Lasombra Files Episode 14: The AV Club

  • Posted January 14th, 2013 at 08:13 EDT by

Welcome to the Lasombra Files, PSU’s weekly hit program. Follow the story of Lasombra and V as they try to stay alive in Shadow City, unraveling its secrets, while at the same time shining the spotlight on Trophy hunters around the world and in our community.

              

After a week on hospital food part of me wanted to get tied back up and tortured again rather than eat another meal. V was in no better mood, as she is not the type who can sit still for long. Our twins worked the both of us over really well, but to call them twins is a misnomer in the traditional sense of the word. After reading through the folder Captain Li gave me, parts of the puzzle became clear. Science was able to peer through the mirror but just happened to shatter it at the same time. V told me of the time she spent being interrogated by her twin, learning that while their appearances were different everything else about them was the same. Same style, same mannerisms, same gleeful joy in snapping bones. All I knew was we needed to find this scientist to fix whatever mirror was broken in Episode 14: The AV Club. I don’t know why Captain Li wants to help us but there was something familiar about her. She’d give me the name of the head researcher if we just did one little favour for her. Time to go back to Shadow City and get chewed out by the Boss. This favour better be worth it or I’d rather get worked over again.

Name: Greg
Age: 22
Gender: Male
Occupation: Sales Operations Coordinator
Country: USA

Disclaimer: This interview is reproduced as written by the interviewee. Pictures copyright of their artist/photographer/owner.

Lasombra: How long have you been gaming?

Ixion: I’ve been gaming ever since I can remember. I was born in 1990 and I remember playing the NES and Sega Genesis as a little tike.


Lasombra: How did you find PSU?

Ixion: Since this site was originally called PS3Forums, I’m assuming I found this place like many of our other long-time members found it. I typed ‘ps3 forum’ in Google and this site came up.


Lasombra: Are you solely a Sony gamer this generation or do you split your time between multiple systems?

Ixion: Most of my gaming has been with my PS3, but the first console I bought this generation was the Xbox 360 since I couldn’t resist trying out the ‘next-generation’ of gaming back then, especially The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. However, my 360 broke twice, so I gave up. There are very few 360 exclusives I’m interested in, so it hasn’t been a problem. Also, I’m not at all interested in Nintendo.


Lasombra: What do you like about the community at PSU that keeps bringing you back for more?

Ixion: As a regular member, I enjoy PSU because it’s a tight-knit community with a funny cast of characters. It’s also active, but not too cluttered like some other forums. It also fits my needs as a gamer, since most of my gaming is done via PlayStation, but I’m still interested in the other consoles. PSU is perfect for that.

As a staff member, I really want to help improve the experience for everyone. I certainly found additional purpose when I was promoted to an SMC a couple years ago.


Lasombra: In your opinion, what needs to be done to help the community to grow bigger and better?

Ixion: Besides the current technical issues that are annoying some of our members, I feel we need to implement some new features and incentives for our community. We have a forum currency called SP, but SP is not worth much without stuff to buy. The shop is our main source for incentives, but there’s currently a limit to how many items the shop can hold. We need to figure out how to increase the shop limit and provide more interesting rewards. We even have an add-on installed in our forum that provides points, trophies, and rewards for activity and post quality. But without a fully realized shop, the add-on doesn’t help much. These features would also allow us to provide more exclusive content for subscribing members.

Our main site is a huge advantage though, so we need to integrate the main site with the forums in more interesting ways. One of our staff members, Ghost-Rhayne, has been putting a lot of effort towards this objective, such as featuring our community reviews and our Design Squad on the main site. Integrating our article comments with the forum would be huge as well, since many members only seem to comment on the articles. Bringing everyone together would result in more discussion. Hopefully we figure out how to pull that off at some point.

Other than that, the announcement of the PS4 will provide many more interesting topics than we have now, which is likely only six months away. News in the PlayStation world has been fairly dry the last couple years. When the PS3 was announced however, everyone was fascinated by every specification, every tech demo, and every game. I look forward to that level of excitement later this year.


Lasombra: Do you have any gaming goals for this year?

Ixion: I always keep a list on my phone of all the games I want to play. There is no goal for when I want to complete them though. The list mainly consists of classic RPGs I’ve always wanted to play, like Dragon Quest VIII, Vagrant Story, and Xenogears.


Lasombra: Are you a trophy hunter, and what do you think about trophies overall?

Ixion: I can’t say I’ve ever gone out of my way to acquire trophies. I love doing extra quests and collecting things within the game, but a trophy isn’t enough incentive for me. I think I’d only go trophy hunting for a game I absolutely adore. Perhaps the Final Fantasy X HD release, if that ever happens.


Lasombra: The PS2 dominated a console war like no other system. What tricks does Sony need to pull out of their hat to create the same magic with the PS4.

Ixion: The PS2 dominated for two reasons. First, it had by far the most exclusive games. Second, it was simply the cool console to own. The Gamecube was seen as more childish and the Xbox was seen as more geeky. Microsoft did a great job marketing the 360 this generation and making it seem cool, at least here in the USA. Not to mention nearly every third-party company decided to release previously exclusive franchises on multiple consoles this time.

Microsoft ate into both of those strengths. Sony will have to eat it back, but with a different strategy. Sony can’t rely on third-party developers anymore. Their first-party software needs to make up for that, and Sony has gradually built up a strong set of first-party studios, unlike Microsoft. However, while Microsoft has less exclusives, the exclusives they do have are massively part of the public consciousness, such as Halo and Gears of War. Therefore, Sony needs to market the hell out of Killzone, Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet, and so on, while also creating some cool new IPs. Gran Turismo is already massive, but these other franchises are on the cusp and need more of a push.

Then of course there’s the motion control revolution. We don’t know yet exactly what Sony and Microsoft will do, but the appeal of Sony’s idea needs to be simple to understand, unlike the Move, which is more advanced than the Wiimote, but requires an explanation to understand why.


Lasombra: Do you have a favorite era of gaming? The SNES/Genesis war? The reign of the Playstation Reich? Hail to the NES?

Ixion: Each generation had its strengths. The NES and Genesis had so many simple, but fun and timeless games. The N64 is still the best console for local multiplayer. The PS2 was a huge jump for maturity and detail in video games. Lastly, the PS3 and 360 introduced me to online gaming.

I would have to go with the PS2 though. Simply because of my favorite game, Final Fantasy X, which was by far the most involving gaming experience I ever came across at the time. I never played an RPG until then, so that was a magical time for me. That also led me to become a PlayStation fan.


Lasombra: Is there a lot of gaming culture in your area of the world? Unique stores, conventions, etc?

Ixion: I work in New York City, so there are occasionally some conventions here, but I’ve never been to them. However, companies sometimes set up small expos for their new products in Grand Central Station, which is cool. For example, I was able to try the Nintendo 3DS before it was released.


Lasombra: Have you ever been burnt out from a gaming session?

Ixion: I generally can’t play video games for more than a couple hours. There have been a few cases where I was obsessed with a game and would play it all day for a week or two straight, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and Fable 2. I was insanely addicted to those three games, and since I played them so much, I got sick of them to a degree.


Lasombra: As someone who works as staff for the site, what are your day-to-day duties? Can you give the fans an idea of a day in the life of Ixion?

Ixion: After logging on, I’ll tend to any private message requests I’ve received. Then I will check out the reports forum and the general staff forum to see if there’s anything that needs taking care of. Third, I’ll see if there are any new threads in the feedback forum that need a response. Fortunately we have a very active and driven forum staff right now, so everything gets handled rather quickly. I also try to chat up our community manager, Cuguy, when I get a chance. That’s where we strategize how to improve the forum to the best of our abilities.


Lasombra: It has been over a decade of a big 3 but do you think any company will become the next Sega and bow out of the console market, and either solely focus on games or just leave the business entirely?

Ixion: All three companies are having success, so I think they’ll all be around for the next generation. Microsoft would be the last to drop out and focus on games, since their first-party line-up is rather small. Sony and Nintendo have a good collection of notable first-party franchises, so that decision could work for them, but neither will need to drop out anytime soon.


Lasombra: Where did you get the concept behind your name?

Ixion: Ixion was a summon-able character in Final Fantasy X. I always thought it sounded cool, so I chose it as my username.


Lasombra: Being staff for a gaming site's forums, do you have any aspirations to try and find a way to work in the gaming business?

Ixion: My primary job is not very interesting, so I do have aspirations to find something more to my interests. Gaming would definitely be one of the options, as would music. Working for PSU doesn’t even feel like work, since I have a passion for it. I’d like to find something similar for my full-time job.


Lasombra: What are your favourite kind of games to play and why? What is it that draws you to them?

Ixion: RPGs, simply because they provide a deeper and more engrossing experience than other genres. An RPG with an interesting world and story will draw you into the experience and develop an emotional attachment generally not seen with other genres, while the classic RPG gameplay components, such as leveling, customization, side-quests, exploration, etc., provide an addictive factor that keeps you playing. Also, these games are usually very replay-able, since most RPGs allow the player to develop the characters in different ways. All in all, there's nothing like sinking your teeth into a good RPG and getting lost in its world.


Lasombra: Constantly we keep hearing about how the Vita is under-performing. Being someone who works in sales, if you had complete control of the Vita, what would you prioritize getting done in order for the system to be able to compete better in the market?

Ixion: With smartphones taking over the mobile gaming world, these game-specific handhelds need to communicate how they deliver experiences that cannot be done on a smartphone. The 3DS communicates its advantage in the name itself. The Vita’s overall package cannot be experienced with smartphones either, but since the iPhone 5 is nearly as powerful as the Vita, consumers probably don’t see why they need a Vita, since that is its main strength. The PS3 had the same issue, since no feature seemed clearly unique to consumers besides its Blu-ray player, but it went on to succeed simply due to a strong library of games. In conclusion, the marketing for Vita needs to clearly explain the unique features of the console, while the games need to be there as well, which is obvious.


Lasombra: You've mentioned you are a big Final Fantasy X fan. We know there is a rabid fanbase that is dying for a remake or Final Fantasy VII and X. Considering Square re-hashed Final Fantasy I, IV, and VI continuously on the handhelds, why do you think they are reluctant at being capitalists and create a product they know will sell a lot?

Ixion: I can see why they wouldn’t want to create a full-fledged Final Fantasy VII remake, as creating that entire world with current-gen graphics, while keeping the open world, would be an extremely ambitious undertaking. Personally, I would rather that time, money, and effort be spent on a new Final Fantasy, since that is the only way we might see new entries that will connect with fans as much as the classics. However, it’s puzzling how a remaster hasn’t been released yet. With the FFVII remake hype at a fever pitch towards the beginning of this generation, a simple FFVII HD remaster with perhaps new quests, items, abilities, etc., would have sold extremely well.

As for Final Fantasy X HD, it seems they simply announced the project too early in typical Square-Enix fashion. They insist Kingdom Hearts HD was in development first, so we might have to wait until that game is released before we hear more about Final Fantasy X.

We have also seen huge demand for Final Fantasy Versus XIII, which continues to be put on the back burner, most likely to not disrupt the completion of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. Once that is complete, hopefully we will hear more regarding Versus.

Lastly, Final Fantasy Type-0 was released in Japan over a year ago, and many fans consider it one of the best entries in the franchise since Final Fantasy X. But since the PSP market is non-existent in the West, it seems Square-Enix won’t give us that game either. A PSN version would make sense.

I think the red goop running down the side of my face is the blood leaking out of my exploded ear drum. To say the Boss was unhappy with us is an understatement, as he made the Drill Sgt. in Full Metal Jacket sound like a G rated speech for kids at a Sunday school. If I never got the crap beat out of me by a doppelganger then I might have been cowering in the corner from his very impressive tirade. 1 wrecked news van, plane tickets to Peru, and a 1 week hospital stay, all charged to the company expense account. Oh sure, printing a story about how we got captured by the Greek mafia and tortured by people who knew our lives like a book sounded like a great story to me, but apparently the Greek’s might have a problem with that in Episode 15: Beyond the Veil. Something didn’t add up. Call it an investigative hunch, unless we want to call this a gaping plot hole. But I didn’t bother to press him during tirade mode as he told me where to go. Apparently there was another urgent story I had to cover down the street. The local elementary school had a bake sale and a famous celebrity was attending. I guess pointing out that sending a guy who looked like an FBI agent, and a girl who came out of a Soviet-Nazi fashion catalogue, would make too much sense anymore.

Missed an episode? Check out the back issues.

Want to hear random thoughts about life in Japan, gaming, or want to leave your thoughts about the series and the story? Follow our intrepid reporter on FacebookTwitter, or email him at Dane.Smith@psu.com
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