Published on February 3rd, 2012 | by Jonathan Beck3
Don’t Call it a Comeback: Classic Reboots
Sadly, I’m not going to talk about the 90’s classic CGI cartoon from which I take my screen name. I’m going to talk to you about the now popular franchise reboots. With new announcements for XCOM, & Syndicate, it doesn’t look like that trend is going to simply disappear. These new titles are a great start for classic game lovers, but we can do more. There are franchises out there that need to come back, some of them held by people who love to cash in on franchise names. Let’s take a look at some series desperately needing a reboot.
X-Wing vs Tie Fighter
My personal, number one game that needs to be modernized. With the computing power available today you could make an amazing X-Wing simulator, and it needs to be a simulator. The Rouge Squadron games were fun, but I want full control over my shields, and how much power I have set to my weapons. I want to hear an R2 droid responding to commands. It also needs to have full flight stick support, and it should be developed with Eyefinity and nVidia’s Surround gaming in mind. Imagine if you could sit in the cockpit of an X-Wing, watching as ships cruise by on either side of you in real time. Or if you could actually fly the bombing run on the Death Star and watch as defense turrets whiz by. With full flight stick support it could be a magical experience. Since George Lucas will shamelessly put the Star Wars name on any and everything I can’t see a reason not to do it. You’ve wrecked my childhood about a dozen times at this point George, do me a solid and let some talent have a crack at your license for a change.
Another flight stick classic, though decidedly more claustrophobic than X-Wing, Descent is in desperate need of a reboot. Descent III was mediocre at best, and Freespace was a solid title. Neither of them were as good as the mine crawling, reactor detonating, race the clock game the original Descent was. A new version needs to bring the series back to basics. Crawling through mines searching for hostages and upgrades. Getting tangled into long mine shafts, destroying miner bots & hunting the main reactor. After a reactor is blown, and the timer kicks in while you try to escape, the tension is palpable. Can you get out in time? Are you going to be stuck in this asteroid explosion? This is an experience new audiences deserve to have. It could be tricky to do though, Interplay is long gone so figuring out who owns the rights to the franchise could be quite a headache.
We got Doom III, and iD is working on Doom IV but hear me out. I’m talking a classic Doom experience. Modernized versions of classic enemies, all the original weaponry (here’s your pistol, there’s a chainsaw stashed near by, good luck) and levels you can actually see. If there is a flash light in the next Doom title, they’ve already failed. To really do this right, we need to get John Carmack & John Romero in a room together, cover a conference table in graph paper, and have them draw each level by hand. Tech 5 offers all the tools they need to make a great game, but those two need to design it to make the game everyone wants. Also, the “kill an imp and one pops out behind you” tactic from Doom III needs to disappear. One time is terrifying, doing it 45 times over is not. I just want straight forward demon slaughter. Maybe you could talk to the guys over at Wild Hog, they got about as close to Doom II as anyone has with Hard Reset.
Another iD game already rumored to be in the planning stages it looks like they’re headed more towards a Quake 1 follow up. Raven didn’t do the series justice with Quake IV, and why iD has developed this habit of letting other companies work on their properties is beyond me. There needs to be another iD developed, Sci-Fi based Quake game. Make it huge (really huge, not RAGE faux-huge) give me back my railgun, add in some frantic multiplayer, with more Carmack/Romero designed levels, and call it a day.
Duke Nukem 3D
Let’s get one thing straight right now, Duke Nukem Forever may as well have never come out. That game is so broken, and so pathetically bad on every level it’s as if it doesn’t even exist in my mind. So here’s how we’re going to fix this:
- 1 Development Team (Gearbox is fine)
- 1 Engine
- Shoot Randy Pitchford (Sorry man, has to be done)
- No 14 year development cycle ( 3 – 5 years tops)
- No Peeing
- Stop being blatantly sexist
- Hire some modern humor writers
I know, it’s a big list, and a couple of those things might seem like bad ideas but let’s talk about them. The first four should be no brainers, even the Randy Pitchford bit. I know, it’s his series but that’s part of the problem. Sometimes you need someone else to work on your series. I know this flies directly in the face of what I just said about iD properties, but after DNF, someone else needs a shot at this series. With number 5, I am all for interactive environments, but this is childish, knock it off. Speaking of childish, I know in the 90s it was edgy and cool to let Duke give strippers cash to see pixelated boobs, but it’s 2012. Women make up a good percentage of gamers at this point. It isn’t cute anymore, we’ve matured as a society. As a community trying to be taken seriously gamers need to be a little more mature than that. Finally number 7, they just need better jokes. The self referential humor in DNF was cute for like 3 seconds. “Ha Ha, can you believe this game is finally here?!” was funny once, after that it was obnoxious.
The Duke has ties back to the roots of PC gaming, so for him to go out on such a bad note is unacceptable. They could make him a modern character and make some awesome games with him in it, but a couple of things need to change first. I’m sure I’ve over looked some other classics that need updates or reboots, so let us know which games you’d like to see modernized below.
Image Courtesy of Reboot.cc