PACHINKO IS CRYPTO: Our hosts walk a snake-like path this week as they discuss everything from recent trends in the sketch cryptocurrency/NFT market to the news that Konami may be getting out of pachinko and back into making video games again. It’s quite a conversation, in other words.
“Heart Law, Article 9” (03 July 2014): Where our hosts discuss why Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is an important game (by their metric, at least).
CONFIRMATION BIAS:Abandoned is an upcoming Playstation 5-exclusive game made by the small Netherlands-based team, Blue Box Game Studios. After the game’s director made an enigmatic tweet, the internet exploded with conspiracy theories, asserting that the game and its trailers were nothing more than clues that this was not a stand-alone survival horror game but was actually a Silent Hill sequel. More than that, people have asserted that it’s a Silent Hill sequel directed by Hideo Kojima, despite the fact that the studio has gone to great lengths to assure fans that it is not. Andrew and Dan discuss the conspiracy and how it got wrapped up in the darker parts of nerd culture, internet culture, and the complicated edges of fandom.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE MANDALORIAN:A brief check-in to the release of Disney+ this week as Andrew reacts to the first episode of their original, Star Wars show, The Mandalorian. He is surprised more at how much it pulls from Westerns than Star Wars.
A LONG TIME AGO, WE USED TO BE FRIENDS:Veronica Mars was always a show that hovered just below wide popularity, but its fans were devoted and supportive. From the original three seasons that aired on UPN/the CW to its Kickstarted movie, to Hulu’s revival with a fourth season, Andrew and D. Bethel did a rewatch of the show and have some thoughts on what it has been, what it is now, and what it could be in the future.
WEEK IN GEEK: In a fit of nostalgia, Andrew picks up The Sims 3 again (starts at 1:49) while Dan can’t get past a nit-pick to enjoy anything Netflix’s Castlevania has to offer (20:46).
SDCC 2017: [starts at 34:04] It was a big weekend for nerd culture as the San Diego Comic Con dropped a bunch of new trailers on the world. Dan and Andrew look at three trailers and how they seem to be pointing out the creative direction of their respective studios with Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, DC/Warner Bros.’ Justice League, and Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.
For reference, here are the three trailers the discussion focuses on.
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew bides his time until Civilization VI releases by playing a bunch of Blizzard games while Dan swims through the lush animation and Old Norse world of Thunder Lotus Games’ Jotun.
NEWS BLAST – UPDATE – METAL GEAR SURVIVE:Metal Gear series creator and famous non-employee of Konami, Hideo Kojima, boldly said that he has nothing to do with Konami’s upcoming Metal Gear Solid V spinoff, Metal Gear Survive, on stage at this years Tokyo Game Show. Konami retaliated by releasing approximately fifteen minutes of co-op gameplay to a rather tepid response.
LEGACY CHARACTERS 2.0: Building off of the previous conversations about “legacy characters”––superhero mantles that can be passed from person to person rather than being locked to a single identity––in Episode 09 and, tangentially, in Episode 104, Dan and Andrew return to the topic now that the world has a new Superman––officially New Super-Man––and recent Legacy turns with Wolverine and the use of a Legacy character in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: Ghost Rider v3.0, Robby Reyes. So, there’s lots of stuff to talk about.
At this week’s Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, Konami unveiled the trailer for a new Metal Gear game, titled Metal Gear Survive. While a new Metal Gear game was not a surprise, perhaps receiving a trailer so soon after Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (released in September 2015) and the subsequent public relations disaster that was Hideo Kojima’s (creator of Metal Gear) exit from the company made it so. This is made more puzzling considering the very public withdrawal from AAA games that Konami made following the release of MGSV:TPP in favor of more profitable and cheap-to-make pachinko/mobile fare.
The new Metal Gear game trailer has caused fervent discussion for a few reasons.
First, for a game series so thoroughly attached to its creator, Hideo Kojima is not involved with the game in any capacity, which, again, is not surprising considering his focus on a fledgling company and new IP as well as his fairly acrimonious relationship with his former employer of three decades. Second, its apparent focus on multiplayer action arguably stands in contradiction to what Metal Gear is about: stealth and tactics. Third, the dimension-hopping, zombie-filled world seems more like an amalgam of horror Resident Evil and Silent Hill games rather than a heightened reality, Tom Clancyesque, military Metal Gear game.
Lastly, it’s surprising that Konami is interested in creating a mainstream console-based video game at all, especially one in a series with a strong reputation in the industry and among players. Since 2015, Konami has only released licensed soccer video games––Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 and 2017––to the major markets (Playstation 4, XBox One, and PC) aside from releasing MGSV:TPP across all platforms in 2015. This was taken as a signal that Konami does not prioritize the console and home computing market. So, the sudden push of a new Metal Gear game does seem a bit strange. When you consider that alongside the rather non-Metal Gear theme, it draws even more questions as to whether this is actually a Metal Gear game that fits into the canonical story or simply a new IP tagged with a grandfather franchise in a lazy effort to guarantee sales (re: Metroid Prime: Federation Force).
Many sources have erroneously reported that this is the first Metal Gear game developed without Kojima’s involvement. While there have been plenty of Metal Gear games produced and developed by Kojima in varying degrees (Metal Gear AC!D, Metal Gear Solid: Ghost Babel, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance), early in the series’ life, a few Metal Gear games completely skipped the creator’s grace due to different console ports and local demands. Most notoriously, Snake’s Revenge was a side-scrolling sequel to the original Metal Gear developed solely for the North American NES market and none of the original Metal Gear team was involved in any way.
Furthermore, the original Metal Gear was released for Microsoft’s MSX2 platform in Japan. The success of the game, as well as the parallel success of the Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System, prompted Konami to produce a port for Nintendo without Kojima’s involvement at all. The Famicom/NES version is infamous for being a Metal Gear game without a Metal Gear in it (unlike the original MSX version) due to technological constraints,and is a version that Kojima has wholly disowned.
All together, the entire project is punctuated by a question mark at the moment. It is likely a lot of discussion will be had about the game up to and through its release, but seeing how the most ardent Metal Gear fans prioritize story, characters, and stealth gameplay over any multiplayer offering the series has brought to this point, combined with the history of Konami acting directly in contradiction to the series’ creator’s vision for the series, the largest question being asked right now is how well does Konami know its own flagship franchise?
Toys-To-Life: With Andrew’s wading into the toys-to-life pool, as well as the recent announcement that Disney Infinity––Disney’s version of this gaming type––is being shut down, Dan and Andrew discuss this relatively new mode of gaming, what it does, how it has changed, and why Lego Dimensions may have hit the right formula for longevity.
Also, thanks to the Nerdhole for their recent shout-out, it warms the heart that we can be allies rather than enemies in the non-existent podcast war. Do yourself a favor, dear listeners, and be sure to check out their excellent podcast.
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For all intents and purposes that was a shortcast an episode recap.
-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Doomsday” by Murray Gold (from Doctor Who)
-“Everything is Awesome” by Tegan and Sara