The Week in VG - Fortnite x Sony, FF7:Remake
I'm hoping to get some separate bits out (maybe videos) about the main E3 news conferences, so wanted to pick some non-conference news for the below.
After a press conference at this years E3 that saw Sony take big leap backwards to their self-involved, weird for the sake of it selves, you would have thought they would be looking to try and prove that they were not the same egocentric, isolated company that thought the cell processor was a good idea. Alas, with the release of Fortnite on Switch this week Sony not only made a mockery of their "For the Players" tagline, but well and truly dumped all over it.
The issue revolves around Sony's cross-platform play policy, or lack thereof to be more accurate. After not allowing cross play on other huge titles that want to offer it like Rocket League and Minecraft, this might not come as a big surprise. But they are not content to simply not let users on PS4 play with their Switch and Xbox friends on the biggest game in the world right now, they have gone full bad guy by taking their players Epic accounts as hostages in the process. See, if you have ever linked your Epic account to a PS4 and so much as loaded the free-to-play title, you are now unable to login on Switch and Xbox at all. Even if you play every game on PC and buy all your items on iOS, the PS4 lock in will then prevent you logging in and seeing your levels and purchases on Switch and Xbox.
This has become such a big deal in the past few days that it hit the front page of BBC News, the actual News, not a Tech or Games section, and hit top 3 in their most read stories for the day. If you haven't heard, the Switch is big, and Fortnite is bigger, which makes this a huge deal.
It's worth noting here that if you played on PC or Xbox, then you can still login on Switch and even play online across Xbox, Switch, PC and iOS all cross-play. PS4 however, will only cross-play with PC and iOS, with the account lock in issue also in place.
This is such an anti-consumer move from Sony, it really does hark back to their PS2 and early PS3 years, where they thought they could get away with anything because they were the dominant market leader. They even issued a response to the issue which was all fluff about how many consoles they've sold and how PS4 players have no shortage of people to play with, which doesn't even address the main account locking issue.
With the general consensus being Microsoft had a much better conference at this years E3, Sony really need to be careful as the long transition to the next generation begins. Microsoft are making a lot of good moves, acquiring studios, putting brand new games into their Netflix style subscription service, and even hinted their new consoles are deep in development. Sony could be in for a rude awakening when the next consoles land if people start seeing Microsoft in a more pro-consumer light.
The less said about Squares terrible showing at E3 the better, however there was one glaring omission that raised enough questions that they felt the need to respond. The Final Fantasy 7 remake was announced at E3 three years ago on Sony's stage, but since then we haven't really seen much about it. With a quote that really does explain why Tetsuya Nomura's games are taking a decade each, he said, in all seriousness:
"So right now, I've been putting 100 percent into Kingdom Hearts and 100 percent into Final Fantasy 7 and 100 percent into Kingdom Hearts and going back and forth,"
Firstly, not really how percent's work, he is literally describing putting 50% into each game. Secondly, that doesn't seem like a good efficient way to work. Just work on a game and finish it, then make the next one. No wonder FF Versus 13 took 10 years and became FFXV, and Kingdom Hearts 3 is still, inexplicably, not out yet - despite KH2 being released 13 years ago.
After Kingdom Hearts 3 made it's way onto almost every major stage, it will be good to finally see it release in January. Hopefully that means Nomura can put his extra 100% back into the FF7 remake, and his 200% effort should mean we get the game something before 2030.