Massively Multiplayer: Gaming In The New Millennium

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by RySenkari, Aug 11, 2016.

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  1. Threadmarks: A New Era Begins

    RySenkari Lisa Simpson 2020

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Welcome to Massively Multiplayer!

    This is a joint video game/popculture alternate history timeline written by Nivek and myself, with contributions from many different members!

    What is Massively Multiplayer?

    Massively Multiplayer is the sequel to the timeline Player Two Start, with the basic POD being: “What if Nintendo and Sony had decided to work together in the video game business?” The POD is in 1991, just before Nintendo was set to go behind Sony's back and strike another deal to create a CD-ROM console with Philips. This timeline is video game focused, but with ramifications for pop culture, sports, politics, business, and beyond.

    I didn't read Player Two Start.

    Well, go back and read it then!

    Player Two Start can be found here: https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/player-two-start-an-snes-cd-timeline.280151/

    It is highly recommended that you read it first before reading this TL. However, it being incredibly long (1,800 pages give or take a few), I don't blame you for wanting a summary instead. So here it is.

    In 1991, Hiroshi Yamauchi gets second thoughts about going behind Sony's back with Philips and decides to take one last look at Nintendo's contract with Sony. Instead of ditching Sony, he instead renegotiates the contract with them to have more favorable terms, giving more control over the new SNES CD-ROM format to Nintendo, but making concessions on certain things such as content censorship and third party licensing. Sony and Nintendo create the SNES-CD console attachment (and also a combined SNES/SNES-CD), which is the most powerful home video game console created to date, more powerful than the Sega CD and comparable to the capabilities of the later 3DO and Jaguar. The SNES-CD launches in late 1992 to initial slow sales, but sales are boosted by the release of the killer app Super Mario World 2, and boosted even further by the release of a controversial but highly lucrative uncensored Mortal Kombat port, along with the critically acclaimed (and vastly expanded from OTL) Secret of Mana. This, combined with a massive price cut in late 1993, breaks the back of the Sega CD and makes the SNES-CD the best selling video game peripheral of all time.

    Sega, with its back to the wall, makes a key decision. Instead of releasing the 32X peripheral, it releases a device called the Mega Charger. Based on the lock-on technology from OTL's Sonic and Knuckles, which ITTL is built into the original Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (at the cost of delaying its release for two months), the Mega Charger is like a Super FX chip on steroids, and at a very low cost compared to OTL's 32X, it's a hit. Along with Sonic 3, which is an even bigger hit than it was IOTL, it bolsters Genesis sales past those of the SNES and its CD peripheral for several months. During this time, the most important game released for the SNES-CD is Snatcher, which was released in obscurity on the Sega CD IOTL. Here, it sells enough copies to be considered a success, and is a notable influence on pop culture during the remainder of the decade and beyond. At the same time, Nintendo's relaxed censorship policies on games lead to a more permissive attitude toward children's entertainment that will also have ripple effects in the years to come. At the end of 1994, the releases of Squad Four (a game developed by the Star Fox team starring human characters instead of anthropomorphic animals that becomes the most successful non-OTL franchise to arise from the POD) and Donkey Kong Country put the SNES back in the lead over the Genesis to stay.

    1995 sees even more huge games for the SNES-CD, including Final Fantasy VI, The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Dreams, Doom (a near perfect port, unlike OTL's disaster), Super Mario World 3, Tales Of The Seven Seas, Ballistic Limit, and Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest. The SNES and its peripheral become dominant, but there's a silver lining for Sega, who doesn't botch the release of the Saturn. The Saturn is released on its original intended date in September 1995, and without the Playstation to steal its thunder, it's not a failure at launch. It's more powerful than OTL's Saturn, as Sega has teamed up with Silicon Graphics and the system has much of the OTL Nintendo 64's internals, with a CD-ROM drive. The Saturn lacks an early killer app, but in 1996, those begin to trickle in: Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Virtua Fighter 2, and the biggest one of all: Sonic the Hedgehog 4. Though Nintendo has a slate of quality games to keep the SNES-CD strong, including an increased focus on RPGs like Tale Phantasia and Chrono Trigger, Sega once again takes the lead in market share by the end of the year.

    Nintendo roars back in 1997 with the launch of the Ultra Nintendo. Despite doubts as late as 1995 whether Sony would even work with Nintendo on another console, the two companies ultimately decide to keep working together, and in November the Ultra Nintendo is launched to massive sales that dwarf any game console before it. Bolstered by a wave of hype and a spectacular launch lineup (including Super Mario Dimensions, Ultra Mario Kart, Star Fox 2, and Final Fantasy VII), the Ultra Nintendo remains sold out in most stores for more than a year, and the Saturn, despite a lower price and continued quality games (and Enix and Namco exclusivity), begins to plunge in sales. The Ultra Nintendo surges through 1998 with more quality titles, particularly The Legend Of Zelda: Temple Of Time and Goldeneye 007, and by 1999, it's clear the Sega Saturn is on its last legs. Meanwhile, the usually brilliant Tom Kalinske makes a series of marketing blunders, most notably declining to reveal the upcoming Sega Katana at E3 1999. He would ultimately be forced to resign from the company in April 2000. Nintendo continues to have a strong 1999 as Pokemon fever takes over the world just as it did IOTL. The company gets ready to launch its long awaited Game Boy successor, the Game Boy Nova (it had previously released the Game Boy Color in 1996, two years earlier than IOTL), and in March 2000, the Nova is released to stellar sales.

    But just when it seems that nothing can go wrong for Nintendo, tragedy strikes. Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Mario, Zelda, and so many other classic franchises for the company, is killed in a car accident (ironically, as he was bicycling home from purchasing Dragon Quest VII for the Sega Saturn). Now, with Sega's new game console set to launch in 2001, and Microsoft joining the fray as well with the mysterious Xbox, Nintendo is left in a cloud of uncertainty, forced to select a new champion just as a promising new player enters the game...

    Why end Player Two Start there? Why start a new timeline?

    Massively Multiplayer represents the beginning of a new era. The name of the TL refers to the fact that some new companies are about to join the console wars, and not just ones you'd expect. With Nintendo's greatest genius gone, the company is about to start off on a new creative direction, and the video game industry is going to change in ways that will make this story different from the one we told in Player Two Start. Also, the format is changing a bit.

    Format change?

    While the writing style will remain basically the same, the updates will get somewhat shorter. General “monthly” updates are no more. Instead, they'll be replaced by shorter snippets, vignettes, and single-focus posts. Updates should be more frequent because we'll have less stuff to write. We'll do a sort of “recap” for every three months of time that will include descriptions of major hit games and maybe some sales info. Instead of describing only the really major games in out-of-universe style and other games with in-universe articles or quotes, we'll be describing every game we cover in out-of-universe style (this will also make it easier to draw comparisons to OTL games). We won't be covering every North American game either, we'll be doing it the same way we've done with the Saturn games: only the important ones will get descriptions, though we may mention a few others in terms of sales figures or quotes (for example, the annualized sports titles will be mentioned if something about them stands out, but otherwise will only be mentioned in terms of sales, which around 2000 or so were starting to really pick up).

    Will stuff besides games be covered?

    *M. Bison turns his head* Of course!

    And hopefully more often since the format lends itself to posting about stuff whenever I get the inkling to do so.

    Can I contribute?

    Shoryuken!

    Er, sure you can!

    Just send Nivek or myself or both of us at once a PM stating your intentions and what you'd like to contribute and we'll let you know if it fits into the timeline! If we give the OK, you can either post it yourself or let us post it for you! Plenty of interesting events in Player Two Start were fan contributions, and we'd like that to continue here! Plus, there's a lot of stuff that you guys know about better than us.

    So how long will this timeline be?

    We're hoping to take Massively Multiplayer right up to the present day and perhaps beyond, it all depends on how we're feeling about the project and if we want to keep it going. We have no plans for a sequel to this TL, so this will be it as far as this timeline goes.

    Brittany or Lyssa?

    Brittany.

    -

    I work with the most brilliant people in the world. I learn everything I can. That is the greatest benefit of my job.”
    -Masahiro Sakurai, director of Nintendo EAD, in a January 11, 2016 interview with Time magazine

    Steve Wozniak once told me that these things are the new cocaine. 25 years later, I have learned that not only was he right, but that this business is twice as cutthroat.”
    -Steve Jobs, in the August 2003 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly

    You've gotta be outta your freakin' mind to take a job like this! The e-mails I've gotten, I mean, it comes with the territory, but it's still pretty jarring to see what people say to me because of basically video games. I understand the passion. The vitriolic rage, no. The passion, yes.”
    -Barbara Dunkelman, North American Director of Community Engagement at Samsung, in a July 13, 2014 interview with Kotaku.com

    Sega is changing, but we are still here.”
    -Reggie Fils-Aime, E3 2003

    It's time to suit up or get out.”
    -Master Chief, The Covenant

    Through all the successes, the missteps, the heartbreaks, the triumphs, the one thing that remains is my love for innovation. Knowing how far we've come in 25 years and knowing how far we'll go in the next 25 is what keeps me working. I can't wait to see what comes next.”
    -Ken Kutaragi, translated from an interview in the January 2016 issue of Famitsu

    -

    May 17, 2000

    Nintendo executives were meeting in Kyoto for the first time since Shigeru Miyamoto's death to discuss plans for the company's immediate future. From a creativity standpoint, Miyamoto was irreplaceable, and it was clear that the ultimate creative direction of the company would change from this point forward. Still, someone had to fill his shoes. A few names were floated. Masahiro Sakurai was probably the closest from a general creative standpoint, but he was far too young. Miyamoto had mentored Satoshi Tajiri, who was currently heading up Game Freak. Presumably he could be hired away from Sony, but his body of work was a bit too narrow, with Pokemon being the only real hit under his belt. Yamauchi wanted someone whose resume was a bit more diverse.

    The two names that Hiroshi Yamauchi had been mulling over were Hideki Konno and Katsuya Eguchi. Konno was the more talented of the two, but Eguchi had been working under Miyamoto for some time, and seemed to be the natural choice as the next man up. Yamauchi had also been considering Gunpei Yokoi, but Yokoi had divulged to him his intention to retire from Nintendo at the end of the year to pursue other avenues of work. The choice between Konno and Eguchi was a difficult one. Both had advocates amongst the senior executives. Eguchi seemed to be the safer choice, but Konno had the potential to take Nintendo in a more dynamic direction. He'd met with both men privately to discuss replacing Miyamoto as the head of EAD. Now, he was announcing his decision to the gathered executives, having already told his intended choice that he had selected them to replace the irreplaceable genius.

    “It is with a heavy heart and an eye toward the future that I have made my selection to succeed Shigeru Miyamoto as the director of our Entertainment Analysis and Development team,” said Yamauchi. “I have selected Katsuya Eguchi. He will begin immediately.”

    Eguchi, who, along with Konno, was seated at the table, gave his boss a gracious nod.

    “Thank you for this opportunity,” said Eguchi. “I know what a great burden and responsibility it is to be asked to succeed someone as brilliant as Mr. Miyamoto. I will work hard to continue to lead Nintendo down its current path of success.”

    Eguchi had spent a great deal of time working on the Star Fox games, Miyamoto's brainchild and a technological showcase for Nintendo. His most recent game had been Yoshi's Story, and he was currently at work on another game for Nintendo, though it was not the game he most wanted to create. He'd been tasked with making an updated Ice Climber game, one that would take the beloved Famicom classic in a modern direction. In order to make Ice Climber, he'd been asked to put his real pet project, a game involving a village of animals that worked and lived together in real time, on the back burner. Now, as director of EAD, he might be able to make his vision come to life...but perhaps it would be a vision best realized on a future Nintendo console.

    And interestingly enough, the next order of business was just that.

    “How is development coming on our newest project?” asked Yamauchi to one of the executives sitting at the table.

    “Sony is fully on board and initial designs are being conceived as we speak,” said the executive.

    “I'm pleased to hear that,” replied Yamauchi. Unlike the difficulties Nintendo had had with Sony concerning the Ultra Nintendo, with a number of compromises and snags along the way, Sony had expressed significantly more enthusiasm about helping to develop Nintendo's next generation console. The Ultra Nintendo's radical success meant huge profits for both companies, and Sony wanted the transition to the next generation to be as smooth as possible. “I would like to have a target launch date some time in 2003.”

    As successful as the Ultra Nintendo still was, the imminent release of the Katana and the Xbox necessitated that Nintendo already begin working on its successor, as the hottest game console ever made was on the verge of being technologically eclipsed.

    “The new console should have native DVD capabilities,” said Yamauchi, drawing quick nods from the others at the table. Indeed, Nintendo's creatives had even been brainstorming ways to add some kind of DVD peripheral to the Ultra Nintendo, but ultimately decided against it, instead resolving to make sure that the new system, like both of its rivals, could play DVD movies. It was also a given that the new console should be significantly more powerful than both the Katana and the Xbox. “The modern game consumer demands a multipurpose device.”

    This was a philosophy that Yamauchi had picked up from Sony. Shigeru Miyamoto had never fully subscribed to it, but Miyamoto was now gone.

    Nine years after making the fateful decision to partner up with Sony, Nintendo was still the #1 video game company in the world.

    But so much else had changed. And as time went on, those changes would grow and multiply.

    -

    But the future refused to change...”
    -Chrono Trigger

    The future is always changing.”
    -Steve Jobs, E3 2003
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  2. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    The Mountainous Democratic Republic of Colorado
    FINALLY!
     
  3. Unknown Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, TX
    It's starting...:)

    Can't wait for the pop culture updates...
     
  4. Lavanya Six Gone Fishin'

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Glad to see this resume.

    It's vaguely reassuring for Nintendo's position that they're actually considering the Xbox worth taking into consideration. That, I assume, is mainly because of Microsoft's deep pockets.
     
  5. rick007 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Location:
    Hamiltonia
    The future looks bright.
     
  6. Neoteros Dux Mediolani

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Duchy of Milan
    FUCK YES.
     
  7. brendan ireland44 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2016
    A new start
     
  8. jolou Liberté, Égalité, Mbappé

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Location:
    France
    Yes ! I was a huge fan of your work on Player Two Start !
     
  9. ANARCHY_4_ALL Evolution and The Revolution

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Awesome it's back.
     
  10. eldandythedoubter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2015
    Just as I got the reply from Crunch. FINALLY!!!!
     
  11. Derekc2 Marxistball 9

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Huzzah! The tale continues.
     
  12. Paradox-less Lord of Weá, Defender of Weónes

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2016
    Location:
    Santiago, Chile
    The time of waiting has ended!

    My reaction:

    70735359.jpg
     
  13. Anastasia Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Awesome, so glad to see this.
     
  14. igetowned Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Location:
    Australia
    Glad this has started again :)
     
  15. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Location:
    Santa Marta,Magdalena,West Venezuela
    First of all thanks to all for all the enthusiasm with this new tl, the sucessor of the amazing collaborative effort of rysenkari & I.

    Hope you will love this one as the previous one, thanks all best wishes So as always any question,idea and suggestion are welcomed
     
  16. Threadmarks: E3 2000 Recap

    RySenkari Lisa Simpson 2020

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    E3 2000 Recap

    Another year, another E3 in the books, and for the first E3 of the new millennium, all the big game companies seemed to be pulling out all the stops. We saw more fantastic games than ever before, and the future of gaming looks bright indeed.

    Nintendo's booth was anchored by The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask, and despite the recent untimely death of Shigeru Miyamoto putting a damper on things, the mood seemed to be positive and enthusiastic, with everyone we saw very excited about the new Zelda game. Majora's Mask plays a lot like 1998's Temple of Time, which, considering the overwhelmingly positive reviews for that title, is probably a very good thing. Majora's Mask gives its hero Link just three days to save the world, though there are ways to slow down or even reverse the flow of time. Throughout the game, you'll gather up numerous enchanted masks to help you in your journey, all the while racing to keep the moon from crashing down and destroying the world. We also saw a lot of Super Mario RPG 2: A Plumble Beginning, the sequel to 1996's joint Nintendo/Squaresoft Mario role-playing game. The game explores the origins of Mario and Luigi's heroic adventures, while introducing a brand new world to explore and brand new characters to meet. We loved the colorful graphics and upbeat music, and this one seems to be a frontrunner for RPG of the year. And after Nintendo teased us so tantalyzingly last year, it was great to see a lot more of Metroid: Darkness, Samus Aran's first Metroid adventure in six years. The game combines 2-D gameplay with 3-D environments to create a complex and exciting new world for Samus to explore, even if most of the game that we saw appears to take place on a massive space station. The game features fully voiced cutscenes and for the first time in the series, Samus will be interacting with fellow residents of the galaxy inbetween battles with fearsome and frightful beasts. Metroid: Darkness seems to pick up exactly where Super Metroid left off, and we can't wait to play it when it hits our Ultra Nintendo systems this fall. We also caught a glimpse of some of the major titles Nintendo is poised to release next year, including Dreamscape, the sequel to 1998's fantastic platforming adventure title The Dreamers, and Star Fox 3, the latest in the fast paced space shooter series. Nintendo's also bringing back one of our favorite old school puzzlers with Ultra Dr. Mario, which features spiffy 3-D graphics and all new game modes that should provide a fun challenge for puzzle vets and new players alike. And, in another very intriguing announcement, Nintendo revealed a partnership with Peyton Manning to develop a brand new NFL football title (in the same vein as their Ken Griffey Jr. MLB games and their Grant Hill NBA series). Of course, it wouldn't be a Nintendo show without a little bit of Pokemon action, or in this case, a lot. Pokemon Sun and Moon, which releases next month for the Game Boy Nova, had a massive display, showing off many all new creatures to capture and battle. There's also a brand new Pokemon Stadium title confirmed to release on the Ultra Nintendo next year that will take advantage of all the new Pokemon. If that wasn't enough, Nintendo had a brief demonstration of a title that will allow players to use a microphone accessory to talk to an interactive Pikachu on their television screens! No word on the release date for that game, but what we got to play showed off several dozen different words, and Nintendo is promising that Pikachu will be able to learn more than a thousand when the game is finally finished. Finally, Nintendo showed off Pokemon Puzzle League, which appeared to be a reskin of Tetris Attack featuring Pokemon characters and locations. While it's not the most original title, it was still a fun diversion, and fans of Pokemon will definitely want to consider checking it out.

    It wasn't just Nintendo showing off Ultra Nintendo titles. Squaresoft in particular had several RPGs on display, most notably Chrono Infinite, the sequel to 1996's classic RPG Chrono Trigger. Infinite is one of the best looking video games we've ever seen, though Squaresoft only had a few minutes worth of gameplay footage on display. The preview trailer was cryptic but impressive, implying that a number of characters and locations from the original game will return, and showing off the possibility of dimensional travel within the game's storyline. We also got to enjoy a short battle demonstration that outlined the basic gameplay of battles. The ATB system from Final Fantasy and the original Chrono Trigger has been scrapped in favor of a more situational turn-based system of combat, though the combination attacks that made the first game so much fun have returned. The game appears to take a few battle mechanics from Fairytale, where character relationships play a big role in bolstering your party's attack and defense power. Squaresoft is keeping a lot of information about this game close to its chest, most likely in anticipation of the game's big reveal at this year's Tokyo Game Show in September. Still, from what we've seen, Chrono Infinite looks like it could be a top contender for next year's best game. We got to see a lot more of Squaresoft's big game for this year, Mystic Creature, which is clearly Pokemon inspired. It features beautiful artwork and it seems to put a lot more focus on the personalities of the actual creatures themselves, which indicates that this could be a much deeper game than Nintendo's franchise starter. Mystic Creature comes to the Ultra Nintendo in November. Squaresoft also demonstrated gameplay from Parasite Eve 2, which sees Aya Brea return to do battle with an infection that's causing otherworldly creatures to appear all over New York City. Squaresoft had two brief CGI cutscenes to play, one of them showing Aya stepping out of the shower after a mysterious visitor appears in her apartment, and the other showing off one of the huge creatures tearing its way across the Brooklyn Bridge. There's noticeably less hype for this game than there was for its predecessor, but with both a new Chrono game and a new Final Fantasy game being released next year, it's understandable that Square's priorities might be a bit crowded. And speaking of Final Fantasy IX, we were treated to very promising video footage from the game. Unfortunately, we weren't able to play the interactive demo, which was exclusive to a few very select VIPs at the show, but the battles looked like typical Final Fantasy fare, and the video footage revealed a massive, post-apocalyptic world to explore.

    Other promising Ultra Nintendo titles included Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (which is also coming out for the Saturn and later, the Katana), Ballistic Limit 3, Dog Dash 4, Wrath and Ruin, Hitman (which also looks to be another multiplatform title), and a stealth game called Novus Ordo that was reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid but with a lot more combat focus and an intriguing plot that puts the player in the shoes of an assassin working for a cabal of billionaire powerbrokers who control the world from behind the scenes. One of the most exciting experiences at E3 was Iron Battalion, which put us behind the controls of a giant mech, and gave us an enormous controller to pilot it with. The controller, which is said to be mandatory to play the game and which raises the game's price to $200, featured flight sticks, windshield wipers (yes, seriously), and a flashing eject button that the player is required to use in order to keep their save file intact. It sounds challenging and expensive, but may be an experience unlike any modern video gamer has ever had before. Speaking of giant mechs, a Konami title called Zone of the Enders looked very intriguing as well, and with this game, there's no $200 controller required. Developed by Hideo Kojima, Zone of the Enders is a fast-paced hack and slash title that is very reminiscent of last year's Squad Four: Rebellion, only with gigantic mech suits. If that doesn't get you excited, perhaps the ability to gather up computer code to customize and power up your mech suits does. Zone of the Enders could prove to be one of the biggest sleeper hits of 2001 when it releases here in the States in spring.

    The Ultra Nintendo boasted easily the most impressive lineup of software at E3, dwarfing that of the Sega Saturn, a system on its way out. With Sega largely focused on the Katana, the Saturn understandably got the short end of the stick, but that didn't mean the venerable console didn't have some impressive games of its own to show off. We were most enamored with Vintage Speed Series, a new racing title that features dozens of old school cars racing one another all over the world. Vintage Speed Series seems to occupy a niche between the realistic Gran Turismo and the arcade gameplay of Virtua Racing, providing fun racing action without getting too outside the realm of reality. The game clearly loves showing off its lineup of classic cars, which includes a 1960s Shelby Cobra, a 1950 Hudson Hornet, and a classic Corvette Stingray, among many others. There's even a VW Bus if you feel like being particularly groovy! The biggest game being shown off for the Saturn was probably Extremis, a survival horror title about animals that mutate and begin attacking humans, putting its protagonist in a position where he's the only one who can stop them. He must do so while protecting a teenage girl looking for her family. The combination of navigating through scary environments and protecting a young woman makes Extremis a challenging and terrifying experience, and we're sure it'll be a hit when it releases later this year. There were also plenty of RPGs being shown off, including Panzer Dragoon Saga II, Planetary Probe II, Song of Autumn, and the most intriguing of all, Skies of Arcadia, which has your character taking to the skies and fighting off pirates in fierce aerial RPG combat. And Dragon Quest VII, the hit Japanese RPG, is finally making it to our shores next year. It'll be the first and only original Dragon Quest game to be released for the Sega Saturn, and if it sells anywhere near as well here as it did in Japan, it'll surely be a major hit. Heretic: Unrepentant, a brand new Heretic title created especially for the Sega Saturn, was also announced to be nearing completion. The game, which started as a port of Heretic II, has had a troubled road to release. We covered it at last year's E3 when it was much more like the originally intended port, before being redesigned from the ground up for the Sega Saturn. We asked Raven Software why they didn't design the game for the upcoming Katana console, and they told us that they wanted to reward Saturn owners for their patience and bring this game to the system it was originally designed for. The company has also announced the potential of a port of this game to the Katana in 2002 if it sells well on the Saturn. Capcom's Onimusha, coming only to Ring-equipped Saturn systems later this year, looked extremely impressive for a Saturn game, and features some of the best combat we've ever seen. The game appears to be inspired by the Zelda series, with a number of puzzles shown off in demo footage, but with its emphasis on combat, it may end up being a formidable rival even to Nintendo's flagship adventure game. It too has been announced as a game that could potentially receive a Katana port sometime next year.

    The Katana itself was unveiled to an excited crowd at Sega's keynote address. Debuting next year with a surprisingly low price tag of $250, it will play DVD movies and features games that look far better than anything on the Saturn or the Ultra Nintendo. Sega revealed a number of launch titles, including Commander Keen: Worlds United, which brings together characters from many different Sega properties to join the boy hero on his adventures. Sega was clearly pushing this game harder than any other game at the show, and we spent a lot of time playing through both the single player and multiplayer modes, battling enemies and even a couple of the game's bosses, including Dr. Robotnik himself. It's clear that with the Katana's first Sonic game still a considerable amount of time away, Sega is looking for Keen to bridge the gap, and if the very impressive preview is any indication, the game should more than keep Katana buyers properly tided over. Another big aspect of the Katana that Sega is pushing is online gameplay, and Phantasy Star Online, an RPG in the vein of the PC-exclusives Pirate Quest and Ultima Online, is at the forefront of Sega's online plans. Characters will be able to form parties and tackle big bosses and smaller scale challenges, all the while gaining experience and leveling up to become even stronger. We also saw Sega's online intentions laid out with the company's slate of sports titles, a brand new series of games called 2K. NFL 2K1 debuts at launch, while we'll see NBA 2K2 and NHL 2K2 released later in the year. The graphics of the upcoming games are spectacular, the most lifelike yet seen in console sports titles, and all three games are said to feature online gameplay and matchmaking with players all over the world. Sega also had a massive Virtua Fighter booth on display at the show, demonstrating both Virtua Fighter 4 and its RPG counterpart, Virtua Quest 4. The two games are said to tie heavily into one another, with VF4 dropping first in the summer, followed by VQ4 later on in the fall. The games looked incredible, with Virtua Fighter 4 showing off Sega's latest arcade technology, and Virtua Quest 4 featuring stunning cutscenes and professional grade voice acting. Sega's making it very clear that fans should purchase both games to get the full Virtua Fighter 4 experience, and they'll both be heavily advertised as their release dates draw near. Sega's also rolling out Virtua Soccer, a more arcade-like experience than the typical FIFA game, but one that looks quite stunning and features dozens of teams from around the world. They're hoping to capture some of FIFA's rabid fans with this game, which is set to release in July. The Sega Katana is also boasting the definitive version of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, which launches first on the Ultra Nintendo in March, then later on the the Katana in May. The Katana's version of the game not only looks better, it's set to include an exclusive Mercenaries mode that puts you in the shoes of a brand new zombie hunter looking to rack up the dough by slaughtering as many of the undead fiends as he can. The mode has an arcade-like feel that should make longtime Sega players feel right at home, and is a great companion to what looks to be a terrifying new Resident Evil game. Another title that should be at its best on the Katana is Victory, Capcom's reboot of the hit SNES-CD franchise. It's launching for all three major consoles, including the brand new Xbox, but Sega is laying claim to the best version of the game, which also features a mode exclusive to the Katana: a top-down battle mode that allows players to pick a protagonist while trying to complete abridged versions of some of the missions from the original two games. Platformer fans should be excited about the Katana's first year as well: with no less than three huge games, NiGHTS: Into the Labyrinth..., Aerio: Ride The Wind, and Spare Parts 2 all set to be released next year, the games join Commander Keen: Worlds United as Katana exclusives that should all be contenders for action game of the year. We didn't see as much of NiGHTS as we did of Keen, but the gorgeous trailer showed off the game's new combat and exploration mechanics and revealed the game's plot which sees the titular protagonist descend into a maze of nightmares to rescue his friends. The other game we actually got to play at E3 was Aerio, and though the game's barely half finished, we loved the game's use of wind physics, which the protagonist Aerio uses to boost herself up onto platforms and blow her enemies away. Developers are promising that the game will feature more than a dozen worlds to explore, and showed off designs of massive boss monsters that players will need to use a multitude of tricks to defeat. The Katana's E3 lineup was small compared to the Ultra Nintendo's, but boasted some of the show's best games, and made a very compelling case to both Saturn owners and Nintendo fans alike that the Katana could well be the best game system of its generation.

    Microsoft was at the show to demonstrate its Xbox console, but only had a few games on display. The two most notable were The Covenant and The Witcher, the later of which is an enhanced port of a popular 1997 PC role-playing game. The Witcher's massive world looked very impressive on the Xbox, and the game features voice acting and full-motion video cutscenes that weren't present in the original PC game. The world itself was even bigger than its PC counterpart, and the sense of scale doesn't really hit you until you're actually exploring the game's world for yourself. While the graphics were nothing better than we saw on the Katana, the Katana, outside of perhaps Enix's Revolution Alpha, didn't seem to boast a game with such a massive world to explore, and producers told us that the game is still in an early stage of development. Of course, Microsoft's flagship title was The Covenant, and this appears to be the game that the company is hoping will sell Xboxes next year. It's a third-person shooter developed by Bungie, and stars a soldier simply known by his title: Master Chief. The soldier, clad all in green, could be seen charging into battle with hordes of hostile robots alongside a squadron of soldiers. The soldiers could be given orders to attack or defend certain areas, and Bungie also told us that the soldiers can be used to help clear obstacles and complete puzzles later in the game. They were ambiguous about what the title itself referred to, only that it was an important element of the game's mythology and that it didn't refer to an actual "covenant", or promise. Bungie was also very excited about the game's multiplayer mode, which allows players to engage in four-player deathmatches across a multitude of maps. Bungie tells us that the game initially started as a first-person shooter, but later became a third-person title after designers saw how games such as Metal Gear Solid and Squad Four: Rebellion utilized the third-person perspective and played much more fast, while also being more adventurous in scale. The company has plans to develop an FPS down the road, but for now is focusing all of its efforts on making The Covenant worthy of all the hype it's starting to receive. For the most part, the Xbox seems like a more powerful system than the Katana, though we wish we had more games to make a more accurate assessment. Microsoft has participated in the video game business before with their hit PC titles, but entering the console ring with Nintendo and Sega has been a fool's errand for every company that's tried it thus far. We've yet to have seen a company so confident or so competent as Microsoft take a shot at it, and the Xbox clearly has more hype than any other system that's attempted to do battle with the two titans before.

    This may also have been one of the best years for PC games that we've ever seen at E3. The most hyped game of the show was probably Deus Ex, and though there's been a lot of disappointment about the game's recent delay announcement (the initial June 2000 release date has become December 2000), the game itself looked absolutely fantastic and it's clear why the delay was needed: there's so much to do and the game looks gorgeous. Deus Ex takes place in the future and puts you in the role of a cybernetically enhanced special agent tasked with battling a group of dangerous terrorists. EA has remained VERY secretive about the game's plot beyond that basic premise, indicating that there will be lots of unexpected twists and turns along the way. The game itself allows you to fully customize your character's stat progression, allowing you to tailor make the gameplay according to your chosen playstyle. It is also said to boasts dozens of different branching story paths, while allowing you to deal with characters, both "good", "evil", and everywhere in between, in any way that you deem fit. The game was presented at E3 in what is said to be a "mostly complete" state, and what we played did an excellent job of showing off just how big and complex the game really is. And as good as Deus Ex was, Sid Meier's Civilization III might have been even better. Though still a year out from release, Civilization III boasts a number of improvements to its predecessor, which is considered by many here at Gamespot to be one of the greatest games ever made. The graphics are significantly better than in Civilization II, and cities now boast influence over a surrounding area, which allows for more strategic decision-making in city placement and development. Civilization III seemed to be the one PC game that had a longer line to play than Deus Ex, as everybody wanted to see just what a next-generation Civ title would play like. We're excited to see just how much better the game looks as its development progresses. Another exciting PC title set to be released next year is Gemstone, a hybrid single-player/multiplayer RPG currently being developed by Black Isle Studios. The game casts the player as a hunter of rare and powerful magical jewels that bestow the favor of various gods upon their wielders. Utilizing these gemstones, players can conquer different areas of the game's world. In the single-player game, the player is tasked with either saving the world from an evil emperor, or taking over the world for themselves. The multi-player game puts the player into a massive world where they can level up by capturing portions of the world utilizing the power of the gemstones while other players are doing the same. Players will be able to form guilds and team up to take entire portions of the map in what is said to be a very ambitious ongoing storyline that will receive regular updates from the game's producers. If it works, it could be one of 2001's biggest games and we'll be keeping a close eyes on all future developments with this one.

    So while the "big" story of E3 was the twin unveilings of Sega's Katana and Microsoft's Xbox, the biggest thing we took from E3 is just how many hit games are going to be released over the next 18 months. There's no shortage of creativity among today's game designers, and it couldn't be a better time to launch a brand new console. We'll continue to cover all of these games and many more as the weeks progress.

    -an article posted on Gamespot, May 15, 2000

    -

    Game Critics Awards E3 2000

    Best Of Show: The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
    Best Original Game: Deus Ex
    Best Console Game: The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
    Best PC Game: Civilization III
    Best Peripheral/Hardware: Sega Katana
    Best Action Game: Blackheart
    Best Action/Adventure Game: The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
    Best Role Playing Game: Deus Ex
    Best Racing Game: Gran Turismo 2
    Best Sports Game: NFL 2K1
    Best Fighting Game: Virtua Fighter 4
    Best Strategy Game: Civilization III
    Best Social/Puzzle Game: Chu Chu Rocket
    Best Online Multiplayer: Phantasy Star Online
    Special Commendation Awards: Blackheart, Civilization III, The Covenant, Deus Ex, Way Of The Samurai
    Best Booth: Squaresoft

    -

    Shigeru Miyamoto's death cast a pall over the E3 festivities. Though we all enjoyed the games, most of us couldn't help but feel a sadness at the loss of such a titanic game creator just days before the show. There was nowhere the pall felt heavier than over Nintendo's Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask display, where Eiji Aonuma was clearly melancholy as he demonstrated and talked about the game. The man was clearly still in mourning for his friend, though he did a fantastic job showing off one of Miyamoto's last works of genius. Majora's Mask looked fantastic, and we left the booth saddened but also excited for what surely would be an amazing game.

    The Ultra Nintendo had another banner year at E3. It was clear that with Sega focused on the Katana, Nintendo needed to show that the Ultra Nintendo, while inferior in technology, was superior in games. Metroid: Darkness was their other big game besides Majora's Mask, though they had plenty of other titles to show off as well, including a brand new Star Fox game and a couple of games from Rare: Conker's Twelve Tales and Dreamscape. Rare also cryptically alluded to a game that would be different (and more edgy) than anything they'd yet produce. That game, which would come to be known as Dick, would be fully revealed at a press conference later in the year, but for now all we had to go on was a mysterious silhouette of a man in a trenchcoat and fedora who called to mind the beloved Dick Tracy. Metal Gear Solid was also an influence on some of the games that Nintendo showed off, particularly Blackheart, a game that won over a lot of critics and even some Best of Show awards. We also saw the first footage of Novus Ordo, which seemed a bit cheesy when we first saw it, though the gameplay looked great. Metal Gear Solid itself was absent from the show, though Hideo Kojima wasn't. He was showing off Zone of the Enders, and when asked about Metal Gear Solid 2, he just smiled and said "you will see". It's clear that Konami was saving that particular title for a later date, and indeed, Metal Gear War would later be revealed at that year's Tokyo Game Show to an incredible reception.

    Squaresoft, it was universally agreed, had a great show, and that's even after they put most of the good Final Fantasy IX footage behind closed doors for GameTV (which would be canceled in just four short months)! Chrono Infinite was unveiled and blew us all away, Parasite Eve 2 (and Aya Brea in the shower) looked fantastic, and Mystic Creature was revealed to be more than just a shameless Pokemon ripoff. They even impressed us with The Bouncer, an Ultra Nintendo-exclusive beat-em-up that looked more impressive than The Savateur, which was the Saturn's upcoming game from the same genre. The Squaresoft booth was the place to be at E3, even as the entire show was impressing people left and right.

    Sega revealed the Katana, of course, and a number of fantastic games. The online component of the system was especially impressive, with crowds flocking to play all the new sports titles that Sega had lined up. Chu Chu Rocket was a very addictive puzzler, and Phantasy Star Online took Sega's classic RPG series online for the very first time. Commander Keen: Worlds United was positioned as the Katana's big launch game, but most of us were far more impressed with Sega's future titles for the system, including a sequel to NiGHTS and Enix's Revolution Alpha (which made Dragon Quest VII look like crap when viewed one after the other), along with Virtua Fighter 4. Virtua Fighter 4 was everywhere at the show. It was inescapable. Sega had arcade machines everywhere and they were hyping the Katana version to the moon as well, while saying that you also needed to buy the RPG spinoff Virtua Quest 4 (at full price, of course) to get the full story. Most of the reporters at the booth just said "no thanks, I'll take my fighting game, hold the story please". The Saturn wasn't left out of the fun, and boasted a surprisingly robust lineup for a system about to be retired. E3 2000 was a lovely swan song for the Sega Saturn, which would see quality games released for it well into the next year.

    Microsoft and its Xbox were impressive. Very few games, but those games that were playable were quite fun, and, more importantly, looked better than what the Katana was boasting. Visually, at least. The Xbox seemed a step above Sega's new system. A small step, but an important step, as Microsoft spent a lot of time trying to convince people to hold out a few extra months for their system instead of springing for Sega's, promising more games would be revealed throughout the year. It was clear to most people gathered there that the company was planning a lot of its big reveals for next year's E3, which would be right after the Katana's launch. Microsoft did just enough to get people really excited, while keeping a lot of its cards close to its chest until it knew just what it was holding. Whether that strategy would pay off had yet to be seen.

    Finally, it goes without saying that there was Pokemon there. Lots of it. Pokemon Sun and Moon was about to have its big North American launch, and Nintendo had the new Pokemon everywhere. The new TV show episodes were playing in the booth. There were toys on display. We all knew it would be the biggest selling game of the summer, and yet most people were talking about the Sega Katana. Pokemon's success, by this point, had stopped being news. It was just kind of a given by this point.


    -IGN's retrospective of E3 2000, based on this real-life article: http://www.ign.com/wikis/e3/E3_2000
     
  17. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    The Mountainous Democratic Republic of Colorado
    Oh yeah, I forgot TTL Gold and Silver was called "Sun and Moon." Kind of funny, given recent events.
     
  18. TehIrishSoap Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    Location:
    Ireland
    I think I speak for everyone on ah.com when I say it's so good to have this TL back in our lives. Eagerly anticipating every update!
     
    Roger Redux likes this.
  19. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Location:
    Santa Marta,Magdalena,West Venezuela
    Hilarous in Hindsight pretty much, we keep the OTL theme as the integration of Day-night cycle was pretty massive in pokemon games and with some changes,we think was the natural name...and seems gamefreak liked as much as us. Still, have we introduced things as 'jotho evolutions' because different regions, we would have been calling steertching things...here waiting for november...
     
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  20. Threadmarks: The Games Of June 2000

    RySenkari Lisa Simpson 2020

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    (This update showcases the new games of June 2000! Normally this kind of an update would be reserved for the three-month summaries that we're planning to do later on, but since April and May were already covered in Player Two Start, today's update is June only. We'll do July-September all in one bunch in a future update!)

    Ultra Nintendo:


    Legend Of Mana

    Due to the increased level of success enjoyed by Secret Of Mana and Elements Of Mana, Legend Of Mana has many more similarities to those two games than OTL's game did, especially in terms of playstyle. The game allows for three playable protagonists at once, out of a total of six characters, and unlike in the first two games, players can swap between them at save points. Combat plays out as it did in the last two games, action-RPG style with real time combat and the unique ring menu, with damage numbers appearing on screen (unlike IOTL's game, which abandoned visible hit points and damage numbers). The graphics are highly stylized, a mix of 2-D and 3-D. Koichi Ishii intended the game to feature a fully 3-D world, but development time and the Ultra Nintendo's graphical capabilities didn't quite allow for his full vision to be realized. Nevertheless, it's considered to be a gorgeous game, just a tiny step below games like Final Fantasy VIII for graphical prowess.

    Like in OTL's game, the player controls a protagonist that they name themselves and can pick whether or not the protagonist is male or female. They are joined by five other heroes: Elazul, a knight from an oppressed race seeking to save the last of his people, Sierra, a noble dragoon who fights to defeat the evil empire (whom her brother works for as a soldier), Matilda, a holy priestess who must be protected, Kazan, a ninja who starts out trying to assassinate Matilda but eventually falls in love with her, and Kukui, a sprite who slings powerful black magic. (Elazul, Sierra, and Matilda are based on characters from OTL's game, while Kazan and Kukui are original to TTL's game). The game is positioned as somewhat of a prequel to the original Mana games, depicting the heroes on a grand quest to plant Mana Seedlings in order to sprout a giant Mana Tree that will bring peace and benevolence to the world, all the while trying to stop the conquests of the Empire that seeks to prevent the Tree's birth. The Seedlings are in reality the essences of noble maidens who give their lives to form the Seedlings in the hopes that the world can be liberated from oppression, and as they are planted, more of the world opens up (in a somewhat similar way to the Land Make system of OTL's game). Eventually, the heroes stop the conquering Empire, but tragically, the Seedlings fail to sprout into the Mana Tree. It is Matilda who must give up her life, becoming the final Seedling to create the Tree and save the world. The game's ending is bittersweet, but the world is left in peace and prosperity for a thousand years because of the heroes' noble deeds.

    Legend Of Mana is considered one of the summer's best games, with critical reviews comparable to those for Elements of Mana. Though the plotline and gameplay are seen as slightly derivitive, the game's graphics and musical score more than make up for those shortcomings, and the Mana series continues to be remembered as one of Squaresoft's top franchises. It becomes the #2 selling new game of the month, behind only Pokemon Sun and Moon.

    Castlevania: The Occulted Circle

    Castlevania: The Occulted Circle is the sequel to Symphony of the Night. It tells the story of two vampire hunters: Siegfried van Heldorf and his young apprentice, Johan Belmont. The two men seek to stop a centennial ceremony known as the World Reaping, where 13 powerful vampire lords gather at an ancient castle to carve up the world into spheres of influence, where each vampire and his underlings will feed for 100 years. The World Reaping always proceeds a century of terror, where millions are made victims of the vampires' insatiable thirsts. If Siegfried and Johan can kill the vampires gathered there, it will usher in a century of peace. But the two men, unbeknownst to them, have been betrayed, and in the resulting ambush, Siegfried is killed and Johan is trapped in the darkest underbelly of the castle. Johan must fight his way through the castle and defeat the vampire lords on his own if he is to save the world and avenge his master. The game itself plays much like its predecessor, with a vast mazelike castle to explore and with the opportunity for Johan to level up and get stronger along the way. There are hidden passages, treasures to find, and lots of enemies to kill. Each vampire lord holds sway over a part of the castle, which reflects their own tastes and affinities. For example, the third vampire lord, Florina, has a love of deadly plants, and her section of the castle is full of living flowers and plant-like beasts. The sixth vampire lord is Ruger, and his section of the castle is a blazing furnace similar to the fires of Hell. Finally, Johan defeats all the vampire lords and makes his way to the spire of the castle, where he does battle with Count Dracula, the leader of the circle who wields power over death itself. Along the way, Johan reunites with his master Siegfried, who has been bitten by the twelfth vampire lord, Dracula's dark bride Nasira, who cruelly forces her new thrall Siegfried to battle his former apprentice before doing battle with Johan herself.

    The Occulted Circle holds some gameplay similarities with the OTL Game Boy Advance game Circle of the Moon, particularly the DSS card system that allows Johan to use two special cards in unison that grant him a different power. There are 144 different combinations of cards in this game, with all sorts of different effects, most of them utilizing Johan's magic meter. The game's graphics are considered to be a slight step up from Symphony of the Night, but still considered fairly modest, especially by the standards of TTL's Ultra Nintendo. Though critics enjoy the game (some even consider it to be better than Symphony of the Night), it's a relative failure in terms of sales, especially in North America, where it struggles to sell half the copies Symphony of the Night did. This is largely due to a lack of good advertising for the game, and competition with games like Legend of Mana.

    Nightsquad: City Of Angels

    The third game in WayForward's popular Nightsquad series, this is a fairly standard action shooter set in Los Angeles, where the Nightsquad must take down a gang of dangerous bank robbers who possess powerful weapons and experimental technology. These robbers start out knocking over banks, but it soon becomes apparent that they're working for someone a lot more dangerous, and eventually the Nightsquad are embroiled in a battle to save not just the city, but the entire world. The game features the same five squad members as the previous two games, though it seems to focus a lot more on the personalities of each individual squad member and makes very few references to the plot of the previous two games, making it seem almost like a reboot. Whereas Nightsquad 2 had to compete with all the other Ultra Nintendo launch games, City of Angels launches against little competition, at least in its own genre. The graphics are significantly better than they were in the previous game, and the increased focus on characters and plot makes it much more palatable to critics. It also abandons the sidescrolling gameplay entirely in favor of a fully 3-D open world approach that gives it a much more modern feel. It averages around 8/10 with critics and sales are increased over the first title, making it one of the top selling new Ultra Nintendo games of the month.

    Sega Saturn:

    Ultima: The Resurrection Stone

    The final Ultima game to be developed for the Sega Saturn, The Resurrection Stone once again puts the Avatar as the protagonist. He is tasked with finding an ancient stone by Lord British, whose wife the queen has fallen ill to a dreadful plague, and whose body is now possessed by a corruptive force that brings evil and misery to all of Britannia. The Stone only appears to one who has sought out the eight Champions of Virtue, who are being held prisoner by agents of the Corrupt Queen and must be liberated before it can be found in an ancient temple at the center of the world. The Resurrection Stone represents the biggest departure yet from the original PC titles, with very little in the way of customization or free exploration. The player is given a defined quest and must embark on it by exploring the world, though there is a very clear order in which the Champions must be found, and critics are quick to point out the "Zeldafication" of the Ultima series. While Richard Garriott denies that this was the case, it's clear to many that the game is attempting to emulate the Zelda franchise, and to many, it's a somewhat lackluster imitation, with review scores ranging from mixed to only slightly positive. It's considered the worst of the three Saturn Ultima games, and worse than Ultima IX: Ascension (which ITTL was much more positively received than its OTL counterpart). Despite the reviews, the game sells quite well, becoming one of the more successful Saturn releases of the year. Saturn fans tend to remember the console's Ultima trilogy fondly, even if this game is remembered somewhat less fondly than the previous two, and the strong sales lay the groundwork for the series to continue on the Katana, though it's around this time that EA and Origin are reconsidering whether or not to continue the Ultima series on consoles at all.

    The Savateur

    The Savateur is the other major Saturn release in June 2000. It takes place in 19th century France, amidst the slums of Paris. The protagonist, Jean, is an enforcer for a gang leader who is attempting to unify the city's street gangs into one in order to start a rebellion against the upper classes of the city. He is opposed by other gang leaders who are trying to dominate the slums by intimidating the very poor. After Jean is forced to watch the brutal murder of his mentor, he sets out to eradicate the gang responsible and prevent them from taking over the underbelly of the city. The game is characterized by its vicious combat, involving the fierce and powerful low kicks utilized by the martial art of savate. Most of the brawling moves in this game are various types of kicks, and counters to those kicks, though the combat system is fairly complex for games of its time. The graphics are excellent, among the best on the Saturn (especially since the game is exclusive to the Ring), and really accentuate the desperation and decrepit nature of the Parisian slums in those days. Despite being a technical marvel, reviews are mixed to the point of polarization. Many reviewers consider the game among the year's best, though others consider it to be a major disappointment (especially Gamespot, which savages the game in its review, giving it a 5.5 and leading to somewhat of a controversy). Most of the major publications are quite positive about the game, but sales are a disappointment. It was projected to be one of the top selling Saturn titles of the year, but ended up reaching only about half of its projections. The disappointment that was The Savateur is considered a major sign that the Saturn truly is on its way out and that people are gearing up for the Katana. Ring sales by this time had slowed to a crawl, with most unwilling to buy the peripheral due to the fact that the Katana was backward compatible with both Saturn and Ring-exclusive games.

    Game Boy Nova:

    Nintendo Wars Nova

    The first Nintendo Wars game to appear on a North American system, this game has many similarities to OTL's Advance Wars in terms of story content and gameplay, though the graphics are similar to those featured in the OTL Nintendo DS game Dual Strike. The biggest difference from OTL's game is the addition of voice acting and anime cutscenes, though these are used very sparingly, with only a few minutes worth of voice-acted lines in the game (mostly battle quotes). The game is as well received as it was IOTL, perhaps even moreso, becoming one of the best reviewed Game Boy Nova games to date. It will be a front runner for the Nova game of the year, and its sales are robust, though paling in comparison to Pokemon Sun and Moon.

    Pokemon Sun and Moon

    To be detailed in its own update.

    Multiplatform:

    Reversal Of Fortune

    Reversal of Fortune is an "arcade-style" FPS developed for consoles, with very quick gameplay, enormous enemies, and massive (and at times ludicrous) guns. It takes place in the middle of an alien invasion, plopping the player down into a succession of stages and sending them into battle against increasingly deadly enemies, human, robot, and alien alike. Reviews are middling, with many criticizing the game for its lack of realism, its "excuse plot", and its rather narrow stages, which are highly linear with few chances for exploration. But even though reviews are average, the game manages to sell decently well. A good marketing campaign (with TV and magazine ads showing off the game's strange but funny characters, including its protagonist, a soldier who spouts quotes that could be straight out of a cheesy action movie) and its general aesthetic, which set it apart from more serious FPS games like Velvet Dark and Disavowed, made it seem fresh and unique to many players, which translated into enough sales for the game to become a mildly successful franchise.

    -

    Ted Crosley: So what didn't you like about The Savateur?

    Alex Stansfield: This game gets repetitive in a hurry. The combat, while fun for the first few fights, eventually deteriorates into a tired sequence of kick kick block, kick kick block, block kick, kick kick block, over and over ad infinitum.

    Ted: You're crazy, there are tons of moves in this game!

    Alex: Which you don't really have to use since there are basically three combos that once you learn them, you'll never have to use anything else. Not even on bosses, which by the way, don't really qualify as bosses because they're basically regular enemies with more health.

    Ted: The boss fights were some of my favorite parts of the game.

    Alex: Kick kick block, kick kick block, dialogue, block kick, kick kick block. That's what boss fights were.

    Ted: So you didn't like the city? Or the voice acting?

    Alex: The city looked great. I'll give the developers that, they made a lovely looking Paris. But the voice acting, I didn't really like it that much either.

    Ted: Well, I loved this game, I thought it lived up to the hype, and I'm giving it a 4.5.

    Alex: That's the thing about hype, you make your game sound too good to be true and it usually is. I'm giving it a 3.

    Ted: I feel like you'd be more excited about this game if it had Mario in it.

    Alex: I feel like if Brittany wasn't on her honeymoon, she'd be yelling at you right now.

    -excerpted from the June 27, 2000 episode of GameTV

    -

    "And that's the problem with games like The Savateur that put graphical prowess before fun gameplay. Ultimately, they're only fun just long enough to stave off any initial pangs of buyer's remorse. Once you progress past the first couple of stages, the gameplay is wearing thin but you've got too much time invested to stop playing and take the game back to the store. You press on, long after it becomes a chore, in hopes you'll at least be blown away by the design of another gorgeous building. But even that starts to wear thin eventually."

    -excerpted from Gamespot.com's review of The Savateur, posted on June 22, 2000

    -


    Best Selling New Games Of June 2000 (by first four weeks of North American sales):

    1. Pokemon Sun Edition (Game Boy Nova)
    2. Pokemon Moon Edition (Game Boy Nova)
    3. Legend Of Mana (Ultra Nintendo)
    4. Ultima: The Resurrection Stone (Sega Saturn)
    5. Mario Tennis (Ultra Nintendo)
     
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