On this episode of 99 Potions, the crew’s talking all about Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous DLC, more Final Fantasy XIV 6.2, and Norco! Plus we’re talking all about the PlayStation 5’s most recent price increase, Hanger 13’s long-rumored new Mafia game and tons more. So listen down below or on your preferred podcast player of your choice.
Nerium: Hello everybody, and welcome back to another episode of 99 Potions. Accept no fewer. Not 96, not 97, not 98.
Nerium: That’s…okay. If somebody comes to you with 69 potions, you can say yes, but no other numbers! 69, 99, that’s it. Divisible by three or get the fuck out of here. [Michael laughs]
Imran: Wait, what about more than 99 Potions?
Imran: Like, if we– okay.
Michael: What about the 100th potion? I’ve heard of this 100th potion in Slack channels.
Nerium: We will eventually, you know, we are building this podcast to kind of like send out our feelers to build a network of people out there who can search for the 100th potion for us.
Nerium: One day, we will find it, in which case we will delete this entire podcast from the internet and disappear without a trace. But until that day, we are here to talk about video games as members of the fanbyte.com team. We are me, Senior Managing Editor of fanbyte.com, Nerium. We are also News Editor for fanbyte.com, Imran Khan.
Nerium: Hello. How you doing?
Imran: I’m doing okay. How about you?
Nerium: I’m doing great. I’ve already asked you about five times before this how you’re doing.
Imran: [laughs] Yeah.
Nerium: But for the listeners out there who only get to hear from you once a week, you know, I want to make sure that they know that you’re safe and okay and are holding up a picture of today’s newspaper.
Imran: They can’t see me blink Morse code on a podcast. [Michael laughs]
Nerium: That’s true. You just have to like, you know, play the drums on your desk with your hands, you know?
Nerium: Just like, [vocally imitates drumming] help me. [laughter] Somebody who–
Michael: What the fuck was that?
Nerium: That’s morse code, right?
Michael: So funny. Aw. It’s adorable.
Nerium: Somebody who understands Morse code is Final Fantasy XIV Section Chief Editor Person, Michael Higham.
Michael: Hi. What it do, baby? Did you know that my high school is Samuel F. B. Morse High School, the creator of Morse code?
Nerium: [gasps] Really?
Michael: Yeah. San Diego, California. Southeast San Diego, swoop.
Imran: Did they make you learn Morse code?
Nerium: I was gonna ask that!
Michael: No, they don’t, but hey, that’s kind of…that should be a point of pride of my school.
Nerium: It should.
Michael: But, you know, we had riot horses pull up during a gang war, so I’ll hang my hat on that.
Nerium: Riot horses?
Imran: So my town, my city that I grew up in, was founded by Andrew Jackson.
Michael: Oh. Oh, you hate to see it.
Imran: And because they couldn’t really think of anything nice to say about Andrew Jackson, [Michael: “Yeah”] the one thing we learned every like level of school was, “Oh, did you know he slept in a tree for like a week?”
Michael: Damn. [Nerium laughs]
Imran: They’re like, “That’s the tree. That’s the tree that Andrew Jackson slept in,” and like that was it.
Michael: Oh, Andrew Jackson. What a piece of work. [Imran laughs]
Nerium: Damn. Well, somebody else whose name begins with A-N-D-R-E… [laughter]
Michael: Oh no.
Imran: Oh no!
Nerium: …is Andrea Shearon. [laughter]
Andrea: Oh no!
Nerium: News writer, Final Fantasy XIV expert, and just all around featured contributor for the website. How are you doing?
Andrea: I’m doing as good as someone can be after being in Final Fantasy XIV’s party finder nonstop for like 12 hours.
Nerium: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Andrea: I haven’t brushed my hair in like, I don’t know when. But yeah, no, I’m good otherwise, having a blast, and I’m excited to be here.
Nerium: Fantastic. Our older hosts—or the washed hosts, I like to call them—John, I think is his name? head of something?
Imran: It might be a soft J. It might be Yohn.
Nerium: Oh, it might be Yohn, you’re right. And Yatalie Snores [laughter] are off on the International Space Station, taking their time, recuperating, re-energizing, while we continue to be on that grindset, that 99 Potions grindset that we are so, so famous for here.
Michael: Yeah, we’re on that Sigmascape grindset.
Nerium: [laughs] We are on that Sigmascape V3.0 grindset. Holy shit. Which one would that be? Sigmascape V3.0?
Michael: God, I…that’s…it goes Alphascape, Sigmascape, Deltascape, right?
Michael: Andrea, you know, right?
Andrea: Sigmascape, the first one with like Exdeath. That’s my favorite tier.
Michael: Oh, is that Sigmascape? Okay.
Andrea: Or was that Deltascape? I think that’s actually Deltascape. [laughter] Deltascape, Sigmascape. Yeah. Yeah, no Deltascape Exdeath.
Nerium: I’m trying to remember which one 3.0 is specifically, Sigmascape.
Michael: Oh, that would be a third one. Was it the one with the paintings and the mirrors?
Andrea: No! ‘Cause that’s 2.
Michael: Ah, shit.
Nerium: I’m looking it up right now. Sigma– I don’t even remember this one.
Michael: Imran would know.
Nerium: Yeah, Imran.
Imran: Mm? Mm-hmm? I definitely didn’t tune out and look at Steam Deck stuff. [laughter]
Michael: Listen, it’s three on one out here, dawg. You outnumbered.
Nerium: Yeah, you gotta start playing Final Fantasy XIV or you’re gonna drown in it.
Andrea: Yeah, Imran.
Imran: The thing is, I do play the XIV, just like once every four months.
Nerium: Right, right, right.
Imran: So I’m nowhere near whatever the hell it is you’re talking about.
Michael: Oh, I’m so excited for you to get to Shadowbringers in 2025. [Andrea laughs]
Nerium: Uh huh. Oh my God.
Imran: Okay, so…I was looking at Steam things right now.
Nerium: Uh huh.
Imran: Here’s my question.
Nerium: Hit me.
Imran: Like, of course Steam has porn on it. [Andrea laughs]
Nerium: Of course.
Imran: Like, that is just a thing that Gabe Newell has decided is like welcome in his country. I don’t judge. Do what you want.
Nerium: I have my filters turned off, so I see it every day.
Imran: Yeah. Why is, like…there’s like a Steam Deck section specifically. There’s a lot of porn on that.
Imran: How much do people buy a Steam Deck and then play porn on their Steam Deck?
Nerium: Yeah, that seems difficult. That seems like you’re asking to make a mess in some like crevices of the device that you don’t want to make a mess in.
Michael: [laughs] Ayo.
Andrea: Is it like Steam Deck verified? Is that… [laughter]
Imran: I guess like, technically you can put porn on your phone and watch that on a plane, but like Steam Deck seems like a portable thing to like take outside.
Imran: Or at least not be like huddled over in your office or whatever.
Imran: It just, it feels like a weird market, but maybe it does super well for them. Who knows?
Nerium: [sighs] My only thought is that like, if you’re in that industry, it is so hard to stay– and I mean this for both like actual good porn games out there, you know, a couple exist. Mostly the stuff on Steam is just like, you know, asset flip trash, to be clear, but that’s just all video games at this point on PC. But like, you gotta do everything that you can to stand out among the algorithm, right? You’re already fighting back against like people who have the NSFW filter turned off. merritt actually talked about this a little bit on Channel F a couple of weeks ago, about the idea about how, even though they let porn onto Steam now, a lot of games will still put out the clean versions, and then you have to still go to their website and download the patch, because…you know, there’s a couple of different reasons, but merritt’s like theory was that allows it to slip past like NSFW filters better on Steam, [“Mm”] so that you don’t get like blocked out of that stuff.
Nerium: Because, you know, you’re probably working on pretty small margins there.
Imran: Yeah. These ones typically have the tag of like sexual content and hentai, which feels very like, yeah, we’re not even gonna argue.
Imran: You know.
Nerium: But that’s why you–
Michael: Shouts out to hentai.
Nerium: Shouts out to hentai. We’re always saying this. Andrea, I’m so glad that you could be here on this particular episode.
Andrea: I know.
Nerium: For the first time in so long.
Andrea: I mean, I’ve seen some of the stuff people play on their Switch, so this feels like, I mean…
Imran: Yeah. [laughter] Yeah, I guess that makes sense. Like the Vita and the Switch are like pervert systems. [Andrea laughs]
Nerium: I mean, that’s true. Like if you go to look at the Switch, like the Switch, so many of like the number one games on it. Yeah, it’s the same thing, right? Like they’re trying to stand out, so what they do is like, they’ll put their game up for $15 or whatever, but they’re just perpetually on sale for 99% off, so that they always show up at the very top of like the great deals section on Switch. Y’all seen this?
Michael: Oh, really? Huh.
Michael: That’s interesting. That’s fun
Nerium: Because like, it sorts automatically by like lowest price or highest discount or something like that.
Nerium: So if you just like put the game up for a normal amount of money but then just discount it to $1 or $0.99 perpetually and just never have it at full price, it’s just constantly at the top of the deal section.
Michael: [sighs] That’s some SEO for your ass.
Nerium: Exactly. We just need to start putting Fanbyte on sale all the time. [laughs]
Andrea: [laughs] On Switch.
Imran: What if we made a Fanbyte Switch app?
Nerium: A Switch app? What would it do?
Imran: And then just like, theoretically we charged $50 for it, but discount it to like $0.99. [Nerium laughs]
Andrea: 99 Potions.
Imran: Like, all the time.
Nerium: Just a browser that shows only Fanbyte stuff?
Michael: That’s not a bad idea.
Nerium: It’s not a bad idea. All right, I’ll talk to the devs after this.
Imran: It’s a link to our YouTube channel that updates once every two months. [laughter]
Nerium: Listen, I’ve been busy! [Imran laughs]
Michael: Paul. Paul’s wiling in the chat.
Nerium: Oh God.
Imran: Yeah, Paul says OnlyFanbyte, which I think that’s a good name that will definitely not get us sued by a company that has very few moral scruples.
Nerium: Listen, OnlyFanbyte and OnlyFansbyte were in the running for discussions of some projects that we have been working on this year, so. [Imran laughs]
Nerium: Like, listen, don’t get it twisted. It’s come up before.
Imran: Let’s piss off the organization that branded all their clients as terrorists.
Nerium: God, that’s– oh my God!
Michael: Say what?
Nerium: I forgot about that.
Andrea: They– terror?
Andrea: I missed this. What?
Imran: So, OnlyFans apparently, allegedly, [Nerium: “Allegedly, allegedly, allegedly”] worked with Facebook to make a lot of the models that work for them or that have accounts there labeled as terrorists so they would be banned from other things.
Imran: So they would only be able to work on OnlyFans.
Andrea: Okay. I missed this.
Michael: Oh my God.
Nerium: Yeah. There was a story about this going around a couple of weeks ago, yeah. To basically like deplatform their actresses and models and stuff like that on other platforms. Yeah. It was bad. Also Facebook implicated in that, I guess?
Nerium: ‘Cause it shows just like, either they’re in on it or they’re even more fucking rubes than they seemed like before, which is weird.
Andrea: Well, OnlyFanbyte won’t work like that, so.
Andrea: It’ll be better.
Imran: OnlyFanbyte will not label any of us as terrorists.
Nerium: [laughs] Yeah, that’s true.
Imran: I can guarantee mostly that right now. [Nerium and Michael laugh]
Michael: Thank you. Thank you, Imran.
Nerium: I’m not gonna do it. Listen.
Nerium: All right. You know another piece of software that exists in the world outside of OnlyFans? It’s video games. That’s a thing that people play with their hands and eyes. Sometimes both, sometimes only one. [pause] We’re gonna talk about video games. [laughter]
Michael: I was wondering where you were going with that.
Nerium: [laughs] I don’t have a name for this segment. We just started introducing the idea of segments last week on 99 Potions, so right now this is just, you know, a currently playing section, I guess.
Nerium: If anybody has any good ideas.
Imran: We’re like those parents that just don’t name their kids for like three weeks.
Nerium: Yeah. Uh huh. Bad luck.
Imran: They’re just like, “I don’t know. I’m thinking Kender.”
Nerium: Kender is such a good fake fucking name, Imran. [Nerium and Imran laugh] Like the fact that you rolled that off the dome. Oh, just for that, you get to go first. Imran, what have you been playing this week?
Imran: I’ve been playing—which will be not a shock to people who saw my column today—Ys IX: Monstrum Nox.
Michael: That’s how you say it.
Michael: Ys ???
Imran: So, what– okay. This is a digression. As I was writing that column, I was looking up like, hey, have there been older reviews of Ys games in America? And the only one I could find was from 1993 in Entertainment Weekly.
Michael: Holy shit.
Imran: Where like, they did not like the game, and I think it was for Ys III, but the very first thing is them being like incredulous that it’s pronounced ease and not wise, and they go on about this for like two sentences in like a one paragraph review.
Nerium: Wow. That’s really funny to me, because the oldest review of an Ys game I ever saw was an Xplay review on G4TV in like 2003, where again, the bit was them saying, “How do you pronounce this game name?”
Nerium: Western journalists were just obsessed with that, I guess.
Imran: Yeah. I saw somebody on Twitter the other day post like a dental clinic that just had the Ys logo, so it was like Ys Dentistry.
Nerium: Right, but with an apostrophe. Yeah. [laughter]
Imran: Yeah. but yeah, I’ve been playing– this is the latest Ys game.
Imran: And this game…so, if you don’t know the conceit of this series, it is there is a single protagonist Adol the adventure—Adol, whatever his name is—and he goes to like–
Nerium: One F away from getting really bad. [Nerium and Michael laugh]
Imran: I mean…
Michael: Flying real close to the sun there. [laughter]
Imran: He doesn’t have a mustache, nor is he an artist. He’s fine.
Nerium: Oh, okay.
Imran: But like, he goes from like…in game to game, he goes to a new region, something happens to him, and he goes through an adventure that like starts out relatively small and then involves like much bigger things by the end of the game. So in Ys IX, he goes to a town that is called the prison town.
Nerium: Uh huh. [Michael laughs]
Imran: Where the city is built around just a giant fortress that they’ve decided to turn into a prison, where Romn, the actual– like, it’s an alternate history, so it’s like, it’s technically Rome, but like…
Nerium: Right. I forgot about that part.
Imran: It’s like Romun with a U. So like Romn has taken over this area, and they jail all their political enemies into this prison. And like all prisons, eventually they’re like, “I don’t know, what the fuck if we just jail everybody?” [Nerium laughs quietly] So Adol comes into town like, “Hey, aren’t you that guy who did this, this, and this across the Ys series? You seem like a problem. We’re just gonna throw you in jail immediately.” And as Adol is escaping—as he, you know, tends to do—he meets a mysterious woman, she shoots him, and he becomes cursed with like a magic, uh, sexy werewolf transformation, I guess?
Nerium: Uh huh.
Imran: Like, he’s not furry in any way, it’s just like–
Michael: Oh, man.
Imran: It is, when he wants to be, he summons the power of a Monstrum. And there’s also other people that this woman has also cursed, and she is enlisting them in a fight against like weird ghosts that are attacking the city that only they can see.
Nerium: Oh yeah. I’m looking at pictures of him in this game right now, and I do love that like in all the other games, he’s just like kind of generic JRPG protagonist, and in this one, he looks like fucking Alucard.
Imran: So all of them have their own like Monstrum nicknames. So like one guy’s at the Hawk. One of the women’s is the White Cat, and she is like a thief. And Adol’s is the Crimson King, which I feel like puts him way above everyone else immediately.
Imran: But yeah, it is…I really liked Ys VIII.
Imran: So I’ve been like interested in playing this game for a while. Minute to minute, it’s really good. Overall, I don’t think so far it’s as good as Ys VIII was, ’cause Ys VIII had this like very interesting sense of discovery, where the conceit of Ys VIII is Adol crash– he’s like working on a ship, like an ocean liner kind of ship, with like rich people and, you know, a crew and all that. And that ship crashes at some point, and they all end up stranded on an island, and the game is about like going out a little bit further each time and finding out more stuff about this island until like it becomes a much more compelling and interesting story.
Nerium: You’re like building a town or something like that, right?
Nerium: Like a town of the survivors?
Imran: Yeah, you have a survivor town. You’re finding people. Some of these people do things. Some of these people are not great. Some of these people just like kinda suck, some of them have other agendas, blah, blah, blah. And like, as you go on, you’re like, there’s a big twist at some point that like kind of flips the story on its head.
Imran: In IX, so far, I haven’t gotten to like the thing that flips the story on its head, but there is like, one thing I think that’s very interesting is that Adol has escaped from prison. You are playing as Adol. You are doing like this Monstrum stuff. Occasionally, you will…it will cut the scene to Adol in prison, but it’s not like from when he was in prison, it is, concurrently going, a different Adol that like has not been explained in any way, that he will just like also still be trying to escape from prison.
Imran: So, there was a side quest I got, that one person was saying, hey, we need to break– there’s like a little girl that was like falsely imprisoned. We need to break her out. But to do that, we need to find out more about the structure of the prison, the guard patrol routes, and all that. So Adol goes to a black market information dealer, says, “Hey, I need this. I’m willing to pay you. What can you do?” He’s like, “Wait a couple of days. I will get you the information.” It cuts from there to the other Adol, who a guard approaches him and says, “Hey, I got a deal for you. I’m gonna give you– I’m getting paid to mark out this prison. You just do it for me, and I’ll give you like some like privileges or whatever.” So you play as that Adol, walking through the prison and mapping it out, so the other Adol can come in and like has a route to actually go through this prison that is actually a metroidvania style maze that you just like come in occasionally to handle. And then each new character you get gives you one more skill, so you go further and further into the prison.
Nerium: Oh, that’s cool.
Michael: Ah. So it’s like a Mementos or a Tartarus.
Michael: But a metroidvania.
Imran: It’s a really cool idea.
Imran: And I really want to know what’s up with this like weird two Adol situation.
Michael: [laughs] Yeah.
Imran: But like, and the game is fun. The game is fun, minute to minute. Right now, I’m on a quest where some thieves have been dressing like the Monstrums to like get away scot free when they steal things, ’cause everyone’s like, “Oh, it’s probably the Monstrums. We shouldn’t mess with them. But like, I track them down to their base, and they’re just like, I’m chasing them through a dungeon, and they just keep like…they’re weirdly lucky, so every time I corner them, like a monster just comes through the wall and like, “Okay, guess we got a chance to go,” so they run, and you just chase after them more.
Imran: And that’s where I am right now. Again, I don’t think, so far, this game is as good as VIII, but I’m still enjoying it quite a bit, so.
Nerium: I know people fucking love VIII.
Imran: Yes. I think VIII is great.
Michael: Oh, I should play it.
Imran: That is my presidential campaign slogan for Ys VIII: Eight is Great. [laughter]
Michael: Eight is great on the numbered scale at my former employer.
Nerium: Oh yeah.
Imran: I guess technically we don’t have a numbered scale, but I would agree that eight is pretty great.
Michael: Yeah, eight is pretty great. Yeah, yeah.
Michael: Oh, man. I want to get into wise? yes? ease?
Michael: It’s a Falcom series.
Michael: And as a purveyor of the Trails of Cold Steel and Trails in the Sky franchise…
Nerium: Fuck yeah.
Michael: This is probably like a thousand percent in my lane.
Michael: I just, I don’t know. I think…I feel like I’ve had hit or miss with Falcom games outside of the Trails. I just feel like Trails has like such strong– like some of the strongest storytelling in all of RPGs, to be honest. But I don’t know. I’m interested in like the act– I tried the demo, and I was like, okay, that’s what’s up. I wonder how the action feels, because I played Tokyo Xanadu, which is like another Falcom joint, which is kind of a bridge between…not storywise, but it’s a bridge between Trails and Ys, because it’s an action RPG, but it has like the school stuff from Trails of Cold Steel in particular.
Michael: But it’s also like, that was actually the first Falcom game I played, and I was like super turned off by it, ’cause it didn’t hit.
Michael: I was in a mode where I was looking for things like Persona. I was like, what else is out there that could possibly be like Persona? So I tried Tokyo Xanadu, and I was like, this ain’t it! [Imran laughs] And then, years down the line, I tried Trails of Cold Steel, and I was like, yo, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for my entire life. So it’s kind of weird how, at least for Falcon games, had like this wild both ends of the spectrum in terms of how I felt about them, but I don’t know, like…
Imran: Yeah. I will say one good quality of these games is they are like 90% not creepy, but then there’s always that one aspect [Michael: “Ah, yeah”] of like, ah, you couldn’t resist, huh? [Michael laughs]
Imran: So like, in Monstrum Nox, one of the Monstrums is like a lady who– like, they all have themes, like Hawk is like a bird kind of person. White Cat, obviously like a cat. This lady is a cow? And she’s dressed like…
Nerium: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Imran: She’s dressed like a pornography, essentially. She is a…
Imran: Like, she is dressed in a– like very scantily clad, but with like cow patterns.
Michael: Ah. Uh huh.
Imran: It’s like, there’s nothing else in the game like this, so it’s weird they went this direction with this character. [Michael laughs] And like, Lacrimosa of Dana, which is Ys VIII, mostly the same thing. Dana is a fantastic character. They should put more clothes on her for being a priestess. [Nerium laughs] But, and there’s also like a scene where like the hot nun decides she needs to run better, so she like tears up her skirt. I’m like, okay, you didn’t need to do that. Like, you didn’t need– like, you’re not advertising this game on that one side quest where the hot nun decides she needs to run better.
Michael: Yeah. Well, I mean, Trails of Cold Steel II, baby. [laughs]
Nerium: [laughs] Yeah.
Michael: The stepsister and step bro shit in Cold Steel II is kind of… [laughs]
Nerium: I love Twelve Minutes. [laughter]
Michael: Oh my God. No, no. Listen, Twelve Minutes is on another level.
Imran: Twelve Minutes does not have the step.
Michael: Yeah. They took the step out. [laughter]
Imran: Twelve Minutes was like…
Michael: They took the step out the bro.
Imran: I was gonna…I was gonna say it was raw dogging [laughter, “You can’t!”] the real family stuff, but it actually technically is.
Michael: Oh, you–
Imran: Like, that is the plot of that game.
Michael: Aaaaah. I got nothing. [Imran laughs]
Andrea: I had a question, and now I forgot it. Oh my God. [laughs]
Nerium: Oh no, Andrea. I was literally about to hit to you next to save us from this. [laughs]
Andrea: No, no, no! I remember my question. I remember my question. So, when you– Imran, you mentioned that you build your own town. So, as someone who’s like never played a Yese, Wise ever–
Nerium: It’s Ease.
Andrea: [laughs] Ease. Is it like Dark Cloud when you say that?
Andrea: Or is it just like you’re finding people and bringing them back home?
Imran: You’re just finding people and bringing them back.
Imran: It is like, this is only Ys VIII, ’cause it is like a small shanty town you’re building with like your survivors, but it is like a linear thing of: okay, I found this character. This character will be the doctor for our town. I found this character. She’s the blacksmith.
Imran: Like it’s not, it is not a Dark Cloud.
Nerium: You’re not placing buildings.
Andrea: Yeah, I can’t make like neighbors.
Imran: That would be cool. I imagine at some point they might do that.
Andrea: They should.
Imran: But like, that’s not what Ys VIII is. Ys IX is like…it’s a more Assassin’s Creed-y, like the city’s established. What you are doing is you are doing side quests that open up new areas of the town, and then when you go there, you like just explore them, grab treasure chests, all that jazz.
Michael: Wow. As my Italian brothers say on ???: take it Ys. [Nerium and Imran laugh] That’s like a joke for two people.
Nerium: God. I was actually waiting for Imran to, at some point– I’m just gonna say it now, ’cause we gotta move on, but I was waiting for Imran to like talk about the gameplay and like the combat and the difficulty, ’cause I was gonna ask if it was Ys-y.
Imran: Mm. Mm.
Nerium: Anyway, Andrea, are you familiar with Nihon Falcom games? Nihom Falcom?
Imran: Nihon Falcom.
Nerium: Nihon Falcom, yes.
Andrea: Not really. I’m trying to think. I did play a little of Tokyo Xanadu also, but that’s it.
Andrea: I have the Trails games, and I say I’m gonna play them but then very intimidated, because there’s a lot.
Andrea: And I think they’re long.
Nerium: There’s another one coming out next month or two months from now.
Andrea: Oh my God.
Michael: Dawg, there’s like one every year. [laughs] It’s so great. Ah, I love that shit.
Andrea: I’ll catch up, eventually. [Nerium laughs] But yeah, no, I have not played any other Falcom games aside from that little bitty bit, but I will eventually.
Michael: Yeah. I would suggest, I think Cold Steel is a good starting point.
Andrea: Uh huh.
Michael: It’s like a good…you don’t need any backstory. It’s just like, you could play that game, and if you vibe with it, then this series is completely for you. If you don’t, it’s all good.
Andrea: What about Trails in the Sky? What is that?
Michael: Trails in the Sky.
Imran: Are they related?
Nerium: Restart from the beginning, Andrea.
Michael: Oh yes. Oh, Trails in the Sky.
Andrea: I have it on Steam, I think, I’m pretty sure.
Michael: Oh, do you have a Steam Deck?
Andrea: Yes, I do.
Nerium: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!
Andrea: Is that what I’m doing now?
Nerium: Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Andrea: I’m gonna do it.
Nerium: This is the way to do it.
Nerium: So, Andrea. Okay. Yeah, and Imran, to your question there. You slipped that in there, are they related? Trails in the Sky is three games [Andrea: “Oh God”] that all largely follow the same kind of narrative arc– well, I mean, one and two are basically part one and part two of the same story. It’s like Back to the Future part two and three type shit. And then there’s two games in the middle that were never released in English before, but there was a fan translation. They went to the fan translation and were like, “Hey, what if we do have an official release of these two middle games [Andrea: “Huh”] with your translation? And we’ll do some touch up work and stuff in there.” And that’s what’s coming out in like a month from now is Trails from Zero, the first of that duology or whatever. And then there’s the Trails of Cold Steel game, which there’s four of those right now, and I think IV is the last one. Michael, you’d probably know better.
Michael: IV is the last in the Cold Steel arc, but then the entire…
Michael: If I recall correctly, the entirety of Sky, Cold Steel, and the Crossbell games kind of come together for…was it Hajimari no Kiseki? think that’s the…
Nerium: That’s the other new one that’s coming out.
Michael: There’s a new branch.
Nerium: That’s still only in Japan, I think. Yeah.
Michael: Yeah. So there’s like three branches along the same timeline in the same universe and the same region, just different countries, and then they kind of all come to a head in I think Cold Steel IV. And then from there, there’s a new branch of Trails games that picks up from there. Yeah.
Nerium: And this isn’t even including like the old– there’s like, this is technically– there’s Trails in the Sky, Trails of Cold Steel, all that stuff, but that’s actually under the UR-brand, The Legend of Heroes, which is like a Famicom game from like fucking ‘83 or something like that.
Michael: Yeah. [laughs]
Nerium: You don’t need to play those.
Andrea: I love that I’m like outraged by how long this sounds, and I’m like advocating for my friends to go play like a 700 hour MMO. [Nerium laughs]
Nerium: Uh huh. Exactly.
Michael: Andrea, why don’t you go log into Final Fantasy XIV and type in “/playtime.” [laughter]
Nerium: But, Andrea.
Nerium: Even if you haven’t played those games yet, what have you been playing this week?
Andrea: So, I was going to try to finish Norco before the Final Fantasy XIV patch dropped. That didn’t happen.
Nerium: Yeah. [laughs]
Andrea: But I’m going to get back to it, so I’ve been playing a bit of Norco. I’ve only gotten like past the first few hours, but it’s not that long, so I think I’m getting there.
Nerium: For people who maybe don’t know—I don’t think we’ve talked about Norco on this podcast before—what is Norco?
Andrea: Mm-hmm. So, it’s an indie game. I forgot the developer’s name. Oh my goodness. But if you saw it last year, maybe, I think it was during…was it during a Direct maybe or a PlayStation thing? I’m not really sure, but it was the one with Norman Reedus advertising it [laughs] that everybody like kind of freaked out over. But it looks like dystopian, like, New Orleans.
Andrea: So it’s got like kind of like that old southern feel, like Gothic Southern vibe, and you are playing this kind of narrative point and click RPG, choose your own adventure kind of thing, where you are playing this girl who is going back home and kind of dealing with the fallout of a town that’s tortured by giant corporations and the old factory that’s there. And it draws a lot of inspirations from like post New Orleans– post Katrina, oh my God. Post-Katrina New Orleans.
Andrea: And that’s, I don’t know, the vibe. It reminds me a lot of like, ’cause I grew up in the south, so it’s like a lot of home stuff that’s like kind of depressing but in a really good way.
Andrea: I don’t know.
Andrea: It’s really good. But I love it.
Nerium: I’ve heard other people from the south talk about that. It’s like, yep, this captures the spirit of just how fucking ravaged that place is by oil companies and whatnot.
Andrea: A hundred percent, yeah, and it’s like…
Imran: Yeah, the south is sad sometimes. [laughs quietly]
Andrea: Yeah. The mom in the situation is very sick, and it’s because of, you know, the, company, the factories that are there. But it’s good in like that cathartic kind of way whenever you play it. So I would definitely recommend it.
Nerium: Geography of Robots is the name of the developer.
Andrea: There we go. Thank you.
Nerium: It’s on Game Pass too, unless they took it off.
Andrea: Oh, is it?
Nerium: I think so.
Michael: I think so. I played it on PC Game Pass.
Andrea: Oh, nice.
Michael: Yeah. Can I ask, Andrea…?
Michael: Where from the south are you?
Andrea: So, right now I live in Fort Worth, but I’m from a place called Hattiesburg, Mississippi, [Michael: “Oh shit!”] but most of my family is from Carthage, Mississippi, which is like a town of like 200 people.
Michael: All right! [Andrea laughs] Mississippi represent.
Andrea: And a lot of my family is from Louisiana too.
Michael: Oh, mm.
Andrea: So I like kind of ping ponged back and forth between there, but yeah.
Nerium: Did you ride a lot of war elephants when you were a kid?
Andrea: [laughs] A lot of war elephants?
Imran: ‘Cause, from Carthage.
Nerium: ‘Cause you’re from Carthage.
Andrea: Oh my gosh. [laughter]
Imran: Yeah. I don’t know–
Andrea: I was like, what the heck? Oh my God. I don’t think I’ve ever heard…
Imran: I feel bad I got that joke immediately. I was like… [Nerium laughs]
Andrea: I did not! I was like, what the–?
Imran: I knew what Nere was talking about.
Andrea: Oh my God. That’s good. [Michael laughs]
Nerium: Do you want to know why I know that? Like, why that is stuck in my brain until the end of time?
Nerium: It’s because there was a History Channel– I think it was History Channel. I hope it wasn’t Discovery Channel, ’cause fuck them, [laughter] but I think it was a History Channel show where they did a…it was like reenacting historical battles from throughout history using the Rome: Total War video game engine. [Imran laughs] And like, they were just like, “This is how it was back in the olden times when the war people killed each other! This is what it looked like!” And it’s this like two polygons tall little motherfucker with an elephant spearing another guy. It’s like, “Using the power of the most advanced video game graphics available to man, we can show you what it was like back then!” [laughs] And it just looks like fucking Tripping the Rift or something like that. It was very funny, but at the time I ate that shit up!
Andrea: I think all they ride–
Nerium: Pre Deadliest Warrior.
Andrea: I think all they ride is like four wheelers, so, you know, the south. [laughs]
Nerium: Oh. Hey, I used to do that too, four wheelers.
Andrea: Oh yeah.
Nerium: We call them four wheelers too, up here.
Andrea: Four wheelers.
Nerium: I used to herd cattle with my four-wheeler.
Andrea: Oh, what’s the actual name? What’s the not redneck name?
Andrea: Oh, there we go. Okay.
Nerium: All terrain vehicle. [Andrea laughs]
Michael: Ah, yeah.
Nerium: Yeah, no, I grew up on, cattle farms, so.
Andrea: So you understand.
Nerium: I grew up driving those.
Andrea: Yeah. Other than that, though. Less depressing, but also maybe kind of depressing, [Nerium laughs] I’ve been playing XIV 6.2 patch, like Michael, I’m sure, understands the struggle. [Michael cackles, Nerium laughs] It’s the new– the story patch is really good. The raid patch is also very good, but I am like losing my mind in party finder, but it’s…
Andrea: It’s part of the fun. No, no, no, not all. It’s like a good…I don’t know. I like that it’s hard.
Nerium: I don’t know. I’m in Discords with you where I can see you talking about like, “Listen, I don’t know what the fuck to do. [Andrea and Nerium laugh] The chip damage is so bad in this stage. I don’t know what to do!”
Andrea: Well, I just need people to, like– I went like all kinds of goblin again, back in like A Realm Reborn, whenever Ramuh EX came out.
Andrea: I had like all these callouts macroed to my keyboard, so I could finish it and like tell everybody what to do with like all the sounds and stuff. I’ve made those now for five, trying to clear it in party finders.
Michael: Oh, man.
Andrea: So people will listen to me and pay attention to the chat, so we’ll see if that works today. That’s the goal.
Andrea: But I love it. It’s a lot of fun.
Nerium: I need to jump in there with you.
Andrea: Come with me.
Nerium: I still need to Barbariccia EX as well.
Andrea: Oh, come with me to that too. That’s also a nightmare in party finder, [laughter] but that’s part of the fun, so.
Nerium: Yeah, for sure.
Michael: Oh, damn. What’s up with your static or…?
Andrea: So, oh my– it was like a– [sighs] it was the worst series that could have happened yesterday.
Andrea: So, one of our members, their internet went out, and so they tethered.
Michael: Oh God.
Andrea: And so they were cutting in and out the whole time.
Nerium: Can we explain what some of this terminology means for people, too?
Andrea: Oh, yeah.
Nerium: Static and tethered and all that?
Andrea: Oh gosh. Yeah. So, a static is like a group of people that you get together and do like the hardest content with, whether that be like EX—so the easier trial fights—or Savage rating, which is kind of the middle tier of difficulty in XIV, and then there’s Ultimate rating, which is the hardest in the game. And so my static gets together and does like kind of all of it, and we usually go really hard the first week. Except this week, since someone had their internet like totally cut out—that was me last year—they have to use their phone connection to try and play. [laughs]
Nerium: Oh, you mean tethered!
Andrea: Yes! Yes, sorry.
Michael: Yeah. We’re not talking about tethering mechanics.
Michael: We’re talking about real life tethering.
Andrea: Sorry, yeah. So he’s like cutting in and out, and so sometimes it’s okay, and then sometimes we’ll be really close, and then all of a sudden it’ll go out.
Nerium: Oh my God.
Andrea: And then someone else is traveling in the middle of nowhere Alabama and cannot get a good connection there either, so when one of them works, the other one is not working. So it was just a series of like seeing how far we could get by like chain rezzing their dead bodies and hoping that they hit the boss a little bit. [laughs] But hopefully tomorrow everyone is back, so we will play some catch up and go a little faster than we had originally planned. Otherwise, I just—for people that aren’t familiar—I use party finder, which is like kind of going out in the wild and interacting with strangers to be coordinated.
Andrea: And sometimes it’s a wonderful experience, and I have actually made some friends that way. Sometimes you meet the absolute worst people in the world, not gameplay wise, just like, you know, play wise.
Nerium: Just jerks.
Andrea: Yeah, yeah. Just like, “You haven’t cleared this and farmed it already?” and it just came out two hours ago. Those type of people. But I still love that element of the game, so this is kind of a lot of fun for me, to not brush my hair and stare at the screen for 24 hours. [Michael chuckles]
Nerium: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Michael: Aw. [Andrea laughs]
Nerium: I’ve not been as like, you know, head down as I think you have been.
Nerium: But I’ve definitely been trying to gear up so that we can run it together and stuff.
Nerium: But like, I’ve definitely seen some people. ‘Cause when you do this sort of thing, what part of that ends up looking like is you’re trying to get best in slot gear. You’re trying to get like, you know, the best pants, the best boots, the best sword, the best whatever, so that you have better stats, so you’re more, you know, you have a little bit of a buffer when you go into these fights. And so a lot of the people who are running like easy content, are like super hardcore ultra, you know, raiders or whatever who are just running like, you know, dungeon roulettes to try and get tomestones, like this currency that you use to buy some of the endgame gear. And like, on the day of a new like Savage raid coming out, like just the level of civility drops through the floor. [Andrea and Michael laugh] Normally in Final Fantasy XIV, everybody’s just like, “Hey everybody. Good morning! Wow, good clear! Great job! Oh, I’m gonna roll for this. Oh no, you roll for that one. That’s fine.” And then this time it’s just like, fucking– and like, I play a tank, so that means I’m, you know, drawing aggro and pulling in groups and stuff like that, and like people were like– this is DPS players. It’s always fucking DPS players. [Michael and Andrea laugh]
Michael: Hey, fuck you. [Nerium and Andrea laugh]
Nerium: Damn! I knew who was on the call. Don’t worry. [Michael laughs] It’s always fucking DPS players. Some fucking summoner was like, “Hey, do wall to wall pulls, god damnit.” Like just, you know, like getting mad at me.
Nerium: I do wall to wall pulls most of the time, which means I grab as many different mobs of enemies, as many groups of enemies as possible, so that we can clear them out very quickly. But on the most, you know, on new dungeons, like brand– like Troia is the newest dungeon and stuff like that, I usually wait to see if the healer is comfortable with that first. I don’t do it just automatically. I wait to see if the healer’s gonna…
Andrea: Aw. You’re like the one tank that does that. Thank you.
Nerium: [laughs] I always do that! I don’t know. It’s just a matter– if we’re doing like, I don’t know, like some ancient thing, like Haukke Manor or something like that, I don’t usually worry about it too much, ’cause I know that I can just like mitigate through it and it’ll be fine anyway.
Nerium: But like, you know, on new stuff, some of that stuff gets spicy. Sometimes people are doing it for the first time, ’cause they’re still clearing the story. It’s only been out for a week. For a lot of people, that’s, you know, they’re still working through it. People got lives. So I try to be polite, and then just like this person– so, and like, I wasn’t pulling fast enough for them, and the healer wasn’t responding when I asked if the healer was comfortable. So the summoner, a DPS character—which means that they’re built like cheesecloth, so they die in a second, [laughter] but they do all the damage—they ran up and started like trying to pull the mobs into me.
Michael: Oh God, yeah.
Nerium: To like use me as a tool, and it was like, no.
Michael: You do that in the trust system. You don’t do that with actual players. [laughs quietly]
Nerium: Exactly. And so I let that motherfucker die.
Michael: [laughs] Ay.
Andrea: That’s so satisfying.
Nerium: That’s my tank stance. Let him go. [laughter]
Michael: ??? Bunky take those hits, huh, motherfucker? How about that?
Nerium: [laughs] And you know what, that’s how you– but you know, people wouldn’t learn if you didn’t teach ’em, you know?
Andrea: That’s true. Let ‘em take the aggro. That’s what I always do whenever I…
Michael: Andrea, oh…
Michael: Oh, sorry.
Andrea: Oh, no, I was just saying I let people die all the time when they irritate me, since I’m a healer, so I just watch. [laughter]
Michael: That’s what they get. [Andrea laughs]
Michael: I was gonna ask, how far did you make it in P5S?
Andrea: So, um…
Michael: Or the first instance of the Savage difficulty raid, for those…
Andrea: Yeah. We made it past– so there’s a halfway point in there, where the boss kind of like plays hopscotch, but it’s like a very terrifying hop scotch.
Michael: Oh, God. Yeah. [Nerium laughs]
Andrea: Where it’s like a giant murderous like bunny, so it’s like jumping around, and that’s like the PF killer. My static made it through two disconnects, so we– [laughs] there’s a part after you have to move and adjust around to not get hit with spread mechanics. So if two players are standing on top of each other, it’s like a guaranteed death.
Andrea: And whenever people are disconnecting, they’re gonna stand on top of each other. [laughs] so we could not get past that point.
Andrea: And in PF, party finder, whenever people say that they’re progressing that point, it’s just like half the group dies, so when you’re playing the giant runaway from the boss doing the hopscotch thing and there are people dead, if you have more than one person dead, it’s like a guaranteed, like, you have to do the fight again. Yeah.
Nerium: It’s like targeting people, and yeah.
Andrea: Yeah. So, it’s rough, but I’ve made it past his jumping around stuff. I just have to find a group that can…
Michael: Congrats, congrats.
Andrea: Yeah, thank you. [laughs]
Nerium: Even the normal version of the jumping around attack is fucking…
Nerium: As the main tank, it’s a pain in the ass.
Andrea: Yeah, it’s a lot. It’s a lot of fun though. I don’t think that I’ve…I think every tier since like early Eden, my group has cleared the first fight in like a lockout. This one, we were like really struggling. Even disconnects aside, our healers were struggling, because there’s so much damage that’s going out constantly.
Nerium: Yeah, yeah. Well, and the–
Imran: Can I say that like, when Michael said, “How far did you get in P5S?” I thought, “Oh, Andrea played Persona 5 Strikers.” [laughter]
Andrea: I have not.
Imran: This is like a common problem with like listening to FFXIV.
Imran: Like, a couple of weeks ago, I was looking up some stuff on Mario Kart sales, and I was like, “Wait, why is there a Mario Kart entry on like this FFXIV Wiki?”
Andrea: [laughs] The amount of people–
Imran: And it turns out it’s like a strategy name?
Michael: Yep. Yep. Andrea dealt with that last week.
Andrea: [laughs] There were so many people in my free company messaging me the other night, like “What is Mario–? Like, can you tell me how to do Mario Kart? Like, what is that?” And it’s running around the arena, and the boss casts these like damage puddles on you.
Nerium: Mm, mm-hmm.
Andrea: And you want to stack them all up, so all eight players don’t drop them in random spots.
Andrea: So everybody bunches together, [Nerium laughs] and they run around the arena, like as fast as they can, dropping these puddles everywhere, but they’re in nice, neat stacks together, and people call that Mario Kart. It comes from one of the Ultimate raids, but now they’ve put it in an EX raid.
Andrea: So. But it’s– there’s also a PlayStation mechanic, if you’ve seen some…
Nerium: Yeah. Uh huh. The PlayStation buttons. [Andrea laughs]
Michael: They show up as icons for an attack, and it’s like, I think they’re the same– are they the same color as the buttons themselves on the PlayStation controllers?
Andrea: Yeah, I think so.
Nerium: It’s the same colors. I don’t know if they match, but it is like the same four colors.
Nerium: But I think like they might be moved around.
Michael: Oh, okay.
Nerium: Like, the square is purple when it should be green or something like that.
Andrea: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I know the X is blue.
Nerium: Or, no, no, the– yeah.
Andrea: That’s all I know.
Nerium: You know what? They might be the right colors. [Imran laughs]
Michael: They know what they’re doing.
Andrea: Yeah, triangle’s green.
Michael: Okay, yeah. They know what they’re doing then.
Nerium: Yeah, they know what they’re fucking doing.
Nerium: Is the circle red?
Imran: Look, they didn’t name these things haphazardly. There was a lot of work deciding how a thing should be named PlayStation or Mario Kart. [laughter]
Andrea: Whenever the second one comes out, people call it PlayStation 2. So how do y’all handle the PlayStation 2 mechanic? It’s…
Oh my God.
Michael: Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely. Yep. [Andrea laughs] These are all community named, by the way. That’s not like in the game.
Michael: That’s just what the players end up calling them, and that’s what the rest of the community runs with.
Nerium: But they–
Imran: Yeah, I doubt Yoshi-P is being like, “Yeah, we’ll call this one the Mario Kart.” [laughter]
Nerium: Well, they know what they’re fucking doing, though. They did not– they chose– well, Final Fantasy XIV is just, A, it’s just full of a bunch of like weird little references and stuff like that, and like when people ask then like, “Hey, when that character in the big giant mech did the exact pose that Amuro does in Char’s Counterattack, was that a reference to Gundam?” And Yoshi-P’s just like, “No comment.” [laughter] Like, shit like that just happens sometimes too. The PlayStation buttons, that’s not an accident. They knew what they were doing.
Andrea: I don’t think they knew, though, with Endsinger, the mechanic– so, Endsinger’s like almost just a giant head, for reference, everybody knows, and she summons five of her mini heads, and everybody calls that fivehead and asks how you handle the fivehead. [laughter] So whenever you’re just like in a raid and someone calls out “Fivehead,” very calmly.
Andrea: And I always think they’re talking to me, but they’re not.
Nerium: The new Splatoon crossover.
Nerium: Oh, wow!
Michael: Aw, aw.
Andrea: [laughs] I’m kidding.
Michael: Damn, Nere, that’s fucked up. [Nerium laughs] Damn.
Nerium: Listen. They got Nier in there. Now they got Splatoon. [Andrea laughs] It had to happen eventually.
Michael: God damn.
Nerium: Final Fantasy XIV, coming to Switch.
Andrea: Good. Good.
Nerium: [sighs] Anything else, Andrea?
Andrea: I think that’s it. I will let Michael talk to us about the story patch, the important part.
Nerium: Michael, hit me with what you want to talk about.
Nerium: What have you playing?
Michael: Throwing me the oop. Thanks. Let me run with this, handed me the ball, hand off football.
Nerium: Yeah. The blue shell in the Mario Kart ring.
Michael: Yeah, listen. Well, it’s like, in Mario Kart, it’s like you shoot the red shell. There’s ways to avoid it.
Michael: To do like a sharp turn or like deliberately move out of the way in certain ways.
Nerium: Sure, sure.
Michael: So like, that’s kind of what you’re doing in that. I talked about 6.2 last week, talking a little bit about Island Sanctuary and some of the normal difficulty content, so that stuff is still cool. [laughs] I mean, yeah. But since last week, I got deeper into Island Sanctuary.
Michael: And I…what else did I do? I’ve been doing a lot of gearing up, and…
Michael: Like Andrea, I started progging the first instance of the Savage raid.
Nerium: Oh yeah?
Michael: Progging is progressing. We speak a different language, I feel like.
Andrea: It’s true. Yeah.
Michael: Yeah. Yeah, we definitely speak a different language, but yeah, I’ve been– I have my own static now. I have a new static, actually, with some of the fine folks at IGN and one of my former coworkers at GameSpot, so we are…shouts out to my boy, Matt Kim! Ayy, that’s my guy. [Nerium laughs] Yeah, we’re in a group together, and it’s a lot of fun. I mean, I think this is the first time I’m trying to prog a Savage raid on day one, ’cause I’ve always waited for guides eventually and then got a group together to clear it, like well after the fact that the strategies have already been determined.
Michael: So I just, you know, have people lead the way, and I have like an MTQ guide to kind of help me set the foundation for what I need to do.
Nerium: MTQ is a YouTuber.
Michael: Oh yeah, she’s great. Mizzteq. Yo, shouts out to Mizzteq! Ayy, that’s the homegirl.
Nerium: Genuinely, yeah, some of the– really crushing it, like an inspiration among video guides makers out there.
Michael: Yeah, for reals.
Michael: When I started doing guides, XIV guides for Fanbyte, she was like, I need to be as clear and precise as she does, and she kind of like set the tone for how like content guides should be for XIV. So, hey, shouts out to her. But yeah, so this is the first time I’m kind of going in without any prior knowledge, other than running the normal version of the same raid, and it’s a ton of fun. And especially when you’re playing with people who are very nice, [laughs] not, you know.
Michael: And we’re on Discord speaking to each other. I think that’s an important thing.
Michael: I can’t imagine– ’cause I never use PF. I never use party finder, so I never do these high difficult–
Nerium: Good for it.
Michael: Yeah. I never do these high difficult fights with strangers. I just think it’s too hard to communicate, and for me, I have trouble…I still have trouble like determining, you know, the things I’m supposed to do in some of these high level fights. So, to be with a group of friends—like people I know in real life, especially—it’s a ton of fun to figure these things out. So like, Andrea mentioned that there’s like this mechanic where the boss does this hopscotch, like a sequence of eight big-ass AOEs across the arena that you need to like dodge. And if you get hit once, it’s pretty much like, it’s a one shot, basically.
Nerium: It literally does like a Monster Hunter Rajang animation [Michael: “Yeah”] of like grabbing you, throwing you to the ground, and then it does 9,999 damage.
Michael: [laughs] Yep, and that’s kind of where we got stuck last night, but we were at it for two hours and were like super comfortable with the beginning mechanics. It’s really fun. I think that some of the mechanics are fun. I like the one– no one’s gonna really know this. This is gonna apply to like 0.1% of people out there, but they divide the– there’s like this one mechanic where they divide the arena in four quadrants, and then you gotta like tell the sequence of where Big Bunky drops his topaz crystals, and then you’ve gotta like dodge in different quadrants in sequence. I think that’s a lot of fun. When I figured that out, I’m like, “Yo, I got the biggest fucking brain out here!” [Nerium laughs] So that’s cool. It makes you feel smart. I always felt this way about XIV, is that when I figure out…
Michael: Like, when I’m speaking this different language, and when I am deciphering these mechanics that, you know, years before I would look at and be like, “There’s no chance in hell I’m ever going to figure this stuff out,” but now it’s kinda like second nature.
Michael: I don’t know, that’s just like one of my favorite aspects of XIV is just this building upon your knowledge of a game to where, like, if you see something, you know exactly what it means. It’s a ton of fun. Yeah. I’m really enjoying it. There’s, and then like, I go to Island Sanctuary, check on my animals and check on my crops and check on my capitalistic ventures.
Nerium: What you got out there? You got pumpkins?
Andrea: Have they unionized?
Michael: Got a lot of pumpkins.
Andrea: Did you see that? Everyone was talking about the mammets have unionized. It was good.
Nerium: [gasps] Have they?
Michael: Is that what happens? ‘Cause I’m not fully…I’m not finished with it.
Andrea: Apparently, eventually, your mammets will unionize.
Nerium: Fuck yeah.
Andrea: Good for them, honestly, so.
Andrea: It’s good.
Nerium: God, the writing on Island Sanctuary– we talked about this, me and Michael talked about this, like an episode or two ago now, but like the writing on Island Sanctuary stuff is really good! [laughs quietly]
Nerium: It’s like really funny if you actually pause to read it all.
Andrea: I need to do it.
Michael: It’s so cute. The mammets are really cute. You can only make them work five days in a week.
Nerium: [laughs] Oh yeah. They have like dedicated weekend rest days. Like, yeah, they actually like…you know, nope, you are forced to give them time off.
Michael: Yeah. And if you make them…if you assign them to make the same item over and over again, they will eventually burn out.
Nerium: Mm-hmm. They get bored.
Michael: Yeah. You won’t get the same returns on the subsequent items that you assign them to build, so you have to give them variety. I think they’re sending a message where it’s like, you know, treating your workers right is a mutually beneficial endeavor.
Nerium: There is probably something to be written about how Island Sanctuary is actually secretly just, like, a metaphor for the games industry.
Andrea: That’s good.
Nerium: And like ethical treatment of game developers. [laughs]
Michael: Yeah. ‘Cause the mammets are…they’re essentially robots.
Michael: Or that’s how we view them, so maybe the story arc is like, oh, you view these people as– these things as robots who are just there to work and do nothing else, and then you find out they have thoughts and feelings too, and they need breaks, and they get burnt out too. They deserve to be treated well. And yeah, that’s Island Sanctuary for you. I don’t know. Maybe people, the devs inside Square Enix, maybe this is their…they’re putting this thing out there, like, “Hey, help, please. Listen to us.” [laughter] Oh my God. But yeah, I’m making steady progress there.
Michael: I think that’s, yeah. Like I said last week, 6.2 is just like a good variety of all types of content.
Michael: It’s a really good microcosm of what makes XIV so great.
Nerium: Yeah. I’m still personally really excited for the new beast tribe quest or the new tribal quest, I guess, ’cause there’s literally–
Andrea: Oh, me too.
Nerium: That is literally robots that is the new tribe.
Nerium: That’s the…do we know that Omicron tribe is gonna be Disciple of the Hand and Land?
Michael: Yes. Yep. That’s…
Nerium: Okay. Yeah, God.
Michael: That’ll be in October.
Nerium: I like Island Sanctuary, but Island Sanctuary is very much just specifically designed to be like, anybody can do this.
Nerium: You don’t have to know how to craft or do real gathering in the game.
Nerium: But like, I’m ready for some like real crafting and gathering type of stuff, ’cause genuinely, I love, especially the stuff that they had in Shadowbringers around like the expert recipes for the Skysteel tools, the Relic weapons, but the Relic tools and stuff like that.
Nerium: Like a hammer and whatnot, but they were glowy, so they were like really endgamey-looking stuff, like they were supposed to be like, you know, stuff that you really strive to get after hours and hours and hours of grinding and stuff like that. And it had its own unique mechanic called expert recipes, and I really want more stuff like that in the game, honestly. I would love to see them expand more crafting stuff, but Island Sanctuary is still like a really good, just like, oh yeah, yeah.
Michael: Yeah. It’s like baby’s first crafting and gathering endeavor.
Nerium: Yeah. Anything else?
Imran: Poor Imran. [laughs]
Nerium: Poor Imran! You’ve been so quiet!
Imran: I’m listening intently [Nerium laughs] for things that might work as a title. [Michael laughs]
Andrea: The Mammets Have Unionized.
Nerium: Okay, I’m looking at chat now. I see.
Michael: 99 Pumpkins. [Nerium and Andrea laugh]
Andrea: That’s good.
Michael: Personally I’m a fan of “Take it Ys,” but that’s up to y’all.
Nerium: Take it Ys.
Michael: Other than that, the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 minute.
Michael: let me hit y’all with where I’m at with Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
Nerium: Has it gotten meatier?
Michael: Uh, take it up with Lanz. [Nerium laughs] I don’t know, Eunie and Lanz gotta figure that shit out, because apparently not. And I’ve gotten further. [laughs] The funniest shit. So, Nere, you mentioned this when we talked about the game before, that the way you mix and match different classes, character classes, and how that ties into the story. I just think it’s so funny that [laughs] when you switch character classes, it switches their clothes.
Nerium: Uh huh.
Michael: Like it’s a gear piece in Final Fantasy XIV, where it’s like, okay, well, if I wear the white jacket with the sleeves rolled up, then I’m a dancer.
Nerium: [laughs] Uh huh.
Michael: And if I wear the tiny little vest, then I’m definitely the one with the hammer. [laughs] I think that shit’s so funny, how they wear each other’s clothes, and that’s how you visualize their different classes that they made.
Imran: It’s like how if you wear a graphic t-shirt and a blazer over it, you’re a gaming executive. [laughter]
Michael: Yes. Yep.
Nerium: Only if you’re a guy. You’ll be standing next to somebody like dressed to the nines, and it’s just like, “Eh, here I am, guys. Let’s check out Call of Duty 27.” [laughter]
Michael: But yeah, I’ve gotten further. There’s a lot. Yo, this shit got layers, bro. Like in terms of like gameplay systems, there’s a lot going on. It’s a lot to chew on, and they give it a lot of– I’m like 12 hours in, and I’m still chewing on it, still trying to figure that stuff out, but there’s no shortage of depth in the game. I also like, you know, chain attacks are fucking sick.
Michael: And the first like major, major plot…well, there’s a lot of plot development, of course, like we’ve talked about earlier, but when you bring all six together, like the first time you take down one of the big bads in the game, that big boss fight and just the cutscene that plays at the conclusion of it. It’s just like, ah. Like I said last week, it’s just distilled pure anime bullshit in like its most purest form. Oh, it’s so beautiful. Oh. That fight was a lot of fun too. Like once you get a hang of the mechanics, and it gets– like you think you have six party members who are all screaming the different special abilities that they’re doing, it seems like a lot to handle, but I’ve got the hang of also switching different party members at different moments in battle, and I think that I’ve got– I really enjoy, you know, okay, like I really need to drop a heal, so I’m gonna switch to the healer, drop these heals and these buffs, get back to my tank to make sure they’re still pulling aggro. So it’s like checking in on these different pieces to make sure like, everything is taken care of. It’s like being a manager. I have six direct reports, and I’m a manager. I’m just making sure, you know, I’m just checking in on them and everyone’s taking care of their jobs. Like, boom, we killed the boss. We’re good.
Nerium: Yeah. A little Final Fantasy XIV-ish, in some ways, but like what if you controlled the entire party?
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Positionals and stuff, things like that, again, like we talked about before. But it’s starting to kind of like, okay, we’ve set the tone for the rest of the game. Now let’s get to it and do it. Yeah, we’re going to the city. Like you said, no one knows what the city is, but we’re gonna find out. And yeah, I just, I love all the characters.I think they make a really good first impression, and I still…I like how they’re developing, especially Taion. I think Taion has become a favorite of mine, and he’s kind of presented as like a smarty pants who knows better than everyone else. He’s kind of stuck up, and he has a bit of an attitude problem, but I think it’s his…his attitude problem is like well– it’s like communicated in a very earnest manner.
Michael: Like, you know why he is the way he is, and he eventually grows on you, and I think he’s a really important piece of that story.
Michael: And how he is like the brains of the operation, and you see him struggling with trying to figure things out as well, so it’s not like, “Hehe, I know better than everyone else,” but he’s more taking like a leadership role. And he’s not like necessarily– like Noah is still the main character, but I feel like Taion is such an important piece of that party dynamic, and I’m kind of surprised by that direction, I guess. But yeah, Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
Nerium: Yeah. I agree. Taion’s like a more textured version of Ida from My Hero Academia, you know?
Nerium: Like the class president type archetype or whatever, but like, oh, the reason he is this way, it like is a lot more interesting, and also people don’t just immediately like put up with it, necessarily?
Nerium: And he has to like be like, “Well, I am correct though,” [laughs quietly] ‘cause oftentimes he is right [Michael: “Yeah”] but is not very good at like getting people to follow that necessarily, because he’s a little bit too rough with people and just like, “No, this is the right way to do it. This is how we should,” and doesn’t like sugarcoat things.
Nerium: I like that. I like all the characters in the game so far.
Michael: God, yeah.
Nerium: Also, he starts with those fucking cool-ass like origami bird drone swarm as his eapon.
Michael: Yeah. That shit’s so cool.
Nerium: It fucking looks awesome!
Michael: Yeah. Oh.
Imran: I’m surprised the bloom is still on the rose for Xenoblade 3.
Imran: Like, by this point, a lot of games that are so well praised are generally like, you have people come in and be like, “I don’t see the big deal. This is not that great.” Everyone who I’ve talked to who’s played Xenoblade 3 is like, “Yeah, that game’s really good.”
Michael: Yeah, for me, what really…it’s all about the character development and the party dynamic. That’s the thing that drives me. Like, gameplay is great. The world is great. I’m interested. Like, so far, the villains are kind of like the mustache twirly kind of villains.
Michael: Which is fine, and I want to see where that goes, but what’s really driving me is that party dynamic. They’re very well presented and layered characters, so far. I just love how they interact with each other and [Nerium: “Yeah”] how kind of like genuinely…like I said before, they genuinely feel like human interactions, not just, you know, tropes and archetypes that you would see in other RPGs.
Nerium: For sure. Yeah, I agree with you about the villains though, too. Like, I…the thing about the villains is that the villains are like, they tried to do the Judges from Final Fantasy XII, but they just don’t look as cool. [Michael laughs] Like, that’s the thing, is like–
Michael: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Nerium: The Judges in Final Fantasy XII look sick as fuck, but like some of these guys look like their heads are made of Legos sometimes, [Nerium and Michael laugh] and it’s just like, I don’t know. Like, you guys just have such cool character design on the main characters. It’s just like, I wish the villains were a little bit scarier. When they’re in their like robot forms, they look fine, but their like normal human forms look a little bit goofy sometimes, I think is probably the problem.
Michael: [laughs] Yes. Yeah, I agree with you on that, but yeah, overall, Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
Nerium: Awesome. For me this week, I’ve played Final Fantasy XIV. Y’all heard about that already. You don’t need to hear me tell you about what I played in there. I’m still trying to gear up, trying to get ready to play with Andrea and maybe Michael and everybody.
Nerium: Trying to help those people out there be the leader that the tank needs to be.
Nerium: But otherwise, I’ve been playing a little– uh, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous just had some new DLC drop. Y’all know that there’s like three– this is the third expansion for this game.
Michael: Yeah. Pathfinder is wild.
Michael: I remember I previewed it years ago.
Nerium: Really? Okay.
Michael: Yeah. And I was like, oh, this is cool.
Michael: This is really deep, but I think it’s too deep for me. And then, yeah, it turns out, like I guess Pathfinder’s found a pretty deep audience.
Nerium: Totally. Yeah, it seems like the, you know, they’re kind of in a boat here, I think, where [sighs] they live a little bit in the shadow– Mike Williams of fanbyte.com, friend of the site.
Michael: Friend of the site. [laughter]
Imran: I mean, he works here.
Michael: Someone works on the site. [laughs]
Nerium: Sorry, y’all actually might be all too new to remember this. This is like a running gag from like the founding of the website of calling people “friend of the site” on podcasts. It started with Kenneth. Anyway. [Imran laughs]
Nerium: But yeah, no, it’s very, very mechanically deep. It kind of lives in the shadow, I feel like, of something like the Larian Studios games.
Nerium: The Divinity and now Baldur’s Gate III games, just because those clearly have such bigger budgets and they’ve had a little bit more time, but I feel like Owlcat, the developers of Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous are kind of like on the way up a little bit. And it’s like, okay, this– the first one is like, okay, this is fun. The second one is like, okay, you guys are really kind of kicking this up a little bit. And I’m guessing that like their next Pathfinder game or whatever they do next will probably be the one where it’s like, okay, this is your Witcher 3. This is your Divinity: Original Sin II.
Nerium: Y’all found it. They’re dialing it in, and they’re being given that runway to dial it in, and people seem to be enjoying that ride, which I think is always kind of fun to watch. As somebody who’s kind of been into a lot of like the wounded ones over the years and really enjoyed watching those upward rises. I played the original Witcher to completion when it came out in 2007 or whatever, you know? Like, I’ve been–
Imran: That’s dedication to a game that’s not that good.
Nerium: Well, at the time, I thought, like– I don’t know, I was just into that sort of stuff. I was also playing a lot of like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl at the time.
Michael: Oh, you were on, you were on that Eurojank tip. [Imran laughs]
Nerium: Oh, 100%. You know, I know a lot of people, you know, in this games industry, oftentimes you either come up from the, like, “I play J RPGs on the PlayStation,” or you come up from like, “I played Civilization and Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri on the PC.” [Michael laughs] I kind like walk in both worlds a little bit, but like, I definitely– when I first started out playing stuff, I was like, I’m playing MechWarrior 2 and Red Alert and Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun and stuff like that.
Nerium: So I have like kind of an appreciation for very systems-heavy games that are a little bit janky. And this game is like very systems-heavy but very cool. The writing is not the strong suit, but that is kind of one of the interesting things about this new piece of DLC, which adds a roguelike mode, basically, that is all themed around like pirate treasure and stuff, and it is just pure combat. It is just like, you can roll a new character. You can play as an existing character and like go find a town and go roll out onto these like kind of roguelike missions if you want, or you can just boot it up, create an entirely new protagonist, and roll into it. And then if that party dies, you get to roll a new character, and, you know, they will find some gear left behind by the dead party that you left behind, and so on and so forth, but it is mostly just like…
Pathfinder, for people who don’t know, is based on a– it is a tabletop RPG that uses the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 combat system, which for a lot of people was like the best Dungeons and Dragons combat system ever. Wizards of the Coast moved on, but they licensed out the gameplay stuff to the people who make these games. Paizo, I think is what they’re called? And they, you know, started using those rules and mechanics for combat and fighting in their own universe, so the writing and the world is not always that interesting. It’s very corny. It’s very kind of predictable and cheesy sometimes, but…and I think that’s true of the main game, but when you’re just doing these like little mini dungeons and just like, “I’m going in for loot. I’m going in to jump in for 45 minutes, and I’m gonna go use my barbarian to hit a giant spider and steal a golden crown from a chest,” it is that experience. That is that experience of like going to D&D encounters nights at your local tabletop game shop or something like that, and it is pretty cool. I like it.
It’s got like kind of a fun theme around it, so it’s like more swashbuckley, less self serious than the main game is in a lot of ways, and I think that works to its favor more than trying to be kind of serious, ’cause I just don’t know that the writing chops at Owlcat are necessarily up to par for a very serious long campaign in that way. But like, this one is all about like a big giant purple pirate ghost ship comes out of the fog and is like, “Get on my boat, and I’ll take you to untold treasures, and you can find the great treasure of the demon lord!” And it was like, cool.
Imran: I like how this guy is Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. [laughter]
Nerium: “Open this treasure map, you cast the decipher skill, and you too can open a portal to the Excitatron 6000.”
Imran: “Are you prepared to die, Batman?” [laughter]
Michael: I didn’t know Bane was a XIV player. [laughter]
Nerium: Yeah. A hundred percent. But yeah, no, it’s a cool game. I want to play more of it. It’s coming out on console this– well, by the time people are hearing this, which will be September, it’s coming out on console this month, so that’s cool.
Michael: Oh geez. I don’t know how that’s gonna…well, I mean, I’m sure they figured it out, but like…
Michael: Controlling that game on console doesn’t seem like a fun thing to do? I don’t know,.
Imran: Okay, in my experience, the way most developers have been handling that lately is to just not give a shit [“Yeah”] and just be like, “I don’t know how it controls. Badly, I guess. Here you go.”
Nerium: Radial menus tend to be what a lot of people do with some of that stuff.
Michael: Ah, sure. Yeah.
Imran: And cursors that don’t quite click.
Imran: What was the– I played a game recently that was like fucking terrible about this.
Imran: Darkest Dungeon on Switch.
Nerium: Oh! Yeah, kind of notorious.
Imran: Yeah, the controls do not work for that console at all.
Nerium: Yeah. The Darkest Dungeon console ports are kind of notoriously like, “Eh, really, guys?” I think I played that on– what I ended up playing a lot of Darkest Dungeon on– when I first beat Darkest Dungeon for the first time, I beat it on PlayStation 4, because it also had like transfarring between PlayStation 4 and Vita, and if I played on Vita, I could use the touch controls.
Nerium: So that was useful. Also shouts out to transfarring…and shouts out to news. We got a news segment here called the News Quest. Normally, we’d be doing the News Quest as an entire episode, but if you missed last week’s episode, we’re trying something different. We’re talking about games, and we’re talking about news at the same time.
Imran: I do like how part of our format change is we’re gonna just not talk– like we won’t just limit ourselves to RPGs, and everything we’ve talked about in the last hour of this show has been an RPG.
Nerium: Uh huh! [laughter]
Michael: ‘Cause that shit’s good! Let me tell you about RPGs, yo. [laughter] That shit is nice.
Nerium: Also, the squad we have assembled for this episode too, [Michael: “Yeah”] is Andrea, Michael, me, and you. [laughs] Well, I don’t know what you expected.
Imran: Look, all I’m saying to people is not every week is gonna be an FFXIV patch week.
Nerium: No, that’s true.
Imran: Stay subscribed.
Nerium: Stay tuned, yeah.
Imran: It’ll be fine.
Michael: No, Imran.
Nerium: Warframe coming around the corner.
Michael: Imran, nah, you’re in for a rude awakening. [laughter]
Nerium: Well, the news hounds of fanbyte.com– two of the news hounds, we don’t have all of them. Kenneth, obviously a huge news hound as well. But the news hounds of 99 Potions, Andrea and Imran. Andrea, why don’t you take it away with the first story on this news thing here?
Andrea: Yes. So the PlayStation 5 price increase went up in several territories and without warning, which I think is the big thing there. Holy shit. I did not think that any of the major console folks, this year at least, would do something like this where we see it jump in price and kind of follow in the steps of the meta situation with…what’s it called? Oculus.
Nerium: The Quest 2.
Andrea: Yeah. Yeah.
Imran: Yeah. Which, by the way, I saw today that they’ve…like, that’s now on sale for 100 bucks off.
Nerium: Oh, so that way it goes to the top of the Switch E-shop. [laughter]
Andrea: I don’t– how much did it jump up by?
Imran: The PS5?
Andrea: Yeah. I don’t remember off the top of my head.
Imran: It varies by the region, but generally like 50 to 100 currency.
Andrea: Whew. That’s, yeah.
Nerium: It’s not a cheap console to begin with.
Andrea: True. Yeah. But yeah, it doesn’t go in effect yet, I think? Or maybe it’s just…let’s see. It doesn’t go in effect in Japan until September 15, but it sounds like [Imran: “Right”] some people are already kinda screwed. But yeah, no, I did not think that we would see one of the major platform holders do something like this soon, but surprise. It’s here. And then I guess they had went ahead, and it spurred even Xbox and Nintendo to say that they won’t be doing that, except Nintendo’s answer was more like, “Not right now, we won’t be doing that.” [laughs]
Imran: Nintendo was like, “Didn’t we just do that? Okay. Sure.”
Andrea: [laughs] Right.
Nerium: PlayStation also, like two weeks before this happened, like during an investor call, an investor was like, “You plan to raise the price?” and they said, “No.”
Nerium: And then they did it. [laughter] It’s like, you can say that you’re not planning to do anything. I’m not planning to breathe for the next five minutes, but that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna. [laughter]
Andrea: I think too, like, looking at this Canadian price, like holy shit. My friends in Canada like always complaining about the cost of games and stuff, since I’m in the US and like the price difference. This is rough though, and they’re already kind of like a pain in the ass, it still seems, to get. I lucked out and got one earlier this year, so I don’t know what the hunt actually looks like right now, but man.
Nerium: It looks like going to Twitter and following @wario64 [Andrea laughs] and waiting to mash that button on Walmart or whatever.
Andrea: True. That’s how I got mine, so shoutout to wario. [laughter]
Imran: I got mine at launch, ’cause somebody– I knew someone at Amazon who was like, “Yeah, this is the time they’re gonna go up.” I’m like, “All right, cool. I’ll just reserve it then.” I didn’t realize it was going to be the biggest pain in the ass if you didn’t get one right then, like that literal second.
Michael: Ugh, yeah.
Michael: I remember Bless ordered two just in case– or he ordered three just in case they canceled on him, ’cause at launch, the them shits was– people was getting their orders canceled without warning.
Nerium: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
Michael: So he ordered three. One of them did cancel on him, but he ended up getting two, and I was like, “Yo, can I cop that?”
Michael: So I copped that, ’cause I was… [Imran laughs]
Andrea: That’s nice.
Michael: Yeah, I’m not…I’ve been in the shoe game too long to know how these things go.
Michael: And I was just like, I don’t want to play this no more, I’ll just, I’ll wait until PS5s become readily available. They’re still not, you know, that readily available. [laughs]
Michael: And so, it’s tough in the streets, you know?
Imran: Did you ever do the midnight launch thing of like lining up for like an entire day at Walmart’s like garden section?
Michael: [sighs] Yeah.
Andrea: I did that. Oh my God, I did that.
Michael: Hell yeah.
Andrea: For the Wii. [laughter]
Nerium: For the Wii?
Imran: I remember that– yeah, I did that for Wii and Game Cube. It was fun.
Michael: Oh, yes.
Imran: Like, I couldn’t do that now, ’cause I’m old and don’t have time.
Imran: But like, I remember it being a fun thing to do.
Nerium: Yeah. Never did it for a console, but I did for games.
Michael: Yeah, me too.
Nerium: I remember doing it for Fallout 3 and Metal Gear Solid IV.
Michael: Back when you had to reserve copies at Babbage’s, [laughter] because there were limited copies, and there’s like, back in the day, you know. There’s no digital downloads.
Nerium: We have a Software Etc.
Michael: Yeah. Yeah, I lined up for like, I think Battlefield 3 I did that.
Nerium: Oh, yeah.
Michael: Like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 or some shit. I don’t know.
Imran: I think I told this story on Twitter recently, but I always remember for the Smash Bros. midnight launch, the Brawl midnight launch.
Imran: Like, they were serving like little mini sandwiches at the GameStop.
Michael: Aww. [laughs]
Imran: For like people to get. And like the first guy who got his copy like took it, like, you know, was starting to leave the store, and grabbed like an arm full of sandwiches and just kept walking out the store.
Andrea: Damn. [laughs]
Michael: What a dick.
Imran: That dude knew how he was planning the rest of his night was [Nerium: “Yeah”] playing Smash Bros. Brawl and eating little mini sandwiches.
Michael: [laughs] Aw.
Imran: But yeah, the place shouldn’t price– like, so, earlier this month, on August 2 apparently, I figured, okay, some console is going do this.
Imran: So I like tweeted out, “Hey, would you understand if Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo raised the prices on the console with no tangible hardware improvements due to inflation?” and 67.8% of people said, “No, fuck that.”
Imran: So, I kind of just assumed it was going to happen. I was shocked it happened this fast.
Imran: But like…
Nerium: They moved.
Imran: Yeah. ‘Cause earlier in the year, Sony said they stopped making a profit on the…they never really made a profit on the PS5, [Nerium: “No”] and I think they still haven’t. So, with inflation being what it is and the market pipeline being as constipated as it is, I kind of just figured eventually someone was going to go, “All right, we’re gonna raise the price.” What’s interesting to me is that they didn’t go to it or didn’t do it in America, ’cause I think they realized that’s a bridge too far.
Imran: They can’t– like, if they do that, everyone will be pissed instead of just like other countries they don’t care as much about essentially, other countries that are more used to price fluctuations and are more used to paying more than America for this stuff anyway.
Nerium: Yeah, that’s like, price hikes. I’m trying to think of like another example in like the history of video game consoles where there has been a price hike without any…obviously there will be things like, oh, it’s the Xbox 360 Elite or whatever.
Nerium: Like, they’ll do something. They’ll slap a sticker on the thing. They’ll make a black version of a white thing or whatever.
Imran: The Switch OLED.
Nerium: The Switch OLED.
Nerium: And then do that sort of thing. But like, I cannot think of another example of that ever happening in the US.
Imran: I…yeah, I’m trying hard to think of an example, but like, obviously, as Andrea mentioned earlier, [Andrea: “Mm-hmm”] the best example is that Facebook did this a month ago.
Nerium: Right, yeah.
Imran: And that should have been the thing that like…it was the starting gun, I think, for Sony to do this.
Imran: Like, Okay, yeah, if they’re doing it, then it makes sense for– like, they were probably talking about it and thinking about it, and maybe people were pushing against it, but I think them like starting off first got Sony to go, “Okay. We can probably get away with this.”
Nerium: That gave somebody somewhere in a boardroom ammunition to see like, “See?”
Nerium: Like, “They’re doing it!”
Imran: Yeah. If it costs more money like to make, then we should charge more money for it. I think they are assuming that– if this thing were readily available right now, I think they probably would not have done it. I think they would’ve gone, “No, we’re finally at a point where there’s still some on store shelves. We should make it as enticing as possible.”
Imran: But because it’s still selling out everywhere, then they’re saying, “No, we’re not gonna– we will not see a hit from this. We’re probably just gonna do just as well [Michael: “Yeah”] and not lose as much money,” but that’s also why you probably have Microsoft and Nintendo, besides it just being like a good opportunity to be like, “Hey, we’re not doing this bullshit,” going, “No, we still have some shelves. We’re not gonna…”
Imran: “We’re not gonna risk that right now.”
Nerium: Interesting. Uh, Final Fantasy XIV…well, no.
Imran: We’re back!
Nerium: We’re back.
Michael: And we’re back.
Andrea: We came back.
Nerium: We’ve circled back around. Oh God! [Imran laughs] Somebody want to read this next story?
Michael: No, actually…
Andrea: I can.
Michael: Toss it to Andrea.
Michael: I’m gonna close my window, ’cause someone has a drill outside.
Nerium: Oh, okay. [Andrea laughs]
Nerium: Hit me with another one. Let get two Andrea stories in a row.
Andrea: I got it. I got it.
Michael: And she wrote this one, so.
Nerium: Oh. [laughter]
Andrea: This one…so the short stories for context are like, they’re canonical to– Nere, that’s another thing that we need to talk about, canon, as a side note. [laughs]
Nerium: God. We did a whole fucking podcast about canon.
Andrea: But yeah, no, the side stories are canonical to the universe and things that happen, and they’re pretty cool, because if you read them, you can usually find little tidbits about what’s about to happen or gonna happen in a year or so in XIV’s story.
Andrea: You’ll find all these little hints and nudges. But this one came out way earlier than normal in the expansion cycle.
Andrea: And it’s because they’re celebrating the MMO’s ninth anniversary.
Andrea: So this one is kind of about some of the Endwalker characters. I won’t get too into it, just in case some of our listeners plan on playing, but it is a look at some of the Endwalker characters like we did not get to really see them, and it provides some context into a really important relationship, and I will not pretend like I did not ugly cry when I was reading, [quiet laughter] as I do with all of these. But no, the side stories are super good, and if you are a Final Fantasy XIV player that’s just like kind of casually in it for this story, I would definitely play and read like any of these little side things.
Andrea: They’re written– like they’re super short.
Andrea: But there’s like a collection of books that are coming out, or just the one book, and I think that is next month that the book comes out for its reprint, but they’re super good, and this one is no different, and I think it gives us a good look at something and it provides a little light onto some questions I had at the end of Endwalker.
Imran: Can I say, and like this picture you used for this story, Andrea, [Andrea: “Yes”] which you could find on fanbyte.com.
Nerium: Uh huh.
Imran: I don’t like this man. [Andrea laughs] This thing. He looks weird, and like…
Michael: Oh. Oh no.
Imran: One, he reminds me of the big guy on the Elden Ring throne [Andrea: “Mm-hmm”] that they never really talk about or explain, but he’s like…I don’t know, he looks like when Unsolved Mysteries would do cryptid stuff but clearly don’t have a budget for it. [laughter]
Andrea: I’m gonna tell everyone– I’m gonna refer to him as a cryptid now. Thank you.
Nerium: Ascians are cryptids. Yeah. [laughs]
Andrea: It’s really good.
Michael: Oh my God. Yeah, Imran’s not a fan of the Ween Woon.
Andrea: The Ween Woon! He’s the Ween Woon on the moon.
Imran: I don’t like this adult Pikmin that you’ve got here. [Nerium and Andrea laugh]
Andrea: I love him so much!
Michael: Oh my God. Wow. What a hater.
Andrea: Oh my God.
Nerium: I was gonna say, Imran, do you want us to tell you what it actually is? But no, actually, now, that is the canonical–
Nerium: Hey, Andrea, you want to start talking about canon. Canonically this is a cryptid. [laughs]
Andrea: This is a cryptid. I mean, yeah, considering that you’re probably the only person that’s interacted with this character. If you go back to Eorzea and start talking about them, they’ll be like, “What cryptid thing are you talking about?” [laughs]
Nerium: That’s true, yeah.
Michael: Listen, I met someone who’s 20 feet tall. [laughter] They have a mask on their face. They’re kind of glowing.
Nerium: [disbelieving] Oh yeah? Where could I go talk to him?
Andrea: What do they sound like again? What is the other video game thing that they sound like when they talk? You know what I mean? They sound…
Andrea: They sound– so they make this weird, “Uuuh.”
Nerium: “Weewoo.’ [Andrea and Michael laugh]
Andrea: There’s another game thing that sounds like that, and I can’t think. It’s not a Sim.
Michael: Zombies in Resident Evil.
Andrea: [laughs] Oh my God. That’s, well. Anyway, it’s actually very sad.
Michael: It is, yeah.
Andrea: But now I’m gonna laugh hysterically every time I see this little guy. [laughter]
Michael: Ah, yes. We interact with these characters in the game, and we cry.
Michael: You look at these characters, Imran, and laugh.
Michael: We are not the same.
Nerium: We are not the same. [laughter]
Andrea: He lives by himself, Imran, on the moon. It’s very sad.
Imran: I mean, I imagine he would, [laughter] because anyone else looking at that would be like, “All right, cool. I gotta go.” [laughter]
Andrea: He has a dog.
Nerium: I’ll see ya, actually.
Andrea: He has a dog that’s a friend. Its eyes are kind of terrifying.
Nerium: I hate the dog. Can I just– is this a safe space to say that I hate the dog?
Michael: Oh. Yeah, oh.
Andrea: I love how it’s written, but the eyes on that thing are terrifying.
Imran: [laughs] I’m sorry, that’s the funniest sentence. I love how the dog is written. [laughter]
Andrea: I love how the dog is written!
Michael: Listen, I love Homeward Bound too, so. [laughter]
Nerium: Oh my God.
Andrea: I’m gonna have to send Imran a picture of this dog.
Nerium: I just, I don’t know. I feel like–
Michael: Is it the golden dog?
Nerium: It’s like a collie, I think is the breed.
Nerium: I feel like Sylvester Stallone with the remaster of Rocky IV or whatever. It’s just like, “I don’t like the robot anymore.” It’s like, I don’t like the dog anymore. [laughter] I don’t. I’ve never liked it. I don’t know what it is. I just don’t like that. It feels so out of place. Ugh, I don’t know.
Michael: What, the dog?
Nerium: Yeah, the dog.
Nerium: There’s such good dogs in Final Fantasy XIV. There’s great dogs. And this dog just like…ah, I hate looking at it. I don’t know. Argos. That’s the name of it.
Nerium: I’m gonna drop a link into the Zencastr chat so that Imran can see the dog that I’m talking about.
Andrea: Oh, okay.
Andrea: I dropped a picture of– I dropped its face into the 99 Potions channel. [laughs]
Nerium: It’s also the size of a horse is a thing we don’t talk about. [laughs]
Imran: That’s a weird looking dog.
Nerium: I don’t like it.
Nerium: It’s supposed to be cute and like helpful and nice.
Andrea: But it’s written well. [laughs]
Imran: I think it’s the like strangely piercing eyes.
Nerium: Uh huh. Uh huh. Uh huh.
Michael: I think it’s the human teeth.
Andrea: [laughs] Yeah.
Nerium: The human teeth. [laughs]
Imran: Yeah. That’s not helping.
Andrea: Oh no.
Nerium: The gun that it’s pointing at me. [laughter]
Imran: The braided hair. Like someone spent time being like, “I’m gonna make my dog look like it’s going to its debutante ball.”
Nerium: Somebody was like, “This dog looks too fucked up. I gotta do something to make it look more approachable.” [laughter]
Michael: Oh my God. Damn, haters.
Nerium: I’m sorry, I’m an Argos hater.
Imran: Wait, okay, so…we’re describing a JPEG, so this is not good podcasting.
Andrea: That’s true.
Imran: But is the– in the image Andrea posted, is that the dog’s like rear, like what looks like four feet back behind it?
Andrea: Oh, no.
Michael: Oh, no, no.
Andrea: That’s someone sitting on it.
Imran: Okay. Because I was gonna be like, this is a very long dog, and that makes it look way worse.
Andrea: You can sit on it, yeah, and ride the dog, so.
Imran: Okay. I have the fat cat as a mount, and I…
Andrea: That’s much better.
Imran: I love the fat cat. I wish I did not read its backstory.
Andrea: I was about to ask if you did that, so. [laughter]
Andrea: That was my next question. [laughs]
Imran: I was just like, oh, this almost completely ruins it until I go in full denial mode and decide that I’ve never read this.
Nerium: Listen, canon–
Imran: Like, I don’t know that it’s a dead ghost cat.
Nerium: We talk– we decide what is canon and what is not. You could just say that that never happened and enjoy it just as much as you want.
Andrea: That’s true. [laughs]
Nerium: They have actually gone in…was in patch 6.1 or whatever? They’ve gone in and changed some of the dialogue or some of the backstory on some of those items, like mounts and things like that sometimes.
Nerium: Because like, some of it was written like nine years ago, like Andrea was saying, and it was bad, and not bad in like a “Ugh, this is poorly written,” but maybe also that, but also just like, oh.
Michael: Some weirdo shit.
Nerium: There’s some…you’re making some jokes here that you are not…that do not fit the tone of the game and also are just like kind of in poor taste.
Andrea: Yeah, Moenbryda’s was one of those that were not great.
Nerium: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Imran: Oh, I actually have an FFXIV thing to bring to this podcast.
Michael: Oh, thank you for bringing something.
Imran: I play that game on PS5 for– since I started playing it, the resolution slash frame rate toggle has been completely broken.
Imran: ‘Cause it would not actually hit 60 frames per second. Now it actually does. As of the last patch, it finally does.
Imran: I can actually do 60 frames per second on my version of FFXIV that I stubbornly play.
Andrea: Oh, nice.
Nerium: They added DLSS in the last patch for the console version.
Michael: Wait, you’re talking about XIV?
Imran: Yes. What did I say?
Michael: Oh, no, no. Yeah, okay. Did you enable dynamic resolution?
Michael: Okay, yeah.
Imran: It did not work until now.
Michael: Well, dynamic resolution was a new option.
Michael: So if you selected that…that was added in 6.2.
Nerium: That was just added like last week.
Michael: Yeah. So it sounds like, yeah, that’s good.
Imran: Yeah, there was no way to get like decent 4K and 60 FPS.
Imran: And now it’s like, okay, unless you have a menu up, we’re not gonna bother with 4K, which I think is the ideal way to do it.
Nerium: Yeah. You need that game to be running at like smooth as possible, especially if you’re dodging like AOEs and stuff like that.
Nerium: It just makes more sense.
Michael: Oh my God.
Imran: Though I’ve discovered, as a tank, from people yelling at me, I should not be running around. I should stay in one place and then dodge when I have to. [laughter]
Michael: Oh yeah. That’s…yeah. There’s a very good…
Michael: There’s a tank guide, I think, [Nerium: “Uh huh”] like beginners guide for tanking on, uh…oh, fanbyte.com!
Michael: It’s fanbyte.com, hit video game website.
Nerium: I’ve heard of that.
Imran: The problem is, Michael, when I decide I need to know what I’m doing is the moment that I can’t act stupidly innocent. [laughter]
Imran: When like, the moment that sprout goes away from my name, I’m in so much fucking trouble.
Michael: Yep. Yeah, you are.
Imran: Because then people are gonna expect me to know what I am doing.
Michael: Don’t worry. You’re gonna have that sprout for a very long time. [laughs]
Imran: [laughs] Good. Excellent.
Nerium: Yeah. It doesn’t go away.
Nerium: We got another story on this list, the next bolded one down. Imran, do you want to read this one?
Imran: Uh, let’s see. This is Hangar 13 has announced a new Mafia game, and they did this through a tweet where they’re like, “Hey, we’re working on a new Mafia. By the way, here’s the history of Mafia.” So like, this seems to be like a Take-Two thing now, where they’re just gonna tweet, “Yeah, that game you know we’re working on? We’re working on it.”
Imran: Like they did with GTA a couple of months ago.
Nerium: Right, yeah.
Imran: IT was like, “Hey, we’re making GTA VI. Bye.” [laughter] And like, there’s not a whole lot of details. There was a Kotaku report last year that Hangar 13, who, as you know, they made the last Mafia. God, what was that game called? Just called Mafia III?
Nerium: Mafia III.
Michael: Oh, you’re talking about Mafia III from 2016?
Andrea: Is that the New Orleans one?
Michael: That’s the one in New Orleans. Yep.
Imran: And they’ve been working– like, I thought that game had a lot of cool things about it.
Imran: It wasn’t fun, but it had a lot of cool things about it.
Imran: And since then, Hangar 13 has, I think, had two canceled games, one of which was actually fairly deep into development.
Imran: And at some point, Take-Two was like, “This is not gonna do well, so we’re just not gonna bother releasing it,” which I would love to see what that game really was, ’cause we don’t know, aside from leaks.
Nerium: Put it underground with Batgirl.
Imran: It’s a tax write off. But yeah, that like they’re now currently working on a new Mafia game. According to Kotaku’s report from last year, it’s a prequel to the original Mafia.
Imran: Which is not a thing that means anything to me–
Nerium: Or anyone, right?
Imran: But I guess it makes sense why they remade Mafia I last year.
Nerium: I suppose, yeah.
Michael: I like Mafia. Mafia‘s like…
Nerium: Yeah, yeah.
Michael: At least I like…I liked 1. Yeah, yeah, I love 1.
Nerium: Tell me a thing about the story and the characters of Mafia I.
Michael: Ah, Mafia I. You play as Tommy Tallarico [laughter] when he goes, “I’m walkin’ over here!” and then he joins a gang. Then at the end of it, he gets shot up by a rival gang when he gets older.
Imran: I think you’re actually describing the Intelevision, not Mafia I. [Andrea laughs]
Michael: Ah, shit.
Michael: What’s his name? Fuck. The dude you play. It’s Tommy…not Tommy Vercetti, that’s fucking…that’s Vice City.
Imran: I was about to say Tommy Vercetti, [Michael laughs] so good thing you like stopped me immediately.
Michael: Mr. Resetti. There you go. [Imran laughs]
Nerium: God. But yeah, like–
Imran: Tommy Angelo?
Michael: Yeah, there you go. Ayy, Tommy Angelo! Ayy.
Michael: My guy.
Nerium: Mafia I is cool. Like, don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying like, do we care about like the origin stories of the original Mafia?
Michael: Sure, yeah. [laughs] I mean, they could probably do some cool shit. I don’t know, like…well, the first one was Prohibition era, I guess.
Imran: Yeah. I really liked III. Like III’s framing and presentation was really cool.
Imran: Like, if you haven’t played III, III is set like a modern documentary talking about 1920s New Orleans.
Nerium: ‘60s, yeah.
Imran: 1960s, sorry.
Imran: But like, it has like a twenties vibe, ’cause it’s New Orleans.
Michael: Yeah. [Nerium and Andrea laugh]
Imran: But like, so, you’re talking to the characters much older, like thinking about like, “Oh, yeah, I knew that guy. One time we fucking stole a truck and then just like did a joy ride around town,” and like, then you do that mission while he’s like narrating that stuff to you. It’s like this actually very cool frame story that like has never been emulated as far as I know, [Nerium: “Yeah”] but was very cool. It’s like, it was cool to have a Black lead in like a– they actually wrote that as a story about being a person of color in sixties New Orleans.
Imran: Which, as you can imagine, was cool and also sucks shit. So, I…
Nerium: Yeah. They took some swings with that game.
Imran: Yeah. If that game were like a better game, I think it would be remembered very, very fondly. This being a prequel to the original Mafia, I assume they’re going back to like, you know, the Italian Mafia kind of thing.
Imran: Yeah. But yeah, I think this game will be neat, probably, ’cause Hangar 13 has made a Mafia game before, and I think they’ve had, at this point…at this point currently, six years worth of feedback to go like, “Okay, maybe we shouldn’t do tailing missions anymore.” Remember when everyone was just in love with tailing missions in games for like ten years?
Nerium: Bringing it back to Final Fantasy XIV. [Michael and Andrea laugh]
Michael: Yeah, wait till you get to Endwalker.
Imran: Oh boy. Is there literally tailing in Endwalker?
Andrea: It’s so bad.
Michael: Yeah. Yes.
Andrea: It’s the worst part of the game.
Nerium: It’s the worst part, and everybody fucking hates it.
Imran: So, here’s the thing. Everyone’s telling me, “Yeah, once you get into Realm Reborn, you’re fine, like everything is just great.” And then when you start talking about it, it’s like, “Yeah, except for this part. Or this part like fucking sucks shit.” [Andrea laughs]
Michael: Well, I mean, you play 80 hours. You do like 30 minutes worth of tailing, so.
Nerium: Right, yeah.
Michael: It’s just something to remember.
Imran: Or there’s like some weird like robed guy with a freak ass dog. [laughter]
Andrea: On the moon.
Nerium: Here’s the thing. Here’s the actual fucking thing about like Final Fantasy XIV in general. It is like, I think it was Ash Parish??? maybe tweeted this like years ago, where it was like the pipeline of Final Fantasy people is just like, “Who the fuck is this guy? I hate his face, and I hate who he looks like.” And then like, you see that original tweet from six months ago, and then their new username is like “Emet-Selch’s cumslut 29” or whatever. [laughter]
Michael: Yep. 1000%.
Nerium: [sighs] ‘Cause like, yeah, all these people you see out of context, you’re like, “I don’t like the skunk man.” And then you get it, and it’s like, “I would die and kill for the skunk man.”
Imran: That was me through Hunter x Hunter.
Nerium: Yeah. [Michael laughs]
Imran: Where I was like, “Who cares about Kurapika? He seems like the side character in this thing.” And then by the time you get to Yorknew City…
Nerium: Mm-hmm. [laughter]
Imran: Like, I would die for Kurapika.
Imran: I was so mad he did not get a thing in the last arc.
Nerium: So, in the manga, Kurapika is–
Imran: Yeah, in the manga, I know.
Imran: Like, it’s about him now.
Imran: But like, mm, mm.
Imran: I’m waiting for the anime, but I think at some point I’m gonna like probably read the new issues that are coming up.
Michael: Yeah, God, that’s…
Imran: I’ve become…like, digression, Hunter x Hunter may be the best shonen thing I’ve ever seen.
Nerium: It’s my favorite ever.
Andrea: It’s really good.
Nerium: It’s my favorite anime. It’s probably my favorite manga ever. I love Hunter x Hunter.
Imran: It starts off so kind of nothing? Like interesting, but kind of nothing. But then by the time you finish the Chimera Ant Arc, it is probably– that is, I think, one of…it’s something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.
Nerium: Uh huh.
Imran: Like, the…and I’m gonna be vague about this, but Nere knows what I’m talking about. There’s a scene at the end of that arc, where it just goes black, and all you hear is dialogue.
Nerium: Uh huh.
Imran: And I was literally sobbing.
Michael: Damn. Damn, I love that shit. I need to continue down the Hunter multiplied by Hunter.
Nerium: Oh, Michael, have you not finished it?
Michael: Nah. I watched a couple episodes, ’cause I was like kind of trying out different things to see if anything landed in the first couple episodes, whatever.
Nerium: Yeah, yeah, yeah. [laughs] Not Hunter x Hunter.
Imran: No. It like straight up, I don’t think it gets great until Yorknew City.
Imran: And I don’t think it get– like, then I think Greed Island’s kind of like a low point, and then…
Nerium: I like Greed Island. I know a lot of people don’t.
Imran: Greed Island’s fine, but it’s just like, after Yorknew City, it’s like not nearly as good.
Michael: Okay, so that’s the Stormblood era. Okay. [laughter]
Imran: Then Chimera Arc is incredibly long. It gets to a point where clearly you know Togashi is like on his deathbed, so he’s like literally writing a novel that the anime just like translates.
Michael: That’s fucking Shadowbringers! Oh my God. [laughs]
Nerium: Uh huh, uh huh.
Imran: And so like, the episodes are just pans over characters standing while the narrator tells you what they’re thinking.
Michael: God, that shit…ah.
Nerium: There’s such a good–
Imran: And then it like ends so strongly. Holy shit.
Michael: Oh my God.
Nerium: The Chimera Ant Arc has this whole big long thing of it where there’s like four episodes in a row where it’s just like, the narrator ends the episode, there’s a freeze frame, and the narrator just says, “Five seconds have passed.” [laughs]
Imran: Yes. But by the…I want to say 10th episode of like, not even the arc, of the we’re going to go confront the villains part of the arc, they say, “It has been two minutes since they snuck in.”
Michael: [laughs] Aw.
Nerium: Andrea, have you watched Hunt– it sounded like you’re a Hunter x Hunter fan.
Andrea: Yeah. So, I’ve watched some of it. I have not read the manga, though. I got into it because I’m pretty sure…isn’t the creator married to Sailor Moon’s creator?
Nerium: Yeah, the creator’s married to Sailor Moon.
Andrea: That’s like a power couple. Holy thit.
Imran: She took over, I think, the manga for a little during the Chimera Ant Arc.
Nerium: She does the art, I think, now.
Nerium: She might be helping with it again? Yeah, ’cause he’s like…
Imran: There’s a couple of ref– like when they go into Alluka’s room towards the end of the anime, she has like a bunch of Sailor Moon toys.
Andrea: Oh, that’s cute.
Nerium: Oh, that whole–! Mm. Mm! Mm.
Andrea: [laughs] I need to read the manga. No, I really need to read it.
Nerium: You do. The current stuff with the manga is like this incredibly tense like closed room crime drama mystery thing, set on a boat to a fucking– I can’t even say where the boat is headed, because it’s such a fucking spoiler to say where the boat is headed.
Nerium: But it’s just, everybody’s like, we’re on this boat for two fucking months to a place that we, you know, know nothing about, and also these like incredibly petty shithole asshole rich people are trying to kill each other, and they will kill any of us just if we look at them wrong while they’re trying to deal with each other. And it’s like– and Kurapika is like, “Okay, how do I keep as many people alive as possible for two straight months?” And it’s so good.
Michael: Oh, that’s Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
Nerium: Yeah. [laughter]
Michael: Holy shit. Everything leads back to Hunter multiplied by Hunter.
Nerium: Mm, mm. Yeah, we– oh, this is another podcast we gotta do. We gotta do a manga and anime podcast, [laughs] all of us on this show. Anyway. [Imran laughs]
Michael: 99 Panels. [laughter]
Nerium: All right! I’m gonna write this down. Paul, if you don’t mind just making a note about that. [laughter] Yeah, Mafia. Mafia III, super cool. I’m excited to see what they do next.
Imran: Yeah. I’m gonna bet it’s an open world crime game, of which there’s many, but at least that gives them a chance to stand out.
Michael: Ayy, and, you know, I want some Italian representation. [Andrea laughs] You know what I’m saying?
Nerium: It is gonna be really, really difficult, with the market so saturated by like such a huge title as Saints Row, though.
Imran: Right. Honestly, I could foresee a situation where they are not detailing this game until Rockstar blinks first.
Imran: Not because Rockstar is going to have to blink first, but ‘cause like Rockstar’s just gonna do whatever it wants.
Imran: Now that I say that, I’m like: wait a second, both these come from the same publisher. Take-Two will just decide which one goes first.
Nerium: Right, I suppose. Also there’s like leaks about the GTA V. Or was it leaks or did they just say like, “Eh, it’s Bonnie and Clyde”?
Imran: Leaks, I believe.
Imran: Accurate leaks, as far as I know. [laughs]
Nerium: [laughs] Okay. Well, there you go. Michael, do you want to read the next bolded thing on here?
Michael: Yeah. I’ll make it quick, since we’ve talked about this game. Guess what it is! Anybody? Anybody got any guesses?
Imran: Hunter x Hunter.
Nerium: They’re making a Hunter x Hunter game?
Michael: It’s Final Fantasy XIV. [Andrea laughs]
Michael: Yeah, world race. So, we talked about the Savage raids that went up. If you’re a player, you know what a world race is. So, everyone around the world gathering teams to be the first to clear it, and this shit is fucking hard. This morning, it was– it took, I think, 31 hours for the first team to finally clear the last phase of the Savage raids that came out. And this is like a whole thing. This is like, the whole community kind of, you know, pays close attention to the world first, the world first clear. And the homie Frosty, he’s a content creator for XIV, he kind of runs like an unofficial event and livestream that kind of monitors and pulls feeds from various teams who are competing in the world race and has a lot of other content creators come on, give commentary, talk about the game, analyze the mechanics, and stuff like that. He had to be like, “Listen, at the 24 hour mark, I gotta…we gotta call it.” So it actually didn’t– I don’t think it got recorded on the stream, but for 24 hours, I had it up the whole day, and I was just like…it was wild because, so, there’s four instances.
The fourth instance has two phases, and so team Neverland—the ones who claimed the world first for Dragonsong Ultimate, who I interviewed for a feature on hit video game website fanbyte.com—they were the first team to make it to phase two on the last instance of the raid, and they made it like, they had an hour. They cleared it or they got there like an hour before any other team and then just got stuck, and a whole bunch of teams around the world started catching up, and they also got– like about the 24 hour mark, whatever, whole bunch of teams have made it to phase two of this final fight. And everyone is just getting stuck, getting stuck. And it wasn’t until this morning when I checked, you know, I checked Twitter to see like, yo, did anyone clear it? ‘Cause it seemed like it was imminent last night when I went to sleep that someone was gonna get it any minute, and it wasn’t until this morning that a team in Japan, they don’t have a name or anything, they were just like, they just fucking did it.
Nerium: Hell yeah.
Michael: And they claimed it, and they’re like, yo. The screenshot went up, they all got their rewards, and it’s like, yo, they claimed the world first. It’s an exciting thing that, you know, ’cause this only comes around every four months when a new…no, no, no, not even. I think they only do this for Ultimates, which we’ve only had four in the history of Final Fantasy XIV, and we only get three packs of Savage raids per expansion.
Michael: So it’s like once every eight months that we get a chance to witness a world race. And yeah, it’s super exciting to see. Like, Andrea and I are still on the first phase.
Michael: Like, to tell you how difficult this shit is. Andrea and I are longtime players, and we are still deciphering and trying to figure out the mechanics of the first phase of this four part raid. [laughs]
Michael: And it’s very challenging. And, of course, we can’t– you know, we can only dedicate so much time to figuring the stuff out, and we have various other things we have to take care of, but these are very hard. Like, most players, even like very skilled players, it probably takes them about a month of dedicated time to clear this entire raid series. People, you know, world race teams clear this shit in a couple days. And I remember Dragonsong Ultimate from April took six days for a team to clear, so it’s pretty wild. Yeah. Final Fantasy XIV is a multifaceted experience, so.
Imran: If you guys discover a strategy, can I name it?
Michael: Ooh, yeah. Yeah.
Imran: Okay. I mean, it depends on what the strategy is for the name, but like, it would probably be something from Dragon Ball.
Nerium: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Imran: This is like the Galick Gun or the Vegeta Twist or something.
Nerium: That’s good
Michael: Vegeta Twist. [laughs quietly]
Nerium: The Beerus Bounce.
Michael: When the whole party…whole party wipe is the Yamcha. [laughter]
Nerium: Floor tanking.
Andrea: I do that often.
Michael: Yeah. Exciting stuff.
Nerium: [sighs] I’m going to take this next story, because I am the only person on this call that I know for certain has played Dragalia Lost.
Imran: I played a little bit.
Nerium: Did you? Okay.
Imran: Like maybe like combined 10 hours, but yeah.
Andrea: At launch, I did.
Nerium: I played a lot of Dragalia Lost. I played a fuckload. Andrea, did you?
Andrea: Just at launch.
Nerium: Just at launch.
Andrea: I played for a few weeks, and then I kind of fell off. I used to go really hard at like gacha games though, so.
Andrea: It’s kind of sad, but.
Nerium: This was kind of one of my gacha games of choice for a little while there, ’cause it was like very– and maybe this is why they’re shutting it down, I don’t know, but it…by Imran Khan, “Dragalia Lost, Nintendo’s First Totally New Mobile IP, Officially Closes Down in November: The game lasted roughly four years from its original launch before Nintendo and Cygames—the makers of Granblue Fantasy—decided to shut it down.” And part of the reason that I liked this game a lot was that it was like, for a gacha game, incredibly generous [Imran: “Mm-hmm”] with like free currency and summons and five star characters and all kinds of other stuff. It was like a…it wasn’t, you know, super, super detailed. Also probably part of the reason that they’re shutting it down, I’m sure, is just like, it is a very, very saturated market, a very difficult market to go through. And if you compared Dragalia Lost to something like a Granblue Fantasy or a Genshin Impact, or especially like a Fate/GO or something like that. Not nearly as horny, way– like a little horny, [Imran: “Yeah”] but like not nearly as much.
Imran: There’s like a level of horniness there. Like, if you were really dedicated, you could be horny for this.
Nerium: Totally. Totally.
Nerium: Totally. Like, it’s available. That road is open to you, or was open to you, but it was not like advertising itself on the, you know, on your doorstep kind of situation, the way that some of those other games do.
Nerium: So maybe that was another part of it. Whatever the case, Nintendo was like, “Nah, we’re done with that,” which is a bummer. I put a lot of money into this game too, at various points.
Nerium: Yeah. I think that is a shame.
Imran: It was reported like a couple of years ago that Cygames was not happy with Nintendo, in terms of, they thought they could monetize this way more than they were actually doing it.
Imran: And Nintendo was like, “No, that looks real bad for us if you do that.”
Imran: Which is like, I’m guessing at that point Cygames kind of just checked out.
Nerium: Yeah. Welp.
Imran: If we’re not gonna make money off this, then what’s the point?
Nerium: We might as well just focus on Granblue, you know?
Imran: Yeah. And for Nintendo, I think, the same direction. Like, this does not advertise any of their existing IPs. I don’t think there’s ever gonna be a Dragalia Lost console game. And to the extent this game does make money, it probably competes directly with Fire Emblem Heroes, which makes fucking bank.
Nerium: And is a lot hornier. [laughs]
Imran: Yeah, way hornier. Like, there are swimsuit events every three months in not swimsuit seasons for Fire Emblem.
Nerium: The female Byleth design for the summer event might as well be the canonical female Byleth for as much like fanart I see of her around, you know?
Imran: Yeah. Yes, so like, why keep the game open at that point? And I guess both parties finally decided to close it down. I mean, I have seen people who are more into the gacha game world actually side with Cygames on that idea, [Nerium: “Mm”] of like, that’s the market, that’s the industry. If you don’t want to get into it, then that’s not better. All you’re doing is closing down a game people like.
Nerium: Right. Making people waste their money and their time and like wasting the time of the developers in some cases and stuff like that.
Nerium: Like I said, this game was deeply, deeply generous with a lot of like things that it did and stuff. And it’s like, I am somebody who like– obviously like gacha as a concept and stuff is like deeply exploitative in a lot of ways, but I am someone who is still fairly happy to kick money to a free-to-play game every so often to like support the developers and stuff like that, if I view it that way and am not like just, you know, falling down the rabbit hole of like, “I need to be doing this, because I need this particular thing, because the brain chemicals tell me I need this thing.”
Nerium: As long as I’m not getting to that point, I’m like, okay, I’ll put 20 bucks in here for whatever every once in a while. And like, with Dragalia Lost, I didn’t really need to very often. I did end up doing it in some cases, but I fell off pretty early despite that.
Imran: Yeah. Which, you know, fair. And I understand Nintendo’s perspective of being like, we don’t want to exploit things, ’cause that’s a bad PR move for us.
Nerium: Yes. For a, quote, unquote, “family friendly company” or a company that is known for being a family friendly company.
Imran: But they maybe could have gone a bit further than they actually did here.
Imran: Oh well.
Nerium: Yeah, oh well.
Imran: Game’s dead.
Nerium: Fantastic music, and they can’t take that away from us, unless they ???
Imran: Yeah, they should have put some of it in Smash Bros., honestly.
Nerium: Honestly. Yeah, really, really, really good music in that game. Last story that we have bolded here…Andrea, let’s circle back to you.
Andrea: Let’s see. So, NetEase acquiring Quantic Dream. Okay. So, I missed this. We reported on this yesterday? Or did this happen this morning?
Imran: This is today. This happened this morning.
Andrea: Oh, okay. So I’m a little out of the loop on this one. I haven’t read it all the way, but let’s read it now. So, NetEase acquires Quantic Dream for undisclosed amount of money, as it usually goes. How much do we think that they paid for Quantic Dream, of all– who acquires Quantic Dream?
Michael: Five bucks. [laughter]
Andrea: I will pay you to take it away from me, if I owned Quantic Dream.
Michael: Oh my God.
Imran: I mean, I would not be shocked if they sold it for a fairly low price, considering how much trouble that studio is having.
Imran: Like, they’re having a tough time hiring. They’re having a tough time finding publishers. Like, I would be– like NetEase has given– I’m trying to find the exact number, which is near impossible on a day that they announce an acquisition.
Imran: But like, about two years ago, I want to say they gave them like a hundred million dollars, like as a cash infusion, like cash investment.
Andrea: Uh huh.
Imran: I don’t know if that’s the– that’s the number they gave Bungie. I don’t remember if that’s what they gave Quantic Dream also.
Andrea: The people that are under, like, I just, I hope for Quantic Dream– I mean, it’s NetEase, so maybe “I hope” is, I don’t know. But the people that are under all of this hell that has happened at Quantic Dream, I don’t know, I just hope it’s like a good thing for them ultimately. That’s the only bright side I can ever look at with some of these acquisitions, so.
Michael: Yeah, Quantic Dream, makers of hit video games [Michael and Andrea laugh] such as Beyond: Two Souls, Heavy Rain—everyone’s favorite, Heavy Rain—and most recently, Detroit: Become Human.
Michael: And NetEase, who are purveyors of mobile RPGs– I’m sure they do a bunch of other things, but I think…
Imran: They are trying to transform into a traditional game publisher.
Michael: Okay. Yeah. That makes sense.
Nerium: They’re the Yakuza creative director.
Imran: Yeah, they just got…
Michael: Oh, they got Nagoshi.
Imran: Yeah, they opened up the Nagoshi Studios.
Imran: They also opened up Jar of Sparks, which is Jerry Hook from Halo. Like, they gave him his own studio, so.
Michael: Oh, wow.
Imran: Yeah, they have one in like…and also they put a hundred million dollars into Bungie, which they’re probably not–
Imran: Oh, not probably not. Bungie is owned by Sony now.
Imran: But like, they’re clearly making investments into the we plan to become a major video game developer.
Michael: Mm. Yeah.
Andrea: Is NetEase the…uh, what is that game? It’s like a battle royale thing, I think?
Michael: V for– no, not…
Imran: Not V for Vendetta.
Andrea: I’m gonna look it up.
Michael: They also– I think they got a lot of notoriety for Diablo Immortal.
Andrea: Naraka: Bladepoint.
Nerium: Naraka: Bladepoint, yes.
Andrea: There we go.
Nerium: That is them.
Imran: I just downloaded that on Xbox.
Imran: ‘Cause it looked okay. I was like, all right, why not?
Andrea: Yeah, it looks…
Nerium: They just put out like a big update for it too, I think.
Nerium: Like, that game…I’ve heard really good things about that game.
Michael: Yeah. So they got their hands in various places, and now they got their hands on some good old David Hokage content. [laughter] Last week, listen. Yo, maybe we’re speaking this shit into existence. David Cage out, Natalie Flores in. Let’s go. [laughter]
Imran: Yeah. I would endorse NetEase firing David Cage in putting Natalie Flores in his position.
Michael: Absolutely. Yes.
Nerium: I have a genuine question for the call.
Nerium: And this includes you, Paul. You can chime in. Does anybody here…has anybody here genuinely enjoyed a Quantic Dream game?
Imran: I think the Clancy Brown part of Detroit is good, like legitimately good.
Imran: I also am pretty sure David Cage did not write that part.
Nerium: Okay. [laughs quietly]
Andrea: I have good memories of how I played Heavy Rain, because it was like passing the controller around to friends.
Michael: Yeah, yeah.
Andrea: And like doing stuff like that. And at the time, I didn’t laugh hysterically at all of the like moments with the kind of ??? voice acting, but now I do. I have not played Detroit, though. I played Beyond: Two Souls and quit, because I was so distraught by how…
Imran: Beyond: Two Souls, Willem Dafoe aside, is just bad.
Imran: And not even Willem Dafoe’s script, Willem Dafoe just acting.
Imran: Like, everything else aside from that, like they even got a bad performance out of Elliot Page, who is a good actor.
Nerium: But also this is like the origin of that meme image of like them two just like staring dead eyed into the camera– like off camera during interviews about that game, while David Cage like looks excitedly next to them.
Nerium: ‘Cause they just like, they know that they have just worked on a huge piece of shit.
Imran: Yeah. Yeah.
Michael: [laughs] God damn.
Imran: You never see them bring that up. You never see them be like, “Oh, it was interesting working on Beyond: Two Souls.” They’re like, “What? No.” I think Elliot Page even sued over the game.
Nerium: Elliot page sued Quantic Dream.
Nerium: ‘Cause they made a model of his body in the game, a naked model of his body in the game?
Imran: Yeah, they did not need to have like the breasts modeled.
Andrea: Oh, I remember this! Oh, holy shit, yeah.
Imran: And of course the model leaked out, obviously.
Nerium: Right. That game is on fucking PC.
Michael: God damn.
Imran: Paul says, “I did kind of like Heavy Rain way back when, but I was peak head empty then.”
Michael: Yeah. Uh huh. [Nerium laughs]
Imran: Heavy Rain is a good game until…well, okay. Heavy Rain is an interesting game until Mad Jack, and then you’re like, “Oh shit, is this game real bad?” And then you get to the end, and it’s like, “Oh, it’s real bad.”
Michael: God. Yeah.
Nerium: I still, to this day, don’t know who the Origami Killer is.
Michael: I had this– so, as Andrea said, [Andrea: “Mm-hmm”] those pass the controller moments. So I played this with one of my homies back home, and we were also, like Paul said, we were in head empty mode, like we were just like mad ignorant. And so you know that video of Soulja Boy playing Braid? [laughter] That’s like me and my homies playing Heavy Rain. That shit was hella funny. And then when we got to the end of it, we were, “Man, this– fuck outta here with this shit.” It was fun–
Imran: Made David Cage cry.
Michael: [laughs] He’s gonna be sitting in a dark room, like, “They just didn’t get it, man.” [laughter] But in French. So it was fun in that regard, but also let me tell you about a game called Indigo Prophecy.
Nerium: [laughs] Uh huh?
Imran: Indigo Prophecy has an amazing fucking first chapter. Holy shit.
Michael: Yeah, that game is…that game is something. Oh my God.
Imran: Yeah. The first chapter is great. It just falls off a cliff right after that.
Michael: Isn’t David Cage in the game too?
Imran: Yes, he is in the demo or the initial introduction explaining to you how the game works.
Michael: Ah, hell yeah.
Nerium: Isn’t there– am I making this up or is there not like a deleted– not a deleted scene, but like a special bonus feature or something like that of his character model like dancing with the lady characters in that game in their underwear or something like that? [Michael laughs]
Andrea: Oh God.
Nerium: Does that not exist?
Michael: I vaguely remember something like this.
Andrea: I googled it, and there is.
Imran: I would not doubt you.
Andrea: Yeah. This is a thing, I think.
Michael: Oh my God. Well.
Imran: But yeah, he’s a bad writer, and he doesn’t get that he’s a bad writer, and I think that’s–
Nerium: Seems like maybe a bad person too.
Imran: Yeah, probably also a bad person.
Nerium: Allegedly, allegedly, allegedly.
Imran: If like all the things they say are true.
Imran: But like, not allegedly, he is a terrible writer and director.
Nerium: Yes. [Andrea laughs]
Michael: That’s factual.
Imran: They announced a Star Wars game that is looking at like 2028-29?
Nerium: Fuck off.
Imran: ‘Cause they just can’t hire anyone to work on it. And they’ve announced another game at Opening Night Live that I don’t even remember the name, Beneath the Waves or something?
Michael: Under the Waves, is it?
Imran: I don’t fucking know. [Michael laughs] And like, that also, I’m not at all interested in this. I don’t care what NetEase does with them, but I don’t think it’ll be good.
Michael: Damn. No faith.
Nerium: I mean, it’s squeezing blood from a stone, right?
Nerium: Like, I don’t know.
Imran: I do think David– like, I know why John doesn’t want to do this, ’cause you don’t want to like endorse the works of David Cage.
Imran: But we should, maybe in the future as part of a thing, stream Heavy Rain.
Michael: [sighs] God.
Imran: ‘Cause especially you saying you don’t know who the killer is, I want to stream that with you, Nere, so you can guess, and I can just laugh. [Nerium laughs]
Michael: Yeah, ’cause you can see the like–
Imran: Because when we get to it, you’re gonna be like, “What the– what?” [Nerium laughs]
Michael: Yeah, yeah. Also play it with a 500% facial animations. [laughter]
Nerium: Yeah, we should– ah, there’s so many things that we should do.
Andrea: I don’t remember so much of that, but I remember the finger scene.
Michael: Oh, yeah.
Andrea: That’s like the biggest standout thing to me that I remember is…
Michael: God, the thing that stuck out to me was crawling in the vent, crawling through a vent full of shattered glass.
Andrea: Oh God.
Michael: That shit fucked– ugh.
Imran: So, right after that vent scene, there’s like a thing where you have to go through like a maze of like electrical like currents.
Michael: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Imran: And I was like, “Okay, I’m curious. What happens if I die here?” So I just kept running into the electrical currents. You can’t die there. You just keep getting like more and more annoyed [Nerium: “Yeah”] that like you’re electrocuting yourself constantly, and it’s the funniest fucking thing in the world, of like, “This game is about consequences,” and I’m like, “What if I test that?” and they’re like, “Please don’t.” [Andrea laughs]
Nerium: No, there’s a famous clip—I dropped it in the chat here—of like somebody doing the chase scene against the like bald guy in the rain at some point—in the Heavy Rain, I guess—and just failing every single QTE scene, and it’s just this fucking Naked Gun bit of your character, your like detective character, falling and tripping but never being able to like completely stop. He just keeps going. He just continuously fucks up and gets more fucked up and hit by cars and slipping on ice cubes and falling on his ass, but keeps going! He never fails you! [laughter]
Imran: Yeah. I think that is what the magic trick of Quantic Dream is, is that it’s the illusion of “We have so many ways this story can go,” but it’s all really one line. And like that line will occasionally branch off into an ending that like didn’t work out or your characters died or someone remembers you were mean to them once or something, but like, that’s not good storytelling. That’s just like, you’re just throwing more resources at a thing to make it another option.
Imran: Like, Blade Runner would not be a better movie if they gave me a choice of “Is Deckard a robot or not?”
Imran: Like, letting me talk about that and think about it and interpret it, sure, but like, that doesn’t make the movie better. It just makes it like a weird interactive art piece.
Michael: Yeah. It’s like, what-if scenarios aren’t interesting in and of themselves, but the thing with Quantic Dream games is like, “But they are,” and then you play it, and like, no, they’re not. [laughter]
Michael: If you don’t do anything interesting with that concept.
Imran: But again, Clancy Brown: good.
Nerium: There are games that do really interesting things with like the…like, Michael, you and I are like big fans of like the AI: The Somnium Files.
Michael: I was just gonna say, yeah.
Andrea: Oh, I need to play that.
Nerium: God, they’re so cool.
Michael: Yeah, they’re so cool, but the thing is like, Hey, we have what-if scenarios, but their purpose is to paint a much more vibrant picture so when you get to the actual end of this, it a kind of all comes together, and it’s a lot more thought provoking.
Michael: And you see different sides of characters you don’t find in other routes, and especially in the latest one, the way those kind of converge and contort throughout how the story is told is very interesting, and it very much enhances the experience. If AI: The Somnium Files was just a straight line, like this is a visual novel and you just kind of go through it, it would be a less interesting story. Like, they get creative with the fact that they have branching storylines and different, quote, “endings.”
Michael: That’s not what Quantic Dream’s games are though.
Imran: I do think when David Cage was making Heavy Rain, the game he thought he was making was Zero Escape Nine Persons, Nine Doors.
Michael: Sure, yeah.
Imran: I think that’s the game he thought he was making, but he doesn’t have the talent to make that game.
Michael: Yeah. Listen, get on Uchikoshi’s level, man.
Andrea: Virtue’s Last Reward is like one of my top 10 games, for sure.
Michael: Oh, really? Ah, shit.
Nerium: I love Virtue’s Last Reward too, Andrea.
Andrea: So good.
Nerium: That was the first one I played too, so maybe that’s just part of it, was just like, [Andrea: “Mm-hmm”] the moment where you realize like the trick or like why there are branching paths, and you’re like, “Wait, what?”
Nerium: Mm, so good.
Andrea: It’s super good.
Nerium: Zero Time Dilemma, not good, but… [laughs]
Imran: I never played that.
Nerium: I like it.
Imran: I preordered it. I got the watch, but I never played the game.
Andrea: I got the watch too. Do you remember the watch controversy? There was like a watch…
Imran: Was there a controversy about the watch?
Andrea: There was, because it was like, some of them arrived damaged, and some of them never arrived, [Imran: “Ah”] and I think some people got like two watches.
Michael: What the fuck?
Andrea: And there was a whole Twitter controversy about the watch. [laughs]
Imran: I have both the VLR one and the Virtue’s Last– or the, uh, Time Dilemma one.
Nerium: Zero Time Dilemma.
Nerium: You know what? Honestly, I do kind of take it back. I actually don’t hate Zero Time Dilemma the way that a lot of people do, but a lot of people fucking hate Zero Time Dilemma.
Andrea: Yeah, they do. I love it.
Nerium: And it’s not as good as the other two.
Andrea: It’s not. It’s not. I think it’s the weakest link of the three, but I do love it, like unapologetically love it a ton, even though all my friends I think hate it, so.
Imran: I mean, none of these like visual novel people like ever bat a thousand.
Imran: Like, Uchikoshi has some not great stuff. Kodaka, the Danganronpa person, [“Mm-hmm”] has like World’s End Club, which is just, that’s not a good game at all. Even Takumi from Ace Attorney, he’s made some not great games. He also made Ghost Trick, which is a fucking fantastic.
Nerium: God. Ghost Trick.
Imran: But there’s only so many– like, when you make one of these, you shouldn’t assume this person is gonna make a bunch more good games. [laughs] If they make one more good game, that’s great.
Nerium: I would say like Uchikoshi, like, that’s kind of the weakest one, and even that one is pretty good.
Nerium: I mean, he’s worked on other games that aren’t AI and the other one.
Imran: He was the 3D modeler for Pepsiman.
Nerium: [contemplatively] He was the 3D modeler for Pepsiman.
Michael: What the fuck? [laughs]
Imran: Yeah, that was his first video game job, [Michael: “Wow”] was that he was on 3D models for the Pepsiman video game.
Michael: Oh my God.
Andrea: Oh, wow.
Michael: Yeah, wow, Uchikoshi’s in it. That dude is interesting. I remember I did some interviews with him when I was at GameSpot, and that fool is…he is wild.
Imran: I love his Twitter account, because he talks like one of the characters from his games. [laughter]
Nerium: I know!
Imran: He like actually explains and like…like, “Oh, Carl Jung describes–”
Imran: And like straight up just says– like, the writing is not a put on. That’s just what he sounds like.
Michael: Oh, that is…yes. That is some real shit. [laughs]
Imran: There was that thing that went viral of him trying to explain to someone, “Hey, you idiot, there are trans and gay people in Japan too.”
Nerium: Yeah, ’cause there’s trans and gay characters in AI: The Somnium Files and some of–
Nerium: Yeah, and other stuff.
Imran: And like some white guy was like trying to tell him there wasn’t. [laughter]
Nerium: He’s like, “I wrote the motherfucking game.”
Michael: No. [laughs] One, I’m Japanese. Two, I live in Japan. Three, I’m the one who made these games, so, uh…
Nerium: Yeah, like, he’s fucking fascinating, like the writing of those games. It’s like Hideo Kojima where Hideo Kojima is like very breathlessly describing like a military historical event or whatever, except he’s describing like the fucking mothman [laughs] and like what people think about weird– and bringing it back to cryptids.
Andrea: The guy on the moon.
Nerium: He’s just talking about like weird urban legends that he thinks are interesting and stuff like that.
Nerium: It’s very funny.
Imran: The best part of 999 was this moment where like Junpei and like two other characters are like stuck in a freezer and trying to figure their way out.
Nerium: [laughs] Yes!
Imran: And the other two characters just start talking about like, “Hey, have you heard of ice-nine?” [Andrea laughs] And they start telling you about it for like 20 minutes, and like, when you get to the twist, it makes sense why they did that.
Imran: But at the time, you’re like, “What the fuck are you talking about? We’re gonna die.” [laughter]
Nerium: And like, they’re literally, and even in the universe of the game, they’re talking about ice-nine, which is a fictional thing from a book by Kurt Vonnegut.
Nerium: And they are even saying like, [laughs] “It’s the fictional thing from a book by Kurt Vonnegut.”
Andrea: It’s canon in 999.
Nerium: “People have invented it in real life too.” It’s like, “Whoa!” [laughter] It’s like, a bunch of characters just know things that they have no business knowing, [Imran: “Yeah”] just so they can say it, which is like, oh, it’s just funny.
Imran: Every character in an Uchikoshi game is someone who has just read a Wikipedia article on something interesting [“Uh huh”] and cannot wait to talk about it.
Michael: [laughs] Yeah.
Nerium: Just like this podcast. [laughter] Speaking of not being able to wait to talk about things to explain things to people, we’ve been going for a little while here, but we’ll just like roll in…we’ll maybe do some questions on 99 Potions in the future going forward. We have an email address specifically for 99 Potions. That email address is 99potions, that is the letter– or not the letter, the exact opposite. [Imran chuckles] The number nine and then the number nine potions at fanbyte.com.
Michael: 999 Potions.
Nerium: 999 potions minus one nine. [Imran laughs] Still divisible by three, though! Got you there.
Michael: Wait, did I make that– I made that joke two episodes ago, right?
Andrea: It’s back.
Michael: Yeah, ’cause we were talking about– you and I were talking about AI: The Somnium Files, and I said, “Oh, 999 Potions, haha.” Fuckin’…
Nerium: Ask me to remember what I ate for breakfast this morning. [Imran laughs]
Michael: Anyway, sorry.
Imran: Nere couldn’t remember how many times they’ve asked us how we’re doing today.
Michael: Yes, that too. [laughs]
Nerium: Oh, sorry, yeah, I forgot to ask. How are y’all doing today?
Imran: Oh, I’m doing great. How about you?
Nerium: Ah, pretty good.
Nerium: Been feeling really good lately. Yeah, we, uh…so if you have questions for us at 99 Potions, you can reach out to us at that email address. We have a couple of questions. You can also go to the Discord, actually. That is another good reminder. You can go to fanbyte.casa and go to the podcast questions channel to drop questions in there. That is where a few of these came from. All of these are from funkuncle who’s been asking a couple questions in there for the past couple of– for the past little while. We’ll drop a couple of them in here really quick, just blow through them, ’cause we gotta get through this podcast, but: Will “Escape From the City” be in the third Sonic movie?
Imran: Like the song?
Nerium: I think so, yeah.
Imran: I would assume no, because they used that San Francisco like set piece already in the first movie.
Imran: So like, maybe in some way, but like, they already had that reference in that first one with Sonic Adventure 2.
Nerium: Okay. I have a new question from user Nerium: Who here on this podcast has seen either or both of the Sonic movies? [laughs]
Imran: I have seen both.
Andrea: Just the first.
Nerium: Just the first?
Michael: Yeah, just the first.
Nerium: I’ve not seen either.
Imran: Second one’s not bad. Like, clearly also a little confused about, you know, the plot, what plots are, but like, it’s not a bad movie.
Michael: They’re fun.
Nerium: I should watch them. This was also before I think any of y’all worked here, one of the things that we were planning to do at like E3 2022 or PAX or something like that, we were all going to go to Sonic the Hedgehog in theaters.
Imran: You mean 2020.
Nerium: 2020, yeah, sorry.
Nerium: We were all gonna go see Sonic 1 in theaters together in person, and we were like, ah, everyone was just too tired and we wanted to go home. It’s like, “Eh, it’s fine. We’ll do something else later.” And then it was like the week of lockdown, like the week that lockdown began in earnest. ‘Cause remember, that movie ended up becoming like the number one highest grossing film in America, ’cause it was the only movie that came out that year, [laughs] because everybody…
Imran: Yeah. It came out Valentine’s Day, and then two, three weeks later, like the country was locked down.
Nerium: Yeah. Uh huh.
Michael: And they’re like, “Haha, we’re the best for the rest of the year!” [Imran laughs]
Nerium: So we never got to go see that, and I’ve just never gone and watched it, but I probably should. I’m not a huge Sonic fan, but you know, it’s a cultural touchstone at this point, right?
Imran: Yeah. It is, I think, hard to deny, the best of video game movie.
Nerium: Better than the original nineties Mortal Kombat movie.
Andrea: Pikachu? What is that one?
Nerium: What’s that, Andrea?
Andrea: Oh, the Detective Pikachu one? Is it better than that? I loved that movie.
Imran: I would say it’s better than that. I think Detective Pikachu has some pretty rough script problems.
Andrea: Uh huh.
Imran: And I would say Sonic‘s probably a better movie.
Imran: I think a lot of it’s carried by Jim Carrey just kinda like devouring the set.
Nerium: Mm, mm-hmm.
Michael: Jim Carried. [Andrea laughs]
Imran: Yeah. It’s Jim Carried. [Nerium laughs] There’s no vaccine for that guy.
Michael: Damn. That’s, nah. Problematic faves.
Imran: Uh huh.
Andrea: Oh wait, is he an anti-vax? Oh my gosh.
Imran: He was for a while. I don’t know if he still is.
Andrea: [sighs] I’m sad.
Nerium: He was like one of the original– he and his wife at the time, Jenny McCarthy, were like some of the vanguards of the anti-vax movement in Hollywood.
Andrea: Oh my God.
Nerium: They were the beginning of it.
Imran: I remember he called the governor of California Mussolini because of [Andrea: “Oh my God”, laughter] mandated MMR vaccines for school kids.
Michael: Gavin Newsolini. [laughter]
Nerium: Yeah. “Has 99 Potions ever done any of the Valkyrie Profile games?” I’ve never played them. I think they mean have we done an episode. We have not.
Nerium: But also I’m just expanding this to mean the games. Have y’all played those?
Imran: I played the port of the first one on PSP. I’ll probably play the next one, ’cause the faces are weird, and that’s like intriguing to me. [laughter] Like, I want to know what this game is like.
Nerium: Mm. Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Andrea: That’s where I stole my original Final Fantasy XIV name from, so.
Michael: Oh, wow.
Andrea: Before it was Lenny it was Lenneth. [laughter] I played the PSP one. It was like Lenneth something Mass Effect.
Nerium: Valkyrie Profile: Lenny.
Andrea: Yeah. Yeah, it was… [laughs]
Michael: Oh, that’s where it comes from.
Imran: Lenny from The Simpsons.
Andrea: [laughs] Lenny from The Simpsons. That’s not where it comes from.
Imran: Please don’t tell everyone how I live.
Michael: Lenny’s your catgirl, right?
Andrea: Yes, yes.
Andrea: So it was Lenneth something.
Nerium: Yeah, Andrea talking like she has one Final Fantasy XIV character.
Andrea: I am. [laughter]
Michael: Oh, yeah.
Andrea: I have multiple. But yeah, no, my original character, I snagged that name from it, ’cause I couldn’t find one. So I was like, let me take two RPG names and mash them together so I can stop getting, like, “This name has already been taken.” Bang.
Andrea: So that’s what I did, and I did not beat Lenneth on PSP, so we’ll see if I…
Nerium: That game is like hard to find now, if I remember correctly.
Andrea: Is it really?
Nerium: It’s like expensive.
Imran: Yeah, it is extremely expensive.
Andrea: Oh shit.
Andrea: I’m about to sell it.
Imran: I think like there’s an iOS version. I don’t know if it even works on modern consoles.
Michael: There also might be a version on…psspssspsspss, allegedly.
Michael: Allegedly. I should probably, as a self-proclaimed JRPG enjoyer, I should probably cover my grounds and play those games. I do know what their kind of– I know their history and I got respect for them.
Michael: I did play Indivisible.
Nerium: Oh, yeah.
Michael: I reviewed Indivisible, which is kind of like an homage to Valkyrie Profile.
Imran: I like that game up until there’s a point where I’m like, yeah, this platforming is too hard. Like, I’m not enjoying this.
Michael: Oh, I kind of like the platforming in…
Michael: I was gonna say Valkyrie Profile. In Indivisible. I got love for that game. Skullgirls people.
Nerium: That game’s cool as hell, yeah.
Michael: Yeah. Kind of branched out from Skullgirls, use same art style, so there’s a lot to love about that game.
Nerium: Love that art style.
Michael: Weak in some areas, of course, but cool idea.
Nerium: Its budget shows sometimes, I think.
Michael: Sure, yeah. Especially towards the end.
Nerium: Yeah. Last question we got here: Is Flask of Wondrous Physick like SodaStream? I don’t know if I’ve had SodaStream, just SodaStream SodaStream, so I don’t know.
Imran: SodaStream is just like how to add carbonation to a thing.
Nerium: Yeah. I don’t think I’ve had like a thing that was just like added carbonation to something like manually that way. I mean, I’ve had soda, obviously.
Nerium: So I don’t know. It’s tough for me to say. Flask of Wondrous Physick.
Michael: Oh, it’s an Elden Ring thing.
Nerium: Yeah, yeah. It’s like the craftable customizable potion that you can drink that like can do all kinds of different things, depending on which ingredients you use.
Nerium: So I guess it’s kind of like a Coke Freestyle machine.
Michael: Ah, okay.
Imran: Yeah. I never used it nearly as much as I should.
Nerium: Yes. Right. That’s the other thing is like you get that, and you’re like, “Holy shit, this is a game changer!” And then you forget that you even have it half the time.
Michael: So need a potion seller.
Nerium: You don’t even–
Michael: You can make your own strongest potions.
Nerium: [laughs] You pick it up off the ground.
Nerium: Kill trees and fill it up with their juice. That’s what Elden Ring is about, and this podcast is about…to end!
Andrea: It’s long.
Nerium: See what I did there?
Michael: Yeah, yeah.
Imran: Yeah. That’s what we’re about, to end.
Nerium: All right. Thank you all so much for listening to this here episode of 99 Potions. Thank you, Andrea, for coming on again.
Andrea: And to you. I’m excited.
Nerium: It was exciting to have you.
Michael: Hell yeah. Yeah, listen, Imran said no more Final Fantasy XIV. [snorts] Listen. [laughter]
Imran: I don’t recall saying that.
Michael: No, you’re getting out– [laughs] I know that’s not what you said, but this is me speaking it into existence. It’s three on one, you’re getting jumped, and that’s that on that, so.
Imran: Okay. Good to know.
Nerium: Listen, we need to– we can’t jump Imran unless we’re holding him down and forcing him to play Final Fantasy XIV, ’cause we need four people to form a light party.
Michael: Light party, yeah.
Andrea: Oh, wow.
Nerium: You can’t just have three.
Imran: I can’t. I’m too busy making a Valkyrie Profile: Lenny Photoshop. [laughter]
Nerium: Well, Imran, thank you for that, and thank you for being on as well with us.
Imran: Thank you.
Nerium: I mean, I guess…we are all of us us, so I don’t know why I’m thanking you like you’ve come into the group for the first time or something like that. You’ve been on this show for a little while.
Imran: Yeah, it’s been some time at this point. I think I’ve been on 50 something, 60 episodes?
Nerium: Yeah. And one of these days you’re gonna graduate to a full-time co-host. You just keep at it, you know?
Imran: Put me in, coach. I’m ready. [Nerium laughs]
Nerium: No. Of course we are very happy to do this show for everybody out there in the world. Thank you to Paul, our producer. You can find Paul on Twitter @polimayo. Where can people find you, Andrea?
Andrea: I’m also on Twitter, and that’s @maajora with two A’s in the beginning, because someone took just @majora.
Nerium: Wow. That’s not surprising at all, though.
Andrea: I know.
Nerium: Of course they did. Where can people find you, Michael?
Michael: You could find me and all of my bullshit @michaelphigham on Twitter and fanbyte.com. It’s fanbyte.com. Hit video game website, fanbyte.com. Read all the stories, click all the links, ’cause my colleagues are doing some great work, and go to thelinkshell.com. If you loved our Final Fantasy XIV section, which was the entire podcast, you should go– oh, I got this website for y’all. [laughter] Thelinkshell.com. Listen, that shit is fire. I’m not even gonna hold you. For all your Final Fantasy XIV news, guides, features, and all that stuff. Listen, that item database? Square Enix, pull up. Do something. We got the item database, so, how about that? [laughter]
Nerium: And, you know, Imran, I think I hear Natalie screaming from Miami, something about your name. I’m sure she just wants you to say what your social media handle is.
Imran: Gotta wear it loud and proud. My social media handle is @imranzomg on Twitter. Also, like Michael, you can find me on fanbyte.com. That Ys thing I was talking about with the column is available. You find it today. Actually, we didn’t say that, by the way, yet. You’re probably listening to this on Friday, ’cause these come out on Friday now.
Nerium: Yeah, right.
Nerium: We should have mentioned that. You’re right! Shout. Anybody in the Discord would already know this, but yeah, we are going to be posting 99 Potions on Fridays going forward. It just gives us more time to produce the episodes, and we had some scheduling stuff open up, so now we have more time to do it. So it’s like, okay, well, we might as well put more love and attention into the shows that we have, to have them go up later and just be, you know, juicier. And then that separates them a little bit from Channel F too, ’cause like in the current format, they come out like right next to each other, and this way they’re spread out more across the week and people have something to look forward to, and that’s why they save the best for last. They save 99 Potions for Fridays.
Nerium: Best podcast.
Michael: The juiciest potions in the game.
Nerium: The juiciest potions, the best podcasts, better ingredients, Papa John’s. [Imran laughs]
Michael: God damn. Papashan’s.
Nerium: Papashan’s. Yeah, there we go! We did it!
Nerium: Brought it back to Final Fantasy XIV.
Michael: All coming back to Final Fantasy XIV. [Michael and Nerium laugh]
Nerium: Imran, you’ll get that in six years. [laughter] But you don’t have to wait another six years to listen to another episode of 99 Potions or to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org is the email address one last time. You can also con– well, I guess contact us. I don’t know. You can follow us on Twitter @fanbytemedia as the general thing. You can find me on Twitter @neriumstrom. That is about it. We are going to clock on out, but before we do, we always love to commemorate the movement. Commemorate the– no.
Imran: The movement.
Nerium: The moment? Commemorate the end of this episode.
Michael: This a movement, yeah.
Imran: Yeah. It’s a movement of good podcasts.
Nerium: There’s more and more people. They’re taking to the streets. They’re saying “99 Potions is a good podcast!”
Nerium: “Not a bad one! Stop saying it isn’t!” And to give themselves strength, they saddle on up to the bar, and they grab a potion, and they give it a nice hearty clink.
Michael: Glug, glug, glug, glug, glug. [laughter]