Gaming is a notorious space for releasing things in a broken state.
Historically this could be fatal for games where consoles didn’t have day one updates and an expectation of being permanently online which allows for patches long after a game was released. Maybe this is recency bias or weird nostalgia but it feels like games these days are more likely to release in an unplayable or severely buggy state as publishers know and expect the work to continue on past release day.
While this shouldn’t be fatal given that we can just wait until a game becomes playable there are numerous instances of games crashing and burning. Bioware’s Anthem which was unceremoniously killed off a year or two after its release despite some assurances it could soldier on and we’ve only just got to a place where we can say that Cyberpunk 2077 runs well enough to tentatively recommend. Even then there are dozens of games that don’t make as big a flop but unfortunately couldn’t survive the initial backlash and either died ignominiously or sent their team back tot he drawing board like (again) Bioware with Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Similarly to this, sometimes a game releases perfectly fine or underwhelming but the hype machine got away from the devs and built an image of a game that we unfortunately didn’t get close to seeing. No Man’s Sky made promises that in hindsight nobody could’ve delivered. Fable meanwhile had the notorious Peter Molyneux at its head and despite a James Cameron level of self-belief couldn’t pull it off despite three valiant attempts to live up to his own self-regard.
My question for everyone is: what game or series would you like to have another go? What were you hyped for that unfortunately failed to deliver but you would love to see the initial attempt scrubbed and the devs given another fair crack at the whip to share what they envisioned? Was there something that released in a pretty decent state but you just know with another crack at the whip the developers could’ve did something better?
It can be a redo of a particular game, a sequel to a maligned game or something else in the universe. Hell, if it killed the devs, what about a new game from a defunct studio?
I’ve already said it but I think I’d like to see a Mass Effect: Andromeda sequel. That game was rough. Those characters weren’t great. That launch was abysmal in a lot of ways. But they asked several questions that tickled the mystery box nonsense gene that I am sadly afflicted with. I simply need to know what the deal were with the Kett. I need to know what was going on behind the scenes of the journey that ended so disastrously. I need to know what happened to the other arks beyond a tie in novel! It set up a bunch of stakes that I despite my best judgment ate right up.
Over to the forum.
While we’re talking about Mass Effect, the greatest, and yet most broken ME-like, Alpha Protocol absolutely deserves another shot. The pitch sounds like the perfect video game, a spy RPG with extensive dialog trees, non-linear mission structure in exotic locales around the world, and true cause-and-effect stemming from your dialog and actions. Too bad the game was riddled with bugs and the actual gameplay was ass. But man, a new one of those with a modern AAA budget would be incredible.
I’m right there with you on Mass Effect: Andromeda. They set up some cool stuff! There’s some characters I’d like to see again! I hope they’d learn to tone down the colonialism as much as possible in a hypothetical sequel! But alas.
One go-to answer for questions like this is always The Order 1886. It’s a fun setting and they set up cool stuff that doesn’t get paid off and it ends on quite a cliffhanger. And, as someone who doesn’t play many of that kind of third person cover shooter, I thought it felt pretty good/fun to play! It feels like it got overly maligned when it came out because of discourse about graphics (the black bars, resolution, etc) and for how short it was and all that kind of overrode all the other discussions around the game.
ReCore is cool! I think I liked it more than most people. But I liked scrounging around with some robot pals in a big desert full of wrecked space ships. I got real tired of the combat near the end but the first like 75% of it was a pretty good time.
I’d also like to see someone take another crack at The Thing (PS2), or, more specifically, the squad mechanics in the first couple of levels of The Thing. It was cool and then kind of falls out of the majority of the game until the last chunk is basically just a generic third person shooter. But it could’ve been really cool!
I don’t know why I can’t come up with lots of examples for this. The only one that comes to mind is The Last Express, the 1997 Jordan Mechner-led adventure-drama set in the runup to WW1. It’s such an interesting game that got thrown under the rug but is also a bit inapproachable without some form of guide. Feels like a story that a new generation of players could discover if it got a remaster or remake – although TBH a full remake would likely be way too expensive to ever get made.
I’d like to see another shot at the Black & White license. The movement-based shortcuts for casting miracles was an interesting idea that played terribly, and raising a monstrous creature which changed to reflect your deeds was enchanting to me, even though I don’t think I ever got past the second island as a child (and the first was a tutorial you couldn’t fail). I probably preferred the tutorial zone, honestly, having to battle against other gods in real time was rather stressful. I was, after all, playing a god game to play god.
Assassin’s Creed Unity, if I had time travel. That game being so on fire overshadowed how much work they had done on the traversal system (you could climb down! Imagine!) and the cool, Hitman-esque Black Box Assassinations (though Valhalla has some of this). Like, ultimately I think this turned out for the best: although the failure of Unity wound up eating the lunch of Syndicate (an underrated entry in the ACverse), taking the year off for a rethink wound up being the best idea that franchise ever had.
This was the first thing that came to my mind. Along with maybe Tribes (we’ve given that license several chances, but I feel like it gets horribly mismanaged every time), these two are big ones from my childhood/teen years.
The monsters got downright nasty if you mistreated them, it was pretty great and led to a lot of funny moments. I remember the sequel being pretty decent, but I feel like a new one could be pretty interesting (…what if it was a VR game and they figured out how to make the spell gestures fun )
I remember 2 being more polished, but slightly less ambitious, with only the three base kinds of creatures where the first game had more you could find. Realistically, a sequel would go further in that direction, but I’d kind of prefer keeping some jank for the sake of scope. I’m not a VR person at all, so I can’t share the hope for the gesture system, but it would be probably the best way to implement it.
I remember enjoying the first 2 Twisted Metal games on psx. For some reason I could never get into the later entries, but I’d love some form of a remake to capture the feel of those original games.
Hmm, I’m gonna hang out in the Final Fantasy series for this.
Redo? FF 12
It attempts do some great things with story telling and mechanics but really stumbles. The judges were such a cool idea that was really under-cooked. Vaan and Penelo are nothing characters that should either be removed or heavily rewritten. Bunny ladies bad. Tighten up world design (less empty space please) and combat pacing, etc. etc. I liked so much of what was there, but its shortcomings really make me hesitant to ever bother returning to it. I’d lump FF13 in this as well. Interesting and potentially awesome ideas that are just executed so poorly.
Sequel? FF Tactics
A proper one, maybe still in Ivalice. FFA and A2 are fine, but a true sequel to FFT would really be amazing.
Now that it’s apparently being de-listed, I think it’s a good time to throw a mention in for Fuser, Harmonix’s weird DJing / mash-up sim that had some incredibly cool tech underlying it, but wasn’t quite able to coalesce into a compelling game. The core loop (taking pieces of songs and layering them together, responding to crowd requests on the fly for extra points) was effective, and the fact that even someone as musically unskilled as me could put together a decent-sounding track is a testament to how well it all worked. But the game then proceeded to throw so many tools at you: tempo changing, effects pads, the ability to create your own beats on the fly and add those into the mix. All very cool stuff, and I imagine someone with skill could create some truly impressive music with it. But the whole thing just became so intricate and overwhelming that at a certain point the actual game of it all stopped being fun to play. Add in the fact that most of the game’s (surprisingly sprawling) soundtrack was locked behind campaign progression (which meant you had to engage with the more fiddly mechanics in order to get new songs to play with), and the end result was a title that I absolutely loved for a few hours, but quickly put down and never went back to.
But, again, the tech behind it is so cool. And the central premise is a ton of fun. I’d love to see someone take another stab at it, but it seems incredibly unlikely given that the licensing costs for the music must have been through the roof, and Harmonix have been absorbed into the behemoth that is Fortnite anyway.