You ask for a con­tri­bu­tion? We’re all do­ing what we can


Rein­ven­tion is, as the word im­plies, never go­ing to be easy. And it can come in myr­iad dif­fer­ent forms. In this is­sue’s Su­per Play fea­ture, we ex­am­ine the cur­rent state of em­u­la­tion. It’s been thrown into some­thing of an ex­is­ten­tial cri­sis by the hard­ware-based Su­per Nt con­sole, which up­grades the SNES for the 21st cen­tury in style – and at quite a price.

To lay eyes on a freshly un­boxed Su­per Nt is to un­der­stand ex­actly where all your money has gone; it looks, feels and works like a dream, its maker’s labour plain to see. But around the world, game com­pa­nies are rein­vent­ing them­selves con­stantly be­hind the scenes, of­ten in in­vis­i­ble ways. This month we head to Mon­treal for the Ubisoft De­vel­oper Con­fer­ence, and find a pub­lisher of videogames that is mak­ing po­ten­tially world-changing in­no­va­tions in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence be­hind the scenes.

The theme of re­birth runs right through this is­sue, and it’s by no means by de­sign; it is sim­ply a re­flec­tion of an in­dus­try that, while mov­ing ever for­ward, is reach­ing a cer­tain age. One where the past is as val­ued as the fu­ture. And one in which a mis­take can be as im­por­tant as suc­cess. Maybe it’s the crew be­hind Trail­blaz­ers, helmed by a for­mer Bizarre Cre­ations dev re­turn­ing to con­sole games af­ter a spell in the smart­phone wilder­ness. Or The Black­out Club, made by a team of vet­eran de­vel­op­ers be­lat­edly re­turn­ing to what they do best. We hope, at some point, Kon­ami will learn some­thing valu­able from Metal Gear Sur­vive.

Dragon Quest en­cap­su­lates all of this. It is gam­ing’s purest ex­pres­sion of the bat­tle be­tween old and new: a se­ries that has sur­vived for three decades, and has had its ups and downs, but has al­ways seemed to be hemmed in by its past. Peo­ple love it for what it is, not what it might be­come; when they say they want a new Dragon Quest, they mean they want an­other old one. For years, this Ja­panese na­tional trea­sure has strug­gled to win over western play­ers. Be­gin­ning on p60, we find out how, with Dragon Quest XI, that might be about to change.

Ex­clu­sive sub­scriber edi­tion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.