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The 2012 Video Game Draft
The 2012 NFL Draft is upon us, and football fans everywhere are making their mock drafts and hoping that their team doesn’t screw up that ever-important first round pick. Being a big football guy, the NFL Draft is one of the best events of the year for me, but this year got me thinking…
What if the biggest game companies threw all of their IPs into one big pot, then held a massive NFL Draft-like event where they chose which franchise they would control? Not only would it turn the entire industry completely upside down, but the games themselves would never be the same. Now, this will NEVER happen in a MILLION years, but for the sake of conjecture…
Alright, so let’s say 17 significant publishers all agree to this: Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Capcom, Sega, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, Take Two, Zenimax Media, THQ, Square Enix, Konami, Namco Bandai, Warner Brothers, Valve, Atlus, and EA. The selection order is random and decided by a random list generator produced at the draft location one hour before draft time. Any franchises not selected would then go back under the control of their original owners.
1. Namco Bandai
2. Warner Brothers
4. Take Two
6. Zenimax Media
12. Activision Blizzard
13. Square Enix
Let’s draft baby!
THE DRAFT BEGINS.
– Why Pokemon, you ask? Its massive popularity notwithstanding, Namco Bandai can finally answer the “who’s better: Pokemon or Digimon” argument once and for all with as many crossover games as they want. Smart first pick here, great way to kick things off.
-A video game publisher that’s part of one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world isn’t going to try their hand at the biggest gaming franchise around? The movie background could really make this smart pick, but the annual nature of the series may turn this into the Ryan Leaf of the Video Game Draft. Could Warner keep up? Who knows?
-Saints Row is an excellent franchise, no question, but if the chance to grab the best game of its kind is there, why wouldn’t they do it? Especially with THQ’s sudden financial issues, a move like this could bring them back to the top of the gaming charts. No brainer.
-Take-Two brings the NFL back to 2K Sports. Seasoned sports game fiends maintain to this day that ESPN NFL 2K5 is the best football simulation game this side of Tecmo Super Bowl. Sports game fans would stand up and cheer if this ever happened in real life, so it’s a no-brainer here.
-What a coup this pick would be. Sega’s ailing mascot just cannot hold a candle to Nintendo’s plucky plumber, so why not take him for your own? Of course, the fear is that Sega would run Mario into the ground as they did with Sonic. As long as Mario isn’t kissing Yoshi or Birdo, everything will be fine and dandy.
-The house of The Elder Scrolls takes control of the most famous adventure game there is. Imagine a Skyrim-like Legend of Zelda: a MASSIVE Hyrule with hundred of dungeons, thousands of NPCs, and enough gameplay to last a lifetime. I wouldn’t leave the television, not once. Can this happen for real?
-The first “safe” pick of the draft. Valve knows no one else can do Half-Life justice, not to mention they’re already knee-deep in either Episode 3 or Half-Life 3 (we hope) that they wouldn’t want all that work to go to waste. Valve keeps things simple and no one complains.
-Not afraid of sprawling action-adventure games, Ubisoft takes aim at Sony and drafts Nathan Drake and company. Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted come from a similar foundation: historical fiction. Imagine a crossover with Nathan Drake meeting Desmond Miles and both men fainting because they have the same voice. The possibilities are endless.
-Capcom invented the survival horror genre, why wouldn’t they want to take in their main competition? With this pick, Capcom not only admits that their take on survival horror has dwindled recently, but it could also signify a return to form for a company that desperately needs to win its old fans back. This is a Capcom decision that would make sense. Odd, right?
-EA was thought to be making the biggest competition for Activision’s MMO juggernaut World of Warcraft, but it just didn’t happen. The Old Republic has a decent member base, but it still pales in comparison. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, as they say, so EA heeds the advice and drafts Warcraft, just in time for WoW Fu Panda’s launch.
-Nintendo needs to stop the bleeding. Three of their main franchises are gone in the span of six picks, and they need a plan. What better action than taking a floundering franchise from a company that doesn’t know what to do with it and re-imagine it in their own house? Mega Man practically sold the NES on its own, time for Nintendo to return the favor.
-They lost their cash cow, so Activision might as well replace it with its biggest competition. The transition would be simple, the two studio approach would still work, and they could still put out annual versions of a shooter. It’ll be like nothing changed.
-Square can’t just let the franchise that saved them slip away, can they? They have to protect their biggest IP, and since it had fallen all the way to #13, they had to take it. If they didn’t, you know Atlus would have swept it right up at #17, if not Konami right before it at #15. Another safe pick here, but another one that makes total sense.
-Same rationale here as the pick before it: Halo is Microsoft’s gaming business. It was the reason the Xbox succeeded and the Xbox 360 continues to thrive. Without Halo, the Xbox goes the way of the Dreamcast, and Microsoft knows it. That’s why Bungie couldn’t take it with them when they left, and that’s why no one is taking it from them here.
-Where Capcom gains the new face of survival horror, it loses the old guard that it helped create. Konami needs some SERIOUS help with survival horror, as every Silent Hill game that comes out either underwhelms or is a technical mess. If they can focus now on Resident Evil instead, the tide may turn for them
-Hell, we all think Metal Gear Solid is a Sony-exclusive franchise anyway, might as well go and make it official. The reason is so tantalizing, though, is that of all of Sony’s major developers, Naughty Dog would be most primed to take Metal Gear in and create some beautiful gaming. A Naughty Dog-backed Metal Gear game? Sign me up.
-Atlus is no stranger to the occult, with Catherine’s otherworldly aspects and the entire Shin Megami Tensei series, so Castlevania would be a great fit. Castlevania is a franchise with some clout, something Atlus could use. The Persona games are good, but 100-hour grindfests aren’t going to attract the average gamer. Castlevania will bring in the action-seekers.
THE DRAFT ENDS.
The chaos that has erupted onto the gaming scene after this is absurd. 2K Sports landing Madden, Bethesda getting Zelda…my head is spinning with the possibilities! The recap:
- Namco Bandai – Pokemon
- Warner Brothers – Call of Duty
- THQ – Grand Theft Auto
- Take Two – Madden NFL Football
- Sega – Super Mario
- Zenimax Media – The Legend of Zelda
- Valve – Half-Life
- Ubisoft – Uncharted
- Capcom – Dead Space
- EA – Warcraft
- Nintendo – Mega Man
- Activision Blizzard – Battlefield
- Square Enix – Final Fantasy
- Microsoft – Halo
- Konami – Resident Evil
- Sony – Metal Gear
- Atlus – Castlevania
What a list. Man, how I wish some of these things would really happen. Alas, they won’t, but it’s fun to dream, right? I hoped you enjoyed our little simulation.