Friday, May 13, 2011

Exclusionary Brink, Pokemon, Dark Souls Preorders and The Joy Formidable  


Games: So Brink has been out for a little while now. I'm not going to dig too deeply into it since (for me, anyway) there's not really a lot to say. I spent a bit of time with the full version and, well, let's just say that I didn't spend much.

However, there is one (more) thing that I need to get off my chest.

You may recall that I wrote about Brink’s decision to exclude female models from the game a year ago. I had hoped that they might change their minds in the interim, but I didn't really expect that to happen given that the developers kept citing “resource constraints” as the main reason for the omission. However, I was quite surprised to find that the full retail version of Brink has no options for subtitles whatsoever.

At the beginning of the game, players are prompted to watch a lengthy tutorial video which explains all of the game’s systems and features -- and there are no subtitles. After this discovery, I quit back to the title screen and searched through all of the menus, and was not able to find any option to turn on text. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I took a pretty thorough look... if there is an option for subtitles, I sure as hell couldn't find it.

In this day and age, every single game being released should come with (at minimum) an option for basic subtitles. Sometimes voices don't come through as clearly as they should, sometimes people are playing in noisy environments and miss a few lines, but most importantly, developers need to be aware that not every player is able to hear. It is a fact that deaf and hard-of-hearing people play games, and being disabled, they don't have the choice of ‘turning up the volume’ or lip-reading the characters on-screen.

I have never met any of the Brink developers, I have not interviewed the Brink team, and I don't have any inside information or first-hand accounts of what happened behind the scenes, but I have to say that the combination of female character exclusion and total lack of subtitles serve to paint a picture that isn't very favorable to the people who made this game.

Not every game player is an able-bodied male, and with the choices on display in Brink, it's hard to avoid getting the impression that women and the disabled were either forgotten, consciously left out, or deemed not important enough to have been considered during development. I'm sure the Brink devs are lovely people, but regardless of their true feelings or intentions, the end result displays the kind of outdated, exclusionary ‘dudebro’ attitude that no one should support.


Events: This Saturday at the Washington State Convention Center downtown, the Pokémon World Championship will be happening. Although I haven't played Pokémon in quite some time, I may drop by to check it out.
Apparently there are three different age divisions for competitive play, and I'm guessing that there might be a few cosplayers as well. If nothing else, the crepes at the restaurant in front of the center are delicious, so the trip would be worth that at the very least. If you're going to be in the area and have an interest in Pokémon, stop by and catch a few. Or... 'em all.


Games: The good people over at Atlus have released a new co-up video for their upcoming title, The Cursed Crusade. You can check that out here.

Some of that combat looks pretty sweet and I'm always up for titles that have a good buddy mode, so it's on my radar.


Games: Just a quick FYI, if you're interested in the upcoming Dark Souls (and if you're not, I mean... seriously? you're not?) it’s just been announced that people who pre-order now will be automatically upgraded to the deluxe version for free. Bonuses include an art book, a strategy guide, and a soundtrack among other things.

Although I'm still a little disgruntled that Atlus won't be publishing, this is certainly one of my most-anticipated of the year considering that it's the spiritual sequel to Demon’s Souls. (And in case you don't remember, that game was my top pick for 2009 overall. Am I stoked? Just a wee bit.)


Music: I don't talk about music very much, but the other day I was driving along in the car listening to KEXP (which is pretty much the only station I listen to if I'm not tuned into NPR for the news) and the song ‘Whirring’ by The Joy Formidable came on.

I had never heard it before, I don't know thing about them and it took me a few minutes of googling to even figure out what the song was or who they were, but it clicked with me right away and I liked it enough to share it with all of you. Here's a link to the official music video. If you give a listen, let me know what you think.


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3 comments: to “ Exclusionary Brink, Pokemon, Dark Souls Preorders and The Joy Formidable


    I saw you post on Twitter that you're intending to get Dark Souls on the 360 Brad, which I think is odd.

    The game clearly uses the same engine as Demon's Souls and so will be properly optimised on the PS3 by default. It'll merely be getting ported to the 360 and so the technical differences may be pretty noticeable, especially if you look at Final Fantasy XIII which also was primarily designed for PS3, then ported for 360.

    In any case, just thought I'd point that out.



    I own the PS3 and 360. I've preordered Dark Souls for both systems. I will be playing it for the 360, primarily because most of my friends have said system. Initially I had reservations about playing the game on the 360 because of the iffy d-pad, but I'm sure From Software will figure something out. My PS3 Limited Edition will sit on my shelf, unopened, forever. I guess it's about time I try and conquer Demon's Souls (stuck on King Allant... I despise the soul drain!!!)


    Leo> The majority of people who I'd like to quest with are on 360, and after seing how multi was integrated into Demon's Souls, I'm really keen on having buddies available.

    Matt> Don't give up. He's a bear, but it IS do-able with practice.