Hitting It Out of Left Field…

Last week I saw the gaming industry get pulled a fast one. Game Informer removed the veil on the South Park RPG currently in production by Obsidian. A match made in hardcore heaven but also a match no one ever thought of. It came out of left field and caught the entire industry off guard with it’s surprising potential of awesome. It’s a great feeling to find out something cool. It’s that ‘Ah Hah’ moment of when you hear a good idea and think about the amazing potential something has. It’s even more incredibly rare for it to happen in the gaming industry with a licensed IP from a developer who has only ever done one other licensed game and it was a sequel from another developer (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2).

DanRyckert

Dan was right, I couldn’t guess this to save the earth from the destruction of Barbara Streisand! Afterwards I was thinking about some other IPs and who could make an awesome game with them. Something that would fall in line with the surprise that the South Park RPG made.

AndyGriffith

The first thing that came to mind was the Andy Griffith show. How’s that grabbing you for a surprise? That is unless you know me personally. Then it might not have been so much of the surprise it would be for the gaming industry. I’m from Mount Airy, NC (the real life Mayberry that the show is based around) and I’ve grown up with Andy throughout my entire teenage life. At first I thought I should pass it up just because of my history but I really wanted to do a show from the original TV days. I want to see a black and white game that doesn’t creep the living shit out of me (Limbo). The slow simple at home feeling that people feel the Andy Griffith Show provides them would be a perfect fit for an Animal Crossing style game. You could fix up Mayberry to how you like. You could be the new Mayor and help Andy and Barney get the place nice. Give it a cute make over, put it on the iOS and then bam you’ve got yourself a huge hit for just about anyone 40+.

Now I don’t see this as something the gaming industry would explode over as much as we all did with the South Park RPG. But it’s been mentioned more than once how Animal Crossing would be a perfect fit for the iOS platform and since the likelihood of Nintendo doing that is similar to me getting a job before Christmas, I wouldn’t hold my breath. As for someone out of left field to make the game though, I’d have to say it would be absolutely awesome if Bioware could pick this up and start developing for the iOS. They’re in the process of finishing the Star Wars: TOR MMO and have experience with cute design after Sonic Chronicles.

But I’m going to guess that an Andy Griffith game really isn’t what you came here to read about? Well I’ve been thinking locally and the second game surprise I started thinking about Epic Games. Being a local but huge developer they have a reputation for the house size characters and using the darker end of the color spectrum. For this to be a surprise it needs to be something similar to South Park. So what’s an animated show that gamers love that would work in a video game?

AdventureTime

Adventure Time! It’s a super easy sell and it wouldn’t be the first time it’s been thought up either. But what kind of game would you want to play with Finn and Jake? Personally I’d like to see Epic pull off a Zelda II: The Adventure of Link style game. There have been nearly no similar games like it and it would be a nice touch seeing how the show actually references Zelda in it’s logo. After what ChAIR and Epic did with Shadow Complex (and the Metroidvania style gameplay) it would be a great match and let them explore new territory in both style and genre. They have the talent and skill they just need something new to push them in that direction. Like a licensed game that everyone already loves.

Finally I want to throw out an idea that I’m definitely not the first to ever have but it would be both a surprise and a relief (to actually see it happen). When the Wii controller was first announced as the then revealed Nintendo Revolution. My first thought was a sword fighting game, like many others, but I wasn’t fixed on Star Wars light saber battles. I wanted something else. But after Red Steel was released I went back on the desire and was holding out that it would come later. Now that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has released (and I’ve had a little bit of hands on time with it) it’s time for this IP to finally get the game it deserves. It’s time to make a Snow Crash game.

To be able to play as the legendary hacker and best swordsman in the world, Hiro Protagonist, would be just fucking awesome. And do you know who would make an awesome game? A company with experience getting motion controls right, Nintendo. They’ve proven it can be done and be effective. Also it would be a huge departure for they’re normal game. It’s gritty and if done properly would have to be an M rated game. It also stars a mixed race (chinese/african-american) lead that is both capable and extremely flawed. Also I could see Nintendo having fun with the presentation as well. In the story there is a Metaverse (think the internet meets the Matrix) and during the times you’d play in the Metaverse what if everything was cel-shaded. Like a reality but just sort of different. While the games based outside of the Metaverse could be an excuse for Nintendo to try and get artistically gritty. Say like an Akira level that is both colorful yet drab at the same time. The day that game gets announced is the last time you’ll see a post from me, no point in talking about games anymore, my perfect game has just been realized.

snow_crash

Now I know what your thinking. Aren’t all licensed games pretty much trash? Yep. Still even with games like Arhkam City, Toy Story 3 and the last Wolverine game we’re getting crap just about anytime someone makes a game based on something else. But the fact that we have these few and far between gems just means it can be done and that they should be done if properly managed. We should be on the look out for more original ideas but that doesn’t mean that we should disregard a good idea just because it uses a licensed IP. I’m looking forward to the South Park RPG and I’m especially looking forward to the next big game surprise.

Bryan Belcher

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