Aging Over Time

Prequels, sequels and reboots happen all the time. In all of media. So it’s never a surprise that a remake or a continuation to a dated title is announced and it shouldn’t be a surprise if that title has an entirely different look than before. Ignore the reboots of running series like Mortal Kombat, Castlevania and Tomb Raider and forget those HD remakes like God of War and Halo. This is about games 9 years or older, games that aren’t discussed in the mainstream outlets anymore. It left its impact and faded unless there’s something else around the corner, a prequel, a sequel or a remake that comes out to bring life into it. How far does a remake have to change to captivate today’s audiences? Should it change at all or keep a little bit of both?

Some games struggle to fit to modern times while trying to hold on to its old style. Duke Nukem Forever’s design was stuck in limbo between today’s and yesterday’s shooters, due to it’s long development cycle (1996-2011). It made fun of today’s shooters like Halo but it had moderns designs like carrying only 2 weapons at a time. Arcade shooters were all about over the top weapons and carrying every single one; moving as fast as you can to collect health packs and shooting enemies around every corner. Screw realism, there was a goal and that goal was to blow everything up! Arcade shooters were starting to get a bad rap as if those games won’t translate over to this generation. Duke Nukem‘s issues were mainly a result of the long development cycle, catering to both audiences and add in raunchy dated Duke humor. Gearbox recently stated that they are going to reboot the franchise after they finish Aliens: Colonial Marines, we’ll see how that turns out.

Syndicate is an upcoming EA title for slated for release in February 2012. It’s a remake of a PC and console title back during 1993. It was announced last summer just before the release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution (another cyberpunk/old school game). The setting is in a futuristic cyberpunk world where a team of cyborg agents fight rivals trying to make their company the top corporation. Originally the 16-bit game was a real time strategy from an isometric angle, in which you would direct a team of 4 cyborgs around while the computer was doing the same. The team would conduct assassinations, capture and infiltrate information. Now the reboot is from a different perspective, literally. Things have changed to an FPS, making gamers experience the remastered world up-close. The new gameplay is considered as a cross between Crysis and Mass Effect. Various weapons are accessible and a variety hacking abilities including hacking into your enemies bio–chip to control their actions fully. People are excited for the new game and hoping it will be as fun as Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The other camp are fans of the original Syndicate and extremely upset with the changes arguing that it should be very similar to the 90s game. But honestly RTS  and isometric games aren’t runaway hits for consoles those are shooters.

Why don’t they work on consoles? You need fast movement of free control all over the screen. A mouse is an easier tool than a controller.  But just because the camera angle changed doesn’t mean the entire game will be different. Yes, a third Fallout was in the works for some time by Black Isle Studios under the codename Van Buren. After Bethesda bought the license and made their own Fallout game titled Fallout 3. However, the Black Isle employees over at Obsidian Entertainment finally got their chance to work on their own series: Fallout: New Vegas. It has several elements from the first two games and parts of Van Buren. They stayed with the first-person RPG but originally Van Buren was going to be isometric like the first two.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the rare case in this article since it didn’t do an entire overhaul, even with a new studio developing. The first series was perfect for it’s time and now. The original was hailed for it’s deep conspiracy plot, RPG elements, and multiple approaches to objectives. Hack and sneak into a facility or blast your way through. It wasn’t an arcade shooter or a RTS. It was a unique FPS. The new prequel Deus Ex: Human Revolution, kept to almost everything that the award winning series had. Of course, there were changes for a modern update for example the regenerative health and a cover system to keep gamers intrigued and have an edge during combat.

It’s a good treat that classic titles are being resurrected or continued this day and age. Though, it isn’t easy to please everyone but there will be a hit to please the masses such as how Deus Ex: Human Revolution did. Purest fans don’t like change and they have a point. You can miss the ball or have a continuation that seems out of place, e.g. Duke Nukem Forever. Imagine Diablo 3 turning to an open-world first-person hack and slash, Blizzard would get piles of hate mail because of it. People get used to the controls and expect the same rodeo or they want something close to the original title that reminds them of the gameplay and unlock nostalgic parts in their mind.

But since were talking about remakes and continuations. Here’s a couple suggestions. First, how about a remake of the Flashback: The Quest for Identity series these games were heavily cinematic and the rotoscope animation gave a realistic flow to the platforming. Both games were chocked full of plot-twisting expediences of action and puzzle solving. Seriously, we’re this far along with games holding a dynamic story and breathtaking platforming (just think of Uncharted) a remake would be nice. With all of this zombie stuff going around I’m surprised there isn’t that many comedy games about them.

Also, Zombies Ate My Neighbors had a lot going for it. The levels were parodies of old horror movies , “Mars Needs Cheerleaders” and an entire level you fight through monsters in a mall and the boss is an a giant demonic baby that stomps everywhere. You had to save several people from the monsters and the enemies weren’t just babies and zombies. No! But chainsaw slashers with hockey masks, werewolves, vampires, martians, blobs the list keeps going. It’s such a funny game and it had a cartoony art direction to add to how ridiculous it was. Instead of another recycled zombie suspense shooter how about a new zombie comedy shooter.

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