Recently, Mike Mearls (co-designer of the latest D&D edition) and a couple of popular online Dungeon Masters sat down for a chat about the trajectory of the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons. As somebody who loves insight and opinions on game design I watched it intently. Questions about the game’s past, future, and present were passed around, and then eventually the host brought up his intense desire to see a demographic shift away from… white men in the game. The host himself is a “queer” white man and although I don’t know much about him, judging by this discussion he has a chip on his shoulder about the lack of inclusion in the hobby. He thinks this is a priority that needs to be actively pushed, for some reason, so that some day there won’t be white men leading the culture of tabletop RPG’s.
Even without the popularity of Cultural Marxism and the SJW agendas creeping into every aspect of recreation (I have no idea whether these people subscribe to the ideology,) this is a stupid concern born out of ignorance. But it might not be obvious why it’s so stupid.
Here’s a new video defending MGS4 as a wonderfully caring sequel that’s full of love, not a jaded attack on nostalgia. The argument revolves around the production values, detail, and care put into the game itself, and accepts the harsh world and themes as being some kind of natural, logical “price to pay” for fans demanding more sequels in a series that should have ended.
Check it out and see if you agree with his point of view.
Obviously Jim Sterling is not an expert on the inner workings of Konami, but I found this to be an interesting take on the overall changes happening at Konami right now. He doesn’t focus too much on Kojimagate, but he does lend credibility to the idea that the company might just be stupid enough to burn that bridge in the worst ways:
It doesn’t really get any better than this. Kojima has given us lots of new information and video, including the African jungle location, an AI buddy system, a pet wolf, and the return of the most iconic outfit in the Metal Gear series. It’s glorious.
We learned that Quiet has ridiculous abilities, including the ability to turn invisible, move at supersonic speeds, and perhaps phase out of existence altogether judging by the way she simply shed those handcuffs back at Mother Base. Whatever her powers, the most shocking revelation of all was that depending on how you play, you might not meet her at all! What kind of game is The Phantom Pain going to be, if the main female character is optional content?
Nothing could surpass the introduction of a new character, however, in the form of “D.D.” — an adopted wolf-dog who eventually grows into a badass companion for war.
The gameplay itself is what fascinated me, however. Big Boss can equip different prosthetic arms, which allow him to electroshock enemies, smash the ground for wide-radius sonar tracking of creatures, and the ability to climb cracks in walls. He rides into the jungle on a helicopter, and apparently can jump out whenever he wants, which is dangerously close to my fantasy of being able to parachute down to locations as Big Boss freely.
The buddy system is designed to give players a strong incentive to maintain relationships with his comrades (in order to unlock better powers), find new characters to befriend, and basically not become a brooding lone psychopath in the middle of nowhere. The fact that these are optional means that players will have to be vigilant, and get even more attached to characters whose fates are extremely unknown (ie. they don’t appear in future titles!)
We also got a new Silent Hills concept video, which is disturbing. Apparently its what Kojima and Del Toro discussed for the direction of the game, and it was made by just a small handful of artists at Konami using the Fox Engine. There’s been a lot of positive reaction to it, but I’ve also noticed some complaints that it’s not very moody or eerie, but more of a parade of insanity. It’s kind of interesting how big of a difference there is between a playable experience like P.T. and simply watching a video of something scary. When you’re playing, turning a corner is a terrifying risk. You almost don’t want to proceed, because you don’t know if you can handle what’s there. It’s stressful. A video like this simply can’t deliver that gruesome tension, where you control the pace.
It’s good to see that they are running with the series’ themes of sexualized horror, mingled with childlike innocence, and dark filth.