Welcome to Get Your Game On! I finally gave in and bought Pathologic 2 after watching a very long video essay way too many times, and I’m having a great time suffering. And speaking of suffering, it’s been a rough few weeks for Square Enix:
Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda Resigns
Remember that guy who has spent two years asserting that Sony is getting in on the blockchain?
Pending the next shareholder meeting in June 2023, Yosuke Matsuda is resigning (link downloads a PDF) and passing the position of president to Square Enix director Takashi Kiryu:
Under the rapid change of business environment surrounding the entertainment industry, the proposed change is intended to reshape the management team with the goal of adopting ever evolving technological innovations and maximizing on the creativity of the Company’s group in order to deliver even greater entertainment to its customers around the world.
It is currently unclear what this means for Symbiogenesis, Squenix’s NFT game launching later this spring, and the other unnamed blockchain games (theoretically) launching in Fiscal Year 2024. However, it appears that Kiryu plans to move forward with the current Web 3.0 strategy put forth by Matsuda.
Fan reactions to Matsuda’s resignation have been mostly positive, with many expressing that his pursuit of NFTs and blockchain game design has been detrimental to their opinion of the company.
— PlayStation Universe (@PSUdotcom) March 11, 2023
FFXVI Developer Makes… Claims About the Upcoming Game’s God of War Influences:
Yes, I’m going to keep talking about Square Enix because this quote has now lived rent-free in my mind for almost a week. In an interview with WellPlayed.com’s Nathan Hennessy, FFXVI producer Naoki Yoshida claimed that the upcoming game is taking major influence from Santa Monica Studio’s God of War:
You could compare Final Fantasy 16 closest to something like God of War. As an image of how the game cycle works, you will have a main world map just like God of War… At this hub, you can choose to continue the main scenario and unlock new areas. Or, you have opportunities for side quests where you go back to areas you have already visited and have that side content there.
Isn’t that… almost every RPG? Like, God of War didn’t invent the concept of a hub world. The statement ranges from bafflingly empty to an aggressively ham-fisted way to borrow God of War’s name to create unwarranted hype. This is also an interesting comparison choice for a game that rejected the idea of Black characters in-game because of “historical realism” when God of War: Ragnorak did manage to add a (singular) character of color, despite being based more in real-world folklore than any Final Fantasy has ever been. But maybe I’m just bitter because Yoshida is also claiming FFXVI has to be a PS5 exclusive because the combat is too intense for any other console to handle.
Sony Loses FTC Appeal Against Microsoft’s Subpoena
Quick recap of the Activision Blizzard/Microsoft merger situation:
- In January 2022, Microsoft announced a proposed merger with Activision Blizzard in a deal worth $68.7 billion.
- In December 2022, the Federal Trade Commission announced plans to block the acquisition, stating that Microsoft has a record of “acquiring and using valuable gaming content to suppress competition from rival consoles.” The biggest point of contention has been the Call of Duty franchise, currently owned by Activision-Blizzard, becoming a Microsoft exclusive. Microsoft has disputed this, claiming they’ve offered a 10-year contract that Sony has ignored, but Sony execs claim to also worry that Microsoft may sabotage Playstation versions of Call of Duty.
- In January 2023, Microsoft subpoenaed Sony to build the defense that Sony will not be negatively impacted by the merger.
- In February 2023, Sony claims that the subpoena is “obvious harassment” and requests that the subpoena be limited in its scope.
Now that we’re all caught up:
The FTC’s Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell has ordered Sony to mostly comply with the subpoena (link downloads a PDF), granting only two of Sony’s requests: that the documents requested are limited from the period of January 2019 to present rather than Microsoft’s “excessive” request of documentation going back to 2012; and that executive’s performance reviews be kept from Microsoft (document request 13). However, some very significant requests were denied:
- Sony asked to limit the number of custodians whose files would be brought forth, including Playstation Chief Financial Officer Lin Tao and Senior VP Hideaki Nishino, claiming that most of these files were in Japanese. Chappell denied this, citing that “SIE does not… contend that the custodian’s files are irrelevant.” So, Sony has to get to work on translating.
- Sony asked that third-party exclusivity agreements be kept out of the proceedings, claiming that these arrangements have no “probative value.” Chappell denied this request, stating that “understanding the full extent of SIE’s exclusivity arrangements and their effect on industry competitiveness will assist in [Microsoft’s] defense.”
In other news…
Nintendo is closing the Wii U/3DS eShop on March 27, 2023. You can no longer add a credit card, but if you’ve got any old credit hanging around, now’s the time to use it.
December Cuccaro (she/her) is an MFA graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno and a member of the 2021 Clarion West cohort. When not rambling about video games, she writes about sapphic werewolves and sad necromancers searching for friendship.