Welcome back readers.
Unity’s the talk of the town this week, having announced a raft of changes to their business model that seem heavy on punishing smaller studios for using their engine and downright ephemeral on safeguarding against exploitation or abuse. I can’t imagine it all holding up in court, but we’ve also all seen CEOs double down harder for longer on equally ruinous ideas. A story we’ll keep following, to be sure.
This Week in Videogame Blogging is a roundup highlighting the most important critical writing on games from the past seven days.
On A Raven’s Wings
Now that folks have had time to sit with their thoughts after [checks notes] multiple playthroughts, we’re starting to see the floodgates open on substantive writing on Armored Core VI. Here’s a pair of inspired highlights from this week.
- Burn It All, Dance in the Flames | Bullet Points Monthly
Joshua Calixto comes away more satisfied with Armored Core VI‘s outward riposte of games industry excesses than its own inward political ruminations.
- I Have Big Beautiful Messy Feelings About Armored Core VI | Paste
Dia Lacina salutes From Software’s homecoming with a whole new cohort of mech sickos along for the ride.
“Armored Core VI made mech people out of ones who never thought they could, the way Elden Ring brought even more people into the Souls family. This is the mech life. And so many people are finally embracing the totality of it.”
Unity’s the headline-grabbing topic this week, but there are other good and important industry-level conversations to be had on remakes and the state of triple-A games. Here are some highlights.
- The death of unity | Insert Credit
Brandon Sheffield offers a developer’s perspective on Unity’s plan to retroactively nickle-and-dime studios that use their tech.
- Seasonal Changes | Into The Spine
Jess Elizabeth Reed reflects upon how game remakes shift and change in tandem with changes to gaming (and wider) culture.
- Starfield Is Too Big to Fail | Paste
Patricia Hernandez describes Starfield as not just a game, but an emblem of the triple-A zeitgeist.
“The open-world fantasy, set by games like Skyrim and ballooned to impossible standards by games like Cyberpunk 2077, has always hinged on being whoever you want and doing whatever you want. Judging from the trajectory of modern Bethesda franchises like Fallout, Bethesda is eager to meet part of this ceaseless, impossible fantasy, often at the cost of the things that make their games compelling in the first place.”
Genre Takes, Genre Breaks
Next up, here’s a larger section bringing together a bunch of conversations on genre experiences, trends, and disruptions.
- give me the fuckups | cohost
Lily Valeen thinks RPG writing right now is by and large a little straight-laced.
- How to Play Your First Japanese Dating Sim | cohost
Thomas James offers practical pointers for engaging with a genre that remains largely misunderstood and underaccessible to western audiences.
- Cantata is Strategy for the Masses | Unwinnable
Emily Price chats with designer Kyle Kukshtel about Cantata‘s ecocritical, beginner-friendly take on the strategy genre.
- Void Stranger: The Sokoban’s Heart Laid Bare | Minidoshima
Kastel reckons with System Erasure’s latest Madoka-tier genre grenade, an abrasive game that cries out to be heard.
“It is looking for someone to understand, comprehend, appreciate, and love this abrasive game design. Like me, it wants to be loved with all its imperfections and wounds. Void Stranger is a puzzle game that demands to be heard from the abyss from which it cries.”
One of our favourite poets returns to the roundup.
- For Mr. Kendrick | Videodame
Rachel Atchley reflects on new beginnings after playing Dordogne.
“I might not be able to play a single
note anymore, but that doesn’t mean
I can’t still make music happen.“
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Have you read, seen, heard or otherwise experienced something new that made you think about games differently? Send it in!