Paper Mario: The Origami King officially announced

In a surprise announcement by Nintendo, the next installment to the Paper Mario franchise has officially been revealed with Paper Mario: The Origami King. According to the footage seen from the trailer, the Mushroom Kingdom seems to have been taken over by a mysterious usurper of sorts, causing its inhabitants (including Princess Peach herself) to become beings of origami origin rather than paper. This leaves Mario and his friends to stop this new menace and save the Kingdom once again. The addition of Origami materials being featured in the series’ predominant arts & crafts aesthetic is indeed a welcome one. How it’ll influence the core gameplay or what brand new mechanics it’ll bring still is yet to be revealed.

The Origami King is set to release on Nintendo Switch for the first time, on July 17 this year. You can watch the full trailer on Nintendo’s main YouTube channel here.  

The Last of Us Part II: Significant Plot Details Leaked

This Article contains spoilers.

This Article contains spoilers.

Delayed indefinitely by Sony, highly anticipated game The Last of Us 2 has received a significant blow to its hype by way of leaked gameplay footage that made its way to YouTube yesterday. While Sony quickly took the footage down, the “internet is forever” and once let out of the bag was quickly spread through different uploaders in various segments, and reactions to the new information have not been the most positive.

Keep in mind that while these are what appear to be finished cutscenes and gameplay element, with the nature of video game development these scenes may be changed at a later time as the game is still technically ‘in the works’ and may not be representative of the final product. Who exactly leaked this is up for speculation also, with many suggesting it may have been a disgruntled employee due to how severe the crunch on this title has been. However there has been no evidence of that, and is currently just speculation.

UPDATE: Naughty Dog has released a statement regarding the leaks:

With that said, spoilers are given below, with links to appropriate clips while they remain online:

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

-First off is a leaked task list for the game, showing that several levels towards the end are played from new character Abby’s point of view, according to a debug menu. It’s not entirely certain if these are cutscenes themselves or full on levels.

https://i.imgur.com/ZLQdQHS.png

Sources such as 4chan had rumored playthroughs with additional details, such as Ellie dying at Abby’s hands and a sequel baited regarding Ellie’s friends seeking revenge, and that Abby’s father was one of the surgeons Joel killed at the end of the first Last of Us. However none of the available clips substantiate this, and it should be taken with a grain of salt. Additionally despite online speculation that Abby is MtF transgender, there is no evidence given in the shown clips.

In the first cutscene shown, Joel and now older Ellie make it through an abandoned building discussing Jesse, a friend of Ellie’s that Joel assumes she has affections towards. Later after encountering a zombie, the two of them talk and Ellie reveals when they left the hospital Joel told her there were many others immune to the zombifying infection like her, something she doubts. Joel informs her there was no cure. Later talking with Jesse’s girlfriend Dina while she stitches up herself, they appear to be tracking fellow survivors, one of which is Abby, who Ellie decides to go after.

In the next scene, Ellie and Dina are shown playfully teasing each other in their underwear. Jesse comes back early and encounters the two quickly trying to put back on their pants as an annoyed Jesse walks off. Exactly where this clip falls in the continuity is uncertain, as it may precede the one before it.

The next silent clip shows Ellie walking into a room with a shotgun while a battered and bloodied Joel lies on the ground. Abby stands over him with a golf club, while others in the room wrestle Ellie to the ground and one of the group proceeds to start kicking her. He’s pulled away and another body is shown in a similar condition to Joel on the floor before the scene is abruptly cut off.

The next clip shows Ellie waking up, telling Dina she has to finish something, much to Dina’s frustration and dismay. Ellie says she loves her, while Dina retorts for her to prove it and stay. When Ellie informs her she has no plans to die Dina makes mention that neither did Joel or Jesse, indicating that both of them are indeed dead. Ellie decides to go after Abby anyway, while Dina states she’s not going to go through the heartache of loss again. The scene then switches to Abby and another shorter character with a bow, Lev, discussing following a lead.

The last clip shows Abby brutally punching down Ellie, before Dina rushes in with a knife, flailing it around to try and stop a pinned Abby before Lev shoots her with an arrow. and Abby smashes Dina’s head into the floor repeated before holding the knife to her throat as Ellie begs her to stop. As she’s about to kill her anyway Lev calls her out her name, and she relents, shoving Dina off her and storming off as Ellie chokes slightly on her own blood.

-In one unavailable clip, Ellie is shown mourning over Joel’s grave. Where this falls in the continuity is uncertain, but most likely precedes the preceding brawl.

Additional information will be added in subsequent articles, but for now the game appears to be taking quite a controversial direction. Whether a Last of Us Part III is planned is unknown, though the fight between Abby and Ellie do seem to occur so close to the end of the game it leaves little room to wrap things up according to the task menu. Whatever the case, Sony and NaughtyDog both are going to get some interesting replies from curious fans looking over the leaks.

Riot Puts Bounty Out For Bugs on New Anti-Cheat System

Offering up to $100k to find flaws in new software.

Offering up to $100k to find flaws in new software.

As reported yesterday by Jack Frost, Riot’s new anti-cheat software, Valeriant, installs itself deeper into user’s PCs than most software: into your computer’s rootkit directly. Now through a bounty hosted on HackerOne, users are being invited to help pinpoint security vulnerabilities in said software, with the more dangerous exploits earning the most money. The lowest level is $25,000 for finding a flaw that let’s hackers access a user’s personal information, while the highest is described as “code execution on the kernel level”, basically allowing a hacker to hijack a computer completely.

Such anti-cheat software is troubling on its own given how easily software can detect false positives and just how deep into your computer’s “brain” this gets its hooks into. Riot seems a bit aware of this fact, as this bounty is far higher than most others posted on the site to help find security flaws, with the closest highest being Rockstar Gaming at $10,000 at most. Riot’s own other bounties for other games don’t come anywhere near this amount, and a spokesman for their security team stated the tactic was intended to allow them to put their money where their mouth is.

Regardless Valeriant has caused a cause for concern for many users, as it is not only always on and given the highest permissions, but any bugs that are found in the software will require Riot to work with Microsoft to fix them. Given their ties to Tencent, a Chinese company that holds a whopping 93% stake in Riot, it’s easy to feel concern they may abuse such access themselves with users possibly none the wiser.

Valorant, Riot Game’s New Title, has a Rootkit Debacle

Don’t Let Tencent Do This Please

Don’t Let Tencent Do This Please

Riot is asking a lot from you, no? This article from Arc’s Technica reports that Riots new Free to Play shooter Valorant requires Kernel level access to your system for it’s anti cheat. Some Riot employees have been adamant about how they will gladly work with Microsoft if any of the more vulnerable drivers where to be compromised, but the idea of any driver being compromised in the first place has this little snowman beyond worried.

Honestly? This new form of anti cheat is probably one of the worst ideas that any dev, western or otherwise, has ever propositioned, and from the looks of it, it hasn’t even worked the way it’s supposed to. Supposedly the software is still learning, but with the nature of hacking games, and the fact that the game itself runs on Unreal, meaning that cheats where there from day zero, giving Riot full control to your PC with non of the anti cheat benefit is a stretch to say the least.

The hope is that no backdoor is ever found, as we all know, hackers in foreign countries have nothing to gain when it comes to your information and the millions of others information. All I want you, the reader, to think about is all the other games you could be playing instead of this literal malware.

Veteran Voice Actor Rick May Passes Away Due to COVID-19

Voice of Team Fortress 2’s Soldier Among Other Roles

Voice of Team Fortress 2’s Soldier Among Other Roles

Today Larry Albert stated on his facebook page that he was shocked to discover fellow voice actor Rick May had passed away due to the Corona Virus. The two, who had known each other for over thirty years had worked together as the Sniper and Soldier for Team Fortress 2, also worked together on a radio program titled “The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” since 1998, in which May voiced the character of Inspector Lestrade. Previous to his death May had suffered a recent heart attack, and was also battling cancer.

Richard J. May, born September 21, 1940, voiced several other characters in other franchises, including both Peppy Hare and Andross in Star Fox 64. He was also a theatrical performer, touring the award-winning one man play, “Bully! An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt”, among many other roles. Hired by Valve in 2006, May voiced the iconic Soldier in every appearance of the character, and is fondly remembered by Albert as a “force of nature”, adding “he might have bragged that it took a pandemic to bring him down.”

He is survived by his wife Diana May. Rest in peace.

Australian Classification Board denies Senators call for separate classification.

A Small Victory for the Pro-Anime Side

A Small Victory for the Pro-Anime Side

Following the recent call to action from crossbench Senator Stirling Griff to re-evaluate and even possibly ban anime in Australia, the Classification Board for the country has released a statement in response.

This response came after Senator Griff claimed the Classification Board was making decisions “in isolation to criminal law.” Because of this, the Classification Board director Margaret Anderson has now responded to Senator Griff by stating the boards duty is “not an assessment of the genre type” or whether anime “depicts ‘real’ people or animated characters”. Director Anderson responded to the Senators remarks with confirmation she and the board were aware of the classification of anime and manga. She claimed to be in support of classifying manga under Australian Classification Law as it currently is not but had a different response in regards to anime. Anderson stated that there is no separate classification for anime than regular film and that they both fall under the same system of classification.

Senator Griff

“The Film Guidelines require an assessment of impact of six classifiable elements (themes, violence, sex, coarse language, drug use and nudity); not an assessment of the genre type or whether the film depicts ‘real’ people or animated characters,”

-Classification Board Director, Margaret Anderson.

This essentially means that anime is reviewed and classified the same way that actual film with real people is. The Classification Board does not separate anime from non-anime, which some criticize as inefficient but most say is fair.

Now looking at all this, people have considered this a victory for the anti-Griff side, but I think it should be looked at a bit more carefully. The Classification Board denied part of Senator Griff’s concerns regarding classification, but they didn’t outright dismiss him entirely. Manga is up to be brought under classification now, and with time this could turn into an issue given the provocative themes of some manga. It’s also important to note that the Classification Board did not address many of Senator Griff’s points about “depiction of the exploitation of minors.” While on paper, this can be seen as a win I don’t think this is the end of the issue at all. We’ll have to keep an eye on this and see where things go from here, this can’t be the end of the issue. I’ll post the entire response from the Classification Board below.

“The Classification Board (the Board) is aware of concerns about the classification of certain Japanese anime genre films, specifically Sword Art Online: Extra Edition, No Game No Life, and Eromanga Sensei Volumes 1 & 2, and about comic books featuring manga style drawings not being classified by the Board.

The Board classifies films in accordance with the Guidelines for the Classification of Films (the Film Guidelines). There are not specific or separate guidelines to classify animated films. Films can be classified in the classification categories from G to R 18+ (with the X 18+ category limited to films containing sexually explicit activity). If a film contains content that exceeds the scope and limits of content that is permitted in the R 18+ category, it will be Refused Classification (RC). Films in the anime genre have been classified across a range of categories, including M, MA 15+, R 18+ and RC.

The Film Guidelines require an assessment of impact of six classifiable elements (themes, violence, sex, coarse language, drug use and nudity); not an assessment of the genre type or whether the film depicts ‘real’ people or animated characters. The Guidelines state ‘Context is crucial in determining whether a classifiable element is justified by the story‑line or themes. This means that material that falls into a particular classification category in one context may fall outside it in another.’

In addition to determining the classification, the Board must determine consumer advice for a film. The purpose of consumer advice is to draw attention to only the most impactful and frequent content relating to the six classifiable elements. Therefore, not all the content in a film will warrant consumer advice. The classifications for the named films are:

Sword Art Online: Extra Edition is classified M with consumer advice ‘sexualised imagery, sexual references and animated violence.


No Game No Life is classified MA 15+ with consumer advice ‘strong sexual themes’.

Eromanga Sensei Volumes 1 & 2 are classified MA 15+ with consumer advice ‘strong sexual themes’.

Regarding comic books, only submittable publications are required to be classified. The Board classifies submittable publications in accordance with the Guidelines for the Classification of Publications. It is the responsibility of distributors of comic books to decide if the comic book should be classified. States and territories are responsible for classification enforcement legislation which includes offenses for selling an unclassified submittable publication.

The Board is aware that a campaign has been launched about the sale of Japanese manga and anime in Australia and that in the context of the Government’s Review of Classification Regulation this issue has been raised. The Board welcomes this review.”

Margaret Anderson, Director, Classification Board

The Wonderful 101: Remastered coming in May and June

Plus Pax East Coverage

Plus Pax East Coverage

With the Wonderful 101: Remastered finally playable at this year’s Pax East, Platinum Games have also started to confirm its release dates for their cult hit action title. The remaster is set to release on May 19 in North America, May 22 in Europe and June 11 in Japan. Release dates for other countries have yet to be announced.

To quickly recap for those who’re unaware, it was announced back in February by Platinum Games, that The Wonderful 101 would be receiving a remaster for current platforms. That being Steam, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. According to the developer’s website, the controls for the remaster are tuned for each platform, so that more players are able to get accustomed to the game easily. Meanwhile, the remaster has also received an upgrade to both its image quality and frame rate. And judging from the latest gameplay footage shown from Pax East, it definitely shows. Compared to its performance on the Wii U, the difference and improvements from the remaster is staggering to say the least.

And let’s not forget the fact that this was all achieved thanks to the Kickstarter that Platinum Games made in order to make this remaster a reality. It just goes to show that if you simply give your target audience what they want, rather than bending the knee to an awful publisher, a vocal minority or to just any asshole who hates fun, then your product’s much more likely to succeed in the long run. The game’s director, Hideki Kamiya, seems to have understood this prospect and the amount of support the game’s Kickstarter page received, has skyrocketed ever since its announcement.  We’ll be covering the rest of Pax soon so stay tuned!

Australian Senator calls for anime regulation over concerns of sexual abuse depictions.

I Know This Dance By Heart

I Know This Dance By Heart

That’s right folks we’re seeing another anime ban in the news this week. This one comes from the land down under on behalf of Australian Senator Stirling Griff, a crossbencher from the Centre Alliance Party, who used his time before the Senate to give a speech about a number of anime and their “depictions of child sexual exploitation.”

The anime included in Griff’s speech included Sword Art Online, Eromanga Sensei, Goblin Slayer and No Game No Life. Griff particularly focused on Sword Art Online and its Extra movie where he claims it “undoubtedly features the abuse of children,” in regards to the Alfheim arc where the villain assaults female lead Asuna in the game and threatens to also assault her real body in the hospital. While I’ll admit that yes this is a horrifying scene and it’s not meant to be viewed positively, it’s also not as graphic as the senator claims. Frankly another anime he mentions, Goblin Slayer, has much more graphic depictions of rape and violence.

Getting this mad at Sword Art, am I back in 2015?

Senator Griff’s call to action is for the Australian government to review all currently available anime and anime movies in the country and to ban/regulate other titles he listed in his speech in the future. He cited the recent decision of South Korea to ban anime/manga depicting sexual situations for minors as a good example of what he hopes to accomplish. Normally I would say this ban would fail but Australian law actually does state any depiction of minors in believed sexual situations is illegal, so there is a possibility that this ban could go through if it picks up enough steam in the Australian government.

Now the reason why people are upset with this call to ban anime is that while the senator is correct in some ways, it’s clear he hasn’t studied as much as he lets on and even lies about some of the anime/manga he cites. An example is Goblin Slayer, in which he claims:

“In Goblin Slayer children are often portrayed as frightened or resisting, but they are also shown as enjoying the sexual abuse. Enjoying it! And as I said experts say that pedophiles are using this material to groom children. ‘Have a look at this, this is normal.’

-Senator Griff

Now as an up to date reader of the manga, I can tell you that this is a 100% lie on the Senators part. Not only are most characters depicted of legal age in the manga with very few questionable cases, there are NO cases of “enjoyment of abuse” in that manga and for him to claim so either shows he is ignorant or lying. I personally can’t speak on the other anime/manga he touched on besides Sword Art Online and Goblin Slayer, but based on the fact he felt confident enough to go before the Senate with such a poorly researched analysis shows that he is untrustworthy to lead a ban on these mediums.

If you want to read the full transcript of Griff’s speech, click here to see it from Kotaku’s article. While there are definitely questionable themes to anime and manga, I don’t think they should be regulated by someone who would carelessly spread misinformation their subject matter before the Senate as fact. Unfortunately for me I have no say in the matter but all of you in Australia do. You can send letters to your local government offices to let your elected officials know how you feel on this matter and whether you support or oppose Senator Griff and his planned ban. For right now though there isn’t anything major to report on aside from the plan. But as this develops we’ll post updates on the status of the potential ban.

My Thoughts on the Live-Action Steins;Gate Adaptation

This is written with a general understanding of the series in mind

This is written with a general understanding of the series in mind

During the celebration of the hit visual novel Steins;Gate’s 10th anniversary, a live-action Hollywood series adaptation was announced to be in the works by Skydance Media. This news comes as a surprise to many, but there are plenty of fans that are none too pleased. Frankly, I’m one of them.

 I love Steins;Gate. It’s one of my favorites, if not my favorite anime of all time. So one would think that this news would bring me joy. And on one hand, it does. I’m really glad that it’s getting this sort of attention. On the other hand, though, I’m almost certain that it’s going to be bad. From the translation of the series to an American standard to the history of Western anime adaptations as a whole, I have very little faith in this series being anything worthwhile.

First, let’s discuss the setting of the story. It takes place in Akihabara, which I don’t think it’s a stretch to call a unique place in the world. It’s culture of moe is something that I feel would be incredibly difficult to pull off in an American setting, especially with how tied into the story it is. You can’t just pick any random city and call it good here, so it’s concerning to think of how they plan to handle it. 

Next, and primarily, I want to talk about the characters. Just about the whole cast has something that is difficult to pull off in an Americanized style, such as Okabe’s chuunibyou to Feris’ fixation with moe culture (which could be applied to many of them). But there’s a couple that worry me more than the rest. First up to bat is Daru. His perverse nature and innuendos are a constant source of comedic relief throughout the story, but I’m afraid to see how well that carries over to a land in which that sort of thing can get you chastised by the woke community and leave your career in tatters. The sexual comedy in anime has been a cause for controversy plenty of times before, so I’m worried that they’ll just ditch that in favor of painting him to be a bad guy in an attempt to push a message that really has no need to be pushed.

My main concern, however, lies with Ruka. The controversy surrounding this boy-then-girl-then-boy-again seemingly has no end and I get the feeling we’ll be dealing with it with refreshed vigor when this adaptation airs. Since Steins;Gate’s release, people have been constantly trying to paint Ruka as trans and this seems like a golden opportunity to play that card. Western entertainment spares no opportunity to push an agenda and Ruka is the prime candidate. He’ll be paraded around as the trans icon of 2020 for those internet good-boy points and the fires will be lit anew as another online war breaks out. Also, it will be difficult to find someone to play the role. Finding someone that can play a boy and a girl like that will most definitely be a problem. I can handle them casting a girl for the part, but I won’t be pleased about it.

When it comes down to it, there’s so much that can go awry with this adaptation. And this is all on top of the fact that the west doesn’t have a very good track record of American live-action adaptations of anime. Take the Death Note film for example. It was a train wreck that tried to capitalize on the name alone while not sticking to any of what made the series good in the first place. Light went from sociopathic megalomaniac to wimpy pushover, L became an emotionally unstable gremlin rather than an equally sociopathic gremlin, none of the established rules were seen through, and they didn’t even face half of the problems that this Steins;Gate adaptation does. Needless to say, my faith in this is all but gone.

But if they cast Dwayne Johnson as Yugo Tennouji then I’ll be content.

Manga Spotlight: Do Chokkyuu Kareshi x Kanojo

90% of all dialogue should be read as screaming.

90% of all dialogue should be read as screaming.

With the recent announcement from fan translators that this manga is being picked up again for serialization starting in March, I took that as the excuse I needed to talk about this fun series. Do Chokkyuu Kareshi x Kanojo is a romantic comedy manga by Fujita Nagasa that centers around the high school life of Shinichi Honda and Mako Wakamiya. Both are loud and athletic teenagers who recently entered into their first year of high school and have started work in their clubs, with Honda joining the Kendo Club and Mako joining the Public Morals Committee. But beyond being loud and athletic the best way to describe these two is… as oblivious idiots. Now that’s not to say they are unintelligent, they are actually knowledgeable, but they are really REALLY stupid when faced with social situations.

I mean, at least he’s honest.

I hope the visual example gave you an idea of just the kind of guy Honda is, even though it doesn’t really do justice to how much of an unashamedly honest moron he is. But that’s his charm really, Honda is honest and hardworking to a fault with not a single bit of shame in his entire body. This is what Mako has in store for her romantic future so let’s pretend to pour one out for her. Then again, Mako is an easily-embarrassed and oblivious idiot who has a hard time keeping up with how open Honda really is and typically just crumbles under pressure. Honestly they’re made for each other.

Now unlike a lot of romance/romantic comedy manga this one actually doesn’t start off with one of the two already having a crush on the other, it actually starts off with Mako really not liking Honda. It isn’t until further into the story after a number of ridiculous situations that Mako starts to realize she even likes Honda at all and she can’t put two and two together even further on. Once she finally confronts Honda with this and tells him how she feels he responds with a very enthusiastic “Thanks!”

Chad energy in print.

That was a brutal thing to read I have to admit. But honestly it’s the best part of the manga to me personally. I was reading this manga, saw the two doofy main characters and assumed it would go exactly as planned but no. Honda acts like a moron constantly, but he actually has a really level headed reasoning he gives Mako for why he can’t respond to her feelings in that they really know very little about one another. He isn’t just going to start dating her because of a one sided confession, he actually wants to date someone he likes back. So instead of the usual crush turning into a relationship like other manga, they instead decide to start hanging out together as friends.

Ouch.

After this the manga goes along a bit more as you’d expect, it still has to have a payoff after all. But the way there was a really enjoyable story to read, and Honda and Mako actually make a great pair that are more realistic and endearing despite how over the top and cartoonish the two are. I would highly recommend reading this series, especially now since it’s going to start being updated again soon. The comedy is up to par, and the romance bits feel nice to read and not as hokey as other stories I’ve read in this genre. Let me know in the comments below what you think of this manga, and be sure to check back again next week for another Manga Spotlight and have a great day.