The 8 Ball 10.15.13: Top 8 Games We Want For The Next Generation
Posted by Marc Morrison on 10.15.2013
From Bully 2 and Mega Man to Forza Horizon 2, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 and more, 411's Marc Morrison ranks his Top 8 Wanted Games For The Next Generation!
Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball, where the topic is on games for the next generation. I tried to not have this list just be full of sequels I wanted for games, but more about re-doing old games for a new platform. A few sequels do crop up though, which is a bit unavoidable, with them comprising about half of my list. Still, I tried to come up with some good ideas for games I want to see on new consoles. Let's begin:
Note: I use trailers/gameplay from the pre-existing games. Just to give you an idea of what it is.
8. Forza Horizon 2
I think it is almost guaranteed that more Forza Horizon is due out. After the surprising success of the first game, the writing is on the wall. And frankly, it's about the only core Microsoft franchise that I could give a damn about. While another Horizon is likely to be made, Xbox One owners are instead stuck with Forza Motorsport 5 instead. While I'm sure it'll be good (and hopefully better than the slapdash mess of Forza 4), I can't help be a little bummed that Horizon 2 isn't the one coming instead. I never thought I'd say this, but the Top Gear partnership in Forza 4 was bad, and with it continuing in Forza 5, is a bit scary. I bet they announce Forza Horizon 2 weeks after Forza 5 comes out, so people will care about the series.
A week and a half ago the buzz on the internet was about the tv show ReBoot trying to come back to air. While it's a noble endeavor (and I think the 3rd or 4th attempt since 2001), I fear it is doomed to failure. It did get me thinking about someone trying to do another ReBoot game though. The original ReBoot game was a weird platformer/shooter where Bob was only on a Zip Board, shooting baddies and mending tears. I think a next-gen ReBoot game would be interesting if they focused on the game aspect. When a game cube (no, not the system) drops, you could play it, as one of the characters. It could be a collection of (hopefully good) mini-games, in order to best the user and not be destroyed. It's an idea, anyway.
6. Shadow Complex 2
I'll almost always bring up this game because of Chair/Unreal's unreasonable stupidity about making it. Infinity Blade was supposed to bank roll Shadow Complex 2, or at least other games. It wasn't meant to turn Chair into the Infinity Blade studio, chained to desks as they make more of them. As a next-gen game, I'd want the same 2.5D approach, but let you jump in and out of the foreground (think Tomba!). Ditching the turret sequences would be a definite plus also. But they could drastically increase the size of whatever area they put the game into with the inclusion of the Z-plane. But the game would keep all the action on the X/Y-plane, like in the first one. Shadow Complex 1 is still one of the defining games for the 360, and I want to see a sequel on either new shiny box, very much.
5. The Tony Hawk
When I say "Tony Hawk", I mean a return to form for the old franchise. Ditching the whole skate-boarding peripheral and making the game like it was before. "Back in my day" (10 years ago), the Tony Hawk franchise was on top of the world. Tony Hawks 1 through 4 built upon each other, introducing new mechanics but still keeping the gameplay simple and easy to "pick up and play". Even THUG 1 and 2 kept this going, adding slightly insane/dumb stuff, but they were inventive about it. Since THUG 2 though, the series went off the rails, pardon the pun, devolving into crap that was overtly-complicated and just not fun. My dream for a reboot of the Tony Hawk line would be just to put you in a big area and let you skate. That's what the later games seemed to really miss, instead making you do silly tasks like bailing out over steps, etc. Plus, if they did a next-gen version of Tony Hawk, we could get a next-gen model of Bam Margera, and that would be superb.
4. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3
When I say "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3", please note that I don't mean that "Marvel Heroes" game on PC. That is free to play crap that is a pale imitation of the MUA franchise, diluted by the roster and all the items you can buy. No, I want a new Ultimate Alliance game, with a bigger roster, more destructible environments, and an even crazier story than MUA 1 had. The bewildering thing about this series is that there is a big absence of action-rpgs in this vein for current consoles, let alone for next-gen ones. There's about 4 on the 360 right now, MUA 1 and 2, Diablo 3, and Torchlight 1. That's kind of about it. And aside from Diablo 3 hitting the next-gen consoles, no other games of its ilk are. That's a shame as there has been a lot of positive buzz about D3, and having another MUA game in that vein, with a lot more content added to it, might help get people interested in playing games locally again.
3. Final Fantasy 7
I know what you're probably thinking, if you've read this column for any length of time: "What? The person who largely dislikes Final Fantasy put FF7 on this list?" Yes, I did. For as generally dismissive as I am about the series, I actually would be interested in seeing a hi-res, next-generation version of the game. My hope is that could have it have three different battle systems (that you can pick): "Classic" – the traditional random battle/ATB system from FF7. "On the Screen", where you can see monsters on the screen and can avoid them if you want. And then "Real-time", where you can see monsters on the screen but directly attack them/they attack you, turning each level into a mini-arena. The time, investment (both graphically, aurally, and mechanics-wise) would be extreme, but this would be a system seller for either console.
I bring Mega Man to this list for three reasons. 1. The recent success of Keiji Inafune's "Mighty No. 9" Kickstarter, pulling in 3.8 million dollars, when only wanting $900,000. 2. The leaked/concept video from the first person Mega Man game "Maverick Hunter" from Armature that looked a bit rough, but very interesting. And finally 3. Mega Man 9 and 10 weren't really great games. Capcom has fumbled the Mega Man franchise for so long that it might not even be recoverable at this point. Still, I would like to see them actually attempt to do right by a franchise that is largely responsible for their initial popularity. Don't do one just in the retro style again, either try and reimagine the franchise for current/next gen systems, or do something completely crazy (Maverick Hunter) with it.
1. Bully 2
It's time to bring Bully back, goddamn it. Everyone wants it, so hopefully Rockstar gets the message at some point. Bully did a fantastic job of slowly growing the school/town out, each chapter unlocking new areas for you to explore and do quests in. I think a next generation Bully could pull it off also, but having a bigger town, and a lot more (useful) side activities to do. Plus, actually having a reputation mechanic that wasn't a static mechanic would be good. I also think Bully 2 would be a great vehicle for having the first (I believe) female Rockstar protagonist in a game. Have the main character be a 15 or 16 year old girl, with a female antagonist to deal with also. It would (hopefully) create a different vibe than playing most other Rockstar games where it's dude vs. dude (or several dudes), which is the typical situation for their games. Bonus points if you get Lacey Chabert to voice the heroine (or villain), and Natalie Lander to voice the opposite role.
The Better Half with Liana K
My Top 8 Next-Gen Wist List
At the dawn of every console cycle, optimism is high... just kidding! We're gamers! We're the most pessimistic sub-humans dragging our knuckles across the planet! So when Marc suggested we do our list of Top 8 things we want to see in the next console cycle, I was ready to set aside the cynicism and subject myself to fresh waves of internet mockery by pouring out all my hopes and dreams for games for the next five-to-seven years. Without further ado, on to the pictures... because based on the comments, it seems like many of you guys don't actually read what Marc and I write. So here! Pictures! Accompanied by words!
8: Heavenly Sword 2 (Playstation 4)
There's that period in every console cycle's life where holes in the release schedule need plugging. That next big sequel isn't quite ready yet, but the company needs to release something first-party to keep their balance sheet afloat. That's when I see Sony dusting off the Heavenly Sword franchise with or without Ninja Theory's involvement. The original Heavenly Sword suffered from being too early in the PS3 life cycle, and a particularly cranky phase among video game critics. Yes, it was short. But most games at that time were short. And it was so. Darned. Pretty. Also, anything involving Andy Serkis requires a sequel according to my unwritten rules of life. There's obviously longevity to Nariko as a character based on her inclusion in Playstation All Stars – and numerous video game hotties lists -- so it seems silly not to bring her back in a longer, even more graphically turbo-charged sequel.
7: Uncharted 4 (Playstation 4)
Okay don't freak out, this is a fake box cover. But we all know it's coming, okay. Yes, we might get two more The Last of Us games before we go back to Drake, Sully, Elena and Chloe, and that's a good thing. But that only takes us six years, max, into the PS4 lifecycle, meaning there's time for Naughty Dog to pinch out another Uncharted game... and comparisons to a dry crap were completely unintentional there, but it works, so I ran with it. Six years gives Nathan and Elena time to have kids that can be imperilled for fun and profit, and maybe Sully's got a few illegitimate offspring of his own that he didn't know about. It would be a whole new level of charmingly ambiguous morals to explore, against a backdrop of pretty explosions. Furthermore, there's already a ton of chatter and rumors online about the next Uncharted game. I wanted at least one thing on this list that might actually happen outside my dreams. While we're at it, can we get another full Ratchet and Clank game sometime soon? Yeah they're not even the same developer, but a commenter mentioned Clank last week, which made me pissed off all over again that this franchise has been relegated to downloadable games instead of more developed adventures. See? I'm back to fantasyland. Weeee!
6: Alan Wake 2 (Xbox One)
This video always makes me sad, but the ending is seriously cool! So okay Xbox One, I'll make you a deal. I'll buy your overcomplicated piece of hardware that needs a translator to talk to itself. I'll buy into Remedy's Quantum Break. But I want Alan Wake 2! Xbox is lagging behind Playstation when it comes to recent first party creative properties, and the original Alan Wake was one of my all-time favorite games on the Xbox 360. The characters are great, the examination of literary thrillers is deftly handled, and it's sufficiently creepy on top of all that. Take a page out of Playstation's book and reward artistic merit as well as raw sales, because consoles can no longer live on shooters alone.
5: Mario and Luigi on Xbox and Playstation
Remember when Sega made consoles? They were good consoles, but they didn't sell as well as Nintendo did, mostly because of Super Mario Bros. Well, now Nintendo is making consoles they can't explain. Unless they somehow manage to pull a rabbit out of their hats and make another piece of technology that anyone cares about, Nintendo's future profits are in their IPs, and those make money when they're on systems people actually use. And would that really be a terrible thing? New consoles are multiplying like rabbits these days, and while competition is good, too much of a good thing is expensive. Chill out, Nintendo fans, I'm not predicting Nintendo's demise. I'd just like to be able to play Nintendo properties again, but the investment in the hardware to play only three or four franchises just doesn't make sense.
4: Moar Dragon Age (Multiplatform)
This is my honesty check entry. I will play/read/watch anything related to Dragon Age... okay except that weird live action web thing, but anything else. I even played Witcher 2 because I thought it would be Dragon Age methadone. It wasn't. It made the cravings for Dragon Age stronger. And next-gen systems will lessen the memory limitations that put downward pressure on the graphics while still maintaining the huge scope of Dragon Age: Origins. Also, small downloadable continuing stories featuring the more popular characters are possible thanks to improved online communities, so interactive stories could improve on the already-pretty-awesome comic books. Dragon Age isn't just a game anymore. It's an ecosystem. Or, in my case, a belief system. Just don't tell the Chantry that. Or the Qunari. OH GOD IS DRAGON AGE III OUT YET?!
3: An Epic Butt Ton of Indie Games
I don't exactly know how big a butt ton is, but I have a pretty big butt, so in my world, it's pretty big. I've been absolutely loving the output of the Playstation Pub Fund – Papo & Yo, Guacamelee, Dyad, and others -- and Xbox Live Arcade introduced the world to Bastion and Castle Crashers. While Steam is now my go-to destination for discovering indie games, I do try to support them in their original incarnation, so they can, you know, make money and stuff. For a while, I was completely immersed in these shorter, more contained experiences that aren't crazy expensive, and show different sides of what games can be and do, and I emerged as a huge fan of Supergiant, Minority, and Drinkbox Studios. Then Outlast came along and I'll be a fan of Red Barrels too... when I'm brave enough to actually finish the game. I even backed The Long Dark on Kickstarter this week, because that game has some serious talent connected to it. Now if any of the games I've backed on Kickstarter would actually come out, I'd be all set. Since the onset of my indie obsession, however, I discovered that I hadn't played any of the big games I could actually have a conversation with people about. I decided that playing more AAA games was cheaper than finding better friends. Still, it's important to support independent games, because it drives me crazy that modern games have to sell five million copies to get anyone to take them seriously.
2: The Next Great Female Lead
It's been a lonnnnng time since Lara Croft was crowned queen of the digital realm. After that, it became this unwritten rule that the fastest way to tank your game is to have a female lead. Guys, playing as a girl doesn't make you gay. Your testicles will not disappear. I didn't sprout facial hair through video games, and I'm stuck with an endless sea of stubbled male game protagonists. Furthermore, even though Bro Shep is pictured on Mass Effect box art, most dudes I know prefer playing as Jane Shepherd. Okay, that's because her voice acting is better, but the reasons are irrelevant: men will play as woman as long as the story and characters are good. It's the female gamers we need to get on side, because too many female gamers reject female leads as either being too skanky or too much like that girl who made them miserable in high school. We collectively need to chill on this point, and reward good characters, regardless of how they look. This isn't an E! red carpet special. This is video games. If a developer can't even attempt to make a female protagonist without entering into a shit storm about "objectification", well, they're not going to. So it's my great hope that with the next generation of consoles, we'll get some common understanding regarding prominent female characters. Because this ties in to my number one wish for the next generation of consoles...
How many more games are we going to get where the women are buckwild naked and the dude is wearing strangely grey underwear? If these really are "mature" titles, then gamers should be able to handle a faceful of dick alongside the parade of boobs and bikini waxes. It's not the female nudity that inspires eye-rolling from me. It's the fact that us ladies don't even get a bare male butt or two in games other than Outlast. See, there was penis in Outlast. The sky didn't fall. No one died in real life. Jim Sterling got a tad freaked out, but that was of benefit to those watching his YouTube clips, and made him cooler than PewDiePie...
(Video possibly NSFW. But it is awesome.)
Okay a lot of things make Jim Sterling cooler than PewDiePie, but I digress. If the drooling hordes want women to accept gratuitous female nudity in games, then you boys gotta play ball and show some balls. It's only fair. It's also utterly stupid that a given super stud is boning women through his smallclothes. I'm looking at YOU Geralt of Rivia, oh wearer of weird pantaloons, complete with belt, immediately after sex. Even Kratos flashed us what was under his kilt eventually, even if the result was just bandages. Didn't the Ancient Greeks wrestle naked? Come on!
There are almost an infinite number of games to be on next-gen consoles. Whether or not they get made is a different story though. So I'll leave it up to you guys – try and create a plausible list of games that you would like to see on next-gen consoles. And next week I will comment if they are good or not.
The General Roundup
Some of the comments from last week I can address now: I wouldn't classify Daxter or Clank as being supporting characters. Each has had their own games (on PSP) where they were main ones. GlaDOS is an interesting pick, but I don't think she really contributed much to the game, aside from the dialog. Zero is also good, but I think from Mega Man X4 (and on), he's had a primary role in the X games. Also in the Mega Man Zero franchise, where he is the star. Also, I did mention Elizabeth, specifically she was the first character I mentioned under my secondary list.