DECEMBER 21st UPDATE: I will be clarifying Switch News’ editorial stance on Seasons of Heaven in the coming days.
DECEMBER 20th UPDATE: Seeing as this article has blown up in the past 24 hours because of Seasons of Heaven’s reveal trailer, I’d like to reiterate that our stance hasn’t changed and that Seasons of Heaven’s trailer doesn’t really help its cause. It’s a lovely game that mostly uses Unreal Engine Store assets, and the animation quality in the trailer is very poor. I mean, seriously, look at this.
They had the chance to present the game in the best possible light by using shots that benefit it, and they show this. Not a very good sign.
Get ready for the Kickstarter, which will certainly be up sooner than we think.
I’d also like to respond to the various criticisms I’ve received on Twitter, amongst other places. Sure, this is a no-name blog that just got started, but let’s get off on the right foot, shall we? I think that integrity and ethics are important for Switch News’ success, and I refuse to give this game any exposure until legitimate Switch gameplay is shown.
Also, another website has decided to have the same policy as us. The France-based Génération Nintendo also declared yesterday that they would not be covering Seasons of Heaven “until they have more information about the game’s actual existence”.
Hello everyone, and welcome to the first-ever Switch News editorial.
As some of you may know, Seasons of Heaven, a Nintendo Switch exclusive by Any Arts Production (yes, without an ‘S’), received its first teaser trailer today.
You may be wondering why we haven’t run a story on it. Let me explain.
This article from Factor News perfectly demonstrates why Seasons of Heaven’s creator, Nico Augusto, is not to be trusted, and that everything about this game reeks of sketchiness.
Augusto is the game’s creative director. He originally pitched the project to Nintendo, who rejected it. He then recycled the idea and created a book based on Seasons of Heaven’s story, while supposedly still working on the project.
Although Any Arts Production started out in France, the studio moved to Los Angeles in 2014 “because that’s where [it needed] to be”, said Augusto in 2014.
At the beginning of 2016, Any Arts had no more money to pay for its offices because it couldn’t find any publishing partners for all four of its games that were in development, including Seasons of Heaven. That already somewhat gives us an idea of Seasons of Heaven’s quality, but now, let’s delve a little deeper into the “in-game trailer” released today.
First of all, the footage is not running on Nintendo Switch. It’s running on PC, on Unreal Engine 4. In its article which exclusively revealed Seasons of Heaven’s teaser trailer, GameBlog explained that Any Arts “hopes to replicate [the trailer’s] graphics on Nintendo Switch”.
So, what does this change? Well, it most likely means that Nico Augusto and his team do not have a Nintendo Switch development kit in their possession, which would also explain why Seasons of Heaven is being revealed now and that, meanwhile, a ton of other third-party developed Switch games remain under wraps. In an likelihood, Nintendo instructed its third-party partners not to reveal any information before the January 12th event, and considering Any Arts’ situation, I find it difficult to believe that they’ve even spoken to Nintendo about bringing Seasons of Heaven to Switch.
So why release the trailer now, then? Well, since no one else is talking about Switch games, Seasons of Heaven is getting quite a bit of attention, being exclusive and all. This is purely strategic. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Augusto and his team kick off a crowdfunding campaign so that they can get the game published, especially considering the fact they they’re broke as hell and were completely unable to find a company willing to work with them to get the game to market. Since crowdfunding doesn’t ensure that a game will be good (or even published), this just seems like a way for Mr. Augusto to make a quick buck.
“But the game could still be good!”
Yeah, that’s true. It could, but it’s unlikely, and I’ll explain why.
Take a look at this screenshot from Seasons of Heaven.
Well, I lied. That isn’t a Seasons of Heaven screenshot. It actually comes from this video, which is knows as the “Unreal Engine 4 Kite Demo”.
This video was released to show the capabilities of Unreal Engine 4, and it looks a lot like Seasons of Heaven. It’s very easy to create generic worlds like that one thanks to freely available assets, and since Seasons of Heaven’s new trailer basically only shows grass and trees, creating it shouldn’t have taken too much work. Hell, it may just even be a modified version of the world used for the Kite Demo, but maybe that’s pushing it, a little.
Fun fact: Nico Augusto used to work for Gameblog, and is good friends with the site’s editor in chief, Julien Chièze, who has a very deplorable track record as far ethics are concerned. GameBlog has colluded with publishers in the past to give high scores to their games (their Heavy Rain review caused a lot of ire online) and dined with Sony executives on their dime.
Augusto using GameBlog and the Switch’s very existence to generate publicity for his game that desperately needs funding. Lest not forget that he has a terrible reputation within the industry in France, and often makes wild, unsubstantiated claims that turn out to be false.
Keep in mind that this also generates publicity for GameBlog, which is the least popular of the four big French gaming sites, in large part because of its (very) questionable ethics.
Switch News will not be assisting them in their endeavor. Our skepticism is justifiable, and until we see concrete evidence that Any Arts, Nico Augusto and Seasons of Heaven are trustworthy, this is the last time you’ll see the words “Seasons of Heaven” mentioned on this website.
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget: be wary of everything you hear about this game.