- Category: Game On
- Created on Saturday, 29 December 2012 18:34
- Written by Mark Navarro
- Hits: 25109
I love playing classic video games. Side-scrollers from the 80s, JRPGs from the 90s, point-and-click adventure games, and old, beloved franchises will always occupy my free time whenever I get my hands on a copy. Problem is, not that much people know the games. Either because they were too young at the time the game was out, or they've never played them.
For most of this generation of consoles, specifically Sony, we've seen fresh takes on old games: Mortal Kombat, Twisted Metal, XCOM, and Castlevania. And next year, Tomb Raider is looking to make a big comeback. Reboots/ Remakes attract new audiences to old franchises by doing either of two things. Referring back to the game design framework, the first method is by beefing up the aesthetic of the game only, since the mechanics were not broken to begin with (HD remakes). This method is more profit-driven since it serves to introduce new players to an old game that has a sequel/reboot coming soon (ex. God of War HD collection for God of War III and Team ICO collection for The Last Guardian). The second method is to reboot titles whose mechanics/story/dynamics did not age well. Not that these were broken, but maybe kids today just don't have the patience for random enemy encounters and difficult bosses. Kids today, right? The second method is still profit-driven, but it's more of a gamble and it's dependent on the reputation of the incarnations (ex. Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat).
Having done my game professor bit for this post, here are some titles I would love to see revitalized for new audiences. However, given the two reasons for resurrecting a dead franchise, it's safe to say that not all of these fictional reboots will ever see the light of day.
1.) Jade Empire
Yes, Bioware did have a game that wasn't SW:KOTR, Dragon Age, or Mass Effect. And yes, it was good. All of the usual Bioware mechanics were there. The endearing cast of characters who you can have polygamous romances with (suck it Ferelden), specialized combat styles, and the good/evil decision tree. The main difference was that choices in this game were so difficult to classify as good or bad. It just depended on you whether you sought harmony with nature or harmony through personal strength. If that sounds like a lot to take in, that's because this is, to my knowledge, the only Wuxia-themed RPG you'll ever play that does not come off as a Star Wars rip-off.
For my hopeful reboot, the skill tree needs to be developed. I can't imagine anyone else choosing a path other than swords or spears. I'd also want a leaner cast with character-specific quests just like other Bioware games. Finally, current-gen consoles are already powerful enough to accommodate a full-on display of kung-fu abilities. Give us some “lotus-palm of the seven winds”-type attacks!
Ideal developer: Stick with Bioware.
2.) Full Throttle
Telltale's “The Walking Dead” is seeing a lot of critical acclaim this year and if this is any indication of things to come, then what better game to welcome the comeback of point-and-click adventure games than, arguably, the best game of this classic sub-genre?
Either make a sequel with modern aesthetics OR reboot the franchise with a totally new story. Whatever happens, the game will only be as good as the writing allows it to be.
Ideal developer: Telltale
With Sir Dan Fortesque in the Playstation All Stars roster, I can't help but feel that we'll be seeing more of him. Medievil 1 and 2 were among my favorite games for the Playstation. Everything about it was fun. What I loved most about the game was that it was extremely challenging, but never cheap. And despite it's whimsical treatment, combat and exploration was very cerebral.
For the trip back to Medievil London/ Gallowmere, I'd like to see a larger connected world. To foster exploration, instead of rewarding players with a chalice for defeating all enemies in a level, this reboot should offer different chalice challenges centered on a specific piece of equipment or skill. Hidden challenges can have players exploring every nook and cranny of this Tim Burton-ized Gallowmere image that I have in my head. I'd also want the developer to explore that detachable hand and eye mechanic we had in Medievil 2 and use Sir Dan's body parts as a major part of the gameplay. That should be a hoot and a half.
Ideal developer: Switch the reigns of this frenetic platformer to Sony Santa Monica
4.) Resident Evil 1, 2, and 3
Fans of the series have been clamoring for so long for Capcom to bring Resident Evil back to its roots. So while we wait for Resident Evil 7 to (hopefully) get things right, why not reward the Capcom faithful with the games that got us hooked in the first place?
This wish is a bit tricky though. It isn't an HD remake and it's definitely not a reboot. I want the first 3 games of the series remade with the over-the-shoulder tracking camera style of recent installments and a modernized Raccoon City. I'm not sure if a room-to-room linearity is still plausible given the capabilities of this generation's hardware. For the sake of shaking things up, it would be nice to be given a different perspective of the different areas of Raccoon City so one major change that can be done is to make all the segments connected and seamless. Doing so will also eliminate any predictability for hardcore fans of the series. Is this within the capability of Unreal Engine 3?
Ideal developer: Capcom
How many ninja games can you list down in 15 seconds? Go. Not enough time huh? Okay, how many samurai games can you list down in the same amount of time? Go. Not enough games huh? And I guess that's why Onimusha is such a memorable game. It stands out not just among Samurai games, but also among its contemporaries. There was a lot to love in this franchise. Of course, all that really mattered at the end of the day is gameplay, and Onimusha's combat was tight. Years before From Software warned us to prepare to die, we were already parrying instantaneously and making every strike count as master swordsman Samanosuke Akechi.
For the reboot, the Oni Gauntlet should still be in the feudal era of Japan. However, the fixed camera angle is too dated. A conventional third-person view would be best. A good multiplayer mode would be a showdown wherein the ante is Genma souls. Finally, an evolving Oni Gauntlet would allow for deeper customization based on each player's play style and the possibility of engaging multiplayer modes.
Ideal Developer: Sounds like From Software can do wonders with this franchise, but right now I think Visceral Games executes the survival horror genre the best.
6.) Black Tiger
Most of you are probably thinking “Black what??”. To be honest, I didn't play this game when it was released in '87. I was only a year old at the time. The first time I played this classic arcade game was in 2010 and when I started I could not stop. Seriously, if retro gaming is your thing, PLAY BLACK TIGER! Just a bit of trivia, this game was the spiritual successor to another Capcom classic, Ghosts n' Goblins. Also, it was one of the first to use “Zenny” as its in-game currency.
I actually got the reboot idea from Ernest Cline's must-read for geeks novel, Ready Player One. In order to clear one of the gates to get him one step closer to the Easter Egg (the McGuffin of the story), the protagonist was dropped into a 3D simulation of Black Tiger in first-person view. I won't spoil anything more. Just pick up the book and read it for yourself. You won't regret it. Anyway, a fully-3D 1st-person platformer with the same mechanics as Black Tiger sounds like a smash hit for older and young gamers. Couple it with a well-written story that makes sense of the mashed-up world and I will be pre-ordering the game for me and all my friends.
Ideal Developer: Ubisoft Montreal.
7.) Magic Carpet
Playing Magic Carpet was the earliest memory I have of monopolizing a machine for gaming. Players were wizards on a magic carpet, piloted in 3 dimensions, flying over mountains, oceans, structures, and other terrain throwing lighting, fire, meteors, and 21 other spells at rival wizards (AI-controlled) or monsters. Rewards were in the form of mana, which players stored in their castles to advance further. Gameplay was in first-person while the story was told through cutscenes where a storybook's pages were flipped through.
The game should be done as a Western RPG this time around, with more exposition done in your castle/kingdom and large expanses for wizard vs. wizard battles. Collateral damage can also be a mechanic that influences plot and gameplay alike. Travel and exploration should still be done through the magic carpet because it makes sense with the whole story about the world being imploded by mana. More spells and specializations can be explored, particularly on the conjuration side. And finally, the multiplayer potential is enormous! I get excited in my nether regions just thinking about the scale of the multiplayer combat. I think this wishful reboot has the most potential. The word “epic” gets thrown around a lot, but this reboot will set the bar for “epic”.
Ideal Developer: Give it to Bethesda! Back in 2011, EA signed a deal with GOG to revisit some of Bullfrog's games, but I don't think they can give it the justice that Bethesda can.
“What?! No Final Fantasy VII??? *table flip*”
Chill, fanboys. While an HD remake of games like FFVII is more possible than those I've listed, it's still just a graphical overhaul. Furthermore, think of all the work that needs to be done to create a fully-3D FFVII, for example. Do you think our engines can run it? It's not as simple as pushing a button that says "convert to HD". The same goes for all other classics. Remaking a PS2 game is much easier because then foundation was already there to begin with. Going back to FFVII, I personally feel that the game is still a good product on every facet of the game design framework and, as such, does not need a remake.
So what games would you want to see rebooted? And how would you go about it? Let us know! Use your imagination and let's geek out together. If even one of the games I listed gets a reboot announcement, it will be a great 2013 for me.