Hello! Welcome to this week’s Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
This week, Kojima dispels rumours and Mick Gordon speaks up about Doom Eternal
Kojima Confirms That Blue Box Is Not Him
A while ago, an in-development horror game was doing the rounds, and led to huge amounts of speculation that the person behind it, Hasan Kahraman, was actually Hideo Kojima in disguise, and that the game, Abandoned, was secretly a Silent Hill project or other horror game with Kojima tied to it.
It didn’t help that Kahraman and his studio, Blue Box, played all this up, making the claims seem alarmingly credible. Bizarre developments in the game’s development included a special app released through the PS5 store that promised a teaser, similar to Kojima’s P.T., that would reveal more, and a full PlayStation Blog entry, which struck people as odd for an unknown studio who hadn’t even got a gameplay concept out into the wild.
After an initial flurry of excitement, this eventually came to nothing. Until now, as Kojima himself has spoken up about the story on his podcast. Speaking to Geoff Keighley, he discussed Abandoned, and made it clear that he was not involved and described the messages he was receiving about the situation to be “quite a nuisance”. It’s clear that Blue Box merely played up any possible Kojima connection they could due to the interest it was generating in them, despite there being no connection at all.
The studio turned out to be sketchy in other ways, as the app teasing the game turned out to be literally nothing. Data miners discovered it contained little more than a collection of publicly available assets, raising questions about the existence of an actual game. Earlier this year, Gamespot dig some digging and found little evidence for one, just a man who promises a lot about a mythical video game project but has nothing to show for it.
But to hear it direct from Hideo Kojima that he is absolutely not involved should be the final nail in the coffin for this bizarre episode. Unless he’s just saying that to throw us off??!?!? (No, no he is not)
Disco Elysium and Doom Eternal Disputes
A couple of prior disputes within prominent developers have advanced in the past week.
First up, the situation at ZA/UM, the studio behind Disco Elysium. We already knew that various members of the creative team behind the game had been forced to leave the company but now the art director, Aleksander Rostov, has issued another statement on behalf of himself and game director Robert Kurvitz. In it, he details the circumstances that led to their departure – a hostile takeover that saw them forced out when they requested financial papers as minority shareholders in the business.
Rostov also alleges that this transfer of shares at the top was done through fraud, although he does not fully detail how, presumably out of legal obligation. He states that he and Kurvitz are seeking legal action in both their native Estonia and in the UK, where the studio is based.
Elsewhere, Mick Gordon, famed composer for the Doom Eternal soundtrack, has responded to allegations from id Software that he was difficult to work with. These allegations were made via a Reddit post from executive producer Marty Stratton in which he proclaims Gordon to have been unprofessional, where he constantly missed deadlines in regards to the shoddy release of Doom Eternal’s soundtrack release.
Gordon has now responded, almost two and a half years later, disputing the contents of this post. The delay in his response is clear from his statement, which details every part of the experience working with id Software and Bethesda on the game, along with evidence of emails, files and other correspondence backing up his claims.
Gordon alleges payment disputes, unrealistic deadlines, stonewalling and legal threats. He states that id requested music for two levels a month, in a timeframe before the levels were even finished. His music was constantly rejected through the process due to this, requiring him to make new tracks, only for id to end up using all of it, twice as much as he was contracted for, and paying him only what was in the contract after refusing to send any money for a year.
Issues with the official soundtrack release came from it being a rush job done in-house without Gordon’s input, and a last-minute contract that prevented him from doing a refreshed version. He was then blamed for the poor quality of the soundtrack release, despite him being involved with none of it.
The reason for the huge delay in his response is simple – he was in legal discussions over the post, requesting its removal and to receive payment for the OST which he, again, had not received. And with no progress in that time, he has now chosen to make a public statement to address it.
Gordon’s evidence is damning and doesn’t paint id or Bethesda in a good light. It’s worth giving the full statement a read in order to grasp how much of a mess all this was. Here’s hoping Gordon can now repair the damage that id have caused him.
In ports, Sifu comes to Switch. Released earlier this year, you play as a martial arts student on a quest for revenge. Lots of meticulous martials arts action, so if you ever wanted to recreate the hallway scene from Oldboy, this is the game for you.
In smaller releases, The Unliving (PC) is a roguelike about a necromancer who can use the bodies of his fallen foes to build an army, while Shadow of the Guild (PC) is a side-scrolling beat-em-up starring an assassin who attacks with melee combos and magic spells.
This week saw an Indie World presentation from Nintendo, and a couple of games in there released alongside it. Once Upon a Jester (PC, Switch) is a cute little game about a theatre troupe looking to steal a royal diamond and must wow a succession of crowds in order to play on the royal stage. A Little to the Left (PC, Switch) is a chill game about tiny puzzles found in real life, usually involving arranging items on shelves and hanging up pictures.
Sonic Frontiers (PC, PlayStation, Switch, Xbox) is the latest outing for Sega’s blue blur, setting out to be the first game in the series featuring a full open world. While initial impressions weren’t great, the reviews are suggesting a solid game that probably won’t win over those who aren’t already invested in the series, but is a game that fans will love.
Game of the Week
Game of the Week is God of War: Ragnarök (PlayStation), the follow-up to 2018’s Dad of Boy, I mean, God of War.
The previous game was an impressive shift from the series’ roots as a brutal hack and slash into a moving tale of a distant father learning to connect with his son in an adventure across the Nine Realms with plenty of ripping trolls apart along the way.
Ragnarök promises more of what we expect from the 2018 game but bigger and even more impressive, and the avalanche of high review scores say they’ve achieved that. Almost certainly a contender for Game of the Year so, as a fan of the 2018 game, of course I have to make it Game of the Week.
And that’s all! See you again next week for more from the world of gaming!