September Update: What I’m Reading, Playing, And Watching

It’s hard to imagine we’re only a few months away from the end of 2020, which will go down in history as one of the strangest, tumultuous, and bleakest times we have endured. Just because the year hasn’t lived up to what we had hoped it would be doesn’t mean the world stops turning. I’m eager to put the summer heat behind me and welcome back the cool crisp autumn air.

While I may have been staring at the same walls for months now, I’ve managed to keep myself busy with plenty of books, games, and some movies. Here’s what I’ve been filling my days with.

Book: Final Fantasy XV – The Dawn of the Future

When the book Final Fantasy XV: The Dawn of the Future was announced for a North American release last year, I was excited to read what would have been Square Enix’s remaining DLC episodes that got canceled. The last and final DLC episode to ever be made and released for Final Fantasy XV was Episode Ardyn. Reading the book so far has made me wish the other DLC episodes were never canceled.

The book is divided into sections to correspond with each episode that might have been—Episode Aranea, Episode Lunafreya, and Episode Noctis—with pages of concept art included at the very end of the book. I’m nearly finished with it, and I shake my head every time at the missed opportunity the DLCs now represent. It clears up some confusing aspects of Final Fantasy XV’s story, and reveals just how much these episodes were meant to lead up to the real conclusion of the main story.

As much as I love Final Fantasy XV, I do recognize how deeply flawed the execution was. It required more investment in the story and lore by urging people to seek media outside of the game the developers used to tell a complete story, such as short anime episodes on YouTube and a prequel movie to set up the video game’s story. Then there’s releasing a video game that was only half-finished with new downloads required to add on additional scenes that didn’t come with the shipped game. In other words, Final Fantasy XV was a mess. Despite all that I was able to get past the game’s shortcomings to fall in love with the characters and the story Square Enix tried to tell.

I’m probably among the few who still care about the story and want to see what the developers had in mind for the unmade episodes. It’s an enjoyable read, but I’ll be forever disappointed that I never got to experience it in the game itself.

Video Game: Tell Me Why

[Credit: Dontnod Entertainment]
I’m pretty much all over the place with my video games. While I’m still sticking with The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, for the most part, and playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons every day, I can’t resist a good episodic, point and click video game.

Dontnod Entertainment, makers of the popular Life Is Strange series, has recently released their latest game Tell Me Why. It tells the story of twins Alyson and Tyler, who reunite after being apart for 10 years to revisit their childhood home in Alaska with the intention of selling it. Coming home also means reopening old wounds and trauma they left behind about their mother Mary Ann, as their memories and tightly kept secrets from the town’s locals drive them to uncover the truth about their mother’s past.

Tell Me Why particularly stands out as the first video game to ever feature a transgender character so prominently in a game. Unlike Life Is Strange, Tell Me Why is told over three chapters with a new episode coming out every week.

Dontnod Entertainment released the third and final chapter of Tell Me Why last week, and I’m currently playing through it at the time of this writing.

I have a lot of thoughts about Tell Me Why and plan on doing a write up on it soon. I will say I am enjoying the game so far, and I’m absolutely thrilled Dontnod Entertainment is leading the way in telling more varied and inclusive stories in games.

Movie: Black Panther

I’ve watched Black Panther when it first came out and loved it. The desire to re-watch the movie now has been strong lately with the recent and unexpected passing of actor Chadwick Boseman. Ever since he embodied T’Challa and his alter ego Black Panther, I was excited to see what future Black Panther movies would look like with him in the lead. Unfortunately, we will never know now and only have the one film he was able to make.

Going back to the film reminds you of how gorgeous, well-written, and perfectly cast this movie was. Boseman has a presence that makes it hard to take your eyes off of him. I’ve made it a point to seek out and add Boseman’s other movies to my watchlist, and simply marvel at the talent this man possessed. It is incredibly unfortunate Chadwick Boseman was taken far too soon before he had the chance to show the world more of what he can do as an actor and as a human being. Rest in power, king.

This is what I’ve been doing with my time. What about you? What books, video games, or movies has kept you busy?

2 thoughts on “September Update: What I’m Reading, Playing, And Watching

  1. I’m routinely impressed by how many irons Dontnod has in the fire at any given time. I don’t like everything they make, but they make good stuff often enough to rank pretty high on the developer scale, I think.

    1. Yeah, I think so too. They do have a different approach to gaming and storytelling, which helps set them apart from other developers. They’re also ahead when it comes to diversity in storytelling with Life Is Strange 2, following a Mexican American family, to the latest Tell Me Why, having a transgender character be one of the leads. It’s really great and I’m always interested in following what their next projects are.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.