Ending several weeks of speculation (and a couple of years of wishful thinking and fervent hoping among fans), Atlus announced Persona 5, the latest installation in the long-running Japanese RPG series. “Persona 5 will launch for PlayStation 3 in Japan during winter 2014,” reports Polygon, followed by ‘three spin-off titles coming for various platforms.’
At this point, Atlus has only released a (traditionally) vague teaser trailer for Persona 5 highlighting the game’s early tagline: “You are a slave. Want emancipation?” Each of the recent Persona releases have also featured a predominant colour in their design, blue for Persona 3 and yellow for Persona 5, and it appears that the next game will heavily feature the colour red in its design.
NeoGAF user Duckroll has translated early reports from Dengeki (a Japanese videogame magazine), with some vague details about the game’s premise. “The setting of the chairs in the teaser is a highschool classroom,” Duckroll translates. “The theme of the game is about the emotion joy of being released after overcoming trials – hence the imagery of chairs and chains. The game will continue to be focused on school juvenile setting of the series, but the tone this time will be completely different.”
It’s interesting to note that Persona 5 has been announced for release on the PlayStation 3, rather than the recently-released PlayStation 4. Atlus, and the Persona series in particular, has a history of releasing instalments on legacy platforms. Persona 4 was released on the PlayStation 3 several months after the PlayStation 3 hit stores.
In addition to Persona 5 several other titles were announced. These spin-off titles include:
- Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (Nintendo 3DS), an Etrian Oddysey-style ‘dungeon crawler that brings the heroes of Persona 3 and Persona 4 together.’
- Persona 4: Dancing All Night (PlayStation Vita), a ‘sound action game [where] players will be able to compete in “Battle Dances” against shadows.’
- Persona 4: The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold (PlayStation 3), a sequel to Persona 4 Arena.
At the time of this article’s writing, there is no North American release date for Persona 5 or any of its spin-off titles.
IGN has learned that Telltale Games, award-winning developer of the acclaimed videogame series based on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead (considered by many to be one of the finest examples of videogame narrative), is working on a videogame adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Based on their previous work, which includes games set in the universes of Fables, Jurassic Park, and Back to the Future, it is likely that the game will tell a new story in Martin’s universe, rather than directly cover the events of the novels and/or television show. “It’s currently unclear what title Telltale will be using for its game,” IGN reports, “and whether the storyline will be based on the show, books, or something entirely new.”
Details about the story of the game are murky, however. IGN is confident it’s in development despite no confirmation from the developer. They have reports from ‘multuple sources’ confirming its existence. Expect an official announcement in the coming months.
2014 Hugo Award Nominations (ver. 0.5)
So, the Hugo awards have come and gone for 2013. People have blogged widely about it, and all that need saying has already been said (see here for my thoughts on this year’s ‘Best Novel’ winner, Redshirts by John Scalzi, for instance). So, instead of recapping the conversation (which, to be frank, I’m a little behind the curveball in catching up on), I thought it would be more interesting to look ahead at next year’s awards, and start the conversation a little early. This way, I can hopefully convince you to check out some of the year’s best works while there’s still time to enjoy and nominate it.
I’ll work through several of the categories, those which I have any sort of opinion of, and discuss the works that I think are most impactful and important, and will, as of right now, appear on my ballot (until they’re replaced by something even more awesome between now and the time nominations are due.) And then, in the ‘Also/maybe/are these good?’ sections, I’ll list off a few choices that I haven’t read/experienced yet, but feel that they deserve to be in the conversation and will likely be considered when I do get around to them.
I’d also encourage you to join me in the comments. Tell me why I’m wrong. Tell me what you’ve read this year that resonated with you. Because, what’s the point of award season if not to encourage people to discover great new books, films, and every other story of art? Continue reading
The great old stories break and bend rules modern audiences take for granted. For example: Journey to the West, which I talked about last month, is a story of high-flying magic, transformation, kung fu, divine war, and so on—that, for all its epic scope, reads more like Sword and Sorcery.
That is, to borrow Liz Bourke’s definition of S&S: Journey to the West is a story of encounter, in which central characters going about their daily business keep running into strange, fascinating, terrifying things—and befriending them, or beating them about the head and shoulders, or both.
By contrast, let’s talk about one of the best war-and-intrigue novels of all time, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. At first glance, Three Kingdoms seems an epic fantasy, in that it describes the fall of a massive empire through the lens of central characters with dynastic ambition. But, though set in a time of miracles, Three Kingdoms relies on the traditional Sword & Sorcery mix of cleverness, combat, and betrayal rather than prophecy or magic. Continue reading
Fantasy should be the broadest genre in existence. Fantasy writers get to create and transform to our hearts’ content. Not even the laws of thermodynamics bind us. Our imaginations are our only limits.
The problem is, the imagination’s limits are often harder than physical law. Writers are formed by experience, and interpret that experience into story using instincts developed reading, and hearing, stories, from early childhood. So, when a lot of Western folks turn to writing fantasy, Arthurian and Greek and Norse myths are the seeds they use to people and structure their imaginative worlds.
Which is fine! Each generation needs to remake the myths received from the previous generation. But sometimes writers and readers feel the limits of their traditions, and wonder, what else is out there, other than kings and earls?
In this three-part series I’m going to be writing about stories I think all fantasy writers and fans should know, other than the standard Celtic, Greek, and Norse sources. If you know these stories already, then good! I hope there’ll be something cool for you here anyway. If these stories are new to you, maybe these few posts will expose you to some amazing worlds. Continue reading