The announcement of the Retro Video Game System, a cartridge-based console, is the latest case study in the debate of whether gaming should continue evolving beyond its roots.
Where THQ’s Popular Properties Should End Up
Poor THQ. You always hate to see a game publisher go under, but when one as prolific as THQ shows signs of weakness, it really makes you think. We should cherish our game properties, for life is fleeting, and you never know when it could end. Thankfully the doctrine of Miyamoto (hallowed be thy name) doesn’t explicitly rule out reincarnation, so THQs IP don’t necessarily have to go up to the great garbage bin in the sky. They still have an excellent stable of franchises that are set to be auctioned off next week, and some prospective buyers have already been lining up.
Gearbox. They proved with Borderlands they know how to make a successful open-world shooter, and it would be awesome to see what they could do with a gonzo property like Saint’s Row. Both series feature outstanding character progression and an absurdly hilarious sense of humor, so the interests are already more aligned than they seem. Also, I read in an interview once that Randy Pitchford, the head of Gearbox Studios, wants to make a heist game. On paper this seems almost perfect.
Mojang. Everybody knows the best part of Red Faction is the landscape destruction elements, so why not give it to a studio who has already mastered the creative elements of landscape structure. It would be a great chance to see what Notch and his team could do with a AAA shooter franchise, and Red Faction really needs some new life anyway. The central concept is good, and although I would love to see this happen, it unfortunately seems very unlikely.
Irrational Games. Hmm…a gritty, nightmarish scenario where our country is invaded seems like it would make an interesting project for the masters of environmental storytelling. To say that there are some controversial issues swirling around right now is an understatement, but Ken Levine and his team have a history of delivering powerful political messages. At running the risk of sounding grandiose, we are at a critical juncture in our country’s history. Sensitive issues like gun control, freedom of speech and parenting are on the line, and we need more intelligent people making public statements. Video games aren’t mindless entertainment anymore; this could be a chance to make an impact. Or it could go to Activision. Ugh.
Rocksteady Studios. After seeing what Rocksteady did with a struggling open-world property, my mind is going crazy considering the possibilities of this. It would give Rocksteady a little more creative control, yet still allows them to work within a set framework; something they have shown a mastery of. With their propensity for clever puzzles, inventive combat and cinematic storytelling, this could actually be the most perfect fit of the bunch. Of course I would like to see Rocksteady stretch their proverbial wings with a new IP, but this could be a good middle ground.
BioWare. I really like the Metro property, and I super duper really like the idea of handing it over to the masters at BioWare. Their work on the various Star Wars properties shows they know how to handle a license while putting their own creative spin on it. Metro has shown the ability to adapt to player choice, and letting BioWare flesh that aspect out while adding their incredible story-telling prowess seems like a win in my book. The franchise already lends itself well to a “carrying over” type narrative, and I have reason to believe BioWare knows how to handle something like that.
Anybody but EA. Seriously. Anybody.