Welcome to another edition of “The Casual Gaymer!” This is a bimonthly column from AiPT! Gaming in which I’ll share my thoughts, questions, and concerns about video games and the gaming industry as a queer person with limited free time. Missed the last edition where I spotlighted a creator working on a very funny and subversive queer visual novel? Check them out here!
This week, I don’t have much to say about anything topical! I’m still playing Fire Emblem while the rest of my backlog of games like Sekiro, Yakuza 0, and Monster Hunter World collect dust. I barely blinked at The Last of Us II either fridging a queer character or maybe just doing a fakeout, but thinking people would want to buy the game under the false impression of gays being buried? Like I said, I barely blinked because straight creators mishandling queer stories in such a fashion is nothing new. What else is new? Apple Arcade? I have an Android.
So yeah, slow news week for me, I guess? Therefore, let’s have some fun to ring in October, a very spooky and fun month. Someone should make a My Hero Academia turn-based fantasy JRPG!
Where did I even get this idea besides it being something everyone would obviously want? Well, when the results of the second and fourth character popularity polls in Japan featured accompanying artwork by Horikoshi of the cast in fantasy-genre perfect outfits. We also got a spread in volume 14 featuring a few characters who were left out of the initial artwork.
This artwork also inspired the anime’s third end credits sequence.
He even stuck to the fantasy game standard of putting Yaoyorozu in bikini armor…well, I’d like a game where she’s a bit more covered up, but let’s start with her as we get into the fantasy classes for Class 1-A! Going with her “Creation” quirk, it’d be cool if she was a kind of battle mage who fought up close and personal, but magically summoned a variety of weapons with which she could cut down enemies. lida looks like a traditional knight who’d likely have a very high Speed stat and could fight up close with her alongside Bakugo and Mina. Given Mina’s “Acid,” quirk, I could see her using a lot of poisoned weapons.
Tokoyami is my favorite of UA’s class of heroes-in-training and he’s giving off major Dark Mage vibes here and I can see him having his quirk, “Dark Shadow,” as a Final Fantasy-style summon. Sero would likely be a similarly ranged fighter, using his “Tape” quirk to debuff enemies by lowering their speed. Todoroki would obviously be a mage as well, but in this artwork it seems that Horikoshi was leaning into splitting him not into fire and ice halves, but into someone who’s half demon? Perhaps a fighter who uses both light and dark magic.
All this daydreaming is mostly to say, “Look how cool this game already sounds! The kids fit perfectly into these fantasy roles! Someone make this game!” A dominating factor in developers and–in a lot of cases, more importantly–investors deciding what games get made has to do with what risks they feel they can take while still making a profit at the end of the day. That’s why, when it comes to licensed anime games, we see so many subpar 3D arena fighters and not as many interesting genre choices that could produce something more novel.
I always want more turn-based JRPGs in general, but I feel that My Hero Academia in particular is hot enough that there’s more wiggle room to take a risk and give us something else besides My Hero One’s Justice the–wait for it–subpar 3D arena fighter we got. The manga stays on the New York Times bestseller list, for All Might’s sake! One’s Justice wasn’t even subpar. It was perfectly par. I just want more for our beloved anime franchises! Sailor Moon dungeon crawling JRPG in the style of Persona, when?!
That’s all for me this time! Was this column drenched in high queer theory and even higher temperature takes? Nah. But like I said, slow news week for me and sometimes it’s fun to just play pretend and imagine your dream anime licensed game.