2015 – What I Would Like This Year In Gaming

Two weeks into the year, time to set up my personal wishlist!

So, 2014 is now a distant memory, a footnote of a year notable for its widespread disappointment and social media warfare. So, umm, good riddance.

Of course, that means that this year we have a whole new set of fun things to look forward to. Usually, people tend to talk about the things already confirmed, or known quantities that have some information behind them. I’m not going to do that this year; partly because you should already know what you want out of the known quantities this year (for me, Zelda U and The Witcher 3 are pretty high on the list, as is Splatoon). More interesting – and fun – is what people would actually WANT to see, from an industry that has somehow forgotten the key ingredient in customer satisfaction is actually giving people something they want to buy in the first place!

So here’s what I would buy if released this year.

Generation 7 Pokémon Title

There’s been some talk already about the next stage of the evolution (narf!) of the Pokémon series, but after finally completing a Pokédex sans a small smattering of event-only beasties, I couldn’t be more pumped for the concept of a new Pokémon game.

And I do mean “new”; Pokémon X and Y were fantastic, bold strides forward for a series so much about the characters and the adventure, that Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire – despite the PokéNav – felt a little like a step backwards at times. A new Pokémon should really build on the solid foundations of X and Y, with a smooth flowing adventure, an interesting villain, a likeable and personable support cast and much more interesting landscape married to much more solid mechanical changes; it’s time to end the tyranny of the HM Slave, and move forward with an improved system that allows trainers the freedom to use a more diverse range of ‘Mon.

Also necessary are improvements to the PSS and Breeding System. It seems almost laughable that the breeding aspect of Pokémon has remained relatively constant, and despite a few quality of life changes like Hatching O-Power, it’s still a timesink to breed, then switch out an egg for the ‘Mon, then switch the egg back in, then go out and put Pokérus on the eggs, then find an infinite loop to go hatch the eggs on and so on. Streamlining this is an essential part I feel to a vastly improved Wondertrading system, which whilst a great idea (the YouTube Wonderlocke Challenges are great and I’d love to try one someday!) always somehow feel a little abused by lower-level players fishing for new stuff. Perhaps an egg repository for them, where breeders can put in random eggs for those in need?

Either way, it can’t come soon enough. It’s not likely we’ll see a release this year, although I would like one (hence this is on my list), but I would like to have a good look at it. And also know if it’s a New 3DS exclusive or not. I can see the New 3DS being a graphical step up from X and Y. Which would be rather exciting!

Monster Hunter HD

Recently, I got back into Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Again. But this time, high-rank monsters like the Zinogre, the Brachydios and the Jhen Mohran (the latter being one of the most fun things you can do in gaming without taking your clothes off).

Yes, there’s Monster Hunter 4 coming around the same time as the New 3DS. But you know something? I’m going to be picky here. I know it’s popular in Japan and I know home consoles are a bit of a sore spot over there of late, but I honesty would rather see a new fully-HD console version of Monster Hunter over a handheld iteration. For a start, I prefer the controllers and the larger screen. Plus the extra horsepower could lead to some truly magnificent special hunts, and a far nicer and less segmented map system. And of course, all in HD. For a Western audience now really getting into games like this, it seems almost mental that Capcom isn’t considering a Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Perhaps in time.

It’s also a great way to get people off the teat of MMO’s; the online team-based modes for between two and four people are a wonderful replacement therapy, and far more dynamic and unpredictable than the majority of formulaic set-pattern boss fights we’ve become used to. Capcom has all the components here to make this an even bigger hit over here, if only it will take the game to home consoles.

I live in hope. I can’t imagine why Capcom wouldn’t have thought of it before. The old days of the PS2 edition with painful loading times are long forgotten. Let’s see something even more grandiose this year!

Beyond Good and Evil 2

UbiSoft no doubt had a 2014 that it would rather forget. It so desperately tried to hide behind Nintendo for some of its more heinous mistakes and errors of judgement, but in reality it backfired when Nintendo had a cracking year and UbiSoft was left ultimately with its pants down in the background.

So of course, the most obvious remedy to improve somewhat damaged consumer relations would be to FINALLY do some stuff with the cult classic, Beyond Good and Evil. One of the companies most lauded on-again-off-again projects, the sequel should without question continue off from the end of the first game and explain what on earth happened there (for those not in the know, the ending to the magnificent Beyond Good and Evil was a cliffhanger we’ve been waiting to be resolved for over a decade now). It should also not deviate too strongly from what was arguably a brilliant, solid foundation that set the template for much of what the company went on to do later.

A little more freedom would be expected from Hillys, or wherever we end up next, because the world itself was as much the star as Jade, Pey’J and Double-H. A new cast would be much appreciated too; more people fighting back against the DomZ incursion, the Alpha Sections and whatever nastiness is trying to take advantage of the situation. Most of all though, rather like the Metroid series, there needs to be a wide variety of new and interesting wildlife and lore to be discovered by Jade and the player.

Of course, I have full faith in Michel Ancel for this. But similarly, I have less faith in UbiSoft to keep its hands off the project and let the original creators actually do some great work without unnecessary outside pressure. Msr. Ancel liberated himself from under the tight thumb of UbiSoft, but remained working on a key project which we can only assume is Beyond Good and Evil 2, with all the teasers we’ve had. After almost five years of constant teasing, it’s time to let the game bloom and flourish out in the open.

Just… drop Samurai Shauni. The game might have realistically set a trend for more open areas and storytelling in UbiSoft games, but the series shouldn’t be allowed to deviate too far from what we actually know and love. The worst thing would be for it to become another Assassin’s Creed clone. Been there, done that, been disappointed.

New Dark Souls/Zelda Crossover

Whilst we are getting a new-gen version of Dark Souls 2, which we all hope will be more in line with the bullshots teased long before its launch last year, it would be an understatement to suggest most Dark Souls players are itching for a new variation. Bloodborne looks like an interesting variation on a theme, but most from the early alpha conceded that whilst impressive, it’s also distinctly different on its own merit.

Again, it’s another one of those “well, we won’t see a release this year but we’d still like to see something” nominations. Dark Souls had a fantastic, fluid open-world feel that usurped the Metroidvania throne and refuses to let it go, but it was Dark Souls 2 which took more advantage of the online interconnectivity, with a broad and ever-evolving range of invasions and mechanics that kept duels and competitive matches intense and exciting. In theory, a new Dark Souls would simply marry the two best parts of each game into one phenomenal, life-affirming product right?

As an aside though, it would be most impressive to actually see a Wii-U version of Dark Souls with Zelda-themed content. It can’t be stated enough how this idea has been allowed to take root within the gaming world and thrive in the imaginations of thousands of eager players, but the marriage of Zelda and Dark Souls would be gloriously incandescent. With ties between Nintendo and Bandai-Namco healthy right now, it isn’t the most far-fetched of ideas. And Nintendo has shown it’s not afraid of crossovers, see Hyrule Warriors. Doing something similar by letting FROM Software blend Zelda and Dark Souls seems like the kind of no-brainer that has us all wondering why we aren’t seeing anything yet.

Come on guys. Obvious money-maker is obvious. Do you really hate our money that much?

The Last of Us – Bill’s Story

Most people want to see a sequel to arguably one of the best new horror IP’s in years. I do too. However, before we do, there’s one more story that the game needs to tell, and that is of the generally not-likeable but still somehow endearing Bill.

You see, Bill’s story comes to something of a conclusion in The Last of Us, but there’s tremendous scope for a really powerful tale all of its own there. You see, Bill is an openly gay male character; a rarity in the gaming sphere. Ordinarily, I don’t go in much for Social Justice Pandering, but there’s something compelling and strangely subversive about the notion of telling the story of a gay man in the midst of a terrible event, and the pressures of this and his relationship with Frank – and its ultimate and inevitable breakdown – just seems like the most genuinely fascinating concept you could ever hope for in a video game about an apocalyptic event and its aftermath on people.

It certainly makes more sense than “Left Behind”; for all the plaudits that DLC got, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that it was not only too obvious but also way too cynical. Two little girls kiss. How original! How exciting! How novel! Oh wait, none of those things. We did this back on the PSX with Fear Effect, and the whole tATu thing, sorry Naughty Dog but you’re about fifteen years late with that. However, gay men don’t get the same kind of treatment. Bill was a glorious grumpy blaze in the middle of a game all about blazing a fresh trail over tired ground, and that is what makes him arguably one of the most important characters for me in the whole game.

So yes, before we move onto a new story, it’s time to tie up the last loose thread from the first. I’m waving the flag for Bill. He’s worth it.

Plok! HD

Okay, I’m going to end on frankly the longest shot possible. But there’s reason for it! You see, I’ve become a bit of an avid fan of the comic strip based on the modern misadventures of Plok!

Oh right. Plok! was a game from the early 90’s on the Super Nintendo, about a fuzzy fabric man (the titular Plok) and his homeland of Akrillic. After his favourite flag is stolen, he runs off to retrieve it only to find the Flea Army has invaded his otherwise pristine-clean homeland and taken it over. So begins an adventure which even now I must admit feels somewhat unlike anything that has followed since, with bonus level challenges and bonkers level design and even old-world black and white flashbacks to his Grandpappy and his trusty blunderbuss. The comic is kind of a self-aware parody; what would happen if a 90’s cult games hero suddenly found himself fighting in and against modern gameplay tropes and themes?

I’m not suggesting we get a game of the comic – I’d sooner ask for something more obtainable, you know, like a Unicorn – but you know, with so many classics getting remakes and reboots, I have a deep and irrational longing to see the original Plok! in full HD. There’s something about it. I’m convinced there’s still a place for Plok! in the world because, well, there hasn’t been much platforming madness LIKE Plok! over the years.

And… well. It’d be nice to play it again without you know, dodgy and immoral emulation practices. Leave that stuff in the early noughties where it belongs.

Plok! for 2015! Make it so!

2015 splash from isfunny.net

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