So recently, something or other, blah blah, ECCO 3
. Last week, Ed Annunziata, the man with the impossible name to remember the correct spelling of and the creator of Ecco the Dolphin
, announced on Twitter that he would be meeting with Sega to talk about the prospect of an Ecco 3. It was mentioned on Destructoid this morning, or yesterday or whatever. And I peed my pants for a completely unrelated reason at the exact same time as reading the article; mostly because they decided to fucking show this ugly thing as the screen cap for the article.
Anyways, Ecco 3 is looking like more of a possibility, which is awesome for all five of us who were brilliant enough to realize what a masterpiece it is. Now, I`m no Mensa member, but I`m fairly certain that my current I.Q. is sitting somewhere in between the calorie count of a banana and three pieces of bacon, at the very least. I just have a big ego and think I`m better than you. There is nothing I can do to help that, but I must ensure you, I am completely harmless.
Rather than bragging about my enormous brain canister, I will instead muse more about Ecco. And the topic of todays musing will be; just what the hell will Ecco 3 be about?
Now there may be a couple of you whiners out there saying "but Manchild you sexy vagina ruining man muscle of sexy love, why do you say Ecco 3? There already was a third Ecco game, and it was presented in beautiful technicolor and in the third, and last, dimension." That may be true, but it was never a true sequel. Ed had nothing to do with the development of Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future
. Appaloosa, formerly Novotrade who Ed previously worked with on Ecco, Chakan
, and Kolibri, took the helm to create the new Ecco, and brought science fiction writer David Brin along for the ride. Hew penned a story that was similar to something you might see in an Ecco game; it had globes, after all, and Ecco is all about globes.
But it didn't tie into the first two games. The major enemy of the game, The Vortex, were nowhere to be found. A similarly neat but not nearly as terrifying alien enemy, The Foe, were in their place; it was basically a fan fiction written by a guy who writes fiction. Don't get me wrong, though; DOTF had a lot of meat on its bones story wise, and there were some truly interesting and creative locales to explore. But it would be like calling the Mother 4 fangame
- well - Mother 4
. Without the original creator behind it, it is just that; a knock off, something else. (Although admittedly, goddamn, have you seen or heard about Mother 4
? Mad respect for the dudes behind that game, it looks splendifurous.)
Nope, Ecco 3 needs to be a proper sequel, one that finishes the story of Ecco. To break it down, super super quick, Ecco 1 was all about an alien race called The Vortex whose planet was dying, and who fed from the Earth's seas every five hundred years in order to survive. It was a big reveal that happened about half way through the game, which started with the bastards sucking Ecco's Home Bay, and all his best buds, up into space. Ecco takes a long journey around the world, into the past, and eventually, into space, to save his friends and kill the alien enemy. And, kill them, he does...OR DOES HE
Well the answer is no, and soon after, the Vortex Queen follows him to Earth to start a new hive there. She poops out her alien Giger rip-off spawn to start harassing the rest of the sea life, and Ecco has to restore his powers that he lost to destroy her once again. He travels to alternate futures, one where the Vortex rule, and one where there is peace, and eventually gets his powers back. He fights the Vortex Queen and wins (again) but shortly after he leaves to go celebrate with wine and the ladies, the Vortex Queen transforms herself into a larval state, and heads off to Atlantis, where the time machine Ecco has used like fifty times by now is located.
Ecco's friend, a globey DNA strand called The Asterite, the thing that gave Ecco his powers to breathe in space, tells Ecco that he has to destroy the time machine to set everything right. Time has been split into two seperate "streams", and Ecco is the "stone" that made this happen. After waxing poetic with ol' Asty, Ecco takes off for Atlantis, and is mercilessly attacked by the Vortex Queen while they race to the machine. She gets to it first, and uses it to escape into Earth's past. But as the epilogue of the game states, she meets creatures who she "cannot rule", and is forced to integrate into the life cycle of the Earth, giving birth to insects, crustaceans, and other creatures who I will never touch in real life because they remind me of the ugly Queen. Ecco doesn't destroy the machine as he was supposed too; instead, he uses it, and gets lost in the Tides of Time.
And that's where it ended. Bummer.
However, that wasn't the ending Ed envisioned. Ecco was going to continue. But what would have happened? What will Ecco 3 actually be like? There are a few things we can theorize, and even fewer that we actually know, so let's get down to it.
In past interviews, Ed has stated that Ecco used the time machine to travel back to find the Atlantians. The Atlantians were sort of the puppeteers of everything that happened; they were humans who were fighting a war with the Vortex, and their civilization was eventually destroyed by beams from the planet Vortex. They decided to use their machine to escape into Earths past, since the machine can only be used to travel one way. This way they could be safe, and could set up a contingency plan to save the rest of the world from the alien horrors. They decided to leave clues around for a dolphin who would get the job done, and attuned the machine to read dolphin DNA. And for whatever reason, Ecco has decided he needs to meet them, which was an event planned for the third game.
One theme the game has going for it is the idea that affecting something in the past will directly change the future. In the first Ecco game, Ecco actually becomes responsible for dolphins going from the land into the ocean, and continuing to evolve there. He speaks to them in the distant past of Earth and they are inspired by him. Ecco becomes the sole reason for his own existence. The Vortex Queen becomes responsible for actually creating a significant portion of Earth's own ecology as well. So there is no reason to believe that, somehow, Ecco will become responsible for the events that occur in the other games, at least in part.
One theory I have relates to the dolphin found in Tides of Time. There is a mystery dolphin that keeps showing up and blocking your way, telling you how to proceed. It looks exactly like you, and mimics your movements. So perhaps an element of Ecco 3 would be Ecco himself being responsible for guiding him on his own journey. It sounds kind of bizarre, but it would make sense; Ecco would set everything up for his past self so that all of the right events get set in motion. It would be a neat way to introduce new players to older parts of the game, while offering a compelling task for Ecco to complete.
The Vortex are the other major sticking point. If they are all gone, who would be the enemy? I'd venture to say that Ed is not quite willing yet to give up on the Vortex, and that they will make an appearance of some kind in the third game. The end of Tides of Time specifies that the Vortex Queen found creatures she "couldn't rule", and back when I heard this, I always thought it was like, dinosaurs, or something. But it would be just as conceivable that she went back in time to where the Atlantians hid, and that she had one final encounter with Ecco before finally giving up and farting out crabs. A new Ecco game just wouldn't feel the same without a terrifying alien enemy, and who better than the Vortex to fill their own shoes?
All of this is mere conjecture. Hell, at this point, a new Ecco is barely certain; all Ed has released regarding it was a quick tech demo he whipped up for iOS, but unless he can get Sega on board, Ecco is doomed to obscurity forever. Sega owns the IP, and they won't be willing to give it up without a good chunk of chump change, which, without a compelling financial reason to do so, Ed will not likely fork over any time soon. He has to convince Sega that an Ecco game is worth making; and considering the lack of popularity the franchise has, as well as a legion of vocal haters to supplement it, getting a new Ecco done is a tough prospect.
We can only wait and see, dreaming about the day when Ecco 3 will be in our hands, terrifying us into pants exploding fits of horror, and inspiring our imaginations once more. I just wanted to offer a brief synopsis of the series, and what we may be able to expect from a third Ecco the Dolphin.