only really appears when She needs to. She has, however, asked us to counter the existence of these water parks by building Her a gasoline park so She, too, can enjoy some spring and summer fun in the sun. She thinks gasoline prices are at a reasonable stage for us to pull this off and its been a while since She's gone for a dip. We are now in the process of converting an oil refinery for this purpose.
We think She's earned it.
If there's one thing you can count on from fans of The Legend of Zelda, its consistency. These people know what they want. Zelda fans today complain that the series is always more of the same, which is why when The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was released it was met with lavish praise and Game of the Year awards for breaking from tradition and literally reusing the same overworld map from A Link to the Past.
I tease, of course. Well, I'm teasing the game, at least. Zelda fans are just plain weird at times. ALBW did a damn fine job of revisiting a classic Zelda setting while upending the table elswhere. It was the world of LTTP many hundred years a later and some of the landscape and the alternate dimension of Lorule were actually different. The dungeon structure was also more open-ended thanks to items being rented from a shop rather than found in dungeons.
Ever since Eiji Aonuma took the director's chair for the Zelda series, he's always found interesting ways to subvert the classic Zelda formula. Time loops, burying kingdoms under the sea, founding new kingdoms with railways and putting cities in the sky - Aonuma enjoys shaking the series up a bit.
Still, its interesting that amidst the accusations that Zelda is always more of the same that Aonuma's first full Zelda game, Majora's Mask, was anything but and met with derision from fans for being totally different.
When I originally played Majora's Mask, it had released a few weeks after Shenmue and I was just a few weeks away from graduating college. While I used the internet a lot in college - way more than back home since a T1 connection thrashed 56k - I never used gaming forums. I was still mostly getting my game news from magazines, looking foward to games like Phantasy Star Online or Onimusha, looking up tips on Perfect Dark - that sort of thing. Plus I had tons of student clubs to attend, I wrote for the campus paper, helped plan events, made flyers and worked in games amidst all that and classes. There just wasn't much time to chat about games online.
Anyway, Majora's Mask and Shenmue were unlike anything I had played before. These games had living, breathing worlds, full of characters that had daily routines and some even had friendships, relationships and working or leisure hours. Majora's Mask even had one of my favorite science-fiction tropes as a feature - a time loop. It also scaled back the number of dungeons to emphasize the world, its characters and the game also had a much richer story than any Zelda before it.
Still, the game was a bit overwhelming and no magazine was recent enough to help me figure out some of the quests, so I decided to use a gaming forum for the first time.
Rather than answer my questions, though, users there thought it better to insult what I was enjoying and instruct me to play Ocarina of Time or A Link to the Past instead. When I told them I had already played those games and was looking for help with Majora's Mask, they just offered of checklist of reasons why Majora's Mask "sucked." I was wrong, dammit, and they were going to make me see the light.
Because Majora's Mask didn't have eight dungeons. Ganon wasn't in it. Link didn't grow up. There was no Triforce or Seven Sages to find. It seemed, for them, that a Zelda game could only be a real Zelda game if it had these things. That and time limits were bad, mmmkay?
Apparently they also hadn't played Link's Awakening, which also broke away from that formula somewhat. Of course, in the West, handheld games magically don't count as real to some folks, but that's another subject to itself.
Anyway, these Zelda fans did want more of the same. You could tell that some of them were just dorks that had been around since the NES days and had nothing better to do but wage war with the rising Ocarina of TIme fanboys. Majora's Mask was only bad to some of them because it was a sequel to OOT. The younger ones being babysat by the internet liked OOT because it was their first Zelda and you grew up in it, so when that didn't happen in Majora's Mask they hated it. That and they pretended Zelda II was good because Link was "grown up" in that, too.
Simply put, Majora's Mask rocked their precious boats.
That was my impression at the time, at least. When I later browsed the forums for Shenmue and The Sims, people were more friendly and cordial about discussing those newer games, likely because those franchises didn't have a history yet. I'd like to believe I learned that lesson from that, but I'd go on to visit Final Fantasy, Fallout and Persona forums later anyway.
There are people that still aren't over Final Fantasy VII and also some Persona 2 fans that really get bent out of shape each time someone mentions Persona 4.
That said, over the years Majora's Mask has had three additional re-releases - once in the form of a pre-order bonus disc that came with Wind Waker, another time on Virtual Console and now as a 3DS remake. What's interesting is in that time the game gained a tremendous amount of appreciation for being the darker, more surreal, unique and risky Zelda game. Now Majora's Mask is more commonly loved because there isn't another game out there like it.
There are other factors at play that explain Majora's Mask's appreciation now. For one, some of those people on the forums grew up and realized they had nothing to gain by rationalizing their purchases to strangers on the internet. I also think some people found the maturity of the game's message preferable to Link physically maturing. The time loop aspect continues to make the game stand out. That it was a ten dollar purchase on Wii Virtual Console and it gained a lot of visibility through "Let's Plays" and speedruns also plays a role here.
Because elements of the game were stigmatized fifteen years ago, a lot of people didn't allow themselves to try it back then. When those stigmas faded, the game got a real chance. To be fair, though, it wasn't only the stigmas holding it back, in 2000 there was also the hype of the PS2's arrival and Xbox and Gamecube were peeking over the horizon as well. Majora's Mask came out at time when the Nintendo 64's newness had long since faded.
Final Fantasy IX shared a very similar fate on Playstation, come to think of it,. Now many people love that game, too.
There are those that will lament digital rereleases, remakes and remasters - and I'll admit the level of remasters of games not even two years old is a bit of a farce right now - but I'll never complain about a great game from further in the past getting another lease on life and finding new fans. Some things just get better with age and Majora's Mask is certainly one of them.