Monday, 20 August 2012

Hope Piqued for a Sequel to The World Ends with You... But don't get too excited.

It's been a fairly exciting week for gamers these past few seven days, and for good reason. Some speculative screenshots for the upcoming Grand Theft Auto V have been released, a number of minor bits and pieces regarding the next Smash Bros. game have found their way from Sakurai's mouth to the web... But, despite these exciting, mainstream games being reported on these past few days, one teaser site spawned from a 2008 underground hit has been the most exciting for yours truly. If, like me, you're a fan of The World Ends with You (well, I'd consider myself more than a fan but that's beside the point) then you'll have most definitely heard the big news in relation to this teaser website. Yes, the time has finally come: In just under seven days time we'll be seeing the announcement of the next installment in the vast lore of The World Ends with You... Hopefully.

The teaser website, featuring a countdown much reminiscent of The World Ends with You's erasure clocks, as well as a remixed version of the song 'Calling', point in the direction of a new installment. However, various sources state otherwise. Here's hoping said sources are wrong...
At this enthralling teaser website, you'll find what started out as a seven day countdown for something clearly related to The World Ends with You. Various things have 100% confirmed this: The site features a remixed version of a song from the original game's soundtrack, titled Calling, as well as an unfinished logo that shows the stylish silhouette of Shibuya's 104 district, also featured in the original game along with its logo. The original game's art and character designers, Tetsuya Nomura and Gen Kobayashi, are also credited at the footer of the site. Something all-new in relation to The World Ends with You is definitely coming, but don't get your hopes up for a sequel just yet. Why? Well, various sources have all but confirmed something else; Something that practically forced me to grab some metaphorical hype paint remover upon painting myself hyped when I initially discovered the site this morrow. You see, there's a good chance that this much-proclaimed sequel, one I'm sure we're all hoping to see on 3DS or Wii U, is actually some kind of social game or network for PCs and various smartphone devices. Bummer, I know. What exactly points in this direction? First off, the Twitter account of a Japanese Square-Enix representative posted a link to the site alongside a number of words which lead one to believe the prospect of a PC and smartphone release as opposed to what we actually want: A proper sequel or prequel, or at least a remake. In fact, I'd be more excited for the latter in the event that they screw up the continuity like they did with Kingdom Hearts upon developing a sequel.

Secondly are more speculative hints that the game, or whatever it is, will be on the wrong platforms. The site features a link to Square's mobile gaming partner, GREE, alongside various links to other social networks in order to share the news of the teaser. The source code of the website also includes hints at GREE's involvement in the project, as well as a mobile site. I'm hoping that this is merely an extra feature in ties with what we're all hoping is a brand-new game on 'proper' gaming platforms, but we'll just have to wait and see. The mobile site found in the source code might be just that: a mobile version of the site. Really, in basic terms, we don't know whether this teaser site will reveal a brand-new game set in The World Ends with You's stunning Shibuya-based universe, or just some odd social networking game that everyone's going to ignore outside of Japan (Square-Enix have been doing this sort of thing lately, after all) and all we can do is wait.

Here's hoping one of my favourite games of all time - my most beloved RPG and number one handheld game, no less - is getting a proper sequel and not some ridiculous smartphone sub-game.
Despite the disappointing prospect that this big reveal won't be what I truly want, I am excited for the high possibility of new artwork and music. After all, we've already got the remixed version of Calling, not to mention a fancy new logo, so there's a much higher chance that we'll at least be seeing more of these mediums in relation to The World Ends with You, whether this new project happens to be a PC and smartphone exclusive game or not. When it comes down to it, nothing is confirmed and we don't know squat as of yet. All we can do is wait, unlike the original's players who fought against an ever-ticking time limit on a daily basis. For us, just under seven days remain. Hopefully we're in for one hell of a prize after this wait...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Update 15/08/12: Noodle's Blog Is Evolving... / Stream Launch / Upcoming Posts

The first thing you'll most definitely notice about this post is its title. Typically I'd title these progressive update posts with a previously standardised format of 'Update: insert whatever I'll be discussing within this post'. Well, while this format hasn't really changed too much with this update I have indeed modified it for a reason, and that's to amplify the key element of this update as well as what's to come in the not too distant future: change. Change is good, especially when it's the kind of modification that will hopefully soon be made to this blog, one I've been independently running with little real change over the past few years. Of course, you only have to compare my posts from back when I started to my latest to tell that my skill in writing and opinionated journalism has improved, but structurally this site hasn't changed a bit since its genesis. In fact, I probably shouldn't  There's not a whole lot that sets this site apart from any other typical collection of articulate thoughts here on Blogger. Sure, I've designed and painstakingly pieced together an original design and developed my skills over the years, but I feel that now would be the perfect time to make an upgrade with a little help from people who are basically better at graphic arts than yours truly. Yes, it's time for another redesign, and not just in the sense of the appearance of this blog.

This evolution links in with the other major topic I'll be detailing in this post, which I might as well discuss now. In the last update post (or was it the one before?) I dictated my involvements in an ONM Forum project, the online magazine titled Stream. Well, in case you're not keeping up with the times in regards to this enthralling project, it has now launched along with the first issue of this free, fantastically designed web-mag. A special mention goes out to all involved, forum members Conorr and TJ HipHop in particular for piecing together what has turned out a gleaming success and then some. And who knows, this success might lead to something big. Anyway, the main thing outside of the magazine's launch that I wanted to discuss is my involvement in the project. I've already contributed my Super Mario 3D Land review from a few months back to the launch issue of Stream, but in the same issue an exclusive article produced by moi is also included. As I detailed in the last update here on the blog while I was still writing the thing, I reviewed Sacha Baron Cohen's latest, The Dictator, to be exclusively featured in the magazine for at least some time. Anyway, I'm waffling, so let's swiftly get into the meat of things, here: Do I plan on posting my first non-game review here on the blog? Certainly. You see, as much as I love video games, I don't really see as much success in writing journalism for this medium as I do for, say, reviewing albums and films. This isn't to say that I'm dropping games journalism, it will definitely still be the main focus of this journalistic abode, just with reviews and opinions in relation to other forms of media as a metaphorical side-dish every now and again. Aside from my first published film review, I've got a critical synopsis of Blur's album 13 on the way, too. This album review will be included in the second issue of Stream and on this site several weeks after. I only plan on publishing these reviews on here following the launch of the new design, however, to mark the occasion with even more change.

Speaking of which, let's get back to the second re-design. I won't be working on the design I have planned in a graphical sense this time around, as I've never been that skilled in graphic design and I don't even own any software to develop something great. I actually used an online service, Fotoflexer, to piece together the design you'll see surrounding this post at the time of writing. I already mentioned TJ Hiphop, whose contribution to Stream excited me and made me think, 'This is the guy for the job' as I was planning this revolution. Thankfully, he's shown interest in helping me out in this regard and I'll be willing to credit him as much as possible if he goes all the way with it. We're probably looking at a September-time launch for the redesign, so look forward to that.

Finally, allow me to close off this update with the usual news I stick into these posts; what exactly is coming up article-wise in the coming months? Well, the next thing you'll see, either before or after the redesign has launched, is my review of 3DS gem Kid Icarus: Uprising. Honestly, as things are progressing at this moment in time, I think this might just be my best review yet, especially after my review of Mario Kart 7, which I was honestly a little disappointed with. Even better is the news that it's almost finished, and you'll see it published on here very soon. Following that, I'm going back to home console game reviews after a fairly lengthy hiatus. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater on PS2 is the game in question, and following that, something massive: My review of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which I'm currently replaying and still loving to bits. After that, possibly the last review you'll see from me this year will be of the excellent Persona 4,which I'm planning on also replaying after I'm done with the aforementioned projects. In terms of features, I'm currently working on my Top Ten Personal Favourite Games list, which will be up before the end of september, probably. And, for this update at least, that's just about everything. So, for now, look forward to the redesign as well as all these upcoming posts and have a nice day!

Note: If this post feels rushed, so be it. It's only an update and I wanted to get this out ASAP. At least I'm getting the news across, right?