It’s really odd how much I worried about *deep breath* Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate (henceforth known as Blackgate). Since its announcement, I’ve been a regular worry wart, fretting over just how good it would be.
It’s not as if I have any stakes in the product, I just enjoy good games. And if that good game is also a Batman game, then I’ve hit the lottery.
But why I worried so much is the talent behind it. Armature Studio, formed by ex-Retro Studios talent, has been rung through the ringer, noting themselves to be the victim of the video game industry’s constant ‘shifts’. Blackgate marks the studio’s first self-created project, and as such, I wanted them to he able to shine. Thing is, it’s no always a treat to work on a licensed property. Previous Arkham games were incredible, but would Warner Bros. give Armature the freedom they needed?
While I can’t say there weren’t any hardships, I can certify that Blackgate is awesome. How’s that for a criticism?
As an editor at Aksys Games, Ben Bateman plays a crucial role in the games you and I play. Were it not for his profession, I’d be bumbling my way through a mountain of kanji, hiragana, and katakana in my efforts to enjoy the latest out of Japan. Bateman manages to take the original material and turn it into something I can understand, and more importantly enjoy. But it’s not as simple as finding the English equivalent of each and every word (which isn’t even possible in many cases), Bateman localizes games in the truest sense of the word. Whether it be the niece of a renowned video game producer, or an AI that speaks in rabbit puns, he takes a title’s script and makes it work best for an English speaking audience. From 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors to Sweet Fuse: At Your Side, Bateman has constantly impressed, and is certainly at the forefront of his craft (you can find his portfolio here).
Ben Bateman took the time to speak with me about Sweet Fuse, Otome in North America, and how the name Akane is not always a reference to 999. If this interview isn’t enough, be sure to follow him on Twitter!
Your work speaks for your experience, but did you ever struggle writing for Saki? She’s a female protagonist, and the game requires a lot of emotional writing. Did you ever need to run some of the dialogue past other women to test its ‘authenticity’?
Ben Bateman (BB): Occasionally I would ask my co-workers if a given bit of text sounded romantic or just dumb, because I’m one of the least romantic people I know, but apart from that, not really. Most people just talk like people, which is a group that includes women.
Right off the bat, let me say my output for this month has been garbage. I’d argue not quality wise, but that’s for you to decide. What I’m referring to is the quantity of my work is in line the theme of October; it’s been horrific.
There’s no personal tragedy to blame, no real reasoning that would inspire sympathy. I’m just trying to finish Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice, plain and simple. Its sequel, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney- Dual Destinies, releases digitally this Thursday on the 3DS eShop, and I really need to go in knowing what happened in its predecessor. This task has also meant I haven’t written about what is likely the ‘biggest’ handheld release of the year, Pokémon X. Just what kind of blog am I running here?!
Nintendo isn’t afraid to goof around with its mascot characters, throwing them around from genre to genre and seeing what sticks. Mario is best described by the titles he hasn’t held; he’s been a Doctor, a referee, a golfer, a tennis player, and a teacher (my keyboard skills certainly improved). As Nintendo has said, it’s a way for the company to experiment, while still keeping that wide appeal its creations have. The formula works, and we’ve received many great games from this dabbling.
But I’d argue that none adhere to these changes as well as Kirby. While Mario appears to be a jack of all trades, I don’t feel his forays into golf, tennis and the party scene are intrinsically ‘Mario’. They’re quality games, for sure, but a proper Mario adventure isn’t just about Chain-Chomps and Super Mushrooms. Throwing a warp pipe on a golf course doesn’t nail what makes Mario special.
The internet has this crazy way of concealing itself as popular opinion. I’ve been duped into thinking I’m some sort of weirdo when it comes to Pokémon.
It’s a feeling I’ve had for a long time now, this notion that I don’t care ‘enough’ about these pocket monsters. Am I a fairweather fan, showing up every couple of years for the launch of Pokémon games with a Ghastly shirt and a replica Ash Ketchum hat? When I say I love the Pokémon games am I…am I full of shit?
Probably not. It took way too long to realize, but I think this fascination with breeding and Generation favouritism is discussed upon a vocal minority. Turns out, I don’t need to be ashamed of not knowing any Pokémon names beyond the original 151. Or was it 152? Bah, who cares, I’m free of the shackles that held me as a ‘lesser’ fan!
There aren’t many who as as down for video games as Renegade Kids’ Jools Watsham. His Twitter feed is a constant source of love for the industry, as he promotes the work of fellow independent studios, presents his latest pick ups, and talks with fans. Not only that, but over the past year he’s always found the time to answer my feature questions, something I’ve always appreciated. All this and he still finds time to win us over with games like Mutant Mudds and Dementium.
Treasurenauts, Renegade Kids’ upcoming action platformer, sounds to be quite the adventure. Players traverse a world, scouring it for jewels. The goal is to beat the game in a single sitting, be it alone or with a friend over local WiFi. With this interview, I wanted to learn more about the title, Watsham, and the studio. I hope you enjoy the results.
Before anything else, why the name Renegade Kid?
Jools Watsham (JW): We kicked around a few names before settling on Renegade Kid. We wanted something that had a nice impact; something playful and somewhat aggressive or rebellious. I am very happy with the name. It sums up what we’re about quite well.