Tribute: Link's Awakening (Guest Post by @EricVBailey )

People enjoy stories about likeable protagonists who overcome adversity.

In the face of overwhelming odds our hero manages to triumph, and our sympathetic tension achieves a victorious payoff. One popular framework toward this end is the shipwreck. You have a happy character, on top of the world, enjoying some maritime travel, who is suddenly thrust into harsh conditions. This is quite a dramatic turn, bolstered by historical examples, and works to unfold our fears of an uncertain future.

Castaway is a generally well-received film, with Tom Hanks continuing to stretch his acting range in a challenging role. Robinson Crusoe is regarded as a literary classic. The television series Arrow leaned heavily on a “stranded on a remote island in the Pacific” backstory. Even the Bible heightens its drama with the account of a shipwreck in the book of Acts. And tucked back in the late 20th century, on a humble handheld machine, gaming also has its premiere shipwreck story --

Survival Kids.

… no, wait, sorry, not Survival Kids.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.


On a dark and stormy night...

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is a video game that originally released in 1993 for Nintendo’s portable Game Boy system. It is one of my personal favorites, and I believe it is great.

This topdown adventure oozes classic Nintendo appeal and, in my view, sports some brilliant design strokes that perfectly complement a delightful original world. The setting often straddles the line between charming and unnerving, and I found the overall effect intoxicating when I first played the game as a child. Just as a good book is described as something you cannot put down, Link’s Awakening was truly an experience that I was reluctant to let leave my hands; notably, I do not often feel this way about games.

Franchise Legacy

In some ways, Link’s Awakening is a radical departure for the Legend of Zelda franchise: It is the only game to take place on Koholint Island, the first portable Zelda title, and plays extensively with references to other games and media altogether. In other ways, it poses more subtle subversions.

In Ocarina of Time, a girl named Malon teaches Link Epona’s Song for his ocarina. In Link’s Awakening, a girl named Marin teaches Link the Ballad of the Wind Fish for his ocarina. Both of these characters show an affinity for animals.

In Link’s Awakening, using the Bow and a Bomb at the same time results in firing an arrow attached a bomb that explodes on impact. Curiously, this has never been confirmed or denied by the developers as an unintentional glitch. Arrows and bombs could be combined in Twilight Princess, but it was not until Breath of the Wild in 2017 that Bomb Arrows were finally their own full-fledged item.

I feel Link’s Awakening forged new ground for the Zelda series in ways that have been overshadowed by the contributions of other titles, like later games get credit for feats Awakening already achieved, and much of its greatness has been lost in the mix of fondness for some of Link’s other adventures.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask has received lots of praise over the years for its melancholy mood and a darker theme. Rightly so! It remains my favorite Zelda game, largely because it is so unusual. However, some may forget that Link’s Awakening has its share of dark imagery as well, as noted by a Twitter friend of mine on a playthrough in 2017.

Link’s Awakening was already exploring the idea of an oncoming world-ending cataclysm in a world entirely separate from Hyrule years before Majora’s Mask would, complete with the necessary epic songs and ventures into added layers of the not-quite-real.

How about cameos? In the 64-bit Zelda titles, you can find little winks to the Super Mario canon, like the Bowser jewelry in Ocarina and the Mario mask in Majora. In Twilight Princess, keen observers may spot a Bullet Bill image. But did you know that in Link’s Awakening you can find Yoshi, Goomba, Pirahna Plants, Cheep Cheep, Bloobers, and a Chain Chomp! Never again would so many Mario characters manage to squeeze into one of Link’s adventures. It’s so strange!

Breath of the Wild is infamous for hiding 900 Korok seeds throughout its world, rewarding completists who will search every blade of grass for hidden treasure. Ocarina had its Skulltulas. But y’know which Zelda game started the trend of having a big fetch quest throughout? Link’s Awakening, with its 26 Secret Seashells, 20 of them standing in the way between Link and his sword upgrade.

It’s A Good Game, Brent

Consider the worst parts of popular Zelda titles.

What’s the one design element you hate from each one? Is it the rain in Breath of the Wild, or how poorly the polygons have aged in the N64 games? Do you despise the endless sailing in Wind Waker, or was it the Triforce shards that drove you to despair? Did you abhor the motion controls of Skyward Sword, or the barren overworld of Twilight Princess?

Link’s Awakening doesn’t have any of these issues.

It’s just a solid, well-rounded game. Like any high-caliber Nintendo fare it has charm, humor, a memorable soundtrack, tight gameplay, and some gorgeous visuals. Your mileage may vary as to its difficulty, but I always thought it hit a great spot between ease and challenge.

Words can hardly encapsulate the experience. Maybe some games can be summarized in a reflection like this, but I think Link’s Awakening truly rewards those who dig into it. I recommend you try it, and I’d love to hear what you think. I have a feeling it’ll be one of my sentimental favorites for as long as I live.

Eric Bailey likes Nintendo games and writing about Nintendo games. You can follow him on Twitter @EricVBailey, check out his new minimalist YouTube series, support him on Patreon, or ignore him altogether.

     Previous Guest Posts by Eric Bailey:
You’re All Idiots, Everything's On Fire, and Nothing Ever Changes: Yet Another Critique of Gaming Culture ] 
Easy-Mode Players Are The Real Gamers ]


Streets of Rage 4 Has Been Officially Revealed!!!

     It's been a long time since the 1994 release of the last new installment in Sega's iconic beat 'em up Streets of Rage series, and today Dotemu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games have announced Streets of Rage 4!

     According to the official site:
After many years, Axel and Blaze are finally picking up the fight where they left. 
Streets of Rage 4 builds upon the classic trilogy’s gameplay with new mechanics, a fresh story and a gauntlet of dangerous stages with a serious crime problem. Streets of Rage 4 recalls classic gameplay but it stands as an entirely original arcade-style romp thanks to the expertise of Guard Crush Games and Dotemu. 
Whether players gang up with a friend or clean up the city solo, Streets of Rage 4 is a skull-bashing, chicken-chomping delight all set to a thumping soundtrack sure to get your blood pumping.
     The reveal trailer shows us some glorious gameplay featuring an older and more grizzled Axel Stone along with long-time bare knuckle companion Blaze Fielding taking on some familiar old enemies in a truly amazing new visual style.  No word yet if other old friends will be playable characters as well like Adam or Eddie "Skate" Hunter, Max Thunder, or possibly even former-enemy-boss-turned-friendly-combatant Shiva.
     I'm also hoping they nail the music for the game, as it played a massive part in setting the tone of the first and second games.

     I've said numerous times before, that Streets of Rage 2 stands as one of the greatest games ever made, and we can only hope this game turns out to not only live up to, but actually improve on that legacy.

     No release date or platforms have been announced yet.

     For more information check out the official site [ Streets4Rage ]

     Source [ Dotemu twitter ]


Marvel Future Fight: Teases (X-traordinary) X-Men Announcement for SDCC 2018

     Ever since the 3 year anniversary of Marvel Future Fight, the game and developers have really turned things around from a few great flubs in the last year- such as the loot box Ultimates characters which resulted in amassive player boycott.
     Today after the official Marvel Games twitter account posted an image about what is in store for this years San Diego Comic Con without Future Fight, players questioned the lack of the game, and the official Future Fight account was quick to respond with an amazing teaser.

     This seems like an easy teaser for the Extraordinary X-Men comic series.  Granted we can only speculate at this point, but we already have a lot of the team in the game and there's an opportunity to give them new uniforms and even expand the roster with fan favorite characters like Deadpool.
     Considering that last years SDCC announcement was the Age of Apocalypse, I can only imagine this years will need to top the hype and subsequent letdown last year- Apocalypse himself didn't even arrive in game until a couple weeks after the initial update hit.

     The hype has already begun, and I for one, am very X-Cited to see what Netmarble has in store for Marvel Future Fight as SDCC 2018 at the Marvel Games Panel on Thursday, July 19th from 1-2pm.

     For related [ Posts ]


Morbius: Jared Leto Officially Cast as The Living Vampire

     In an out-of-left-field announcement, Sony has announced that Jared Leto has been cast in a Morbius film, based on the 1971 comic character created by Gil Kane and Roy Thomas for Amazing Spider-Man 101.
     This comes as an odd surprise as Morbius has never been a huge character in the Spider-Man universe, whereas the Venom film makes sense because he's been in countless issues and series as well as being wildly popular as a dark and gritty anti-hero.  Morbius has only appeared periodically since that first issue and even had a solo-series for a few years.

     Michael Morbius was a scientist with a rare blood disorder, and in a typical old horror story fashion through an effort to cure the disease via a science experiment gone wrong, he instead transformed himself into a pseudo-vampire- along with all the vampire-like traits that come with it such as enhanced strength, speed, a healing factor, night vision, echolocation, and the classic vampire staple- a thirst for blood.

     He began as a foe of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and eventually grew to be a tragic anti-hero and fight for the side of good.  Perhaps Leto will be able to really nail the tragic dichotomy of a man torn between seeking to do good and fighting his inhuman lust for blood.  Rumors say that Daniel Espinoza (Safe House) is going to be directing the feature, so hopefully we'll get something more character accurate than Leto's bizarre take on the Joker from Suicide Squad.  In addition, Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless are writing the script, and they will be overseen by Palak Patel.
     Now I'm curious to know if Sony hold the cinematic rights to Jack Russel, of Marvel Comics' Werewolf By Night. Or if they'll have a cameo appearance of either Venom or Spider-Man considering the relation of the properties.

     Morbius has no set release window yet.

     Venom is set to release October 5th.

     Spider-Man: Far From Home is slated for early July 2019 release.

     Source [ Variety ]

Netflix & Gaming: Why Aren't There Mobile Video Games of Bright, GLOW, and Game Over, Man!


     Netflix has been branching out of simple streaming video over the last year and into other media.  They released a comic just last week, The Magic Order, after their acquisition of famed comic book writer Mark Millar's (Wanted, Kingsman, Kickass) Millarworld Publishing earlier last year.
     Netflix has also tinkered with some interactive narrative fiction with their "Choose Your Own Adventure" type children's shows with partnered company Dreamworks Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale (featuring Puss in Boots from the Shrek films) and Buddy Thunderstruck, as well as Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout which through their partnership with Hasbro.


     Much more recently however,  Netflix has announced both a team up with Telltale games for a new episodic Stranger Things game, a full game in Telltale's own unique fashion, as well as an adapted version of Minecraft: Story Mode to continue in Netflix's interactive narratives.

     Netflix explained to TechRadar that, "Minecraft: Story Mode is a licensed 5-episode interactive narrative series coming to our service this fall. It's an extension of our other interactive stories we have on our service like Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout, Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile."  Further going on to say, "We don’t have any plans to get into gaming. There’s a broad spectrum of entertainment available today. Games have become increasingly cinematic, but we view this as interactive narrative storytelling on our service."
     That doesn't sound so good.  Netflix regards the Stranger Things Telltale project to rightfully be a video game, but considers the more "Choose Your Own Adventure" type stuff on their own platform to be "interactive narratives" due to the simplistic nature and limitations of the streaming service and a remote.
     That may leave gamers a little disappointed, but we can still be hopeful because...


     They've already entered the gaming realm.  First off, Netflix has already published one extremely fun mobile video game with Stranger Things: The Game.  It was a phenomenal top-down RPG akin to the old Legend of Zelda games.
     Secondly, according to a job posting for Netflix, the Manager of Interactive Licensing says,
     "We are pursuing video games because we believe it will drive meaningful show awareness/buzz and allow fans to “play” our most popular content. We want the interactive category to help promote our titles so they become part of the zeitgeist for longer periods of time and we want to use games as a marketing tactic to capture demand and delight our member community."
     So, they say they aren't getting into games, but have already made one, and have a second one on deck (the two Stranger Things games).  Which means we may be seeing a lot more interactive stories on the streaming service itself, while the licensing could wind up bringing us actual games based on Netflix's properties on other platforms.

     The collaborative projects were an intriguing start, but what really has me curious is the release of their own show Stranger Things: The Game's tie-in mobile game last year.  I wouldn't mind a bunch of small games based on properties Netflix holds.

     Here's a few Netflix shows that would benefit greatly from a video game.


     I've already expressed wonder as to why some of their properties don't have tie-in games, and GLOW is the perfect example.  Players could work their way through a small story based off of the wrestling characters from the show in an isometric wrestling game.  It could have story mode, an infinitely replayable mode just for fun, and even some challenge modes.  DLC skins would be an option for generating income.
     The reason GLOW would be a great candidate is not just that the show is amazing, but the games it could emulate are insanely popular.  Fire Pro World Wrestling is widely regarded as great (despite some clunky controls), and a more stylized game to emulate would be one of the best wrestling games of all time 1993's WWF Royal Rumble.  By today's standards, it's a simple game, but it still holds up mechanically and plays great- which GLOW could imitate for the mobile market.


     The gritty crime-fantasy Bright, which I've also asked for a game for, would be another great show that could get a very awesome Grand Theft Auto type 3rd person game.  A simple 3rd-person, action adventure would suit the nature of the Netflix original well.  Players could swap back and forth between narratives of a human and an orc and their intertwined stories leading to a single endpoint.  Think of games like the HIGHLY underrated Dead Space Mobile, Slaughter 1 & 2, or even anything Rockstar Games has on mobile (all the GTA games, Bully, and Max Payne).  There's a wealth of potential in this brilliantly created world ripe for video game entries.


     Another great option would be the action comedy Game Over, Man!, which has an in-film video game adaptation already.  It's nothing special, but offers a small glimpse of the potential it could have.  It could easily be a small entertaining spoof of the movie itself, or even an unrelated storyline all taking place in one of the characters' daydream or some such thing.

     Netflix has a ton of great originals and there's plenty of opportunity to tap into tie-in games through licensing- so for whoever gets the job listed above, please start bringing us this extra form of entertainment to allow for that much more immersion in these worlds.

     Source [ Tech Radar ] via [ PC Games Insider ]

     Stranger Things: The Game [ Google Play ] [ iOS ]


The Elder Scrolls: Blades An Actual First-Person RPG Elder Scrolls Game Announced for Mobile Devices!

     It's been a couple years since learning of the cancelled Sony PSP game The Elder Scrolls Travels: Oblivion, the exact kind of portable first person game many fans were wanting, and 5 years since I complained that the Playstation Vita's sales could easily be bolstered by a Vita version of either the Elder Scrolls or Fallout game.  Since that time, we've gotten The Elder Scrolls: Legends ( a collectible card game) and Fallout Shelter (a Vault building game), neither of which are portable versions of their respective parent games.

     Bethesda has finally listened to the fans and are bringing us The Elder Scrolls: Blades- a true heir to the legacy of the series on mobile!
     "In The Elder Scrolls: Blades you are member of the ancient order of the Blades. Forced into exile, you seek refuge in your remote hometown only to find it reduced to rubble. Now, it’s up to you to restore your town back to its former glory."
     The game will include traditional Elder Scrolls RPG staple elements of a story and a variety of weapons and spells, as well as some new features- such as customizable city where you'll rebuild the surrounding area as you see fit.  It will also have an Arena to battle it out in one on one combat.  And lastly, there's the "Abyss" mode, which is "an infinitely replayable mode in which daring heroes push their limits floor after floor in a never-ending dungeon, where enemies become deadlier and deadlier as you progress" for players looking for an infinite challenge to test their mettle.

     The Elder Scrolls: Blades will be free to play on [ iOS ] and [ Android ] this fall.

     [ Sign up for Early Access ] and an exclusive helmet and sword

     Source [ Bethesda ]


Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice: Official Trailer Released E3 2018


     FromSoftware, developers of the now legendary Dark Souls franchise, have finally released the full trailer for their highly-anticipated next game, revealing both a wealth of story elements and gameplay, and the official title: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.  It definitely has the aesthetic feel of Kuon and Tenchu, as the recent leaks had mentioned- but appears to be a completely original game.


     Director Hidetaka Miyazaki, and publisher Activision, are taking players out of the medieval fantasy England setting and dropping players into a darkly re-imagined Sengoku era Japan of the 15the century.
     "The game puts players in the protagonist role of a hard-hearted warrior whose mission is to rescue his master, a young lord who is the descendant of an ancient bloodline, and exact revenge on his arch nemesis. Set in a brutal, bloody period of constant life-and-death conflict, in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice you are the “one-armed wolf,” a disgraced and disfigured warrior rescued from the brink of death.
     Play as a highly talented shinobi in the service of a young lord raised in isolation. After suffering defeat at the hands of a shadowy Ashina samurai seeking the unique heritage of your master, the two of you are separated. Deep in the mountains, in a dilapidated temple, you reawaken to your fate. You must take back your master and exact revenge on your enemy at all costs."

     Highlighted throughout most of the trailer is the Just Cause-esque trick weapon-like grappling hook arm, which will aid players in both world exploration and as a supplement to the sword-based combat.
     As the original Dark Souls has been long praised as having one of the greatest level designs of all time, it should be something special to look forward to see if FromSoftware is pushing the exploration aspect of the game as a key feature.  We'll need to really scour the landscape to meet new characters, find new items, and come across hidden enemies.  Players should look forward to some hard earned discovery through fully experiencing the search through every nook and cranny of the game for each and every last secret possible.
     When it comes to the bloody work of slicing foes apart, the prosthetic arm will have attachments and tools to alter how the player uses it in combat, and bolster their abilities.  Players will need to master the "One-Armed Wolf's" (or "Sekiro's") skills to succeed in their mission- whether it be through bladed combat, sneaking through the shadows, or traversing the world via their grappling hook arm.

     Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice certainly looks to be a wonderful new installment to the ever-growing library of amazing game made by FromSoft.

     Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will arrive on PS4, XBox One, and PC in 2019.

     Official site [ Sekiro ]

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order: EA & Respawn Teases Upcoming Action-Adventure Game at E3 2018

     Almost 9 months after writing about EA's poor handling of the Star Wars license ("Of Midichlorians & Microtransactions: The Force Asphyxiated"), we are finally getting some good news about the franchise's game front.
     During the EA E3 2018 conference IGN met up with the CEO of Respawn Entertainment Vince Zampella for a little hint at what's coming down the line.  Though he could only tease what is on the way from the developer, and it definitely sounds a great deal better than any of the Battlefront 2 content or the multitude of mundane and unmemorable Star Wars shovelware on mobile we've been getting.
     The game they've been working on is titled Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and is a 3rd person action-adventure.  We'll be playing as a Lightsaber-wielding Jedi during the "Dark Times" between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, when the Jedi are being hunted down and eradicated after Order 66.  The Force Unleashed 1 and 2 were great and sold quite well, and there's not currently a whole lot of information to go on here, but it's plenty enough to wet our appetites and make us hungry for the future of Star Wars games again.

     Presumably, after the backlash from all the single-player Star Wars games being cancelled EA may have finally listened to the fans and decided it would actually be lucrative to create and finish one- especially after seeing the sales numbers of games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Assassin's Creed, Last of Us, Uncharted, Nier: Automata, Dishonored 2, Resident Evil 7, and so on say the single-player market is thriving quite well. 

     I'm curious to know if this will be the game that Visceral Studio had been working on before EA decided to  have it "revamped and moved to a different studio."  Or if this will have a link to the "open-world Star Wars game" I read about recently.  The last news about Visceral's game said it would be moved to members of EA Vancouver and EA Worldwide, but who really knows what's going on behind the scenes.  Makes me also wonder if there are any plans to revisit or pull from either of the cancelled Darth Maul game or Star Wars: 1313 at all.

     Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is tentatively slated for a Holiday 2019 release.

     Source [ EA Official Site ] [ IGN at E3 ]


Inhumans: Jeph Loeb on Their Possible Future on TV (and a Possible Lead to the Fantastic Four)


     Back in 2015 Marvel announced the Inhumans were slated to get a feature film, which could've been amazing under MCU head Kevin Feige, and then there was a rumor that Vin Diesel would be possibly tapped to play Black Bolt, which would've been awful.
     Then in 2016, it was announced they'd be making the move to television instead, which had potential, until it was made known it would be on ABC and not Netflix- leaving me less than pleased again.  Things took a much worse turn as Scott Buck was then given the role of showrunner because his track record is essentially a death sentence for a show- see what he did to Dexter or the fan response to his mishandling of Iron Fist- and even the talented casting choices couldn't save the Inhumans.

     The great disappointment was made certain after the release of the first trailer.  It looked horrendous.  The CGI looked cheap, the story appeared to take the unbelievably amazing Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee Marvel Knights series and reduce it to the worst possible version, and the character designs were atrocious (outside of Black Bolt himself).  It wasn't a too great of a surprise as the show had been rushed, and the double-team of ABC and Scott Buck together didn't leave viewers with much hope that it would turn out even mediocre- because as their history has shown through Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, they take great characters and neuter them.
     As I wrote then:
     I've made it well known that I think Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is crap, it's quite terrible.  Even with all the headway the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider has been making, the show is still not nearly as great as it should be.  It gets 2 steps ahead and makes 5 steps back.  They need better writers and better directors.  Seriously, the showrunners have lost the magic of what made Agent Coulson so appealing in the movies.  The same can be said about Agent Carter.  They need to go back and study what made these characters special in the movies and focus on replicating it on television. 
     Skye/Daisy/Quake gained some powers and went from hacking-as-a-semi-superpower to master combatant.  It's absolutely preposterous.  Fitz and Simmons are in the same boat- everybody is now an action star, leaving no differentiation between characters.  That's very poor story telling. 
     And that's exactly why I'm very worried about the Inhumans being handled by a team that relegates their characters to daytime soap opera status.  We want things at least to have the quality the Netflix shows have.  The interpersonal relationship drama and angst is far too abused in S.H.I.E.L.D., maybe they need to focus on small tasks and awesome Mission Impossible type subterfuge as opposed to all the damn overused world threatening crap.  For Inhumans, they should simply adapt the 12 issue Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee run.  Keep it simple and meaningful.  A tightly knit story with a huge payoff.
     Since I wrote this Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has gotten much better, but still suffers from these issues, but it IS progressing into a much better show.  Then, when the inevitable cancellation came for the doomed Inhumans back in December, my immediate thought was, "The #AgentsofSHIELD show should just pick up the #Inhumans on their show- it's a better show anyway."  Because despite its flaws, Agents is getting significantly better and has made huge leaps forward from where it began.  I've tweeted enough praise for the potential in the show, and heavy criticism against it, in hopes we could see them again in a much better way, so the following news makes me quite hopeful.


     During a Reddit AMA for the release of Cloak & Dagger Marvel's Head of Television Jeph Loeb answered a bunch of questions and gave out some great teasers for what is to come.  He stated numerous times when asked about show crossovers that there is a good possibility, for fans to "wait and see", and to "stay tuned" for news.

Then most applicably to this particular situation comes from these gems:
Will the actors in Inhumans be brought back if their characters are revived in either Marvel TV or the MCU? I personally liked the casting choices made for the show. 
Hope so. Great cast and for what's it worth, still think is a fun show.
     Another great tease from this one, which includes some good New Warriors info:
Thank you for this AMA, it's very nice of you. I have a few questions I'd love to get answered.
1. Do you think we could expect see the royal family again even though there's no more Inhumans? Perhaps in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6?
2. Any progress with finding New Warriors a home?
3. Are there any exciting crossovers planned between shows or movies? No need to be specific. 
Jeph Loeb:
Well Dennis...
1. Wait and see
2. We're working on it.
3. Answered before.
     And lastly, this one:
Dear /u/JephLoeb despite “Inhumans”… unique reception, Anson as Black Bolt, Serinda as Medusa and Iwan as Maximus are universally praised by fans as the best parts about that show. Could we ever see any of them reprising their roles in other MCU tv shows? Preferably a short arc on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Hope so. We love these characters and the actors are the best!
     So the Inhumans may have a televised redemption after the ill-fated show.  The actors can be given a chance to shine, and better writers and directors can make fans of these wonderful characters in their new home.
     I, for one, am greatly looking forward to them being given a proper treatment and hope they appear on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. now that their creative team has been hitting their stride.

     Source [ Reddit AMA with Jeph Loeb ] [ ComicBookResources ]


     Now, for the Fantastic Four teaser- which obviously cannot happen until the rights that Fox currently owns, go back to Marvel via the huge deal that's been in progress for months.  I would like to say this is some crazily in depth analysis and ingenious sleuthing regardless if it is true or not.

     This entire next section comes from a brilliant Reddit User named KingInvalid96:

But my burning question to you has to do with my absolute favorite portion of the MCU- Marvel's Agents of S.h.i.e.l.d. I've got a fan theory that the show is actually an epic prologue to several iconic storylines in the marvel universe including Ghost Rider, Secret Invasion, SWORD, and most notably, The Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom.

This idea was planted in my mind after a reoccurring use of the word “Doom” by one specific character, or rather a set of characters that would eventually become one character. That which I’m referring to is Will, Ward, and Hive. These characters share an interesting proclivity towards the word “Doom” both in their dialogue and in their interactions, sometimes even quite literally saying “I’m Doom”. (SPOILERS)

1.) Season 3 Episode 5 (4722 Hours): Jemma, stuck on Maveth with Will, proclaims [“I’ll be the voice of Hope, you’ll be the voice of Doom.”](https://imgur.com/n7Pi10ehttps://imgur.com/n7Pi10e).

2.) Season 3 Episode 18 (The Singularity): Hive, before being stabbed by Jemma, quite literally says [“I’m Doom, you’re hope- remember?”](https://imgur.com/VR9FFmG)

3.) Season 4 Episode 19 (All the Madame’s Men): Framework Tripp is talking about whether Ophelia is building some sort of “doomsday device” and Framework Ward, uncharacteristically whines [“Can we not use that word to describe it? It’s not helping me think.”](https://imgur.com/hcH9RCf)

Now this would mean nothing if you assumed Hive's offscreen death meant he was actually dead. But with Graviton being dead in space where the Hive parasite can be drawn to it, I haven't lost faith. Especially considering [Robin's 8-in-1 person drawing shown on Enoch's fridge](https://imgur.com/LNCp0kE). General "My body is a steel trap" Talbot could house

  1. Doctor Hall
  2. Ian Quinn
  3. Green Confederacy Alien (Skrull?)
  4. Carl Creel
  5. Will "Im Doom" Daniels
  6. Grant Ward
  7. Alveus Hive
  8. Quake ???

I definitely believe they could all come together... like [pieces solving a puzzle](https://imgur.com/AndICKa). But it's been pointed out that the connection here is reliant on common words and basic math. So I thought about the parallels between the show and the F4 themselves:

  • The Fear Dimension/Negative Zone
  • Alien Energy/Cosmic Radiation
  • Discovery of the Inhumans
  • The Shield Academy/Empire State University
  • The Fantastic Fitzsimmons literally becoming the First Family in the MCU in ep. 100
  • Deke saying everyone in shield changed their names (what're the odds Fitsimmons choose Reed and Sue?)
  • Fitz/Reed designing a spaceship
  • Enoch's accumulation of wealth + reputation for Frozen Fitz/the Future Foundation

I could go on, considering I'm absolutely enamored with the idea that you guys are already planning something similar. But I won't continue to bore you with my fan theories and instead ask a very simple question:

Am I crazy, or are you guys producing Agents of Shield to be the epic prologue to something more? Can you elaborate or hint towards the future of the show now that it's been renewed for Season 6?

You're not crazy. But that's all I can say!

      Wow, that's a hell of a fan theory, and honestly, I'm quite impressed.  I had hoped for years that Fox (or Marvel if they got the cinematic rights back) would make a Fantastic Four film as a straight up period piece set in the 1960s, complete with the Galactus plotline and the four thwarting him and making a device that eliminates the memory of it from everyone on Earth- and thus preserving the Marvel Cinematic Universes timelines.


Square-Enix Montreal: The GO Franchise is Gone

     Last Friday Canadian developer Square-Enix Montreal's head Patrick Naud told PCGamesInsider.biz that the studio would no longer be producing games in the GO franchise, as it's becoming difficult finding ways to monetize premium games in an ever evolving mobile marketplace.  They are looking to not only find a new model to bring players their premium quality games, but finding ways of keeping them engaged with them.

     Despite the fact that a great majority of Square-Enix Montreal's revenue was generated through the up-front premium price, they seem to want to steer things away from pushing players to the store, or flooding them with advertisements to purchase things on their mobile titles.

     Naud explains the situation as:
     "The Go series was a great adventure for us as a studio. We've done the three games, we've seen the wind. The hardest element is making premium games on mobile. 
     It's one of the challenges we have today is the premium mobile market is diminishing. You've got more and more high-quality free titles so there are even fewer and fewer people inclined to try something that will not be free. 
     Despite the critical success and the great revenue we've had, it's sad to see that our games are only played by a small slither of the population because of the price point. That's such a big barrier for mobile users. A lot of people consume mobile games only and they have all these options, all these games; why should they invest money in this one unless they're very convinced? 
     That doesn't mean they won't spend in-game, but they want to spend on a game that they're sure they're going to like. The perception of choice makes it that even if it's only $5, that's too much."
     Square-Enix Montreal's goal is to make money in a way that players won't feel forced into paying for IAPs.  It should, rightfully, be something players aren't led to hitting a wall in the game.  The plan is to focus on designing games that use a "service-based" direction.
     They'll be attempting to avoid damaging players experience through offering things such as speeding up progression, extra levels of service like the hint system the GO games had, an "Undo Button" to avoid having to replay an entire puzzle over again after making a mistake, or- tying to the fact that users that spend on IAPs tend to have a much higher engagement and lengthening the games longevity- create things like Deus Ex GO's puzzle editor.  It allows for infinite replayability by letting users create, share, and challenge each other greatly extending the length the game will last and enabling better player retention in the long run.

     Luckily enough for us, Square-Enix Montreal's intention is to find a new way to bring us not just the quality, high-end premium games, but ones that lead the way with brand new concepts for others to follow.
     "The focus is still tailoring high-end, high-quality pristine mobile experiences 
     If we are to work on a known IP, our treatment will somewhat reinvent that IP. If we are to work on a new genre, our treatment - I hope - will be a style that's cloned by everyone else.
     There's still the ambition of crafting the best games in the industry. If we keep that as part of our DNA, we're going to engage users for years and years to come, which is the plan now."
     Hitman GOLara Croft GO, and its DLC The Shard of Life, as well as Deus Ex GO were all beautifully spartan games- simple gameplay and and tremendously reduced aesthetic and design for a decent price- but the time has come for the studio to move on due to financial viability.  This comes as a bit of a surprise, as it's been over a year and a half since the release of Deus Ex GO, and both Just Cause GO and Life is Strange GO even had domains registered.
          It would've been cool to see a Thief or Murdered: Soul Suspect adapted to the GO design, along with some intriguing new mechanics and story potential, but honestly this shift away from the franchise opens up an opportunity for a completely new and original type of game.  Perhaps a new installment in the Mana series, a new type of game akin to Vagrant Story as an action title, or a mobile 3rd person adventure game in the Legacy of Kain saga.  This offers immense possibility for the future of their mobile-focused lineup through even better innovations and ideas than they've previously brought us- just as they did by taking the Hitman franchise in a completely new direction with GO.  That one departure from previous form spawned numerous isometric-puzzler clones Ghosts of MemoriesThe Hacker 2.0, and even Star Wars: Heroes Path, and we can only hope they can revitalize other series' with as much ingenuity.

    Sources [ PocketGamer & 2 ]