After finishing a game that I liked, I often wished for a sequel.
After countless bad spin-offs or sequels to good games, I've refined that desire a bit. No matter how much I loved Shining Force I and II or how bad I want a Shining Force III port or compilation, it doesn't excuse the other games that share the SF moniker from their atrocities. Same goes for you, Mana games; the Seiken Densetsu series has been dead a long time in my mind, and I still get chills when starting a new game file in Secret of Mana.
So if I shouldn't want a brand new game that destroys the memory of the games I love, what should I be excited for? Downloadable Content? DLC can extend a game further, but oftentimes it feels tacked on. The Prince of Persia Epilogue was great at extending the gameplay further and creating more of a challenge, but it didn't have quite the same production value or polish as the main game. If DLC isn't gameplay tacked onto the end of a game, it often ends up being something like Bioshock's extra plasmids: a neat addition, but the game itself doesn't change much. DLC works with games like Burnout or Rock Band where it offers substantially "more", but not all games are designed to be bolstered in quite the same way as Rock Band.
For me, my dream games are mostly divided into three groups: games that expand into different genres (the Mario Theft Autos, if you will), games that are fresh, untapped IPs, and games that crossover with other games. There are three games that would make my day if they were ever made; these are their tales:
Pilot Wings MMO
I have always wanted the ability to fly- to soar through the air with ease. My favorite parts of Pilot Wings 64 were the birdman segments. With complete control over his bird-like wings, I flapped and glided birdman around the world taking snapshots of its natural beauty. I would try to capture every picturesque mountain, sunset reflected off the ocean's surface, or even the oil refineries that were constantly aglow in the light of their flames. Everything had a beauty all its own, whether man-made or natural. My dream game would be set in a vast world dotted with a stunning variety of geographies, much like our own.
Many would disagree with the choice of it being an MMO, but I stand firm (it's my dream, damnit! Also, no subscription fee because I said so). It would control just like a standard Pilot Wings/ flight combat game in spite of it being an online experience. The franchise would thrive in a persistent setting, day/night and weather cycles constantly changing the environment, gaggles of bird-people flying in formation high above canyons and sparkling rivers. Every player has a camera which uploads screenshots directly to a central website where players rank the screens.
The other vehicles would be available; people can travel between cities by shooting out of a cannon (or attempt to knock another player out of the sky), areas that require more flight precision (such as caves or urban environments) can be traversed with a jet pack, and players who want to pvp can dogfight in their gyro-copters. All the vehicles would be fully customizable and upgradable from their stats to their appearance.
The closest game to this dream: Aion: The Tower of Eternity
MMO? Flight-based? Aerial PVP? Ding-ding-ding! While not fully based on flight, flying plays a very large role in the game. Man-cannons and helicopters aside, this game captures my birdman fantasies. No cameras, (unless you count the print screen
button) but Aion is home to some of the most beautiful, scenic environments I've seen in a game.
Flocks of players take to the skies and soar amongst the clouds in a stunning fantasy world, albeit only for a short time. Wings can only be used for a set period of time which increases at specific experience levels. And for anyone that's curious, that's my Spirit Master in the pic.
My second dream game:
A David Eddings Game
Many fantasy books have been made into games: the numerous Lord of the Rings games, the Wheel of Time, and a soon to be made Song of Ice and Fire game. Some of my favorite books have been written by David Eddings, and very nearly any of them would make a great game. My choice would come from either the Elenium
or the Belgariad
. The Elenium is set in a dark middle age setting where brothels are as commonplace as corrupt clergy, and the only way to survive is to keep your wits and blades about you.
In my dream game, you'd play as either Sparhawk (a badass who would fit well up against the likes of Solid Snake and Altair) or one of his companions as you sneak, outsmart your enemy, and bust skulls as a church knight of the Pandion order. The Queen has been poisoned, but magic preserves her health. She has twelve months to live, but every month that passes, one of the knights that engaged in the magic spell will die until the knights and the Queen are all gone, unless you find out who did this and find a cure. Sparhawk and pals aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, as long as it's done in the name of the Queen. The game would also have you be stalked by a Seeker: an insectoid with a bite that causes you to become its slave (forfeiting all free will). The seeker would be akin to the Nemesis from RE3, showing up at random times and terrifying the player.
The Belgariad is also host to a lot of ideas that could translate to gaming pretty well. Set in a sword-and-sorcery fantasy setting, these books follow a boy from his farming ignorance to his days as a master sorcerer. Highlights would include quests involving Barak and Silk, burning a stalker in the face, being seduced by a serpent Queen, and learning to shape-shift. The only thing better than a game version of the Belgariad might be a game version of A Wizard of Earthsea
, but as far as "people sailing around the world in a one-person boat" games it's hard to beat Wind Waker. The closest game to this dream: The Witcher (or Dragon Age Origins)
Set in a dark middle age world much like the Elenium, the Witcher stars a slightly older, more mature main character (much like Sparhawk). Corruption is as familiar to the world of the Witcher as it is to the world of the Elenium. Bloodshed is the way to resolve issues, and the main characters shed blood efficiently. The more fantasy novels that are made into games, the more I want a David Eddings game.
And finally, the crossover game:
Power Stone vs. Darkstalkers
I will be perfectly honest, I'm not sure quite how to envision this, but I know it would be awesome. Since Power Stone 3 doesn't seem like it's coming out ever, why not breathe life into both of these amazing franchises? And let's face it, Lord Raptor with a flame thrower guitar would make me squeal with glee. I love the 2D animation of Darkstalkers, and I love the 3D worlds of Power Stone, so would it be Darkstalkers with Power Stone characters or Power Stone with Darkstalkers characters?
Easy- Set it in 3D, otherwise the thrill of scrambling for power stones would be lost, and with it all the excitement of the constantly shifting stages. In Power Stone, the levels are almost more of a threat than the other players. Items are constantly dropped, turrets can be manned, and falling from the sky is a regular occurrence. When players gather all three Power Stones, have a quick animated transformation snippet be displayed in the corner.
The game would be playable online in hi-def, and each player would have a tag team partner character with which they could swap. Just picture the combos of Gunrock and Sasquatch, Felicia and Rouge, or Bishamon and Jack. Everything would be frantic and flashy, but have a structured balance underlying it all. The Darkstalkers' stages would make an appearance in full 3D with dangers around every corner, beware the Soul Train!
And what we have instead: We Love Golf (featuring Morrigan)
So that's what the Darkstalkers characters are up to these days (while breaking from their stint in Cross Edge). Power Stone fans have the port/compilation on the psp, and Darkstalkers fans have cameos to look forward to. C'mon Capcom, bring us a crossover that can compete with Brawl! These characters are itching for a fight anyway. But like I said, this is my dream, so I don't expect anything to come of any of these 'games', but as long as they're in my head, they live on. Do you have a dream game?