Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
This week, Shinji Mikami steps down and Sony did one of their presentations
Shinji Mikami Leaves Tango Gameworks
Shinji Mikami has stepped down from the studio he founded in 2010, Tango Gameworks.
This has come as a shock to a few people, but it’s honestly not that surprising. Mikami founded Tango with the objective of training up the next generation of great game directors and has spent much of his time at the company mentoring others instead of being a creative lead.
If you’re not sure who Tango are, they first released The Evil Within, directed by Mikami, before he handed over directorial duties to an up-and-coming employee, John Johanas. Mikami was next seen handing the torch to Ikumi Nakamura on stage at E3 2019, as he’d encouraged her to pitch her own title, Ghostwire Tokyo.
While Nakamura ended up leaving Tango and not becoming Mikami’s successor, Johanas went on to better things. After the success of The Evil Within 2, he was allowed to submit his own idea, which was approved and just released as Hi-Fi Rush, a game I absolutely love and everyone should play if they haven’t already. It’s likely the success of this game that’s led Mikami to feel he’s done his job in building up his team’s talents and is now ready to leave and get out of their way.
Mikami already has quite a legacy of his own, of course. He’s the director of Dino Crisis, God Hand and Vanquish, all beloved games from past systems. Oh, and he also created a little series called Resident Evil, directing both RE1 and RE4. You may have heard of these games, what with them being two of the most influential survival horror games of all time.
It’s unknown what Mikami’s next steps are, but it’s likely that he’s retiring from the industry, happy to let the new generation take over. Whatever he does, we wish him well.
State of Play Announcements
Sony did one of their little State of Play presentations again, bless ‘em, and as always it was a muted affair with minimal highlights. But I have to write about it, so here we go.
VR got a lot of focus, which makes sense because their fancy new VR headset that costs as much as the console just came out. They showed off five games, four of which were shooters and the last was a port of sad blinking game Before Your Eyes (I’m selling it short, it is supposed to be a great game). The other games were The Foglands, a sci-fi western shooter, Green Hell VR, a survival game, Synapse, a stylish desaturated shooter that looks a bit like Superhot is having a fever dream, and Journey to Foundation, based on the Isaac Asimov Foundation novels.
Destiny 2 has an expansion out next week. Good for them.
Cute little indie project Tchia and Goodbye Volcano High both got release dates. Tchia is a cute little adventure sandbox game based on the culture of New Caledonia which releases in March. Goodbye Volcano High is a narrative adventure game about dinosaur teens dealing with teen concerns and facing the potential arrival of a deadly meteor, which is out in June.
Baldur’s Gate 3 also got a release date (it’s in August) and unsurprisingly, this announcement also confirmed a PlayStation release. It’s got mind flayers in it, so that’s a good sign for players, not so much for the characters in the game.
Bandai Namco are releasing a Naruto game because I think if they’re not releasing licensed anime games, I think they’ll implode as a company.
Capcom revealed more details about two upcoming titles. Resident Evil 4 Remake is getting a demo and Mercenaries mode is back, along with a ton of classic RE4 moments shown off in gameplay. Street Fighter 6 confirms the return of Zangief and Cammy, showing off their moves alongside new character Jill.
Enhance showed off a bonkers little puzzle game called Humanity about herding a crowd of people as a Shiba Inu in a world made of cubes. It’s like Lemmings and Kurushi had a baby and also the baby was a dog.
They ended the show with a lot of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, and the main thing we learned is that the industry has learned nothing from The Avengers. Remember how that game imploded because it was a generic live service game with loot-based progression and heavy monetisation and no one wanted that? Well you’ll never guess what this one is! I wish them well, but I have my doubts that will succeed, and once again, if you’re into that sort of thing, the only good superhero games in recent years remain Spider-Man and the Arkham games.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe takes the Wii title of mostly the same name (it wasn’t “Deluxe” back then) and drags it kicking and screaming onto the Switch. It’s a cute little Kirby game, now with extra content! POYO!
In small indie releases, Planet Cube: Edge (PC, Switch) is a run-and-gun platformer where precision is key. Clive ‘n’ Wrench (PC) is a throwback 3D platformer, specifically the “one character is the other’s backpack” genre popularised by Banjo-Kazooie. And Sons of the Forest (PC) is not a platformer, instead it’s a horror sequel about cannibals. Lovely.
Blood Bowl 3 (PC, PlayStation, Xbox) is a sports game set within the Warhammer universe, where orcs and other assorted creatures make up the teams. It’s American football with more murder, basically.
Company of Heroes 3 (PC) is the third game in the WW2 real-time strategy series. This one’s set in Italy and North Africa.
Kerbal Space Program 2 (PC) is the sequel to the beloved game where you loosely assemble some rockets and then send small creatures named Kerbals into those rockets to see if they survive the trip. Expect more physics shenanigans in space.
This week saw the release of the PS VR2 headset for the PS5, along with a bunch of games. The flagship games from Sony themselves is Horizon: Call of the Mountain, a VR spin-off in the world of the Horizon games where you play a guy who has to atone for his crimes in a world of robo-dinos.
Atomic Heart (PC, PlayStation, Xbox) released this week, and there has been controversy over its funding sources due to the developers being Russian. Ukraine have been trying to remove the game from sale, so there’s that to bear in mind. Outside of the controversy, this weird Soviet shooter might not be all that good based on the reviews. It’s a bit janky and already “crispy critter” has become a meme from the game’s bizarre dialogue. Something to bear in mind, I’d say.
Octopath Traveler 2 (PC, PlayStation, Switch) is the sequel to 2018’s throwback JRPG Octopath Traveler. Much like the first game, you view eight individual stories that all come together as one. My hope for this one is that it’s less grindy and also the eight stories are much more connected than they were in the first game.
Game of the Week
Game of the Week this week is Like a Dragon: Ishin! (PC, PlayStation, Xbox) It’s the freshly rebranded Yakuza series, but this time in feudal Japan! If you’re confused over the name, it’s a direct translation of the Japanese title Ryu ga Gotoku, and Sega have decided to start using it as the English name instead of Yakuza going forward, and this is the first release that applies to.
Ishin is a remake of an earlier title that released for the PS3 exclusively in Japan, but this time the remake has gotten a worldwide release. It takes characters from the main Yakuza/LAD games and places them in the roles of historical figures from the 1860s. Destructoid’s reviewer compared it to The Muppets, where Kazuma Kiryu is Sakamoto Ryoma in the same way that Kermit the Frog is Bob Cratchit, and I feel that’s a suitable description to get the idea across.
And beyond that, it’s a Yakuza game, but in feudal Japan! If you’re into the series, then that should be an exciting prospect. You get a serious melodrama about honour and the hierarchy of Japanese society, while also being able to wander off and do goofy mini-games. They somehow got karaoke into a game set in the 19th century, and that alone is impressive.
I’m a fan of the series, so naturally I’m super into this, and anyone else who wants some shenanigans in feudal Japan wrapped around a genuinely compelling story will find a lot to enjoy here too.