Reboot? Retool? Sequels? the game is not the same, but the name is.
“Shadow Warrior” gets a reboot.
“Cool, whats that?” maybe some of you may ask, and that would not be surprising.
After all Shadow Warrior is a game of a niche so little that I hardly believed that it could return. I hardly meet people who know and had played the game. I myself, even if I owned the game and played at least once, I cannot fully remember it.
Shadow Warrior is a 3d realms FPS published in 1997, Build on the Ken Silverman's Build engine (or better a modified version) was very similar both in concept and in gameplay to Duke Nukem 3d.
Graphically/technically had improvements over the “duke3d” version: Voxel used for weapons and items, more detailed 3d geometries, veichles, ladders, better water and some other more techy stuff(I do not think you really care much for true “room-over-room” level modeling design or more animated elements on screen...)
as said before the game was similar to DN3d, both are ridiculously violent and parodying action game with a lot of Easter eggs and mild (vulgar but goliardic) sexual tones.
For example, there was a parody of manga character(like sailor moon.)
Just for you to know the name of the main character is Lo Wang...
but WHY I am telling you this?
I grow bored of seeing old games misunderstood by today's developers.
Sure “Shadow Warrior” is not still out, but I am pretty sure what the game will be like. Already the trailer is WAY TO SERIOUS. But if they go for the “humor” route I know the game will become a “those '70ies was cheesy!” kind of crap we get every day...
it is true that the original game was a parody. And it should be humorous. But comical do not mean bad or stupid.
Reboots, Retools and Sequels?
A game is old, but is considered good by a lot of people, maybe at the time it did not had much noise, and it was preview as a mediocre game or it can be a evolution of the medium(but with not much sales... if not it would had a legit sequel), but those pesky gamers took a liking to it over time and the name became famous(or at least known)...
now some greedy corporate publisher and some bumbling fools developer think it is a fast buck and the chance of eternal love by millions of fans, so they REBOOT it!
The new game will not have the feel or the mechanics of the old game, but hey, those random names from the original lore sure make it feel like the original!right!?RIGHT?!?
But in any case these evil geniuses have 3 “powerful” means to do this.
Reboot: forgot anything related to the game (even what made it good) and do something near in the genre.
Retools: brag about having similar mechanics, but evolved to “modern standards”, do something near in the story, but mostly make it alienating.
Sequels?: And this is the tricky part: sometimes developers will just put an new chapter in the series, before or after the original story-line.
In this cases it gets tiresome to the devs: they HAVE TO understand a little about the original game story and mechanic.
But since most of the time they just learn the few names and the more visible mechanics they can do this in 1 hour of gameplay analysis on the old title and a quick look at the game or the series wiki.
Then they just do what they feel like...
NOTE: there is a difference between a “sequel?” and a proper “sequel”.
The “sequel?” is something done by other devs, and they do not really understand what is the game origin, concept and soul. Also, the game itself do not have much standards, and the devs spend WAY to much time in secondary bullshit.
The real and proper sequel, instead, is on soul with the original lore story and mechanics... still, they are rather rare when the game is “dusted off” from the old games archives.
so we can talk of a series of common patterns of the developers.
Like an “attitude”.
I call this:
The “Reboot Attitude”.
It have principally 3 cases, and you see than most games fall on these premises...
a game had bad dialogue and a stupid story(opinion of somebody in the devteam, ignoring age and technology of the original title)? It will be rebooted with the 70ies or Saturday-morning 80ies.
“We will add ninjas, because they was considered cool back then and now they we will considered cool now for their “reflected light”.”
this is what the developers think.
Or they will shamelessly add stupid stuff because “why not? The original game are bad now!” or “when the game was out, there was this or that stuff(unrelated to the original opera) so we add that element even if there is no real connection to it”.
Games like “The House of the Dead: Overkill” and Double Dragon Neon have this attitude, but you more or less guess right away other games.
This is a wrong attitude. For example “The House of the Dead: Overkill” HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ORIGINAL GAME...
even “modern” or recent games are not safe, as Bloodrayne,the new obscure and Silent Hill book of memories have shown...
uh...Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure ?
the “antithesis” of Case A; instead acting like adding childish color or fake nostalgia of something not fully comprehended they add GRITTY, EDGY REALISM FOR MANLY KIDS.
So a lot of lines of the dialogues will start to star the word “fuck”.
Sometimes changed with: tits, cock, shit, asshole, fuck-child (appeared only once in a game and STILL Oxford is dubious about it's meaning...)
in this case appears the games that would work better in case A.
the devs here piss on the past games, regarding them as bad, old and “childish”.
Many times will try to add much “edgy” stuff to the game, normally drugs, prostitutes, violence, ethnical minorities and disreputable city outskirts...
and the game will take itself SERIOUSLY...
and many times will be more simple than the original and many times will “surprisingly” made in a trendy gamestyle.
In this case fall mostly every reboot.
Examples are: the syndicate, DmC,BmberMan: act0,Bionic Commando, Tomb Raider and surely Thief...
Alone in the dark(2008)
uh... The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning ?
much rarer and unusual, are games where the devs actually “know” the past series
so the devs will try to stick the closest they deem right, so the game will look like or sound as the game it should be, only to do not care about anything else and just go for Case A or Case B...
the majority of “sequels?” are part of this Case. If not all of them....
one of the biggest giveaway is that they will show “new and exiting stuff” without understanding that the past game already had it...
we've got: Fallout3, Max Payne 3, Fear 3(a lot of 3...) all the western developed Silent Hills, Castlevania, Splatterhouse, Castle Wolfenstein, Alone in the Dark: the new nightmare?
Now, some of you may say: “but some of that title are not bad!”
and in some regards I can even agree with you.
But is also true that most of those titles do not have much to do with the original game...
many times “modern standards” do not mean simpler more ergonomic controls, means games that follow what's big at the time.
Tomb raider for example needed better controls and less oppressive story in gameplay.
For example, if Tomb Rider Underworld did not had many fights, a slightly better fighting system, no human enemies and forgot the whole Zombie Mama Croft the game would be good.
Exploration, puzzle solving, and acrobatics...
What we had?
More oppressive story and less exploration, puzzle solving and acrobatics...
Lara just moves like any action character made today, and the “exploration” is more big rooms of secondary objects, not important to the game, when originally you had to explore the levels room to understand where you should had go to complete/leave it...
Sure the “treasures” are still there but now they are a “uncharted-like” completionism gimmick when before was used as a score attack...not much change.
What I see instead are the little details: you are not actually searching for something, you crash in an island and you are forced to do stuff. And the island is filled with an ridiculous amount of pirates that mindlessly attack the character, who is portrayed weak, but the game just ignores it and make her slaughter hundreds of enemies...
and that is something “good”? It could be called “sexy virgin bimbo killing pirates in the desert island”(sorry for the misogynistic title) and could had been a new ip and NOBODY WOULD NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE...
sure also the “sequels?” have this huge problem...
for example: Max Payne 3.
the devs considered that Max Payne was just shoot dodging, bullet time and James McCaffrey
Oh, and “comic book videos”...
well, that is not Max Payne. Especially since the shootdodge is not good anymore, the rallenty is half assed, the James McCaffrey just spew something that seems a PARODY of original max payne.
I can go on forever...
WHY reboots sucks?
Why retools sucks?
Why “sequels?” sucks?
They are different game...
names, assets, characters are just “written stuff”.
A sequel CAN have a different main character. And I mean an another guy.
Sure the idiotic “fanboys” will make a ruckus( and mind you, Ninja Theory did not changed the protagonist, it changed the CHARACTER of the protagonist to something unlikable. It's different.) but if the game and the characters are good they will calm down.
I had no problems when Nero was announced in DMC4. I said, as long the game is fun...
for example, Legacy of Kain series have 2 main characters (and two of the best characters out there). And since both qualities and story of the game game was great the fans accepted the new character.
Obviously this gets trickier with the reboots. Fans HATE reboots, it's like saying to them: “ hey there! thanks to make famous this piece of crap, but now we are going to forget you and cherish a bunch of kids who will not give a fuck about this, regards!”
but on reboots the devs really do not care for the original lore or original qualities.
They will change stuff, in the name of making it more “modern” and just copy a “new” game.
And that is ESPECIALLY insulting when the past title was the innovator of the genre, or a innovator in general.
And it is no excuse that the new game made it better, because you can make it better of them with your own design.
In Tomb Rider reboot the only good thing in the WHOLE GAME was the auto cover, but it became bullshit since the “stealth” was automatic like in Uncharted.... why there was not a button for it? Hell, Dead space 3 had a better working cover-system because it was automatic and still optional...
let's say you cannot be original by following others.
Also adding “gimmicks” are not being original.
Again, in Tomb Rider:
Adding a “construction” element was not enough, especially if it was just a “get the parts, unlock the item”...
and frankly, there was not “survival” in the game. The game also ends with a “a survival is born” bullshit (weird, I thought that Lara was a Archaeologist, not Bear Grylls) but it was just a action linear game with some secondary stuff put on the edges of the game locations...if you ignore then the game just become just an action game, with weird savepoints shaped like a bonfire...
if the game is not what it was anymore, WHY name it that way? Make a “spiritual successor” IT WORKS!
Bioshock and Dead Space are “famous” because they was a rebootish spiritual successor and the other was a “sequel?” turned in a different IP...
and saying “the game is still fun”? It is wrong. If the game is “fun”(so I assume it works technically on a good level and “feels good” pad -or keyboard-in hand.) it still have to do a lot of road to be considered really good.
The “it works” part is just the start.
Videogames are not toys. It wasn't about the “fun” since the days of the arcades. It was about the challenge and the experiences. THIS is why Hang-On had the bloody motorbike body in the cabinet or StarBlade had the cockpit and Sega Rally had the wheel and the pedals...
man, I miss arcade games...
sure it was FUN to be challenged and feel the experience. But the games did not shouted at you “you are having FUN!”
If the game do not feel like the old ones, in the good parts, the reboot is not a success...
just the “exposed factors” is not enough.
In the Thief reboot, obviously you will go stealing around. But will that feel the same than in past games? I bet it won't. They already shows way to much care in making Garret a beefy cute man, with cute over-designed items...
bullshit. If you ask me.