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Friday, 10 April 2015

Editorial: Five More Ideas For Spin-off Video Games.

Editorial: Five More Ideas For
Spin-off Video Games.

So, almost exactly a year ago today, I did a post about some ideas for spin-off/licensed tie-in video games, and I had a lot of fun writing it. It remains one of my favourite editorials, even if it stretches at the limit of this blog's remit, and it spawned a guest editorial equivalent from Reecey. 

So, a year on, let's take a look at five more ideas for spin-off video games, because goshdarn if I don't need some fun in my life.

Final Fantasy vs Persona.

'Well, that seems like a random combination,' you might be saying, to which I respond that so is combining Persona and Etrian Odyssey or Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem: Random crossovers are practically the name of the game for Atlus, not to mention that Square-Enix published several of the Persona games anyway. 

What I envision for this game is an AU, in which a bunch of Final Fantasy characters live in a Japanese-high-school-anime-with-a-fantasy-sci-fi-twist world that combines the settings of both Final Fantasy and Persona. 

It'd be astonishingly easy to find characters from the vast Final Fantasy franchise to match the Major Arcana used in Persona, too: Squall, Ashe, Yuna, Gabranth, and Lightning are shoe-ins for Strength, the Empress, the Priestess, Judgement, and Tower, and that's just me rattling ones off from the top of my head. 

But also, I think that mashing together two extremely popular JRPG franchises is a recipe for commercial success at the very least, and there's a strong potential there for something genuinely good to come out of it. Video game crossovers are becoming more common lately (the last one I played was Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright), and for the most part, they're all a lot of fun.

Arkham Beyond.

The Arkham games are feeling tired. Arkham Origins felt like an exhausted, limping wreck, grasping at the last vestiges of Arkham Asylum's success, and the series is not set to improve with Arkham Knight, which seems to want to turn the series into a Batman-themed driving game.

But there is a way to refresh it, and it's a storyline and setting change, not a gameplay one: Set an Arkham game in the world of Batman Beyond. Set in a futuristic cyberpunk Gotham, Batman Beyond follows a teenage Batman fighting crime under the tutelage of Bruce Wayne, and if that doesn't sound like fertile ground for a video game to you, then I just don't know what to tell you.

The great thing is that this plotting innovation - which would bring with it a vibrant new setting and an entirely new cast of villains - would also bring with it gameplay innovations, as Batman would be equipped with new, higher-tech equipment, giving the Zelda-oid item mechanics of the Arkham games a total rehaul.

RWBY: The Fighting Game.

With the sudden and tragic passing of Monty Oum, RWBY's future is somewhat uncertain, but we do know that the hack-n-slash video game for it, Grimm Eclipse, is now in alpha. I'm looking forward to that, but I also think that RWBY would be perfect fare for a fighting game.

That's hardly a surprise, the show was practically built on the same tropes as Mortal Kombat and Dead or Alive, and possesses a diverse range of characters designed not only to look distinctive, but also to have very distinct abilities. You could easily have a roster of upwards of twenty characters for a fighting game, and with this being a world where tournaments are a thing, you practically have a pre-packaged plot for any such game.

Also, everyone loves fighting games. It is the game genre beloved by all.

Escape Velocity: The RPG.

I really like Escape Velocity Nova. I had forgotten how much until I watched my colleague play Sunless Sea, a game which is very similar bar that it's set on a sea with no suns instead of a large expanse of void with many suns.

But you know, I think that universe would work well for a Mass Effect style RPG, where instead of exploring space you're exploring the various planets around it, visiting the Auroran Empire, Polaris, various worlds in the Federation, or even a Rebellion space station. With the branching storyline of EV Nova, there are a wealth of possibilities for what such an RPG could be about: Maybe you're a young Vell-os enslaved by the Federation and doing their dirty work for them; maybe you're a Rebellion smuggler who is sucked into a vast, galaxy-spanning mission; maybe you're a member of the Wild Geese and you start off doing mercenary work before you find yourself dragged into the storyline.

It's a universe that is ripe with potential, and the fact that there hasn't been another game set in it for years fills me with sorrow and vim.

Telltale Games' The Room.

I'm sort of joking, but not really.

There's already been a The Room video game of sorts, an 8-bit adventure game that's more parody than anything else. What I'd like is to see Telltale Games or a company like it make a The Room game that plays it completely straight.

When you think about it, it's perfect for it: A large cast of characters with their own agendas and subplots, enclosed within a relatively small setting, in which a character might well be forced to make decisions that affect their lives. 

It would essentially be a soap opera game, but that's no bad thing, especially when you could have a voice actor doing their best Tommy Wiseau impression as they scream about how you're tearing them apart.

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