A staple in the video game community is developers’ appetite for remakes and reboots. Time and time again we see old classics, or even those that weren’t, revived like 80’s movies and TV shows have been in Hollywood recently. As a result, it is only natural that someone, like me, with fond memories of the early days of arcades, LAN parties, and bowling alley game rooms should go back a bit and make a few choice suggestions to the industry!
Many gamers may not even know what this game is even though it isn’t really as old as one might think. If you were a bargain hunter for good Dreamcast games, you may have stumbled across this one. Armada was one of those surprise local coop shoot em up games filled with great strategy, resource management, and RPG elements. With an arcade-y top down view of the universe, you flew around like an upgraded version of Asteroids. You destroyed countless enemies as you collected resources needed to upgrade your ship. The game was clearly designed to be an MMO but since things didn’t workout, that feature of the game was dropped for a more simplistic local coop experience with a max of 4 players. While the grind of blasting away to get gear is a bit repetitive, the formula for a unique and fun shooter was there.
Now imagine if an Ikaruga or Sine Mora style game was somehow crafted into an open ‘galaxy’ map with areas that clearly spawned specific types and strength enemies for MMO style parties or ‘wings’ to blast their way to and thru. Throw in Armadas’ trademark factions and different ship types and specialties along with a ton of loot, weapons, upgrades, crafting, tech, and RPG elements and you have a simple yet satisfying exploration and explosion filled game that could just as well find life on a PC as it could a console or even a tablet device! If the early talk of Armada Online was promising enough for players who tried it only a year ago, imagine what a finished project could be if it were taken on!
Those who know of the Mercenaries series are probably going to look at this suggestion a bit skeptically. Essentially, in today’s gaming landscape, titles like Far Cry and Just Cause have taken over the Mercenaries mantle. This game’s claim to fame was to make the character feel like Rambo by giving them access to weapons, gear, and vehicles galore to cause the most awesomeness of bullet hell destruction that a third person shooter could ever have. Much like a Grand Theft Auto, you could approach an enemy vehicle and hijack it from the driver, with your handy grappling hook at one point, only to turn it upon his friends. As the game’s trademark feature, as your character assassinated or captured key ‘targets’ of a particular faction, the more equipment, air support, and airstrikes you received to help you in your sandbox of destruction. In the second game, you could even drop a tactical nuke on a stronghold!
For fans of Just Cause’s recent success, this all sounds familiar minus the airstrikes and air support. I suppose the real question is how could a reboot or remake actually entice those fans to take a chance? Well, my friends, that’s why I’m here! The Mercenaries game stressed that the locales you fought in had multiple factions that you could either help or harm. Since the early games were focused on fantasy versions of real life conflicts, the reboot or remake could be a futuristic or medieval setting! Of course, the tone of the game could stay over the top but the aim could still be a massive sandbox that the player could eventually demolish. Medieval games could take on fantastical magic creatures and magic that could demolish and destroy strongholds. Futuristic games could have colorful and devastating laser and ballistic technology that rip space stations apart! If you really want to evolve the series, you could find a way to develop game AI for NPC teammates that you command and protect as you take on missions. You could even make it online where mercenaries player teams took each other on. Of course, it would all be in the spirit of setting the world in flames of course!
Bloody Roar was a solid fighting game unleashed in the era of Tekken and Virtua Fighter clones. As developers searched for 3d fighters that could compete and take on the likes of Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Tekken, Bloody Roar kind of took an almost anime styled approach to the characters. Early in the match, your characters were no different than those seen in other fighting games. Then, in the blink of an eye, they could transform into monstrous humanoid animals that had immense strength and speed allowing them to blast their foes into and through walls and barriers.
While you kind of saw this overpowered strength and ability in Mortal Kombat sequels, Injustice, and Killer Instinct, Bloody Roar managed to incorporate two forms of one fighter in a clever way that was a cool trademark for the game.
The real challenge in remaking or rebooting this game would be to give a reason for players to not mind playing as the weaker human versions of each character in a battle. Maybe the human versions could find loot in the form of special weapons to integrate into their martial arts style. These weapons would not be usable by the character’s animal forms though. The animal form would rely solely on the new form’s stereotypical animal advantage or physical features to enhance damage or speed or movement. I’m sure a clever studio, that isn’t Capcom, could handle reviving this forgotten favorite.
With the recent release of Star Wars Squadrons, developers should basically have a blueprint for how to make a successful multiplayer space-combat sim. For those of us who don’t want to spend tons of money on Star Citizen, there should be a more reasonable and more accessible option…particularly for consoles. This is where a Wing Commander remake could come in.
With clear inspiration from Battlestar Galactica and other sci-fi movies, Wing Commander was an epic story based adventure that put you through the paces as an ace pilot in a grand space opera. While the story of past Wing Commander games is something that may or may not need to be revisited, the lore is certainly ready baked and primed for a return.
A great way to approach this game could be to design it as a co-op space combat sim where battles affect a larger persistent war (kind of like For Honor and its various factions). The missions could be filled out with players and lots of AI to keep the action filled with lasers, missiles, and explosions. A good designer could also find a way to design multiple mission types like resource runs, raids, capital ship defense, base sieges, trade-post defense, mining runs/defense, and others. The story mode could be used much like For Honor has done to give players experience playing different types of spacecraft as well as different game modes. Then, once they are comfortable in contributing to the ‘war’, they can jump into multiplayer and give it a go.
The advantage of providing multiple modes would be how Wing Commander could be more inviting that Star Wars Squadrons is. Allowing for more maps, map types, and objectives based modes would allow for casual players to be able to find something to play that doesn’t always cater to the players that spend all of their time grinding with flight stick in hand. Toss in some kind of loot based system, character and ship customizations, and maybe even a clan system and you have a winner! In fact, you could even grant clans with their own carrier that they are responsible for upgrading together!
There are always cult favorites that fans would love to see revived. Let us know what retro classics you would like to see!