With a Terrible Fate
Director’s Commentary: The Gwyn Moment

Director’s Commentary: The Gwyn Moment

April 18, 2022

Join Aaron and Dan in a behind-the-scenes look at "The Gwyn Moment," a reflection on how Dan's experience with the first Dark Souls led him to think about video-game storytelling, Miyazaki, and his own life differently.

Topics include: why it can be hard to take good video-game recommendations from friends; how gamers get motivated to care about the lore of a world; using Gwyn as a cipher to understand Miyazaki's other works; the community's ever-fraught relationship with Dark Souls 2; how memorable moments in games can radically change our views about the games—and ourselves.

Want to dig further into the storytelling of Elden Ring? Attend With a Terrible Fate's PAX East 2022 panel on April 21st, in person or virtually! Find all the details you need to know here.

(Spoilers for the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Demon's Souls, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and BioShock.)

Director’s Commentary: How Elden Ring Turns Its Player into an Outer God

Director’s Commentary: How Elden Ring Turns Its Player into an Outer God

April 18, 2022

Join Aaron and Dan in a behind-the-scenes look at the argument that the player of Elden Ring is an Outer God, not a Tarnished.

Discussion topics include: why Elden Ring's endings are puzzling in the first place; what we can learn about Elden Ring from Miyazaki's other work; how Elden Ring uses lore differently than Dark Souls; why the Golden Order is a paradox, and how the player's ability to resolve it spells new opportunities for video-game storytelling.

Want to dig further into the storytelling of Elden Ring? Attend With a Terrible Fate's PAX East 2022 panel on April 21st, in person or virtually! Find all the details you need to know here.

(Spoilers for Elden Ring, the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.)

Director‘s Commentary: The Path to Necron in Final Fantasy IX

Director‘s Commentary: The Path to Necron in Final Fantasy IX

September 19, 2021

In the inaugural issue of a new type of With a Terrible Fate audio content, join Aaron and Dan for a deep dive into the publication's most recent analysis, "Critical Review: The Path to Necron in Final Fantasy IX."

Discussion topics include: what video games can learn from theater; the good, bad, and ugly of games that "break the fourth wall"; how complex stories like FFIX's can be rendered coherent and compelling; FFIX's place in the shadow of FFX; what FFIX's endgame can teach us about the endgame of Final Fantasy VII Remake.

(Spoilers for Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Bioshock.)

Announcing a Change in the Podcast

Announcing a Change in the Podcast

September 19, 2021

This week, we come to you with an update about the future trajectory of With a Terrible Fate's podcast endeavors. In summary, we're going to be working to retool our audio material around deep-dives into our written analytical content, as well as longer, less frequent explorations of the most fascinating topics concerning video games as a storytelling medium.

At the same time, Stefan will be stepping away to launch a new podcast focused more broadly on video game studies and culture; he'll continue to be involved with With a Terrible Fate as an analyst, and we're already looking forward to his first article.

Listen in for all the details, and we're looking forward to more conversations with you in the weeks and months to come.

Silent Souls

Silent Souls

September 12, 2021

What does it take to put two great video game series together in a successful mashup? Join us this week in a free-wheeling exploration of the concept of "Silent Souls": a hypothetical mashup of Dark Souls and Silent Hill, inspired by a provocative internet image of a Catarina Knight sitting by the rest stop James Sunderland visits at the beginning of Silent Hill 2.

In our side quests, we ponder Dontnod's new home office program and Aaron's experiences with the wonderful gamers of PAX West 2021.

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Scarlet Nexus

Scarlet Nexus

August 22, 2021

What happens when the cosmic proportions of a Bandai Namco JRPG collide with the intimate, personal storytelling of deep character study? Join us this week as Aaron begins an analysis of Scarlet Nexus, the "brain punk" video game that's equal parts psychology of the self and psychology of the Other.

In side quests, Stefan continues his Yakuza: Like a Dragon diary, Dan reflects on what the Japanese language illuminates about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Aaron considers the dynamics of gaming in the company of "uninvited onlookers."

(Correction: three characters not mentioned in the conversation can use a Brain Field, but one is unable to maintain his sanity thereafter and the other two can only use one when working in tandem with one another, so the point about the set of characters to which Brain Fields are available stands.)

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Playable Leitmotifs (with Laila Carter)

Playable Leitmotifs (with Laila Carter)

August 15, 2021

Iconic musical themes from games such as The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, or Undertale are deeply ingrained into the minds of any avid gamer. This week, With a Terrible Fate video game analyst Laila Carter joins us for an exploration of how these and many other leitmotifs frame, complement, constitute, or even subvert video game stories.

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Maps: Salvation or Sin?

Maps: Salvation or Sin?

August 8, 2021

Maps are profoundly practical. They help players find orientation in extensive game worlds, indicate points of interaction, and track progress. Yet by the same token, they complicate a player's relationship to the world of a game's fiction. This week, we discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of those complications.

Later: Stefan kicks off his Yakuza: Like a Dragon diary; we discuss the order in which we unlock the final trophies of a game; and Dan recaps his visit to last week's Classic Game Fest in Austin.

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Into the Mindscape

Into the Mindscape

July 25, 2021

Diving into the depths of the human psyche is something the progenitors of psychoanalysis could have only dreamed of. Yet, games such as Persona 5, Silent Hill, and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice enable us to do just that—at least within the domain of play and fiction. Join us for a discussion for a ride through various formations of mindscapes.

Further, Aaron addresses reader commentary on his new Returnal analysis and Stefan celebrates the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy X by reminiscing (or trying to) about one of its most romantic scenes.

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What to expect from Steam Deck

What to expect from Steam Deck

July 18, 2021

A new challenger joins the market for hybrid handheld gaming: Valve‘s Steam Deck. This week, we discuss whether the Steam Deck may change where and how the stories PC games will be experienced—and what lessons the Switch can teach us to guide our thinking.

Later, we contemplate recent rumors revolving around Netflix's supposed plans to stream video games, and a copy of Super Mario 64 that is more valuable than most homes.

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