Hello again! Oh yes, Circle people, you know very well what time it is! Jon here, back with weekly Roundup.
I’ve been playing Mass Effect: Andromeda on Insanity because I always play every Mass Effect game on Insanity. I don’t want to speak on the game’s writing and narrative until I’ve finished my first playthrough, but one thing I can speak on is the gameplay. They should really have called this Shonen Anime Simulator because I’ve been doing crazy stunts like this and loving it. The jet pack is the best thing they added to this game.
And with that, the Roundup!
Joshua Rivera reviewed shonen anime/dating simulator, Mass Effect: Andromeda. The game feels like a missed opportunity. For a brand new galaxy, there are very few new native species to interact with, and the game’s narrative doesn’t take any risks. You’ve seen all these characters in the hundreds of books, films, and TV shows they were drawn from: the grumpy old veteran, the young hot-headed cop, the straightlaced second-in-command, etc. They play into all their tropes to a tee and don’t break the mold much. For a game that tries to channel the excitement of striking into a brand new frontier, it feels too much like home. Read Josh’s full review here.
Samit Sarkar reports that Jonathan Jafari, the YouTuber better known as JonTron, has been cut from the production of Yooka-Laylee. Jafari was planned to voice a character in the upcoming game. Yooka-Laylee developer Playtonic Games cited that Jafari was dropped “in light of his recent personal viewpoints”. He’s racist. Super, super racist. Like brown people are genetically predisposed to crime racist (white people are the antidote, obviously). Read Samit’s full report here.
Michelle Ehrhardt reviewed Nier: Automata, the latest JRPG offering from highly flexible developer Platinum Games and very odd sequel to the 2010 title Nier. Nier: Automata takes place on an Earth where everything is fought by proxy. Human combatants are now a relic of the past, and all warfare is done through androids and cyborgs. Players follow the story of 2B and 9S, androids sent to Earth on a mission, which acts as a vehicle for developer Yoko Taro’s long meditation on warfare, purpose, and human nature. Read Michelle’s full review (with some minor spoilers!) here.
Michael Thomsen reviewed 1-2-Switch, you know, that other Switch game besides Zelda. In most ways, 1-2-Switch is pretty much what you’d expect. You chomp in front of a camera to eat a bunch of sandwiches. One game even has you cradling a Switch controller to soothe its crying (the controller is a baby). One big departure the 1-2-Switch represents in gaming, however, is the focus on ourselves as the controllers: the design objective of the game is to focus on the other players rather than what’s on screen. Did it achieve its goal? Read Mike’s full review here.
Gita Jackson reports that a bunch of artists have been drawing Kirby with human feet. Why? Because she wants all of us to feel creeped out together. Personally, however, I am strangely okay with all these pictures. I especially like the one where Kirby has human teeth and is eating a cone. . . thingie? Maybe shawarma? Read Gita’s full report here.
And now for news outside the Circle. . .
There’s a guy on the Internet who has catalogued his discovery of what is possibly the very first Easter egg in videogames, hidden inside a 1977 videogame called Starship 1. This bit of gaming archeology required the man to dig through old catalogues, sales documents, ROMs, control boards, and the arcade machine itself (with repairs!). Oh, and the guy is question is Ed Fries, the former vice president of Microsoft and one of the fathers of the original Xbox. Read more about Fries’ fascinating project here.
A bunch of terrible people harassed a woman over Mass Effect: Andromeda. Allie Rose-Marie Leost was bombarded with misogynistic and sexually explicit tweets after she was identified as an animator on the game, after being targeted by a blogger who blamed the all the animation problems of Mass Effect: Andromeda on Leost and suggested she got the job through sex. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Mass Effect has had a problem with fan backlash and misogyny. Read more here.
In the ongoing campaign to retire the Battle.net name, the Battle.net Launcher has been rebranded as Blizzard App. This breaks my heart far more than it should. I remember playing Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness on Kali as a young boy, and then using Battle.net for the first time when Diablo was released. I feel like I should be lighting a candle or something. Read more about it here.
Eurogamer sat down and spoke with Andrzej Sapkowski, the Polish writer who enjoyed moderate popularity until a company called CD Projekt RED came along and made three videogames from his The Witcher series. Now he’s kind of a big deal. Sapkowski has received some notoriety for staunchly insisting that The Witcher games do not influence the canonicity of the books whatsoever. The interview is pretty fascinating. Dude was 38 years old and working as a fur salesman until he decided to become a writer. Sapkowski came up with the concept after deconstructing Polish fairy tales and realizing that cobblers, knights, and priests couldn’t possibly kill monsters. Only a trained professional could. Hence, the witchers. He’s also buds with George R.R. Martin, and I quote, “We are friends. We know each other. We drink unbelievable quantities of beer.” Read the whole interview here.
In a month filled with notable retirements, Brian Fargo adds himself to the list. The founder of Interplay Entertainment and InXile Entertainment announced that he will be retiring from the gaming industry after Wasteland 3 hits stores. Fargo is a legend in the field, working with the original teams that founded Fallout, Baldur’s Gate, and Descent. He is 54 years old. Read more here.
And that’s all for today! Tune in next Friday for another Circle Roundup!