Recently, SEGA announced that the classic Dreamcast title Jet Set Radio will be remastered and released on Xbox Live and the Playstation Network. Like most people who remember the game, I got pretty excited!
Jet Set Radio is one of the most beloved games on the Dreamcast, and I have fond memories of playing it. The soundtrack was the biggest reason I'm looking forward to the upcoming port. It's one of the best soundtracks in videogame history, and had a large influence on my musical tastes today.
Then I started getting a little worried about it. There's a lot of LICENSED music in Jet Set Radio. Music that could cost a good amount of money to license, money that they may not be willing to spend. After all, the purpose of this release is to get SEGA some money and if they have to blow too much cash on re-licensing the entire soundtrack, they're not gonna re-license the entire soundtrack. Then I hear murmurs that SEGA is, as of now, doing its best to get the full license for the soundtrack "because that's what the fans want".
Honestly, as fondly as I remember Jet Set Radio, my purchase of the re-release depends on the soundtrack. Because I didn't care for it as a game. The camera was unfairly difficult to control, the graffiti tagging mechanism got overly long near the end of the game, and overall the gameplay of Jet Set Radio was pretty unpolished. Jet Set Radio Future was a better GAME, taking the whole soundtrack and "style" out of the equation.
So SEGA is re-releasing a not-so-fantastic game. I'm fine with that...sort of. I just don't want them to just throw this on the marketplace and be done with it. It's unrealistic at this point, but can I request a new game in the series? One that captures the style of the original Jet Set Radio but updates the gameplay to a modern standard?
I think it's kinda sad that at this point, I'm not expecting SEGA to improve on the franchises they've made with sequels. They're relying on a very small number of key franchises while ignoring some of the better ones that they've created.
Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing 2 is official. Look at how many neglected SEGA characters are in that series. Billy Hatcher was a pretty innovative, but slightly clunky game that I'd like to see a sequel for. Shenmue is one of the biggest cult classics of all time but probably won't ever be concluded with a third game. Rhythm games might not be in the best place right now, but I really enjoy the Space Channel 5 series and Samba de Amigo and I think they could be made into pretty cool games with use of the Kinect or Move.
When I thought about All-Stars Racing 2, I imagined all the SEGA characters that could make an appearance, then immediately wondered whey they haven't had games in so long. Ristar was a big one. But why hasn't there been a Ristar game in forever? Sonic Generations has two missions that share the bar swinging mechanics from Ristar:
Why put these mechanics in a Sonic game for one-off missions? Why not take the time to develop them and build a great new Ristar game?
I'll likely end up buying Jet Set Radio on XBLA. But at this point, I know that sales of the game will not convince SEGA to reboot the franchise and make a great, new Jet Set game. And the fact that I'm so sure it won't happen just makes me kinda sad.