How NOT to relaunch your video game franchise…

Hi! resident gaming nerd Matt Bee here, checking in once again to illustrate something I was trying to say on this week’s radio show using the magic of YouTube and our very own blog.

At this year’s San Diego Comic Con game developing giants Capcom announced that we could expect a relaunch of the Strider franchise in early 2014 with a new title landing on XBox One, PlayStation 4 and Steam. Now initially, whilst I can’t say I was ‘excited’ about a comeback per se, I do remember playing Strider in the days of the coin-op arcade: it was great fun and regarded by many as a classic. On viewing both the announcement trailer and the additional 7 minute gameplay release however, I was massively underwhelmed by what I saw.

For comparative purposes I’ve compiled some examples of ‘retro’ video games that have later been relaunched on more advanced generation of console showing footage from both old version and new. The first few are what I would consider to be developers getting it right, followed by… Strider. Hopefully the videos will speak for themselves but no doubt I’ll be back further down the page to rant a little. For now, happy viewing:

Metal Gear – Nintendo Entertainment System Commercial: 1987

Metal Gear Solid – PlayStation E3 Commercial: 1997

Ninja Gaiden 2 – Nintendo Entertainment System Commercial: 1990

Ninja Gaiden – XBox Commercial: 2004

Metroid – Nintendo Famicon Disk System Commercial: 1986

Metroid Prime – Nintendo Gamecube Commercial: 2003

Ok, now look at these and tell me what you notice…

Strider – Sega Genesis Commercial: 1990

Strider – NEXT GEN CONSOLES(?!) Commercial: 2013

Maybe I showed my hand a little with that last title? Here’s what I don’t understand: Firstly, how is this a Next Gen game? But more, look at how all the other games in the list have been updated and evolved through the ages of home gaming and taken an existing property, polished it, and brought something new and exciting to the table. Its nearly 25 years since Strider was first released and with all the power and potential of XBox One, Playstation 4 and Steam they’ve managed to provide us with… essentially the same game. Its a 2D side scrolling platform game just as the original was (albeit with a few axis changes here and there and PS2 grade graphics thrown in) hardly the full package we’re expecing from our new shiny £400 consoles. Its fair to say I’m more excited by that guy’s mullet in the Genesis advert than anything I saw on the SDCC footage. Please try harder, Capcom.
Matt B.

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