Games Inbox: Will Sony buy Kojima Productions?

The Friday letters page is still very impressed by Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, as one reader is excited about Shenmue 4.

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The medium one
So Sony might be buying Hideo Kojima’s company, eh? I know it’s only a rumour but things are getting nasty now I see. We’ve gone from Microsoft flashing its wallet to Sony trying to sabotage their deal with Kojima by buying him out. It’s not nice, and I’d like to see anyone defend it, but it is business so I guess there’s nothing we can do.

I’d personally be surprised if it did happen though, because not only will it make Sony look petty and aggressive but I’m not sure Hideo Kojima is really ‘the big one’ when it comes to acquisitions. Not even Metal Gear Solid was ever that big a seller and Death Stranding certainly wasn’t. He also tends to work quite slowly and he’ll be 60 next year. If he has an idea for something using cloud computing I’d rather just see him work on that with Microsoft.

As to what Sony’s ‘big one’ could be, I would assume it’s a Japanese publisher, possibly Square Enix. That would make sense in terms of Sony no longer having a first party Japanese studio and being Japanese they’d likely manage them a lot better than Microsoft ever would. We’ll see I guess…

Just business
Very interesting to know that some investors are unhappy about the Activision Blizzard deal. I can totally understand it too. Microsoft got them for a song and that means they make less money than they would’ve.

Not that I care about them, or who owns Activision Blizzard (haven’t bought one of their games in I don’t know when) but I definitely didn’t like the way Phil Spencer was so two-faced about criticising Activision and then, on the very next day, negotiating to buy them when they were at their weakest.

I imagine Microsoft will get their way in the end, not because I have any knowledge of law or business, but just because they’re richer than everyone else, but I’d prefer it if they didn’t just for that.

Positive benefits
Of all the unexpected things to happen in gaming I don’t think CD Projekt plumet from hero to zero will ever be bettered. Companies buying each other is one thing but who would’ve guessed that the beloved makers of The Witcher 3 would become one of the most hated and mistrusted developers in the business? That Cyberpunk 2077 would become a punching bag and the news that the next gen version of The Witcher 3 have been delayed is met with nothing but a shrug of a shoulder.

Don’t get me wrong, they’ve got no-one to blame but themselves but it’s wild to think of. The one upside is that companies have become at least a little more cautious about releasing broken games since then. I certainly don’t think Lego Star Wars would have got the TLC it did if it wasn’t Cyberpunk 2077, so there is a silver lining even if it’s not for CD Projekt.

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Too exciting
The rumours of Shenmue 4 being a reality is terribly exciting news! I know that the series is a bit of a punching bag for some folk (some comments justified, others very much not) but there is a reason why the series is so precious to so many people. To this day, the games have a wonderful way of getting lost in its world. You have to work to its rhythm, but when it works very few games can match it. I tried to get into games like Assassin’s Creed, Horizon, etc. and whilst a big open world is technically impressive, I longed for a smaller world that had more depth; something that the Shenmue and Yakuza games are very good at.

The TV show is wonderful too and strikes a great balance; for older fans, there are bits of lore that we weren’t privy to and for newer fans it allows a quick way of catching up with the story. But what’s really impressive is that if the curious were to try the games, the show fills in some gaps, but not to the point that playing the games is worthless.

I think that if people are willing to put up with its quirks and adapt to its rhythm, the series is very rewarding. Over 20 years later, the games still have the ability to surprise and amaze.

I truly hope that the rumours will be true, It will make a lot of people very happy

GC: Terribly exciting doesn’t seem a very Shenmue state of being.

Three times lucky
I don’t know why that reader was being such a sourpuss about the Nvidia leak but I do suspect his Zelda theory will be proven correct. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised that Breath Of The Wild 2 is actually finished and it’s actually the Switch 2 that’s being delayed, not the game. That’s probably finished too but obviously it’s not easy to manufacture new hardware at the moment.

Twice Nintendo has released a new Zelda as a launch game across two generations and seeing as that was for the Wii and Switch I don’t think you can blame them for seeing it as a good omen. So, yeah, I suspect the footage is from the Switch 2 but that there will be a standard Switch version as well.

I’m perfectly okay with that and will happily buy a Switch 2, or whatever it is, as soon as it’s available.

Time well spent
Wow, just wanted to say as a lifelong wrestling fan (dating back to my early teens when I first watched SummerSlam 1992), how much fun I’m having with the new WWE 2K22!

Like so many others with Game Pass, paying the full £64.99 when it was released is a hard sell, but it just had 25% off on the digital store at the weekend to £48 and I couldn’t resist snapping it up – I’ve now played almost 24 hours in just three days!

The last time I truly enjoyed a wrestling game was Here Comes The Pain way back in 2003, and obviously before that spending many, many hours playing the all-time classic No Mercy in 2000 on the N64. So after the mess that was 2K20, I can honestly say the extra year that developer Visual Concepts has put in has really paid off!

The graphics are mind blowing on the Xbox Series X (admittedly some character models aren’t the best looking, like Ric Flair ’88, which was surprising, but the vast majority are photorealistic – Papa Shango, Ultimate Warrior, etc. wow!) But it’s the flow of the hard-hitting action (chair shots, ouch!), the amazing Rey Misterio showcase, and the simplicity of controls that really shine and just make a wrestling game what we as fans want: pure, unadulterated, escapist fun!
Pete Reynolds

Happy Easter one and all
Thank you for your article about the Demon Turf: Neon Splash game. Just to make readers aware you can get a physical version of the first game Demon Turf on Limited Run games on PlayStation 5 and Switch, region free until Sunday 17th April. It is available for pre-order.
Andrew J.
PS: Happy Easter GameCentral and all readers.

Forceful opinion
I keep seeing a little bit of love for the new Lego Star Wars game most days in the Inbox, so I thought I’d have to make a comment about it too.

I’ve played all the Lego Star Wars games since the beginning and the vast majority of all the Lego games over the last few console generations.

I thought Lego and Star Wars was always a perfect amalgamation. It just works. I really enjoyed the Indiana Jones games too. The superhero games were also a good fit but over time became hit and miss. I’m looking at you Lego Avengers! I always enjoyed the Harry Potter versions too.

Your reviews over the years on the games stated that the formula was becoming stagnant and bug ridden. I’d still buy it though if it was a 7/10 just because I knew I would enjoy smashing everything up and the bugs in the game were always forgivable.

I love Lord Of The Rings and just didn’t enjoy the Lego version, the whole thing was just too awkward with too many characters looking the same and yet holding different abilities. The puzzles I found became just not enjoyable anymore.

So back to the latest Lego game, The Skywalker Saga. I had pre-ordered it but was still awaiting GC’s review crossing my fingers for a good score. 8/10 would have been a big smile on my face but after giving it a 9/10 I knew I would be in for a treat.

After playing through all nine films, which has taken me a good 25 hours, I can now say I was impressed by every detail in the game, from the shooting mechanics, the graphics, the much shorter linear levels, and the vastly improved open world areas I was absolutely loving it.

The voice acting isn’t always authentic to the movies, but you get talking between characters such as Vader and Luke when you pick them side by side that’s a really nice touch. Picking Luke aside Vader gives the conversation of greetings father, son it’s good to see you.

I must add I’m a big fan of Star Wars anyway but it all just felt great. The vehicle sections were always a chore for me and now they’re a great mini shooting experience. Well, most of them. I agree that some just don’t live up to expectations, as in the Death Star sequence from A New Hope.

It’s the most fun I’ve had in a Lego game since the original Lego Star Wars.
Nick The Greek

GC: Yes, it’s weird how the Death Star trench run is literally the worst level of the game. You would’ve thought they’d put extra effort into that or try to recreate the Atari coin-op or something.

Inbox also-rans
Does Godzilla in Call Of Duty seem like a jumping the shark moment to anyone else? Or was that already reached with that awful Attack on Titan skin?

Would just like to recommend Blasphemous by Team17 for anyone that likes Soulsborne games and would like to play a 2D take on the idea. I feel it’s a lot better than Salt And Sanctuary, and definitely has better graphics.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Georgie, who asks what’s your favourite family friendly game?

The recent success of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, has emphasised just how few big budget, mainstream games are suitable for all audiences, so which is your favourite? It can be any game with a 3 or 7 age rating, or a 12 if you can make an argument for it being suitable for everyone – in terms of both tone and gameplay.

What styles of game would you like to see with a more family friendly approach and what games do you regret not being able to play with your children or other friends and family? What are you biggest concerns when kids play games and how do you police what they play, if at all?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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