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CURRENTS
Issue #83
June 5, 2008
Would You Kindly?
Front Page

June 03 - 12:29 CST

AHHHH! Welcome to Currents #83!

Crazy, crazy, life is crazy. The only thing you can count on is change, and that's hardly a comforting prospect, wouldn't you agree? People come and go, friends come and go, jobs come and go, et cetera et cetera. It all kinda sucks sometimes, but there's not much that I, or anyone, can do. Short of fabricating my own personal reality, over which I would have complete and utter control. That's something I've been working on for quite some time now; I'm just waiting for a breakthrough. I'm sure one will come eventually.

I'm still playing BioShock. Kudos to anybody who advanced far enough in the game to understand the title of this week's column. I wish I had more personal gaming news to report, but as I've stated on countless occasions, I do not have the time for videogames. It's just that simple. Somehow, I've had less gametime this summer than I did during the previous school semester. Anyone care to explain how THAT works? Oh, wait, I think I can: 50+ hours per week at work, plus two columns for RPGamer. I'm not complaining, mind you; I just wish there were more hours in a day, that's all.

Just for the record, I'm listening to Final Fantasy IX's soundtrack right now. I was inspired to do so by Cornman's recent Q&A letter, in which the game's praises were sung. It's a very pretty soundtrack. Not on the level of beauty that VII or VIII achieved, but it's close. Cornman's letter stimulated quite a few responses; I already have several Q&A letters in my inbox, eager to share their opinions on FFIX. Fine with me, keep those letters coming!

Enough idle banter, 'tis time for NEWS!

Cites Unfulfilled Agreement
At least he waited until Ninja Gaiden II was done
Title

Does anyone here enjoy Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden games? (Or the 3D revitalizations, that is?) How about Dead or Alive? If so, you have designer Tomonobu Itagaki to thank, as both are his creations. After releasing approximately eighteen different versions of his first Ninja Gaiden, and a DS spinoff, Itagaki's Ninja Gaiden II for the Xbox 360 finally hit stores last Tuesday, June 3. But on the very day before this hotly-anticipated release, Itagaki resigned from Tecmo, where he's worked since 1992. And, in the same breath, he sued them for 148 million yen ($104 million).

Why is this? Well, according to Itagaki, Tecmo failed to pay him a "completion bonus" for his 2006 fighter, Dead or Alive 4 for the Xbox 360. A portion of his statement is given below:

Before the start of development on DEAD OR ALIVE 4, Tecmo Co., Ltd. had agreed to pay a completion bonus to me for this Xbox 360 title, which I produced. However, when the time came for the actual payment, Tecmo Co., Ltd. went against its previous agreement and refused payment. President Yoshimi Yasuda chose not only to violate this agreement, but also turned defiant, telling me "if you are dissatisfied with the decision not to pay the bonuses, either quit the company or sue it." In addition, he made demeaning remarks about me to my subordinates and colleagues, causing me significant emotional distress and worsening my personal relationships and work environment. Thus, I have no choice but to resign from Tecmo Co., Ltd.

"Either quit the company or sue it," eh? That's a strange thing to say. It will be interesting to hear what Tecmo has to say in response to this, as I guarantee you their statements won't line up with Itagaki's. If you recall, Itagaki stated back in May that Ninja Gaiden II would be his "swan song" for the series. ""I think we were able to achieve everything we wanted with this game," he said, "so anything else would be extraneous." Makes you wonder if that's really the reason he had in mind, or if he knew even then that he would be leaving Tecmo. I suppose this means we won't be seeing a DOA 5 anytime soon, either.

UPDATE - Tecmo Responds to Itagaki
Soon after Itagaki's announcement, Tecmo issued a statement on the matter:

Our company getting sued by this employee is huge problem... the reasons for making this lawsuit public are self-centered. What's more, this employee is filing this suit for himself and making it seem like he alone is responsible for the development of the game titles the rest of the Team Ninja staff had poured its heart into.

Team NINJA is currently working on a line-up of new titles. All of Team NINJA is starting to work together on interesting new game titles.

That's a statement translated from Tecmo's Japanese website. Below is an excerpt from a statement they released in English:

...Tecmo would like to assure its loyal fans that Team Ninja, known for its top selling and critically acclaimed Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive franchises, is intact and, as a matter of fact, have several new projects already underway.

Two things:
HOORAY, Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive aren't dead!
HOORAY, a brand-spanking new LAWSUIT to follow! Crap like this is ALWAYS entertaining, wouldn't you agree?

Sources: GameSpot | Kotaku
Hi-Definition Videogame Show Will Debut June 5
SUBSCRIPTION FEE? BAH!
Title

Media corporation Future US is partnering with SCEA to bring Qore, (pronounced "core") a paid-subscription service, to PSN. Qore is being described as "a highly interactive, monthly lifestyle gaming program."

Reportedly, the service will feature "news, developer interviews, in-depth game previews, and behind-the-scenes looks at PlayStation games, and special access to game demos... beta invitations, game add-ons, and other downloadable game-related content." The first episode will be available for download through PSN on Thursday the 5th for $2.99. Alternatively, users can purchase an annual subscription (13 episodes) for $24.99. As of right now, Qore has only been announced for North America.

Future's president seemed excited about the project, stating "we couldn't be more excited to extend our partnership with SCEA to the PlayStation Network. This is an opportunity to create a branded media environment unlike anything else in the world and an example of how Future is uniquely positioned to create powerful integrated media solutions for readers and advertisers."

"For consumers it is a relevant and compelling new format for media," said Future's publishing director Simon Whitcombe, "and for advertisers it's a pipeline straight to the game-playing audience."

The first episode of Qore will feature information on upcoming titles such as Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Socom: US Navy Seals, Soul Calibur IV, and more. The show will be hosted by Veronica Belmont, who has produced and co-hosted a variety of podcasts and video features for CNET.

Out of curiosity, I will probably download the first episode of Qore, just to determine its worthiness. After I do so, I'll be sure to let you know the verdict. For right now, it looks intriguing. But it could very well be a glorified set of game trailers and advertisements, with no real substance. We won't know until we watch it.

Sources: GameSpot | GamesIndustry
Accuses Judge of Leaking Documents
Give it up, man
Title

Yes, it's that time of week again.

You all know that Judge Dava Tunis, who presided over Thompson's bar trial, recommended that he be found guilty on 27 out of 31 charges. You further know that soon after these recomendations were made, Thompson went nuts trying to forestall, or entirely quash, the sanctions hearing that just recently took place (June 4.) Somehow, Thompson managed to pull off one last little charade before the hearing actually took place.

Thompson has now accused Tunis of leaking documents related to this mess to GamePolitics. He doesn't actually say the name of the website in the document he filed with the US District Court, but it's fairly clear who he's referring to. An excerpt from the filing is given below:

In the last 36 hours, plaintiff has discovered that the referee in the state Bar "disciplinary" proceedings has leaked documents to a video game industry web site that only she had. This has resulted in more harassment of Thompson by "video gamers" who have been threatening to kill Thompson and his son.

The referee knew to leak these documents, which only she had, to this particular gaming web site because it came out at Thompson's bar "trial" that this site had filed a Bar complaint against Thompson (which was so bizarre that even this Bar dismissed it) and that this site was in fact orchestrating harassment of Thompson during his trial.

This same site had orchestrated postings at Amazon.com, when Thompson's Tyndale House book was published, that there was a "Canadian edition" of Thompson's book in which Thompson disclosed his internal struggles with homosexuality and drug use. Thompson has had no such struggles; there was no "Canadian edition."

Click on the link above to read the full filing. There's a few more interesting tidbits to be consumed, as is typical from a filing penned by Mr. Thompson.

GamePolitics' Dennis McCauley has completely denied Thompson's allegations, stating that he's never even spoken with Judge Tunis. He goes on to say that he has acquired a total of three documents relating to Thompsons's recent escapades, all of which were obtained through public channels.

"Thompson may not like it, but he has made himself into a very public figure." McCauley writes. "His case is a matter of public record. His court filings are not sealed, nor are they classified information. They are a matter of public record, readily available through the proper channels." McCauley concludes by saying that, because of the recent tone of Thompson's e-mails, he believes that Thompson expects to be disbarred. However, (and as McCauley states) this decision cannot be made by Tunis. If Thompson is to be disbarred, it won't occur until after his hearing before the Florida Supreme Court on September 2.

UPDATE - Thompson Storms Out of Sanctions Hearing, Writes Another Comic Masterpiece
Hoo boy - as the mini-headline states, Thompson's hearing has taken place. Apparently it was quite short, but hardly sweet. After submitting a 4500 word document to Judge Tunis entitled "Thompson's Formal Objection to June 4 Sanctions 'Hearing'", he reportedly flounced out of the courtroom. GamePolitics reader Nevext was apparently present at the hearing, and below is an excerpt from his report:

Thompson wanted to make known that he had [an] objection in writing. He was able to submit it to the record, but the judge said he couldn't read it aloud. That really pissed him off, I think. He also passed around copies of the objection to various reporters and a member of the legal community known as "Mr. Mim". He also claimed that "Mr. Mim" was not supposed to be there. So he dropped the objection into his lap and went back to his side of the court. The judge was NOT pleased.

Eventually, he made comments about the judge not being a judge (This is relating to the Loyalty Oath stuff), said the hearing was moot, and WALKED OUT.

Damn. Just... damn. Needless to say, the trial continued in his absence. (That's how these things work, you see.) The Florida Bar brought forth its evidence against Thompson. Their recomendation? "Enhanced disbarment, with a reapplyment wait of 10 years."

It's all over. If there was any doubt before, it's gone now. Take a look at his formal complaint, but be warned, it's quite long.

Source: GamePolitics | Kotaku
ESA Blows Up after GamePolitics Story
FIGHT
Title

Listen well for a moment, while I give a bit of background:

In case you haven't heard, Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) will be delivering the keynote speech at the upcoming E3 Media and Business Summit. Don't ask me why, because I don't know. I'll tell you straight up that I think it's a stupid decision on part of the ESA. In a sense, it "validates" the turbulent relationship between the videogame industry and our politicians, which is hardly a good thing. It's not a relationship that needed to exist, and it's not a relationship we need to reinforce in this manner. And who the HELL wants to hear the governor of Texas keynote the E3 convention anyways? Lame, lame, lame.

Anyways, my above sentiments more or less echo those of GamePolitics, who reported that Perry would be speaking when it was announced a few weeks ago. Recently, they've posted another story in relation to Governor Perry. Apparently, Perry affirmatively agreed with controversial evangelist John Hagee when he stated in a sermon that non-Christians are "going straight to hell with a non-stop ticket." This took place back in 2006, but sites such as The Escapist and Wired deemed it worthy of bringing up again, given the current state of things. I won't deign to comment on this one; it's divisive to the point where conversation is nigh-impossible, and it's not the meat of the story anyways.

GamePolitics called the ESA out on this one, and stated that the ESA should rescind Perry's invite. Subsequently, the ESA flipped a shite, and slammed GamePolitics, as well as its parent company, the ECA, in a heated letter to Joystiq. From the letter:

If the ESA posted a blog and called it a news site, journalists would rightfully balk and it wouldn't pass a smell test. Remarkably, GamePolitics doesn't face the same scrutiny even though it's funded by the ECA and tainted with anti-ESA vitriol. At the end of the day, calling GamePolitics a news site is as laughable as saying there's a Cuban free press.

My, my. Harsh. The following response from GamePolitics is pretty hard-hitting as well:

I suspect that, given its current difficulties retaining member companies, the ESA is uncomfortable with the level of scrutiny directed at it by some news outlets. Ultimately, an organization like the ESA is judged by its performance, and, right now, it's fair to call that performance into question. When a politician is keynoting E3, that's worth questioning. When the politician has made divisive comments, like those attributed to Gov. Perry, that's really worth questioning.

Lashing out like this does not, in any way, help the image of the ESA at this time. Their membership is dwindling, the underlying reason behind it is still unknown, and the ESA won't make any comments outside of PR-laced puffs of hot air. The ESA's new president, who is already under much fire, refuses to keynote his first E3 convention, and instead, a freaking politician is taking his place. And when questioned about this decision, what does the ESA do? They explode.

Professional.

Sources: GamePolitics | Joystiq
QUICKIES: In Which I Make Passing Mention of Some Relatively Small, But Inherently Awesome News Stories!
Red is such a pretty color...
  • No Plans for Eternal Sonata PS3 Localization
    Itching for some news on the PS3 version of Eternal Sonata? Well, I've got some for you! Unfortunately, it's not tidings of joy. Speaking to Videogaming247, a Namco Bandai spokesperson said, "I can't speak for any other territories, but I believe Eternal Sonata is only announced for the PS3 in Japan right now. We have no plans to release the game on the PS3 in the US at this moment." At this moment, you say? Soon, though, perhaps? Nah, I'm guessing not. I liken this to the PS2 version of Tales of Symphonia, which, as we all know, never left Japan.

  • Sexy, Red PS2
    Man... why don't WE get cool colors like this? Sure, the PS2 is on its way out, but I'd almost buy this, it's so good looking. Take a look at the pic below.

    It's so... red!

    Yep, it's pretty alright. And yep, it's only coming to Japan. LAME, LAME, I CALL LAME.

Source: Kotaku

And we've reached the end!

I started my new job. Well, my new "old" job, as it were. I worked for these people for about three years, left for about six months, (due to the particular location I worked at CLOSING) and now I'm back. Like old times, they're working me like a bitch. Fine with me, as long as I get paid... and paid well.

Things are a little hectic though; I don't even have a clear work schedule at the moment. Right now, I'm just trying to help these people get their restaurant up and running, and that takes a LOT of work. This being the case, I may be skipping a week of Currents or Q&A. If humanly possible, I will not, but I figure it's best to give you all a warning.

"But Ollie, you promised us you wouldn't miss a week during the summer!"

Yeah, well, promises are made for the sole purpose of being BROKEN. And I never promised that for Q&A, now did I? HOHOHOHO!

In all seriousness, I'm hoping not to miss a week of anything, but this uncertain schedule has me worried. I'm sure you guys can survive a week without one of my columns. I BELIEVE IN YOU!

BE STRONG!

Laters.

Oliver Motok
Send me a letter, and be featured in Q&A!

 

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