A Little Spanish Three – This Week in Games

Hey folks! How’s Elden Ring going? Dying a lot in hilariously painful ways? Yeah, I figured.

I’m sure you’re aware by now, but there’s some awful stuff going on in the world right now, and millions of civilians in Ukraine are struggling. To help out, my buddy Brandon Sheffield is organizing an indie game bundle over on itch.io to benefit various charities helping Ukrainians. By the time you read this, the submission window will be closing, but I think some last-minute addition offers will be considered – so if you’re an indie developer who wants to help out with a game for the bundle, let him know ! And if you’re not an indie developer but interested in buying the bundle to help out, you can follow him on Twitter to know when it’s available for purchase.

Now, let’s move on to the big news this week!

A NEW POKEMON GENERATION EMERGES IN THE COLORFUL, HISTORY-FILLED LANDS OF NOT-SPAIN

Pokemon presents aired on Sunday, and it contained the usual flurry of announcements for various already-released Pokemon games: Pokemon GO, Pokemon Masters, Pokemon Café Remix. There’s also a new mode for Pokemon Unitewhich… hey, serious question, is Pokemon Unite still a thing? I remember people were interested for like a week or two after it launched, but I’ve heard absolutely nothing about it since. Maybe it’s just my social circles, but I feel like the lack of buzz is not good?

Anywaythere’s some new stuff for Brilliant Shining DaiPer in the form of legendary Pokemon Shaymin, and a new “Daybreak” update for Pokémon Legends Arceus that’s already out and you’re probably playing right now. But all of that news seems trivial next to the big announcement: Gen 9 is coming, and you’ll be on your next Pokemon journey later this year!


The new games are called Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet, which my pedantic brain reacts to like “hey I work with paint a lot and scarlet and violet are actually really close on the color wheel rather than being opposites, so this is a break from naming tradition and I must complain about it!” I’m sure those colors have some important meaning, but I’m still kind of annoyed.

Judging from the museum and “old-world” imagery, the little glimpses of the world map, and the architecture and environments seen in the footage, popular opinion is leaning heavily towards this particular pocket of the poke-verse being based around real-life Spain. (Two of the three starters having Spanish-word puns in their names also back this assumption up.) While precious little gameplay was shown, both the footage and comments from the dev team indicate that, similar to Arceus, Scarlet/Violet is going to have a more open-world approach to roaming environments and catching Pokemon.

Now, let’s talk about what gets everyone excited: the starter Pokemon!

Quaxly is the water starter and is very clearly a duck with blue feet and a wacky pompadour that would make Josuke envious. Aside from that giant pile of blue hair on its head, it’s the most straightforward of the starter design. Doesn’t mean it’s not cute as heck, though.

Fuecoco is the fire representative this time around, and folks immediately started calling it the lost cousin of Bubble Bobble’s Bub and Bob, which made my Taito-loving heart very happy. There’s some argument over whether the design resembles a pepper or is a more obscure reference to a type of cocoa bean fruit. But no matter what this little dude’s based on, the fact is that they’re totes adorbs and I need a big plushie of them to hug immediately.

And then there’s Sprigatito, who… okay, so I know that big, multinational entertainment media companies like Nintendo have departments that look over character designs and graphics during the planning process to catch stuff that might raise eyebrows in certain parts of the world before production gets too far along. I find it extremely hard to believe that nobody in the North American or European branches of Nintendo saw Sprigatito’s design and said, “Hey, uh, you know that new cat plant starter kinda looks like the ol’ ganja, right?” Because within minutes of Pokemon Presents, “weed cat” was trending on Twitter, and along with it a bunch of fanart involving cute Pokemon characters imbibing… substances. I’m not entirely sure I can embed any of it on this site. Anyway, I’m a cat person, so I love Sprigatito regardless of any “associations.”

Personally, I think this is an extremely strong batch of starter Pokemon designs – leagues better than what Sword and Shield had to offer. I’d be down for taking any of these three with me on open-world adventures in Not-Spain. Hopefully the region’s other new Pokemon and regional variants offer similarly strong designs, which will be revealed over the next few months as release approaches. (Anyone else expecting a special Tauros?)

FIGHTING GAME NEWS ROUNDUP: A BUNCH OF CORPORATE AND LEGAL BS

Hey, the EVO 2022 official lineup announcement is happening on the 8th! This is the first offline EVO under Sony’s ownership, so it’ll be interesting to see which games will be in the mix this year. Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, KoFXVand Guilty Gear Strive are obvious… but everything else, not so much. We do, however, know of one game that will definitely not be appearing at EVO this year…

Yep, the days of Super Smash Bros at EVO have apparently come to an end, seemingly at Nintendo‘s behest. Whether this is because they don’t want to work with an event owned by their direct competitor, they’re being uptight about legal clearances, or because they have an official tournament series going with eSports company Panda Global is unknown – and honestly, we ‘I’ll probably never know because whatever’s happening behind the scenes is likely buried under a mountain of NDAs. Still, it’s one less major stage for competitive Smashand that’s unfortunate.

Speaking of tournaments and unfortunate things, though, CAPCOM announced the establishment of a new licensing agreement for events that wish to run and/or broadcast Street Fighter V tournaments, and boy oh boy is it a hot mess. If you want to read the legalize-laden agreements, they’re right here, but the reactions on social media tell you almost everything you need to know.

If you don’t want to wade through a wall of text but want to know what tournament organizers and attendees are concerned about, fighting game announcer and real-life lawyer David Graham posted a tl;dr summary on his website discussing the various points of contention: limiting prize payouts and potential sponsorships and banning spectator fees at venues (which would make covering the cost of renting certain tournament venues extremely hard for certain events). Among many other things.

just a day later, CAPCOM posted a typical response of “We’re listening to feedback!” Y’know, the sort of thing you post after a day of getting roasted and ratio’ed on Twitter to try to assure people that it’s not going to end up being that bad. While some of the more egregious elements of this will likely be altered after community pushback, there’s no way they’re going to scrap this thing altogether, meaning that tournament organizers will have to comply to run SFV whether they like it or not.

I don’t think this is going to be an isolated incident, either – we already know how pissy Nintendo can get over anything Smash-related, and licensed games like Dragon Ball FighterZ (and, claim, Marvel vs. CAPCOM Infinite) have had similar issues with the license-holders being jerks and forbidding their games from being run at certain events. There are bound to be more “community licensing agreements” like this in the future as everyone involved wants a piece of the eSports pie. It wouldn’t surprise me if Nintendo‘s drafting up something similar for Smash right now.

Finally, let’s end this subsection with some good news. Just a little under two weeks away from its release, Atlus announced that Persona 4 Ultimax’s updated re-release will, in fact, offer rollback netcode… though it won’t be implemented until summer. And, for whatever reason, it won’t be coming to Switch, either – just PS4 and PC. So, if online play is what’s most important to you, you know which platforms to buy the game on.

ASSORTED NEWSBITS

  • Trails from Zero has an official English-language release date! You’ll be able to hop into the Crossbell saga on PS4, Switch, and PC come September 27th… unless you’re in Europe, in which case you’ll be getting it a few days later on the 30th.

  • Digimon Con 2022 happened over the weekend, and the event gave us some updates on various Digimon-related games, including assurances that the cursed Digimon Survive actually exists. Still no release date, but somehow I’m not surprised after learning the game was moved to a new developer and most of the work of the last 3-4 years got chucked into the trash. Also re-confirmed during the event: the next Digimon Story series game is still being worked on. That game’s existence was announced even earlier than Digimon Survive. Oof.
  • Camouflag, the development studio behind the cult hit Republic, has officially established a new branch in Japan. Among the staffers are former Devil May Cry producer Matt Walker and beloved localizer/writer Alexander O. Smith, so I suspect that interesting things will be cooking there. Keep an eye on them.

And there we go, that’s a wrap on this week! Obviously Pokemon‘s the big news this time around, so what’re your thoughts on the new games? Got your starter picked out already? What kind of changes and system updates are you hoping for? Let everyone know who the best Pokemon is (Misdreavus) in the forums, which you’ll find linked below! We’ll be back again next week with another big batch of news and commentary. Later, pepper/cocoa-fruit alligator!

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