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This Week In Gaming 7-3-18

1 post in this topic



Eric Taxxon's on Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy and experiencing frustration in games as part of the artistic experience, Codex Entry discssus the themes and setting of Transistor and what you have left in a world where nothing ever changes, Austin Walker interviews Reggie on accessibility options and what is next for Nintendo, Errant Signal discusses the game Secret Little Haven and being an online teenager in the 90s, People Make Games video on The British teenagers who taught Nintendo how to make Star Fox, SolePorpoise on the confusion behind the term ludonarrative dissonance and how it is used, fan remakes PT for the PC, story breakdown of Sekiro Shadows Die Twice, Josh Tucker on his week with the fastest gamers on Earth, David Craddock Kickstarting a new book on the development of Diablo, and more.


Gaming News (Announcements, previews, release dates, interviews and writing on upcoming games, DLC and game updates, company and developer news, country news, tech, mods)


Chris Avellone's Pathfinder: Kingmaker is coming this year, published by Deep Silver



Kingmaker is the first-ever isometric RPG set in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.


Mega Man Undoes One Of Its Weirdest Choices With New X Collection



"In our mission to make these collections an authentic Mega Man X experience, we took the opportunity to better align the naming of the Mega Man X5 Mavericks across all regions for better narrative cohesion across the series, making the names more aligned with the original Japanese version release. We hope that fans appreciate our intent to unify the Mega Man X Maverick-naming convention all these years later."


Octopath Traveler: The First 24 Minutes


Check out the first 24 minutes of gameplay for one of the 8 main characters in Octopath Traveler.


The Banner Saga 3 Chapter 17 gameplay


The Banner Saga returns next month with the third and final installment in the epic Norse adventure. As humanity gathers in the human capital of Arberrang, Juno and her band of mercenaries are heading east to try to turn back the apocalyptic darkness.


Mothergunship launch date trailer shows off a bevy of big guns


The gun-crafting bullet-hell FPS will be out in July.


Shenmue and Shenmue 2 re-releases coming this August


Shenmue 1 & 2, a bundle containing modern ports of the first two Shenmue games, will be released Aug. 21 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.


Devotion is a Taiwanese psychological horror game about religion


The studio behind the side-scrolling horror game Detention released a teaser for its upcoming project, Devotion. A throwback to 1980s commercialism and gaudy talk show days blares right from the start of the video, before slowly panning outwards to an abandoned apartment.


The Church in the Darkness: Building a Believable Cult


Richard Rouse III is building a complicated following. The man who was behind games like The Suffering and some of the writing in the Homefront series is now applying his love of narrative genre-blending to a small game called The Church in the Darkness. It’s a roguelike and a permadeath thing but it is also undeniably outside of genre conventions for anything I could hope to tag it with. It’s the tale of a cult in the woods, and as Paste’s resident cult in the woods specialist, me and Rouse have been circling each other to make some kind of interview happen, because we’re both so deep in each other’s nightmare it is hard to tell where the individuals end. We’ve both spent the last few years diving into cult culture; what you bring out the other side doesn’t define you as a person, but it does reveal a lot about what lies beneath. So in a fairly extensive interview, I get to see what lies beneath Richard Rouse.


Phoenix Point continues to mutate in its latest update


When I first saw Snapshot Games’ apocalyptic strategy game Phoenix Point in action, I was with Brendan in thinking that it was orbiting XCOM‘s star a little too closely, but after playing it at Rezzed I was struck by just how different it really is. This week’s new gameplay build (available to backers today) further differentiates the game, including mid-mission inventory management and driveable vehicles, and you can see some developer gameplay footage below.


Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night story trailer teases in-game footage


Plus: $60 backers get a playable demo.


New Gameplay Today – Hypnospace Outlaw


Cork, Joe and Leo surf an alternate reality internet and unleash cyber justice in an early beta of Hynospace Outlaw, coming PC, Mac and Linux later in the year.


Retro immersive sim Synther looks like Deus Ex circa ’95



PSX-style graphics may be in vogue, but you all know that mid ’90s DOS aesthetics are where its at. Textures where you can count the pixels at a glance, colour-banding as 8-bit VGA colour struggles to depict light sources, and lots of chunky polygons. Synther, from Polish indie dev Neofuturism looks a lot like like Deus Ex, but released a few years before those fancy-pants 3D accelerator cards caught on. If all goes to plan it should be out later this year.


The Division 2 is a sunny but familiar run ‘n’ gun



It seems like more of the same. To say this of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 might make you fire your rifle into the air and shout “yeehaw” but it’s more likely to make you shrug. ‘Ubisoft sequel marginally different from previous game’ is not exactly a surprising headline, I’ll admit, but it’s all I’ve got based on the 15 minutes of footwork and firefights I played through as a demo. The wintry warfare of The Division’s New York kept me idly satisfied even with its plateaus of grind and spongey enemies. We’re now sojourning though a summery Washington DC, a new city that promises to depart from endless apartment blocks. But in reality, I can barely notice the difference.


What happens when Superhot meets XCOM?


Meet Iron Danger, a new take on a Finnish legend.


Cyberpunk 2077 - Gameplay Interview


Interview with Max Pears. Cyberpunk 2077 is an upcoming role-playing video game developed and published by CD Projekt, releasing for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Cyberpunk 2077's Politics Should Be as Powerful as Its Aesthetics


The cyberpunk of the 1980s spoke to the fears of the era, but championed an individualism that led to conflicting messages. As Paste’s Cameron Kunzelman noted on Twitter, even in the early ‘90s there was the beginnings of pushback against a cyberpunk aesthetic that presented “…absolutely no critique of corporate power, no possibility that it will be shaken or assaulted by heroes who are entirely part of the system and who profit by their mastery within it, regardless of their ostensible marginalization and their posturings about constituting some form of counterculture.” (As stated by Nicola Nixon in a 1991 interview.)


How Battlefield 5 fixes some of Battlefield 1's biggest mistakes



The alpha includes improvements in spotting, scoring, and vehicles.

Battlefield 5 improves on Battlefield 1, but it might make you pine for the original


We played the closed alpha all day—here's what we liked and didn't like about BF5.


Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity for PC launches July 11


PC version includes 4K resolution, "Bullet Hell" difficulty, and more.


Mary Skelter: Nightmares coming to PC this summer



Ported by Ghostlight Interactive.


Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is steeped in Japanese history, but with a supernatural twist


Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has some big shoes to fill lore-wise as the next big FromSoft game. Studio president and game director Hidetaka Miyazaki has packed the Soulsbourne games with their own arcane myths and legends, and it looks like this time around he’s weaving that approach into a story that’s borrowing heavily from the history of Sengoku-era Japan.


Tetsuya Nomura Opens Up About Kingdom Hearts 3: "I Do Feel a Little Sad When I Think Some Characters Will Probably Never Appear Ever Again"



INTERVIEW | Kingdom Hearts 3's director on ending a saga, the return of Pirates of the Caribbean, the hardest Disney franchise to adapt, and more.


EA's Open World Star Wars Dev Team Includes Prototype, Sleeping Dogs Vets



"I don't know how much we're saying about that stuff, but the goal is ... We have three terabytes of Star Wars artwork, which is crazy, and there is a lot of really good work there," Raymond said. "When we announced we were moving the game, the idea was pivoting more into player agency but still keeping a lot of the stuff that was great about it. There was a lot of really cool stuff like tons of assets and really cool characters that had been created. So, there's the goal of making sure we use all that."


Bethesda's Todd Howard Suggests Sony Preventing Fallout 76 Crossplay



In a video interview with German website Gamestar.de, Bethesda Games Studio's director and executive producer Todd Howard is directly asked about crossplay for this year's Fallout game, Fallout 76. "We would love to do that," Howard said, "but right now that's not possible." Howard pauses for a second, then begins "Sony isn't being as helpful as we want them to be."

The Elder Scrolls 6 And Starfield Engines Discussed By Todd Howard- Most People Don’t Understand The Word ‘Engine’


Todd Howard says Bethesda are making constant improvements to their tech for each of their new games.


Ys: Memories of Celceta is coming to PC this July


The long-awaited PC port has quietly appeared on Steam.


5 Minutes of Left 4 Dead-like Earthfall Gameplay on Xbox One X


Teaming up to defend a base in the Left 4 Dead-like Earthfall on Xbox One X.


Tempest 4000 launches July 17


Here is an overview of the game, via Atari:


Three minutes of Blazing Chrome gameplay


A look at the second level of the game.


Overwatch - Hero Reveal: Wrecking Ball Origin Story


Meet the resourceful tinkerer that fights with an iron-clad mech: Wrecking Ball (aka Hammond hamster).

8 Minutes of Overwatch Wrecking Ball (Hammond) Gameplay


Trying out the newest addition to Overwatch, Wrecking Ball!

Wrecking Ball is Overwatch’s most inventive hero to date


A mobile tank that’s defined by his grappling hook.


Sony offers hope on PS4 console cross-play



"We're looking at a lot of the possibilities."


PUBG reportedly drops Fortnite copyright lawsuit



After filing against Epic Games last month, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds developer PUBG Corp has now dropped its lawsuit against the creators of Fortnite.


Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aimé on Accessibility, What's Next, and, Uh, Waluigi


Even with the strength of the Switch, E3 left a lot of questions about Nintendo's future. Thankfully, Reggie offers us some answers.


Valve says it will offer new tools to replace Steam Spy


Valve promises better data two months after privacy changes gutted the games-tracking site


Frontier: “We want to become a third-party publisher”



CEO David Braben and CCO Jonny Watts on publishing, Tencent and the return of the British games industry


A Video Game Company Actually Shared Some Funny Stories From Behind The Scenes


Paradox’s Fredrik Wester is stepping down from his CEO role in a few weeks’ time, and to mark the occasion he’s been tweeting some downright fascinating stories from the company’s early days.


Uncharted creator Amy Hennig has departed EA, and her Star Wars game is "on the shelf"



Currently founding new indie studio.


BioWare Wants To Make Small, Experimental Games



Our latest cover story is about Anthem, and that game is currently BioWare's primary focus. However, the studio is also considering projects beyond Anthem's release. While visiting the studio in Edmonton, we spoke with BioWare's general manager Casey Hudson and executive producer Mark Darrah about the team's desire to release smaller, more experimental games that are "true to the corest parts of our core".


Judge halves $500 million award to Bethesda parent Zenimax in Oculus lawsuit



A judge has ordered Facebook and Oculus to pay Zenimax $250 million in damages over a lawsuit alleging the virtual reality venture stole trade secrets from Zenimax. It’s half of the $500 million awarded to Zenimax by a jury in February 2017.


Summer Games Done Quick 2018 raises a record $2.1 million for charity


Money goes to Doctors Without Borders.

The 7 must watch PC speedruns of Summer Games Done Quick 2018


Some of these runs are best-in-class, while others completely fall to pieces. But all of them are worth watching.


Popular Twitch streamers receive lengthy bans for using homophobic language, offensive jokes



Destiny and M0E, two of Twitch’s biggest streamers, aren’t strangers to the platform’s banning process. But their latest infarctions are another example of Twitch cracking down on hateful content.



Esports personality and professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive commentator Duncan “Thorin” Shields has come under fire for defending recently banned streamer m0e’s use of the word “f----t.” m0e has routinely used the word on stream for years without any backlash from Twitch, until receiving a 30-day ban this week. “It’s not a bad word and has a lot of meanings,” m0e said in a viral clip posted earlier this week, where he defends his use of the word as a way to express his frustrations.


Lord Of The Rings Fans Are Remaking The Battle For Middle Earth In Unreal Engine 4


I was only just lamenting the fate of EA’s Lord of the Rings strategy games, and here we go: some fans are remaking Battle for Middle Earth in Unreal Engine 4, in essence creating an almost all-new game.


PT for PC is a faithful recreation of the world's creepiest corridor



The project uses datamined assets to faithfully remake Konami's horror mini-classic.


Esports News


Creating A New Future For Esports - Building Overwatch League


(Brought to you by Dr Pepper) In the final episode of our Overwatch League series, we look at what Blizzard has achieved in its first season, how the League has changed esports, and ask those most dedicated to it to envision its future.


International Olympic Committee to host esports forum



Representatives from the worlds of esports, gaming, and the Olympic movement will meet to discuss future collaboration


Big Data Is The Future Of Esports



“Game developers don’t like me,” said Sabina Hemmi. “Before I came around, there was no insight into how balanced a game was.”


A Note To Our Readers


Here’s our most heated gaming moment yet: Compete in its current iteration is shutting down next week. Esports coverage at the company will live on at Kotaku, but this joint project that Deadspin and Kotaku started in March 2017 to cover competitive gaming is ending.


Crowdfunding News (not sharing everything I find, just ones that look interesting, have known talent behind them, and a chance to succeed)


Stay Awhile and Listen: Book II



A documentary-style book continuing the history of Blizzard Entertainment, Blizzard North, and their games.

How a Diablo expansion led to behind the scenes trouble


The following is an excerpt from a near-complete version of Stay Awhile and Listen: Book II – Heaven, Hell, and Secret Cow Levels, now funding on Kickstarter. The book chronicles the making of StarCraft and Diablo II, and reveals new details about cancelled projects and the history of Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard North.

“One of the things we always hated at Blizzard was, if you’re going to make money, do it by making really good products, not just because there’s a business opportunity. That situation occurred here. Our parent company said, ‘We have this studio that’s not doing anything. Why don’t they make a Diablo expansion?’”


Content I found interesting this week (interviews, recommendations, think pieces, history, music, culture, design, art, documentaries, criticism, etc)


My Week With The Fastest Gamers On Earth



Eight years ago, Games Done Quick started as a handful of sleep-deprived speedrunners unexpectedly crammed into owner Mike Uyama’s mom’s basement. Networking issues had forced them to abandon their planned location at MAGFest’s hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, so they improvised. Back then, the organizers’ chief concern was whether a residential internet connection and jury-rigged hardware would survive 50 hours of runners speeding through games as fast as possible for charity. This year, Summer Games Done Quick 2018 has taken over the grand ballroom of a Hilton outside of Minneapolis, filling it with attendees, projector screens, and a bespoke audio/visual setup snaking around backstage. Donation wranglers and technical staff hover over monitors while the on-deck runners practice in an open-air green room.


Japan's Video Game Bars Are In Danger



I press record. “Just by doing this interview,” I say, “to a certain degree you’re really putting a target on your back.” It’s important Matt Bloch understands this before we proceed, especially after the recent video game bar arrests in Japan.


Amy Hennig: Atomised development, not crunch, will lead to games industry unions



The outspoken critic of crunch culture says it's driven by passion, and it's up the management to protect developers

StarCraft devs remember crunch: "I was writing code while she was in labour"


Crunch in game dev has been a hot topic in the past year, but it’s certainly not a new phenomenon. In Stay Awhile and Listen: Book II, author David L Craddock details the development of the original StarCraft, including the long hours and strained relationships it took to get there.


Indie Games Are Getting Cloned Before They're Even Out



Earlier this month, a buddy sent game developer Ben Esposito a surprising screenshot: an Instagram ad for a game that looked a lot like the one he’d been working on for five years. Esposito is nearly finished toiling away on an indie game called Donut County, which will be released later this year by publisher Annapurna Interactive. At the tail end of this labor of love, now a copycat game called Hole.io is number one on the iOS store, and Esposito feels the need to say something.


Ex-neo Nazi explains how white supremacists use Fortnite, Minecraft, and COD to recruit



Asked about recruitment tactics in his day (he was himself ensnared in 1987), Picciolini says "we sought marginalised youth and promised them 'paradise'. Today they are using nefarious tactics like going to depression and mental health forums, and in multiplayer gaming, to recruit those same people."





The argument goes like this: by exposing you to experiences outside of your own, in an interactive fashion, games foster empathy. They are the literalization of "walking a mile in someone else's shoes." So games can, for instance, let you embody the life of a budding lesbian coming of age in Washington State, or allow you to experience the turmoil and terror of a Syrian refugee. By doing this, advocates argue, games can influence and improve our behavior outside of the "magic circle," that digitized realm where events take on new, outsized significance.

Unfortunately, it's not really that simple, and presenting it as such does a disservice—to games, and even to empathy as a concept.

Empathy and VR Refugees


There's been a lot in the news lately about empathy and/or lack of empathy. Can VR storytelling promote empathy for social impact or is it ultimately a misguided experience, even a form of "disaster porn"?


Learning From Mistakes: The Moon Hunters Launch



It seems like most indies that you hear of err on the side of waiting too long to release their games. They extend their estimated launch by years and years, making sure everything is perfect. And if that's right for you, that's fine. If it works, it works! But some of us (including me) have the opposite problem -- we release our games too early, when they're still molten and unready and unfinished.

Luckily, now that I've not only been through it and learned from it, but also had time to heal and recover, I can share the warning signs with you. The Moon Hunters launch was 100% my call, and I blew it, so read on to find out if you might be in danger of making a similar mistake. Don't do it the way I did. Mess it up your own way.





It dismays me to see that six years later, queerness in a big name video game is still analysed, tweeted about, and obsessed over -- on the one hand the target of a tired insistence that inclusiveness is nothing but a ticked box or an effort on the developer’s behalf to placate liberal demands, on the other a symbol buckling under the pressure to be a bastion of LGBTQ representation.

Let Queer Characters Be Happy


When The Last Of Us Part II’s new trailer debuted at this year’s E3, protagonist Ellie enjoyed a slow dance and kiss with another woman. My queer friends and I confessed to one another that we were assuming the worst. That happy girl will probably die, because while games allow us to be many things—space marines, mages, and tenacious heroes—they rarely allow queer people to be happy.


The Short But Chilling 'Captain Spirit' Weaponizes Empathy Against You


The developers behind 'Life Is Strange' manage to tell a gripping but upsetting story about a father and son in a toxic relationship.


Nioh brings a ballet of breathtaking violence



Nioh is the kind of game that this column exists for. On release it quickly saw itself buried beneath the comparisons to Dark Souls, praised for the ways it imitated the series, and criticised for its failings in repeating From Software’s successes. But while Nioh clearly follows in the precedent set for the genre by Dark Souls, it does so in the same way something like Monolith’s BLOOD follows Doom: with a clear lineage, but with very different aims and aesthetic goals.


How Two Developers Used Games to Wrestle With the Dark History of Taiwan and Iran



Two nations and the two games that tell the stories of their troubled past.


After I stepped into Yakuza's world, Yakuza's world seeped into mine



Travel and memory as the real meets the virtual.


Architectures of Memory | Umiro



In the beginning, every level in Umiro is drained of its kaleidoscopic splendor, its cityscapes shrouded in shades of monochrome. But these spaces aren’t based in reality; instead, they are the fuzzy recollections of Huey and Satura, a pair of students overwhelmed by a mysterious bout of amnesia. While outwardly a puzzle game, Umiro also tells the tale of lost memories, expounding on this narrative through places familiar to the duo—conjured up from the deepest, most inaccessible recesses of their minds.


Getting Over It | An Exercise in Compassion


It's coffee, it's grapefruit, it's licorice.

Support me on Patreon: https://patreon.com/EricTaxxon


Transistor & How Change Prevents Change // Codex Entry


Also, Royce is Andy Warhol. I'm sure that means something too.

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/codexentry


Secret Little Haven (Spoilers)


Hey all! This month we're looking at a small indie game that's sort of a hyper-stylized visual novel! It's about being a Very Online Teenager in 1999, and also about a young trans woman coming to realize that fact. It's pretty neat if you like vaporwave music, chilling on the internet with some friends on rainy days, or young adult fiction!

This episode was made possible by generous support through Patreon! http://www.patreon.com/errantsignal


Nier: Automata - Born to Kill (Spoilers)


I guess any analysis of Nier has to wind up talking about existentialism at some point. There’s a lot that can be said about this game. The value, and challenge of being an individual, instead of a hivemind. The way it seems to draw an ambiguous line between violence and sex. That said, I found myself rattled by the scene where Pascal loses everything, and it set me off on a journey to reconcile that. There’s some good stuff in this one, provided you can get past those repetitive side missions, and an overly long B route.


The Elder Scrolls: A Promise Unfulfilled | Complete Elder Scrolls Documentary, History and Analysis


In my very first feature-length documentary/analysis video, I take a look at the best-selling RPG series: The Elder Scrolls, from its humble beginnings in Arena, through the massive trendsetter Daggerfall, its delayed sequel Morrowind, the acclaimed Oblivion and the popular but divisive Skyrim, as well as the spinoff games: Battlespire, Redguard, The Elder Scrolls Online and even Shadowkey.

I hope you enjoy this complete Elder Scrolls history lesson, opinion piece and documentary.

Arena - 2:39
Daggerfall - 7:06
Battlespire - 14:17
Redguard - 19:00
The Road to Morrowind - 22:00
Morrowind - 25:34
Oblivion - 34:28
Skyrim - 47:52
The Elder Scrolls Online - 1:02:30
Elder Scrolls: Legends - 1:07:44
The Creation Kit and Modding - 1:08:27
The Elder Scrolls That Could Have Been - 1:11:22


Examining the Battle Royale Landscape, One Year Post-PUBG


Call of Duty had multiple games under its belt before capturing the zeitgeist with Modern Warfare. Minecraft took a few years to become the household name we know it as today. In a fraction of that time, we've seen the genre of battle royale thrust into the spotlight thanks to the release of Playerunknown's Battlegrounds, the seemingly unstoppable rise of competitor Fortnite, the inevitable imitators trying to cash in on the hype, the catastrophic failure of those imitators (with one studio closing within a month of their release), all while fatigue sets in with an increasingly disgruntled playerbase.

Support the show on Patreon - http://patreon.com/writingongames


The Most Abused Term in Videogame Criticism


Ludonarrative dissonance is a term that's frequently thrown around, but is it really as useful—or useless—as critics are making it out to be? An exploration of the term has had me going into a blogpost on the topic where I argued it's useless, to discovering it's excruciatingly specific in its usage, and damn useful as well. Find out how we've all been using it wrong since its invention. Be the water beneath my fins on

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/SolePorpoise


How Melody Expresses Harmony in Cave Story


Something I've been thinking about recently is the way that melodies imply harmony, even when there are no chords being played underneath. In this video I take a look at different ways that this can happen using music from Cave Story.

PATREON: https://www.patreon.com/8bitmusictheory


The British teenagers who taught Nintendo how to make Star Fox


In today's episode of People Make Games, we tell the story of three British teenagers who somehow ended up leading the way on the development of a Nintendo classic.

Support our work: https://www.patreon.com/PeopleMakeGames


The Story of Hideo Kojima: Metal Gear Solid and the Cinematic Game Revolution


Hideo Kojima insists that while most people are 70% water, he is 70% film.

It was Hideo's love of film, and desire to become a movie director, that led him to create Metal Gear Solid. He made use of a brand new games console, the PlayStation, and its advanced processing power and graphical capability, to build his cinematic masterpiece.


Hudson & Nintendo's Obscure Japanese PC Games | Gaming Historian


Did you know Hudson Soft ported several popular Nintendo games to Japanese PCs? Back in 1984, Nintendo gave Hudson permission to not only port over old titles, but create new ones as well. In this episode of The Gaming Historian, we'll go over all of them!

Support the show on Patreon ► https://goo.gl/pQaU9N


The Fighting Game from a Racing Perspective | Forging the Level


Since the early days of console platformers, run and guns, and arcade fighters, most games have operated on a 2d axis for the sake of visual perception. Its easy to judge distance on a flat image when that image is on that 2d plane. However when games make that transition to 3d, suddenly visual perception gets a little more tricky. Today on Forging the Level, we will be taking a look at the fighting game, how its made the transition to 3d and 3rd person, what is lost and gained in this change, and some creative ways to create new fighting game experiences.


Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to the game industry


Fortnite player sparks griefing debate after taking out rocket viewing party


A Fortnite player sparked a debate about video game griefing after breaking the game's solo mode kills record by taking advantage of a group that had gathering to watch an in-game rocket launch.


Things I Missed From Previous Weeks


The History of Sunsoft Part VI – The Golden Age Part 4



In 1992 Joe Robbins was reinstaated as president of Sunsoft of America. Yoshinori Homma’s management had been unsuccessful according to Richard Robbins. ”By the way. Mr. Homma got fired for it.” says Rita Zimmerer referring to Homma not renewing the Batman license. Sun Denshi’s president Masami Maeda called in the man that had made the US branch successful in the first place.

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