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On Criticism

A critic’s job is not to reflect the public opinion, but to inform it.

Art may be judged by how well it achieves what it sets out to do.

Ratings should be meaningful and distinct. The difference between each rank of the rating system should be obvious to the reviewer and the reader.

Bandits. Simple as that.

As a game developer, there’s nothing I want more than a passionate audience. Seeing Penny Arcade’s evangelical comic about Battle Chasers: Nightwar plucked an envious string in my heart. It’s exactly my kind of game: a turn-based RPG in the classic Final Fantasy style. I picked it up for Nintendo Switch to have something new to play on the bus. These are my first impressions after an hour of gameplay, having never read a Battle Chasers comic.

A spooky-looking vendor wearing deep robes and carrying a lanters says 'THINGS!' as you enter its shop.

Me Suffer Now

ÛKBÛK: “Hello everyone, and welcome to your first day of orientation under the Bright Lord! My name is Ûkbûk and I’ll be your Experience Coordinator here at Cirith Ungol. We’re having these sessions in small groups so I can hear your concerns and listen to your feedback.

“I’m sure you’re a little disoriented after being forcibly branded, whether you were grabbed from behind or pounced on from a tower or because you didn’t see a human ranger sprinting directly at you in broad daylight across a flat plain while you were totally sober.”

An orc in black armor at night.

Halo: Installation 07

During my time at 343 Industries, I toyed around with a pitch for a game for Xbox One. It would use the power of the new console to render an entire Halo installation. I wanted it to be a vehicle-centered sandbox with occasional on-foot bits, possibly in third person. Imagine taking a stock Warthog and upgrading it throughout the game, turning it into a Covenant Killer or Forerunner Flattener. I’m not saying I had it all figured out (hence why the pitch bombed in concept), so if this doesn’t seem fully baked to you… it wasn’t.

I wasn’t sure which installation to use, so I put down 07 as a starting point. They’ve all had such a grand history, even the ones Master Chief didn’t blow up. Please feel free to use this for your next game, Bonnie Ross.

Or whoever.

Remember to Forget

What would you ask the Gaming Fairy to make you forget?

Final Fantasy VI

My absolute favorite RPG and, um, obvious inspiration. I love the characters, the way the story builds, losing Terra at one point, the escape from Vector, your brief foray into the land of Espers. Especially the stunning second half where the bad guy wins and destroys the world. Rebuild your team and take him down.

Final Fantasy VI cover art, Terra leans over her Magitek armor, overseeing the city below.

That Next Next Next

The Resident Evil series is already known for its famous (infamous?) doors, and these new doors were almost surely the result of a lot of careful toil and consideration. I bet there was a whole team that worked on them. Month after month, just getting those doors nice and polished. We can’t ship until the doors are working, guys. Gotta pull some overtime and finish up the doors.

Kirk Hamilton on Kotaku

I’ve watched Markiplier play Resident Evil 7 and I agree: the door gameplay is amazing.

A spooky white door, barely ajar

Bravely Diffident

Bravely Default is the most anime game I’ve ever played. It’s the animest (/ˈæn.ɪ.meɪɛst/).

Woman with long black hair in a white dress, sitting on a tree branch, kissing a butterfly

You control an innocent farm boy named Tiz, the kind of blank-stare everyman Invader Zim might terrorize. He’s joined by Agnès, priestess and beneficiary of modern Unicode text input, who attempts to save the world by being really really demure at everyone.

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