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The tepid critical and commercial reaction to this year’s God of War and Gears of War prequels will hopefully send a message that I’ve been wanting the powers that be in all of entertainment to receive for years: Many of us who like a thing don’t care about what happened before in the thing we liked. Prequels — who asked for them?
Even if you were just writing about video games, by all accounts it was a magical time.
Take the Official PlayStation 2 magazine in Australia — back then it shifted numbers that had mainstream advertisers salivating. No other magazine has come close since. Local publishers tossed oodles of money at Editors in response; no-one questioned the budgets as they skyrocketed — it seems crazy in hindsight but it was really an all-too brief moment of crystal clear sanity. Writers were actually paid in currency to write in those days. Incredible.
When it comes to gaming, RPGs represent the pinnacle of storytelling with games like Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Mass Effect, Skyrim and Earthbound. While many games from many different genres do indeed have compelling stories, storytelling, more than any other facet, is what RPGs are known for.
Analysing a company’s position and their marketing strategy with consoles is often of little interest to me: I’m not an investor, and sometimes the conversations feel like a slightly more sophisticated version of people arguing about the CONSOLE WARS™ on forums. Bleh. And yet I walked out of a Nintendo preview event yesterday with one thought on my mind: why would someone buy a Wii U when they can just buy a 3DS?
Nostalgia is strange thing, and it’s difficult to quantify.
The most tragic thing about the closure of LucasArts is the loss of jobs, no question. But when the dust settles, when those that were made redundant finally settle into new jobs, new lives, what will hurt, and continue to hurt, is the legacy of lost work. Years of graft by hundreds of human beings passionate about their jobs . They will never enjoy the fruits of their labour, share that work with family, friends or the general public. That work will remain buried inside some dusty server in a locked room, never to be seen again. That’s a genuine cause for sadness.
For the 150 former employees now out of a job, the decision by Disney to close Lucasarts is a sad and terrible one. I wish them all the best in their efforts to find a new employer.
As I’ve been working my way through Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix this past week, it occurs to me just how much I dislike the Japanese cast of the games in the collection — which, given how bad English dubs can be, is pretty surprising. But it isn’t that the Japanese voice actors aren’t good, rather it’s that I miss the Disney voices I grew up with as a kid.