So Brink has been out for a little while now. I'm not going to dig too deeply into it since (for me, anyway) there's not really a lot to say. I spent a bit of time with the full version and, well, let's just say that I didn't spend much.
However, there is one (more) thing that I need to get off my chest.
You may recall that I wrote about Brink’s decision to exclude female models from the game a year ago. I had hoped that they might change their minds in the interim, but I didn't really expect that to happen given that the developers kept citing "resource constraints" as the main reason for the omission. However, I was quite surprised to find that the full retail version of Brink has no options for subtitles whatsoever.
At the beginning of the game, players are prompted to watch a lengthy tutorial video which explains all of the game’s systems and features—and there are no subtitles. After this discovery, I quit back to the title screen and searched through all of the menus, and was not able to find any option to turn on text. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I took a pretty thorough look... if there is an option for subtitles, I sure as hell couldn't find it.
In this day and age, every single game being released should come with (at minimum) an option for basic subtitles. Sometimes voices don't come through as clearly as they should, sometimes people are playing in noisy environments and miss a few lines, but most importantly, developers need to be aware that not every player is able to hear. It is a fact that deaf and hard-of-hearing people play games, and being disabled, they don't have the choice of ‘turning up the volume’ or lip-reading the characters on-screen.
I have never met any of the Brink developers, I have not interviewed the Brink team, and I don't have any inside information or first-hand accounts of what happened behind the scenes, but I have to say that the combination of female character exclusion and total lack of subtitles serve to paint a picture that isn't very favorable to the people who made this game.
Not every game player is an able-bodied male, and with the choices on display in Brink, it's hard to avoid getting the impression that women and the disabled were either forgotten, consciously left out, or deemed not important enough to have been considered during development. I'm sure the Brink devs are lovely people, but regardless of their true feelings or intentions, the end result displays the kind of outdated, exclusionary "‘dudebro" attitude that no one should support.
The good people over at Atlus have released a new co-up video for their upcoming title, The Cursed Crusade.
Some of that combat looks pretty sweet and I'm always up for titles that have a good buddy mode, so it's on my radar.
Just a quick FYI, if you're interested in the upcoming Dark Souls (and if you're not, I mean... seriously? you're not?) it’s just been announced that people who pre-order now will be automatically upgraded to the deluxe version for free. Bonuses include an art book, a strategy guide, and a soundtrack among other things.
Although I'm still a little disgruntled that Atlus won't be publishing, this is certainly one of my most-anticipated of the year considering that it's the spiritual sequel to Demon’s Souls. (And in case you don't remember, that game was my top pick for 2009 overall. Am I stoked? Just a wee bit.)
I don't talk about music very much, but the other day I was driving along in the car listening to KEXP (which is pretty much the only station I listen to if I'm not tuned into NPR for the news) and the song Whirring by The Joy Formidable came on.
I had never heard it before, I don't know thing about them and it took me a few minutes of googling to even figure out what the song was or who they were, but it clicked with me right away and I liked it enough to share it with all of you. If you give a listen, let me know what you think.