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5:13 AM on 08.22.2007 // JDevL
Justin Bailey Needs a Daddy (2)

I was going to start with some bad pun about this post drowning in a sea of Bioshock posts, but I'd prefer to start by referencing a bad pun that only partially exists.

Last week, I posted on how a demo of a certain, Big Daddy gave my hopes for Metroid Prime 3 a reality check. This was before the near-perfect reviews of BioShock began driving us all into a plasmid frenzy. The buzz alone is enhancing my dream of a Retro Studios and Irrational Games collaboration to make the ultimate Metroid game.

My real dream though isn't of a Nintendo being aided by the great developers outside of their walls. It's of a Nintendo opening their doors to be able to collaborate with other game developers. Nintendo's true skill is thinking outside and off the walls of the proverbial box. Being that I've accepted their fortune lies elsewhere and that we are no longer their primary gaming audience, I know that there is a distinct lack of Nintendo quality game experiences ahead of me.



The idea hit me while describing Overlord to a friend of mine. I described it as "Evil Pikmin." At its core Overlord takes some key Nintendo-perfected gameplay elements and transports them into a game more targeted for my interests - it's evil, it has innuendo, it has drunk minions that piss themselves. While Overlord is blast to play and possesses that key factor of keeping redundant tasks entertaining after many hours of gameplay (I still laugh any time a minion says, "Sheepie"), it has major flaws. Most reviews of the game described it as being fun to play despite its shortcomings.

This got me thinking, what if games like Overlord were able to get that level of polish that we get out of games like first-party Nintendo titles? Now, I know a lot of this wouldn't work with existing budgets or timelines, but suspend reality for a few moments. What if established, historical, proven game developers made themselves more readily available to current developers producing games for different audiences? Mario-like innovation in more mature gaming experiences.

It's obvious from the soulless Twilight Princess that Nintendo has missed the boat to be able to engage us without "keeping it kiddy." They aren't the only ones that are out of touch either. Look at id - "Hay guyz, we have vehicles in our new game." Flagship - "Diablo with gunz!" or Sega - "Have we ruined all our franchises yet?"

Let's retire some of the old guard and move them into director and producer roles for an industry that's ready for it's next level. The younger companies can stay in touch with their audiences and keep creative control over their IPs. Then, have this new think tank of super developers consult their titles, so their influence can be felt across more titles and genres.

You can come up with some crazy combinations that would come up with entirely new genres of games and technology:

1) Square works on new storyline elements while Nintendo tries out some crazy new ideas for MMO gameplay under the creative control of Blizzard.

2) Epic locks away John Carmack to work with their team on the new Unreal 4 engine, while Cliffy B and Valve challenge Infinity Ward to step away from traditional soldiers for a while.

As an audience, we've accepted the fact that we will be deluged with sub-average games in between 3-5 truly great games a year. Yet, we are always looking forward to the next title from proven developers whose games are becoming more and more infrequent and more and more out of touch with us. It's just a shame to see great minds of the gaming industry still playing in their separate corners, when they could impact so much more.
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