Hack the Planet – This Week in Games

Hi! Thanks for reading my column this week. I realize a lot is happening right now, but you taking the time to read a bunch of my silly ramblings about industry goings-on means a lot to me. Hopefully I can make your day a little better.

There were some big announcements this week, so let’s take a look at what those online countdowns wound up revealing

SOUL HACKERS 2 IS PREPPING TO CRASH ONLINE STORE SERVERS THIS SUMMER

The “mystery” countdown has ended, and unsurprisingly, it’s a brand-new Soul Hackers game! It’s nice to see that Persona isn’t the only Shin Megami Tensei series spinoff worthy of SegAtlus’s love these days. Let’s take a look at the reveal trailer!


Soul Hackers 2 is set in the near-future, where underground societies of devil summoners lurk on the fringes of society. A mysterious, almighty digital being named Aion has become aware of the world’s pending destruction, and has dispatched two of his “agents” – Ringo and Figure – to protect the people who can stop the impending disaster. Except those people are already dead. Whoops! Thankfully, Ringo’s managed to “Soul Hack” them back to life, but there’s still mass destruction that needs to be somehow averted.

I’m not completely sure if this is a true sequel to the original Soul Hackers set even further in the future. There are some familiar names and terms – the Phantom Society from the original is present – ​​but the general vibe of the game feels quite different. In this case, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The main character designer is Shirow Miwaan artist whose work I’ve been especially fond of for a while and whose colorful, sharply-angled style fits in very well with the general MegaTen vibe. He’s worked with Sega previously on the 7th Dragon series, so he was likely an easy choice to bring onboard for this project.

Not too much is known about gameplay yet, except that the combat is once again based heavily around exploiting enemy weaknesses (as is typical for most modern SMT titles). There’s also handheld demon-summoning COMP systems for party members, which you can customize with additional active and passive skills.

Soul Hackers 2 is due out sooner than you think: A simultaneous worldwide launch is scheduled for August 16-17, meaning you’ll be able to wrap up your summer with some good old-fashioned demon summoning. It’ll be available on PS4/5, Steamand Xbox One/Series, making this the first time since the original Xbox that a MegaTen RPG has graced Microsoft‘s console. No Switch version, though, which has the Nintendo faithful upset. MegaTen as a series has always hopped around a lot among platforms, though – and, if rumor is true, Shin Megami Tensei V was at least partially financed by Nintendo. If Atlus doesn’t think Soul Hackers 2 is going to work out on Switch, there’s not much we can do. (Protip: Don’t say things like “This should be on Switch because it looks like the Switch can handle it” because you really don’t know what’s going on under the hood.)

SURPRISE, STREET FIGHTER 6 IS HAPPENING, AND RYU IS FREAKISHLY SWOLE

As expected, that CAPCOM countdown timer from last week was related to Street Fighterand as soon as the CAPCOM Pro Tour matches ended we got some special trailers. But since the event ran long, we were in the awkward situation of the website’s countdown timer ending before all the Street Fighter V exhibition matches had wrapped, meaning the announcement was delayed about half an hour. You know, typical fighting game tournament things.

But before the announcement everyone was anticipating, CAPCOM had a little surprise in the form of CAPCOM Fighting Collectiondue out on PS4/5, Xbox One/Series, PC, and Switch!


This set contains a whole bunch of CAPCOM‘s CPS2/3 era fighting games (and Puzzle Fighter, which kinda counts), including every single arcade Darkstalkers title, Cyberbots, Hyper Street Fighter 2, Super Gem Fighter/Pocket Fighterand the much-referenced but rarely-played RPG/fighting hybrid Warzard/Red Earth. (Conspicuously absent are the Marvel games and the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure fighters, which would probably have been a licensing headache.)

Extras include a wealth of development design and promotional art materials, a music player, training modes for all games, display options, and rollback-netcode online play for all titles. Hmmm, I think CAPCOM is looking at the community surrounding popular online PC emulation program Fightcade and saying, “We need to be offering something like this or we’re leaving money on the table!” Which makes sense, but it’s hard to say if the folks who’ve been playing on Fightcade for quite some time now will eagerly move over to CAPCOM Fighting Collection instead.

And then… what we’ve all been waiting for!


It’s Ryu! From Streets! Who has clearly been hitting the same steroids Chris Redfield was using around Resident Evil 5because good lord he is ginormous. And scruffy. And rather uncomfortably detailed in a lot of places.

And then we see a bit of Luke in shadow and… that’s it! See you in Street Fighter 6, everybody, we’ll have more news this summer! Man, what a letdown. You can’t even show a smidgeon of early gameplay like the first Street Fighter V trailers did?

And then there’s the logo, which… what? What were they thinking?

As soon as this thing flashed onscreen, it was the subject of ridicule. Copious unflattering comparisons to a phone app icon were made. And then it was pointed out that there was a stock image on an Adobe website that looked eerily similar to the logo…

Did some overworked designer CAPCOM lift the content but just edit it slightly and call it a day? It doesn’t seem too farfetched given their history of art mistakes. Remember that time they lifted a piece of Okami art from IGN for the Wii re-release of the game, only to forget to edit out watermarks? That’s so CAPCOM!

Anyhow, no matter if the logo design is original or not, I don’t see it sticking around after the waves of internet ridicule. At least, I hope it doesnt. Hopefully we’ll see a better, more Street Fighter-y logo come summertime when more information about the game drops.

NINTENDO IS IN (LOW-KEY) ACQUISITION MODE

Much has been discussed regarding Sony and Microsoft‘s mega-acquisitions since the start of 2022, which has lead to folks saying “Well, why doesn’t Nintendo make a move to acquire a big publisher/developer?” It’s easy to forget, however, that Nintendo marches to the beat of their own drummer when it comes to… well, everything. When they acquire developers, they don’t go for huge AAA multiplatform studios, but instead invite smaller teams that they’ve worked with for years into the fold – developers like Monolith Soft and Next Level Games.

Nintendo‘s latest company acquisition is SRD, a Japanese company that began life as Systems Research and Development back in 1979. Their main business for a long time was the development of CAD software, but they’ve been doing miscellaneous programming contract work for Nintendo since the 80’s. Eventually, their work for Nintendo became so important that they up and moved their headquarters from Osaka to the Nintendo HQ building in Kyoto to be even closer to their business partner and ceased development of other software to become a full-time Nintendo subcontractor.

While SRD’s name isn’t prominently featured on many of the products they had a hand in, a glance at their development history page shows just how many big Nintendo titles SRD has lent their expertise to. Recently, they’ve also been crucial in developing the backends for the various console eShops as well as various functionality applications. So yeah, SRD’s a very strong partner for Nintendo, despite their low profile. N just said “look, you already live here, why don’t we just get hitched already?” And so they did. Not every acquisition has to be a huge, multi-million dollar, PR-laden affair to be important. I’m sure they’ll get along just fine.

NEWSBITS

  • NieR: Automata is getting an anime! I don’t think I need to say too much about it here, since the ANN news crew has been doing a bang-up job of reporting on it. As a big fan of the game, my reaction is… cautious. I’ve been burned way too many times with mediacre game-to-anime adaptations. But, given that this is a NieR thing, I’m hoping it will ditch the idea of ​​being a beat-for-beat adaptation of the game and instead throw us a whole bunch of crazy curveballs. Yes, a straight adaptation would be safe, but when has NieR ever played it safe?

  • There’s a Pokémon Direct broadcast scheduled for Sunday. We’ll likely see DLC content for Pokémon Legends Arceusbut other than that… who knows?
  • The Final Fantasy XIV team publicly laid out their content roadmap plans for the next decade. You certainly can’t say that Square Enix isn’t looking ahead. There was a lot covered in the letter from the Producer livestream, so rather than trying to summarize it all here. I’m just going to direct you to Gematsu, who wrote up everything that was discussed.

That sums up most of the week’s major gaming news. Oh, if you’re not too busy with Elden Ring or want a reprieve from doomscrolling, why not drop by the forums? There’s a link below, and you can talk about all of those new announcements. And post ridiculous memes about Ryu’s hugeness. Seriously, that stuff’s been fueling me all week. Take care, stay safe, and don’t forget to log off for your mental health when you need to. See you again soon!

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