In what is the coolest jobs I've ever had, I write about toys for a living. All day, nothing but toys. It's amazing. When I'm not writing at work I'm writing at home, either working on my screenplay or my children's novel. When I'm not doing any of that I try to get in some video game time. I'm currently rocking Nintendo only consoles because dammit, I love Nintendo. More than Nintendo, I love platform games. Even though my favorite game isn't a platformer (The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker), it is my favorite genre of games.
Follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/thekillerbees and add me to your 3DS Friends List (1633-4277-3240 and let me know so I can add you to mine.) I'd love to meet some people who want play some Kid Icarus, Resident Evil: Revelations and Mario Kart 7.
I remember it very clearly. Days before e3 2009, IGN.com had a major exclusive reveal in the new High Voltage Software game “The Grinder.” Announced even before its first Wii FPS, The Conduit, was released, “The Grinder” supposedly showed what a developer could do with the Wii if it put in the time and effort. It was an ambitious project, with 4-player online co-op promised. While online gameplay was now common in Wii FPS’ at the time of its announcement, co-op was still something reserved for the more powerful systems. The trailer for the game also showcased really detailed, if really brown, graphics that almost equal the best we’ve seen from the Wii.
All-in-all, it was a game to get excited about. Then reality happened.
A month after its reveal, “The Conduit” was released to so-so reviews and so-so sales. I personally did enjoy the game for what it was: an FPS that played well but was not ambitious enough. With that game not meeting the hype, “The Grinder” would have to exceed its expectations if High Voltage Software wanted to have a hit. Instead, the game missed its target release date and went multi-platform. The Wii versions would remain an FPS, while the PS360 versions would be a top-down shooter. Screenshots were released and a new release date was given: Halloween 2011. That date passed without a single version of the game seeing release. Instead we got “Conduit 2,” which reviewed and sold even worse than the original game, despite “fixing” its issues. “The Grinder” along with “Animales de la Muerta” are listed as unreleased demos on HVS’ website. So, with so much promise and seemingly a helluvah lot of ambition, what happened to “The Grinder?”
Scratch that. A better question is: Do we even want it? Let’s be honest; High Voltage Software has never made a great game. Never. In fact, its made its fair share of poor games. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Tournament of Legends, Iron Man 2, Captain America: Super Soldier; a majority of its games fall between “good” and “shit-tacular.” It’s best reviewed game is its port of All-Star Baseball 2001 for the N64. The studio has never had a game rank in the 90%.
So do we want “The Grinder” when it seems clear that this is just not a good developer? 3DS owners have recently run into this issue with “Heroes of Ruin” from N-Space Inc. The developer best known for its Call of Duty DS ports, which are all good, has never had luck with original IP’s. Geist for the Gamecube was a massive let down and the developer didn’t even attempt another IP until this year, instead focusing on contract work (with exception to the never released "Winter"). Heroes of Ruin is sitting below 69% on Gamerankings.com; I’ve already returned my copy to the store.
In lieu of releasing its own IP’s, High Voltage Software has instead done it’s own share of contact work recently including a whole bunch of country dancing. The biggest game it was a part of was Kinect Star Wars. Specifically, HVS worked on the landspeeder, spaceflight and space combat segments according to its website. Destructoid’s own review of those portions suggest that they are the best part of the game. Although that’s not hard to do when you look at everything else in Kinect Star Wars.
So what’s next for HVS? On its Wikipedia page, it’s listed it’s working on an unnamed Wii U FPS, an unnamed 3DS FPS (which may or may not have to do with The Conduit franchise) as well as “Zone of the Enders HD Collection” for some reason. I would be surprised by this decision, but then I remembered it’s Konami, a company that seems to be going out of its way to destroy all good feelings towards it. After the debacle that was the “Silent Hill HD Collection” do we really want another sub-par developer working on a series so highly revered?
(Side note: Is it really so hard to get three games on these fucking HD Collections Konami? I think we'd all love an HD port of the GBA game Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars to be included with this game.)