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  1. A while back, Square Enix announced a game called Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and in all their advertising insisted that the game really was a remake to Final Fantasy 7... and then the game turned out to actually be an alternate-timeline storyline where certain characters are aware of what happened in the original FF7 and try to change the course of events while other characters try to maintain the original course of events. A year later, Nintendo announced a game called Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, a spinoff to Breath of the Wild that they kept declaring was a game set 100 years before Breath of the Wild... and then the game turned out to be an alternate-timeline storyline where a good robot egg from the future tries to prevent the calamity while a corrupted robot egg tries to ensure the calamity succeeds, and the events of the great calamity are ultimately prevented before they can happen. On the same day that Square Enix announced part 2 of the FF7R series, they also announced a remake of Crisis Core: the prequel to FF7... and they just recently announced that this remake of Crisis Core will actually be a prequel to FF7R, not FF7. I have in the past criticized those first two games for their false-advertising and appreciated Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes for being upfront about being an alternate timeline, but with even more of these games appearing, I've begun to think that there are genuine problems with these games beyond marketing that are generally overlooked, and I wanted to address some of them here now that these kinds of games seem to have become a trend: 1. They are alienating to newcomers. This is hardly unique to these games; hard sequels can risk doing so as well, but in these games, it is pretty much unavoidable that a newcomer who isn't familiar with the original game will be confused by the alternate-timeline. One might argue that this isn't inherently a problem as these games are made for pre-existing fans, and fair enough, but even so, this would've been problematic for Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Age of Calamity, as their marketing definitely attracted newcomers. I know a number of people who bought FF7R having never played FF7; with more casual audiences, a modern remake with up-to-date presentation sounds more appealing than playing a port of a game from 1997; I know I bought FF7R because I thought a remake of FF7 would be a perfect entry point into the series for me and that it would likely be easier to get into than a game that's a year older than Ocarina of Time, and I did see people wonder, back in the days when everyone thought Age of Calamity was going to be a prequel, if perhaps it would be better for newcomers to start with Age of Calamity. But anyway, even if this isn't necessarily a problem for the consumer, it is a potential problem for the publisher if they fail to realize that they are making a game that can only appeal to established fans, and given how much these games are becoming a trend and how much attention most of them have been getting, I don't think they realize that; I genuinely think at least some of them think these games can appeal to newcomers. 2. They present missed opportunities. This admittedly isn't always the case; Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes certainly doesn't. But at least a few of these games present opportunities only for these opportunities to be wasted by the alternate-timeline. Age of Calamity presented the idea of a game that took place during the great calamity, and now, that's likely never to actually happen. Similarly, one problem I see with Crisis Core Reunion is that, while people disappointed with FF7R can still play the original FF7 as ports of it are everywhere, the same is not true of the original Crisis Core. The original Crisis Core was a PSP-exclusive, and Square Enix never ported it to another console, so the remake was a perfect opportunity for people who never owned a PSP, lost their PSP, sold their PSP, broke their PSP, etc., to be able to play Crisis Core, and now that we know that the game's going to be adjusted to line up to FF7R rather than FF7, that opportunity is gone for anyone who just wanted to be able to play Crisis Core. 3. They can undermine important parts of the original. (spoilers ahead) Now, please don't take this as me saying that these alternate-timeline games need to stop; far from it. I don't think anything negative of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes for instance; it's just a benign fun little spinoff. But I think that developers need to be more careful with these games and not overhype them as something more than they are so as not to disappoint or alienate. What do you think? Side-Note: Apologies if the title sounds a little like clickbait; it honestly was the least clickbait title I could think of; if anyone can think of a better title for this, please let me know.
  2. Tzar Alexander II of Russia was one of the most extraordinary monarchs in history. He abolished Serfdom, granted increased rights to the middle class, and looked well on the way to making Russia a democracy. And then, in 1881, he was assassinated. History hinges on a moment. What if Alexander survived? He brings democracy to Russia. Among this timeline's oddities will be: Nazi France, Commie USA, Russo-German Alliance, and much more craziness. The story of this alternate universe will be presented in the form of a history textbook. Overall events will get a small amount of detail put into them. However, if a specific event is important enough, I will go into more detail. Feedback will happen in this thread. Expect the first chapter tonight.
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