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Pokemon Has to Get Off the Madden and Call of Duty Treadmill

Scarlet and Violet look fine but when are we going to be excited about this series again?

I’ll admit it, I’m not Pokemon‘s target audience. I was late to the party and therefore had none of the profound nostalgia that understandably fuels so much of the current Pokemon fandom. There’s nothing wrong with that! There’s a reason I screech with joy every time a new Mario game is announced. When the new trailer for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet dropped this week, I saw some good designs, I saw the introduction of four-player co-op, and I saw the same problems plaguing our most child-focused annualized game franchise.

Like I said, I’m not the audience. I’m not the expert. But I did want to talk to people who have loved Pokemon and understand its history, so I enlisted the help of Featured Contributor Fūnk-é Joseph and IGN’s award-winning reporter and friend of the site Reb Valentine to help me unpack everyone’s feelings around the new games. You can hear that entire excellent conversation on my show, Thanks for the Knowledge!

You can also find the show on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Tell your friends!

Anyway, I was mildly surprised to find both Reb and Fūnk-é expressing doubt and dismay about where the series is at this point. And it makes sense to be a little concerned about a theme that came up a few times during the roundtable discussion: beloved features that disappear or simply aren’t used often enough. We focused on Pokemon Legends Arceus and the excellent catching mechanic that doesn’t seem to be returning to Scarlet and Violet.

We did a little armchair quarterbacking, which is always fun. Reb’s plan for Pokemon makes a lot of sense and involves taking more time between major entries while still giving the franchise something to release every year to keep the flow of merchandise going, which is really what Nintendo cares about anyway. Give it a listen and stick around for a rundown of the week’s major games and entertainment news as well as a look ahead to games releasing over the next seven days.

Look out below for topics covered this week and a transcript of our discussion.

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Co-Op

News covered this week:

Transcript of the Pokemon discussion with Fūnk-é and Reb:

John: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet made its debut back in February with its first trailer. And we got a second one earlier this week that actually revealed some interesting stuff about the gameplay and the world. I don’t know anything about Pokemon, never have and never will head into. No thoughts. I just see these little guys and I go, “they’re pretty cute.”

So I wanted to enlist the help of two experts to help me through what we saw with the trailer and gauge how excited people are about this. With me today, I have two very special guests. I’m very excited to have featured contributor, Fūnk-é Joseph on the show, of course.

(Fūnk-é makes sick airhorn noises)

John: And for the very first time on a Fanbyte production, it’s been a long time coming.

We’ve danced around it for what I feel like is a year. It is the one, the only award-winning IGN reporter: Rebekah Valentine. Hi, Reb!

Rebekah: That’s me! Yay! I’m so happy. It’s funny. It’s funny to live with Imran and hear all of y’all’s names and the wonderful things that he says about you on a daily basis. And then actually come in here and hear your beautiful melodic voices and talk to you. I love this.

John: Well, we, we all obviously hear wonderful things about you from Imran as well. So the feeling is mutual. We’ve been admirers your work for a long time,

Rebekah: Shucks. Thank you!

John: It’s true. But we saw this Pokemon Scarlett Violet trailer, and we all had to be up at the crack of dawn to see it.

And we saw- And I guess I want to just start with, are we more or less excited about this game now that we’ve seen the trailer? Reb, I’ll start with you.

Rebekah: Yeah, I think I am like more, more excited than I was from the initial reveal. I thought the initial reveal looked a little ehh. Like okay.

Yeah, that’s fine. It’s Pokemon and characters not super exciting, but this, yeah, I like slightly more excited. I think my main feeling is curious. I am curious as to what they are doing. I think that the Pokemon series has been in dire need of some. Some big dramatic step forward. And I think sword and shield and Arceus have not been that in very specific ways over the last couple of iterations.

And I don’t know if this is going to be it either, but I’m curious to see what they’re doing.

John: Yeah. Fūnk-é, how about you?

Fūnk-é: It’s not worth to wake up at 9:00 AM for that trailer. I’ll say that. (John and Reb laugh) I will say I just, I feel like the Grinch, like the reverse Grinch, because my heart has shrunk three sizes when it comes to Pokemon.

That was the series that I love the most as a child. And even as a teen, like growing up, but in recent years, like as Reb said Shield didn’t really do it for me. Arceus like tried, which I really enjoyed. Like it tried to be different than the other Pokemon, but yeah. I don’t know if Scarlet and Violet will do it either because the original trailer back in, what was it February?

I saw so many Pokemon that I’ve seen time and time again. It felt like they were like padding it with Pokemon that we’ve seen already. And I wanted to see way more new guys, which we saw in this new trailer, but I don’t know. I’m still tentative with my excitement on this.

John: Okay. So let’s start with kind of that, that overall vibe from both of you, this idea that the series has not really taken a step forward in a very long time.

You both alluded to Arceus, which like. To me as an outsider that bounces off of most of these games. I spent the most time with Arceus than I have with a Pokemon game in the past, maybe 10 years, because it did shake up some of that formula. What I was distressed to see in Scarlet and Violet is that I feel like a lot of those steps forward were not carried over to this game.

Rebekah: Yes. Oh my God, I could go- i, this is I think a shorter podcast- I could go on for hours about this particular subject. I reviewed I’m being Arceus for IGN. And if someone wants to go read that and I gave it a seven, which like scoring reviews is a nightmare. And I wish I didn’t have to score that one and I could have just written about it, but it is what it is anyway.

Pokemon. As I remembered as a child, maybe that’s a little bit of rose colored glasses, but I do think the older games have held up in the same way, playing them as an adult. It gave me these very detailed, fleshed out worlds for the time. It was like top down sprite based stuff, but it was this very like wonderful fleshed out world with all these very interesting monsters.

It felt like this big adventure I could go explore. And I feel like at a certain point, somebody came to the Pokemon company or to Game Freak, whoever. And said, Hey we’re moving to, we’re getting, we’re not doing 3DS/DS, handheld dedicated stuff anymore. We’re going to have this new console, but it’s also going to be docked on the TV.

So you have to design it like a console game now. And to somebody that meant, okay, we got to move to 3D. And in the move to 3D, I think they lost something. I think they’re not as good at making- and all the things that come with that, right? Like they also gotta, they’re gonna move into the future and they got to implement online play.

They got to make it more like the sort of action RPG is that we’re, we see all over the place that make, piles and piles of money and sell piles and piles of copies. And they feel compelled to do this thing. When I think what they’re really good at is designing cool monsters and making these cool top-down worlds and they have and failed- not failed, but try to not quite gotten there multiple times to make the same kind of game that we see in other places in the industry. When I wish they were just like. I don’t know, either making more Pokemon or doing their own thing with Pokemon instead of trying to be all these other things.

Like Arceus was great. Arceus’s like catching mechanics were amazing. That was it. That was the main and there was no flesh out world around it. It felt like they had just abandoned these adventurous, detailed Pokemon worlds they’ve used to make.

Fūnk-é: It felt so barren.

Rebekah: Yeah. And Sword & Shield was the same way.

Like it was Pokemon, but all the houses were just like these empty facades with like doors you couldn’t go into. And it felt like short and just empty. It all just feels empty. And I don’t want this one to feel empty.

John: Yeah that’s a good way to put what I think is ultimately my biggest issue with this series, because I didn’t come to it as a child.

I came to it as a young adult and. I had no nostalgia for it. I saw this as a collection based JRPG, which like that idea excites me, but the kind of the set dressing and the bells and whistles I expect JRPG’s involve a lot of what you just alluded to as being missing from Pokemon. A lot of exploration, dense worlds, being able to go into a lot of places.

And I don’t know, check out bookshelves in some randos apartment or wherever, and talk to a lot of NPCs, have the world feel like it is lived in and yeah it, no modern Pokemon game has felt that way at all.

Fūnk-é: Yeah, I think the last time I felt that feeling was with Pokemon X I just sank like hours and hours and hours into.

And that’s one of the 3d ones that I still feel like felt really full and like really utilize every single inch of the space they had. In the games past that you couldn’t really just like search around and find things in garbage and just like little things where I don’t know, there’s a lot more care into each space that they were in.

Whereas now, like in the recent games, it feels like they’re just trying to go for expanding as much as they can, like making an open world. So people are like, oh, it’s an open world. I know that genre let me play this. But then the open world is so empty. And it feels like Arceus I really enjoyed the first few hours, honestly.

I was like, whoa, the Pokemon felt really new. And like even Pokemon I knew before had altered forms and acted differently. And it was so cool to walk around with a Poke ball and catch them. Like I thought about that since I was 10. Like that shit is cool. Like it does not feel- like it didn’t grab me in for the rest of it.

This story-. I was like, what is going on? Like, why are we here? It didn’t really grab me in that sense and I didn’t feel enticed by the legendaries. I feel like when I play Pokemon, especially as a kid, I was always like, okay, I’m gay. Like I have my starters and then I’m going, I’m trying to find the legendary.

And that’s my mission, but I wasn’t really hyped on that. Like the sense of mystique was almost there with Arceus, but yeah, as you were saying, John, it feels like that’s not even in Scarlet and Violet, like Scarlet and Violet seemed way closer to Sword and Shield which I completely bounced off of.

Rebekah: I’ll also add to on top of that to address the point that John made earlier, the Pokemon series has this very obnoxious history of coming up with really good ideas and making a game that has this really good idea that they’re using somewhere in it, and then immediately dropping it. The next generation like Arceus is the example of that.

Like they have this incredible catching mechanic that if there had been a better game built around that catching the mechanic, I would have 10 out of 10. Incredible. Great. But they’ve done this so many times before a really great example is messing around with time of day. Seasons and time of year in days of the week, ever since Gold and Silver Pokemon has in some capacity had a system of time of day and days of the week where different things would happen depending on what your clock said, what day it was what time of day it was like the world would look different Pokemon would come out.

They added seasons. And I think what X? Black and white too?

Fūnk-é: And the music would change as well.

Rebekah: Yeah. And there were all these, there are all these different things that would happen. There’d be piles of snow or leaves or whatever. It was really cool, but like every subsequent generation after the out of these things, they would take away elements of it or, and then put them back like a generational, if you can’t figure out what they want to do with the system.

And it was such a cool system because the idea of having this living world that changes with the seasons and the time of day and the day of the week is so fascinating to me. But they’ve never fully committed to all of those things at once that they have tried in little fits and starts over various generations.

And this is there’s so many other systems like that. Like you could point to any of the weird evolutionary mechanics they’ve come up with like mega evolution. You could point to how they do contests or friendship, or like the the weird like bury system for contests where they’re cool or beautiful or whatever-

Fūnk-é: Contests are so sick! If there’s a whole contest game, like where you’re not even a trainer, you’re just like a contestant trying to be the best. I would eat that up.

Rebekah: Yeah! It just like any time they come up with something that people genuinely love like that they’re like, okay we can’t do this next generation. (John and Fūnk-é: laugh)

And so we all just go and say, all right, I guess that’s dead now. And it’s so disappointing.

John: Yeah. They treat these features that are beloved, like gimmicks. They go, oh everyone latched onto that. So that. A unique selling point of this game that we can’t put into everything else. And it really strikes me- and I think it does boil down to this to some extent, I want to talk about it, but it strikes me speak very funny to me that Pokemon this thing, that Nintendo is very much associated with and and it’s this beloved thing by several generations of gamers. But it has to same exact problems is what I see happening with franchise sports games, with call of duty, like these games that will come out with a feature or a small set of features that are annualized. And but they have no time to really get user feedback, to really implement the things that are working and to change things that are because they’ve got this annual cycle to adhere to. And it really feels like Pokemon is becoming a dire victim of that cycle.

Fūnk-é: It’s weighing the series down for real. I reviewed Brilliant Diamond with Niki for Fanbyte and the conclusion we came to is let these people take more time making their games. They would be so much cooler. They wouldn’t have, I feel like they wouldn’t have any of these issues.

‘Cause they’d have more time to just spend in these worlds like Scarlet and Violet. I feel like, yeah, this is just the note. It’s November. There has to be another Pokemon game. And it’s this

Rebekah: They just released one in January!

John: It won’t even be a year!

Fūnk-é: Geez. That’s so fast. There’s been three, like that’s too many.

Rebekah: They were a different studio.

John: It’s true. It’s true. That is true.

Fūnk-é: There’s too much Pokemon I’m so down to wait two years before a Pokemon game releases and then there’d be so much hype. And I feel like the studios would have so much time to develop these ideas, actually look from the past what they enjoyed and what fans enjoyed, and actually make something special that doesn’t feel like.

Okay. We’re pumping out another one. Alright. Here’s it’s time. It’s Pokemon time. Here you go guys.

John: This is some real armchair quarterback stuff. It’s, I hate that, but it’s like you have Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Pokemon Metroid, Kirby. You could just put those in a cycle where you’re seeing basically one of those every 12 months.

And you would have enough time to work. Imagine if a new major Mario game was attempting to come out every year, they, it would be terrible. We would reject that idea. A nd it’s just like Nintendo decided. Pokemon is the thing that is a merch machine. It’s a thing that is a great entry point for kids into Nintendo products.

They’ve just decided this is something that has to be out every year and it’s clearly hurting the product. And I don’t think Scarlet and Violet is shaping up to maybe be a difference in that story so…

Rebekah: So here’s my pitch. My pitch is so we’ve got game freak, making the main Pokemon games, the Scarlet’s and Violet’s and whatnot.

ILCA made Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. I actually really liked Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. I thought it was a great, like straight up remake. It was not, it didn’t attempt to be ambitious or anything. It was diamond and Pearl, but on the switch, I thought that was a great attempt for a studio doing it their first, a little buggy.

I know, but like it was their first attempt. It was any other studios first attempt at a main line Pokemon game, like crap. I think they did a great job. Yeah. Give ILCA licensed to do remakes, let them do black and white, whatever remake we’re moving on to next have Game Freak making the mainline Pokemon games and then go find Bandai Namco, or who whomever and have them doing weird spinoffs stuff.

Like the new Pokemon Snap was great. I thought . Pokken Tournament, things like that and then put it on a three-year cycle. So have game freak, do the main line game, and that’s your Pokemon game one year. ILCA does their remake. And then the graph of that Bandai Namco does whatever Bandai Namco is doing.

And then by that time, you’re back around the game freak for the next big, main generational game. And then you have a three-year cycle. Everybody has time and we get some interesting stuff thrown around here. Everybody gets what they want. We get our top, we get our nostalgic classic top-down stuff. We get our weird, cool spinoff stuff and we get our bold new worlds of Pokemon.

John: Yeah. And then, Nintendo still gets their annual merch machine and that’s- winners everywhere.

Fūnk-é: I know we’re back seating Nintendo, but it’s not a big request. I feel like the only series like this is it, Nintendo does so rapidly. The serialization is Pokemon. I feel like it’s all the time.

Yeah. Like Metroid takes so long. Zelda takes so long. Mario takes so long. I’m down to wait for Pokemon. Yeah. I’m seriously down.

John: Yeah. It’s just it’s. It is, I do think a victim of market forces, right? Because I do think because kids are so different and they don’t think about things this way.

This is why Pokemon is the way it is, but. I still think Reb’s pitch is perfect. It’s like they’ve already gotten other studios involved, start making things the way that she laid out. And I think things will improve, but it’s just okay. A really good example of a mechanic that was universally beloved.

But then just basically disappeared. The Let’s Go mechanic of having your Pokemon follow you around. That’s back for this one, it looks like. So it’s like they do bring some stuff back, but it’s what years after the fact and games after the fact, and it seems-

Fūnk-é: Scattered!

John: It’s scattered too!

Fūnk-é: Pokemon yellow, and then it was gone for a while.

It was back in like gold and silver, then it was gone. Then it’s back.

Rebekah: Yeah. They’ve been so sporadic about it. It’s weird. But every time it’s out, everybody loves it. Every single time. The feedback is this is great. Keep this. And then pfft.

Fūnk-é: Somebody’s like, “maybe not, maybe we don’t do that.”

Rebekah: Just do it like halfway where you can throw your Pokemon out into the world and look at them.

Then they can follow you…

John: They don’t follow you. You can hatch them and then they’ll hang out for a second and says, and then they go, bye bye. Yeah, it’s a, I don’t know. Part of me wonders if it’s a performance issue, because again, and I know some listeners at home might be tired of me talking about this, but this game looks like it runs at about 15 frames per second.

(Reb laughs)

John: And it’s only the fifth. One of these that’s looked like that. So it is strange to me that this keeps being an issue, but it’s, if it’s an issue of in the trailers, it’s going to be an issue in the game. Which we saw us from Arceus and we saw from Pokemon sword and shield, but it’ll be interesting.

One thing that we did learn that I am definitely intrigued by is online co-op that got announced for us. How do we think that’s going to work? Are you excited about it? Reb, I’ll start with you.

Rebekah: And to answer the question, how do we think that’s going to work? My answer is probably not well. We’ll see, as they do not have a great history in recent years of having it, which is wild, because I feel like they pioneered not pioneered.

I Other people were playing online, but like in the DS era, they were one of the first games that was attempting to do some sort of online play that was meaningful, like online trading through the global trading center.

Fūnk-é: Even Gameboy! With the cord…

Rebekah: Yeah, they, weren’t doing really interesting things there for a while.

And then they just fell behind everyone else because I think Nintendo is allergic to good online play. But anyway, I think it’s interesting. Like the potential is interesting. And I think I want to combine this with another idea that we learned from that from not even really the trailer, but from the literature that came along with the trailer, which is that this is not a linear Pokemon game apparently. Apparently you can go. Wherever in whatever order. I don’t know to what extent that is carried to. But I like, I like the idea of potentially being able to partner up with Imran or partner with one of my friends and go run around the world. I think the trailer did a poor job of selling it though, because it’s oh, you can play with four other people.

And, These four people pop up. It’s yeah, we’re all here. And then they run off in four different directions and we never see them again. It’s like what’s the point, man? (laughs)

Fūnk-é: It’s so sus, like there were like four player multiplayer and then they meet up for one second and it made an implication that like they’re playing, but even in different parts of the world, but that doesn’t really feel.

Too much, like multiplayer to me?

John: You would expect like big team battles or something.

Fūnk-é: Yeah. Or traveling together in a group. Being so distant. And I think they were trading each other from like a snowy mountain and like inside a cave. But I don’t know I’m worried ’cause I don’t want to buy the game and just be like for the multiplayer, with my friends and then it’s not.

That girl, like my friends and I played smash bros for years after it’s released. And that online system is doodoo every other fighting game, like out classes it. And even like the smallest of fighting games understand how like online systems a work in a way that like, I feel like Nintendo games always just miss.

Yeah. So I dunno. Yeah. Another thing I’m tentatively excited about in this game.

Rebekah: This is my fear that we’re going to end up in some situation where Imran and I are playing together, whatever. And then we try to go to a town or a specific place together and we get the animal crossing like, oh, you can’t go, you can’t go in here because someone has their inventory open or you can’t send your Pokemon out because this other guy’s in a battle. These weird limitations.

John: I was literally going to bring up how bad animal crossing is at that, because it’s I often imagined how much more I would have ultimately played that game if those online elements had been worth a shit. And they were just terrible. And but they’ve got to turn stuff around, like Splatoon seems like a studio within the Nintendo infrastructure, understands to an extent how online multiplayer works. It’s not perfect. But it’s better than I think the rest of their library,

Rebekah: John, I think Splatoon and animal crossing are made by the same team. (laughs)

John: Okay. I think you’re right. But. Some elements are right. And then some are just completely fucking backwards. And I, it is just still perplexing to me that no one in the Nintendo infrastructure seems to fully understand how online works. And, but to, to your, to everyone’s point, the fact that they didn’t show anything, I think that would meaningfully invite people to be excited about co-op play tells me that this is probably not gonna be a big selling point, ultimately.

Rebekah: Yeah, I don’t want to just sit here and cry. Like I like Pokemon. I will gobble up another Pokemon adventure. I think the monster designs are fantastic. I love, I think they have 100% success rate on making good monsters so far that they have shown me for this set of games.

I think the characters, I think they have a lot that looks good. I just am cynical. I’m cynical and bitter about this franchise that I love so much because I had become old and I no longer have the childlike delight in my eyes.

Fūnk-é: Yeah. Yeah, Weed Cat is so good Sprigatito.

John: That’s good. The three starters are good.

I want to talk about the three new little guys we saw. We saw Pawmi like an electric rodent. We saw Smoliv, which is a great name for anxious grass plant. And then of course the one that took the world by storm it’s Lechonk. What do we think about these three?

Rebekah: I think Pawmi is great.

I have no, I’ve no notes on Pawmi. Very cute. Looks like a Kirby enemy. Very nice. I’m everyone lost their minds over the chalk. I’m a big, Smoliv fan. I think I, as someone who calls their X-Box the X-Box series Smol. That’s S-M-O-L. I just really have a soft spot in my heart for the fact that I don’t know what this guy’s Japanese name is, but whoever localized this to Smoliv understands the internet so well, and I love this anxious little olive guy whose oil is too bitter to eat.

So you don’t have. It’s very much discouraging people from coming up with the idea of eating Pokemon, even though I believe you all ran with that anyway. Yeah.

Fūnk-é: Speaking of eating, I really would love to eat Lechonk. A lot of people disagree with my opinion. You can’t stop me. You cannot stop me. But yeah, I think they’re really cool.

I really enjoyed seeing the legendaries. They’re a bit busy, but I really like the futuristic one. And this is the, for like in this trailer, I actually noticed that they’re doing like the past and future thing. Like even with the professors, the what’s like the dude with the fade. What’s that?

What’s that guys name? Did they say his name?

John: Turo. Professor Turo.

Fūnk-é: He has like a futuristic garb on and professor Sada has like a bone necklace and fangs. She has fags. I was like, what? That heck I think that’s really cool dichotomy between them.

John: I did. I, everyone thought these two professors are hot.

I thought they looked like house flippers from Nevada that were looking for a unicorn.

Rebekah: I, as someone who is very bisexual, I am very sad that I cannot, I do not. I do not feel the same way as many of my bisexual brethren and about these professors there, I think their designs are good. Good design. It’s not doing it for me.

And I’m just, I’m so sad that I can’t participate with everybody else in that. But men, the meme game was strong after that.

John: We were all living online for a moment. It was good.

Fūnk-é: Pokemon fans are so fast at it to reveal they get faster at like fan art and just shipping and stuff like that.

John: I know, I was like, wow. My Photoshop doesn’t even load this fast. Shit.

That’s great. Okay. All right. So Pokemon, Scarlet, Violet, that’s going to be out on November 18th. That’s really the big holiday release for Nintendo this year. Yeah that’s what we got. And yes, we don’t want to be super negative all the time. I didn’t even know that this would go to this direction.

I thought maybe someone on the call would be super excited, they’re where I am on the. Isn’t going to be great. I don’t know. These little guys are cute though. And that’s honestly kudos to that team because that is truly what that, what makes me go: maybe I should drop 60 bucks on this.

Again. Is the design…

Rebekah: They’re so good. They have, and that’s like where I think game freak is just the best consistently from their like initial conception back in the nineties, whenever the heck, that was all the way to now. Every Pokemon generation is just full of bangers. Like they’re all so good. I know people make fun of the ice cream cone Pokemon.

No, the ice cream cone guy is great. Like the sentient garbage? Fantastic. It’s every new generation is just, there’s yeah, there’s some that are like, okay, whatever, it’s another fish, but for the most part, like the designs are just so good. And I like that. That’s where I think their strength is in making interesting, compelling, new little monsters for me to tote around with me.

And I will consistently come back to Pokemon just to have a new team of little dudes following me around being weird.

John: Pokemon Scarlet, Violet talk. We also, I have to ask you both. We saw a Sony State of Play this week that was exponentially cooler than I think I expected it to be. In terms of how many big announcements there were-

Fūnk-é: They had some bangers in there!

John: And Fūnk-é, I’ll start with you. What was the thing that you saw that you were probably most excited about?

Fūnk-é: STREET FIGHTER 6! Let’s go! I also didn’t even see the trailer live. Cause it was my first time reporting on it.

John: You were so busy. I know…

Fūnk-é: I was in the CMS and y’all were like street fighter and I was like sweating oh my God, what are they showing? This is the game I care about. But I just want to say like briefly Streetfighter 6 looks so fucking cool.

And it just, it makes me so excited because street fighter 5 was such a skeleton release and it had a bare bones characters. It really felt like they were just pushing the game out. But street fighter 6 is like bursting with personality. It reminds me of third strike. It has the color and shading of ultra street fighter 4.

It looks amazing. There’s also a huge leak. Spoiler, spoiler spoilers. If you want to hear that, but Kimberly looks awesome. So many of the fighters that are new, I’m just like, damn, I can’t wait. You don’t know how hyped I am about the open world, because that’s not really what I come to street fighter for, but if they do it. I’m in it. I’m there.

John: I’m listen- I’m in because w a few things happened. One, a they showed me about 20 final fight references within about a 30 second span, which like is amazing. And I was super there for that. I personally am super into the single player open-world stuff, because I like playing street fighter by myself.

I like the idea of having more of a a tour, a world tour, if you will with the story I feel like that was definitely there in your street fighter, alphas and older games. And I’m glad that something like that is back. I also think the league roster looks fucking incredible.

Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know. Reb, I know you are the biggest fighting game community insider expert in the world. I’m just kidding. Are you excited at all about street fighters?

Rebekah: I will not play it. I’m not a fighting game. Friends have tried to get me into fighting games and I just, it’s not for me.

And that’s good. I’m glad it’s for other people. But I will say yeah, street fighter 6 looks dope. If I like, if I were ever to be enticed by a mainstream fighting game, I was watching that oh, that’s pretty look at these guys doing their kicks and punches. Heck yeah.

John: Yeah. It seems like that team is really taking a lot of the the lessons that they probably should have learned from the launch of street fighter 5, a bad roster, small roster, no modes.

This one seems to be doing the full opposite of that. That leaked roster is huge. The game modes like ready at lot at launch, like it looks really cool. So I was also, it was weird. I was like, I was more confused by that trailer. The first time I saw it. And then the more I read about the game and watched the trailer more, I was like, oh wow, this looks amazing.

So I’m with you Fūnk-é, very excited about that.

Fūnk-é: Things on it to other things I’m excited that commentator mode, where they just have people from the fighting game community commentating in your matches, like just assigned to whatever inputs you hit and like they’ll combos you land, which is just so cool.

I love when games and developers. Yeah. Interact with the community and actually build things with them. I think that’s awesome. And also this is going to make a lot of pros and a hardcore gamers mad, but I don’t care. The mode where you can press one button to do a hadoken, do combos, like an entry mode is so great.

That’s the kind of accessibility that will get more people into this game, into this community and into fighting games in general. So I think that’s really cool addition.

John: We are living in a smash brothers world and other folks are finally paying attention and I think that’s okay. I really do a Reb, how about you? What was your most exciting thing from the state of play?

Rebekah: Cat game! Cat game! Let’s go! I love Stray, it looks so good. So I don’t, I did not have I not own a Sony personally. But Imran does, and he has been trying so hard to keep-

John: Let me tell you something, Reb. if you live with Imran, you own a PlayStation 5.

(Reb laughs)

John: It’s called community property. And that’s what you got.

Rebekah: He- that’s how he feels. And that’s all I agree. I don’t disagree with the sentiment, but it’s on his side of the couch. He’s usually playing Genshin Impact on it, but he’s trying so hard to get me to play it. Like he even got me a controller and he was like, oh, this is your controller.

You can play it. And I think like he wants me to play Astrobot, which again, I agree that he’s right. I should play Astrobot, but but I think the game that might finally get me to switch sides of the couch with him and play his PS5 might be Stray because look how the kitty moves. So good!

Fūnk-é: It’s fantastic.

John: It looks so cool. Like the exploration seems like really robust in a way that I, I didn’t, I don’t think I was expecting from the very first trailers that we saw of this game. I’m super, super down for this game and it’s coming out pretty soon, like a month and a half. So July 18th.

Fūnk-é: So, I won’t say anything much, but check the site next week for some stuff.

I can say it looks sick. The trailers, sick. Cats are cool. Huge fan.

John: Cat’s are the best. Yeah, Stray looks amazing. I really can’t wait for that. I of course am partial to final fantasy 16.

Fūnk-é: John, what was happening in that trailer? What the hell was that?

John: I can’t even, I can’t even, I cannot even tell you, but what I can tell you is that later this week, your favorite RPG pals, Steven Strom, Imran Khan, Natalie Flores and myself, will be talking at length about this on 99 potions.

So please listen to that episode. When it drops, I will save my thoughts for that episode, but final fantasy 16 looks buck wild. I’m very excited about that.

Rebekah: My singular take on final fantasy 16 is that I have started vaguely to play final fantasy 14 a little bit, and everything keeps, and that seems pretty fun.

I’m having a nice time. I took a break to play other things, but I’m going to come back to it. It’s pretty fun. And people are telling me that the final fantasy 14 team basically made final fantasy 16 kinda. And so that’s, That’s that seems good. That seems promising. We like those two things.

John: Yeah. Yoshida took a fledgling struggling, honestly, catastrophe of a final fantasy 14 at launch, turn it into a realm reborn. It’s now the biggest MMO in the world. And it’s very good. Has one of the best Final Fantasy stories in the world. And they said, alright, bet. You can have the next big, main line, final fantasy single player game.

And it does look pretty cool. So we will definitely be talking about that this week. Fūnk-é, Reb, thank you both so much for hanging out. This has been delightful. I could do this for a lot longer than we have.

Fūnk-é: Aw, thanks for having us.

Rebekah: Thank you so much.

John: Yeah, of course. Reb, do you have anything to plug? Anything to push?

Rebekah: I write for ign.com. You can sometimes read my work there. I we’re going into summer game mess, so I’m sure I currently all projects are on hold until that’s over, but I’m sure you will get some stuff from me from that event. And I’m on Twitter @duckvalentine.

John: What was the last thing you cooked?

Rebekah: Last thing I cooked to oh, cook actually cooked not cooking as a metaphor for writing. (laughs) I was going to talk about an article. No, I actually, there was a little barbecue over Memorial day weekend with some IGN folks and I want my new coworkers- I’ve been there a year, but we haven’t met because panini.

I want them to love me. And so I baked a cake from the legend, the legends cookbook, which is the legend of Zelda inspired cookbook. It’s the fruit cake is what it is from breath of the wild. And so I made a genoise sponge with whipped cream frosting and filled it with whipped cream frosting.

It’s two layers. Did strawberries on the inside. And then on top did strawberries and blueberries. It was very good, very light and fluffy. Very Summer-y.

It was a hit and now they all love me. (laughs)

John: Let’s go. Of course. Yeah. There’s no reason to love you before. But now for sure, that’s so good.

Fūnk-é: That sounds so good.

Rebekah: Come over, I’ll bake a cake.

John: Please! Genoise sponge is no joke. That’s not, it’s not the easiest thing in the world, but yeah. Amazing. All right, folks. Thanks so much to both of you for joining me.


About the Author

John Warren

I miss Texas sometimes. Wheelchair person. Professional wrestling is humanity's greatest achievement. He/his, y'all.